The Senate will vote today on a revised bill that now includes the higher FDIC limit of deposits and a bunch of tax breaks favored by the GOP.
From the AP:
[The ideas include] …AMT relief, $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana, and some $78 billion in renewable energy incentives and extensions of expiring tax breaks. All told, it would cost about $112 billion over five years.
In a compromise worked out with Republicans, the bill does not pay for the AMT and disaster provisions, but does have revenue offsets for part of the energy and extension measures.
Earlier Tuesday, House Democratic leaders discussed adding an extension of unemployment benefits, while Republicans pressed to make it easier for financial institutions to hold questionable long-term assets. House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., floated the idea of boosting a recently passed property tax deduction for homeowners who don’t itemize on their returns.
The bill will now contain some combination, if not all, of the above.
There are, at this time, however, still no legitimate curbs on executive compensation. From Henry Blodgett (himself a disgraced former Wall Street sleaze):
There’s another absurd section that makes all compensation above $500,000 for the three highest paid employees at the company not tax-deductible for the company. This is LUDICROUS. It means the company can pay the executives anything it wants and that the penalty for this will be exacted on the company and its shareholders. (Unless we’re mistaken, Americans are furious that CEOs make $50 million a year for running companies into the ground, not that the $50 million is tax deductible).
Did you understand that? There is no curb other than a tax hit to the company’s bottom line. The same toothless boards that overpaid for failure will be responsible for determining how much executives will get paid with only your 401K to take the hit. Every time I read about this it makes my blood boil. It makes me want to bust out the torches and pitchforks.
The reason that this weak provision is in the bill is because Paulson warned that companies would not participate if there were mandatory curbs on pay.
Can you think of a greedier, more selfish act that refusing to aid your company/country because your pay will be reduced to the merely opulent from the Croesus-like?
And that’s just the start of what’s wrong with this legislation.
And yet…I support Congress passing something. I trust Bernanke and Buffett on this one. But don’t expect me to like a super-sized crap sandwich, and don’t expect to win praise for doing your jobs badly. This bill is a necessary disgrace and I, for one, am ashamed of it. We should never have been in this position in the first place.
This is, indeed, a dark day for America.