The Paul Krugman column in yesterday’s New York Times continues his examination of the Republican stimulus package. I know we get numb to the transfer of billions of our tax dollars to Texas energy companies – it can’t possibly be as important as the $30,000 real estate investment a recent President made that we spent $40-odd million and several years investigating – but maybe instead of getting numb we should get . . . annoyed?

As Arianna Huffington writes in her latest column, ‘All you really need to know about the true nature of this bill can be found in a largely unnoticed provision that makes permanent a gaping tax loophole that was about to expire. It allows multinational corporations such as GE and Ford to avoid paying taxes by shifting profits to their offshore subsidiaries — but only if those profits remain overseas. Tell me, how exactly is providing incentives to keep money out of our economy supposed to stimulate our economy?’

Just about everyone has ridiculed the House bill, from our unlikely Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, to the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page. (‘The Ways and Means bill was so chock full of corporate goodies and feckless rebates,’ opined the Journal, ‘that both liberals and supply-siders felt compelled to throw tomatoes. …Meanwhile, Americans watching this stimulus ‘show’ in Congress should demand to have their tickets refunded. It ain’t worth the time or money.’)

But responding to that criticism, House Majority Leader Dick Armey told Tim Russert on ‘Meet the Press’ this weekend, ‘It’s a very thoughtful piece of work, and I’m very proud of what the committee did.’

And the White House has apparently reined in the Secretary of the Treasury – the administration likes the bill, too.

It is a grand time to be wealthy and powerful in America.

If you have time, read the Krugman piece.


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