Sunday, October 05, 2008

'Ear ya go again

Alaska will show itself, now that it is center stage, to be a bit of a puzzlement to those of the lower 48 States. Americans will rediscover their frontier past in the wild, wild northwest. It is a place of individuals, and trying to pigeon-hole individuals will be the undoing of the overly analysed modern American mold.

They'll find that many Alaskans tend to think of themselves as a bit of a maverick and that not all mavericks are charmingly nice guys like the ones from the TV show of the late '50's to early '60's, brothers Bret and Bart Maverick (James Garner and Jack Kelly), and their suave British cousin, Beau (Roger Moore).

Now Alaska's new Princess (Guambat is positive she's winking at him and not the other millions of people when she looks flurtive-like into the camera) is against ear marks and rails against Obama's use of them. But she's a maverick and, well, has an open mind, apparently, about them, and may even be willing to cross that bridge when she needs to, even if it leads to nowhere.

And she simply adores her running-mate who is going to name, shame and put to disdain those pork-barreling pollies who line Federal legislation with piggy ear marks.

And she's breathless how he gave up his politicking to go get that bail out bill passed. Which, of course it didn't right at first.

But he did manage to see it pass, but only after they marked up that 700 Billion Dollar bazooka with another 150 Billion in pork-ears. Now that's the American way: if it costs too damn much, just make sure it costs even more, then she'll be right.

And one of those pork ears was courtesy the gift of another Alaskan who has learned the intricate Alaskan art of carving off sizeable slabs of Federal Treasury slather for that far away wonderland of tundra, mountain, ice and island that shares with Guam the distinction of being the only American territories to have been taken and occupied by foreign powers in the last hundred years or more.

That Alaskan is Republican Congressman Don Young. (Hattip, Pitbull Palin Mauls McCain.)

The Anchorage Daily News reported
how Congressman Young brought home the bacon from that bail out.
The measure, which would reduce the tax bite on fishermen and others receiving money in the punitive damage award from Exxon Mobil, was sought by Alaska's congressional delegation.

One week ago, the tax breaks dangled by a fraying thread as part of an unrelated tax bill. But in the financial panic of recent days in Washington, D.C., the Exxon litigation break was shoved into the Wall Street rescue package along with other tax incentives to ensure enough votes for passage.

The new law will allow Exxon litigants who receive awards to average the income over three years, rather than paying taxes on it in just one year. It also allows them to put $100,000 immediately into an IRA. Taxes would be due on the $100,000 only in the future, when the money is withdrawn from the IRA.

Another provision says plaintiffs don't have to pay self-employment or payroll taxes on any payouts in the case.

The tax breaks could cost the U.S. Treasury up to $49 million over the next 10 years, according to estimates accompanying the bill.

Fiscal conservatives in the House opposed extending the tax breaks, saying they would increase the federal deficit.

"While I was extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to reduce the punitive damage award to the victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, our provision will help lessen the tax burden and allow the 30,000 plaintiffs to keep more of the compensation they receive," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a release Friday.

"I don't think it's fair that they have to pay any taxes on that settlement. That's wrong. It's small enough the way it was," Young said.

But here's the kicker that shows just how maverick our far north fellow countrypeople can be. In spite of pushing that pork ear into the bail out package, and to spite something else which isn't clear to Guambat, the ADN briefly noted Congressman Young voted AGAINST the package!
Rep. Don Young voted against the bailout bill, but said he supported the Exxon Valdez measure.

Mavericks?? You betcha. America, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.



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