Watching Congress this week brings back childhood memories of living next to a frankfurter factory. From dawn until dark, trucks backed up to loading docks, where men in long aprons with red and brown smears hauled haunches and pushed bins inside. What went on inside was a mystery, but the stains and smells made it clear that flesh was being hacked and ground to bits around the clock. Spicy seasonings could never mask the reek from that building.
The $800 billion-plus sausage that may emerge from the House today has been stuffed with so much pork and other red meat for voters that it's hard to keep track of the scraps, including tax relief for motor racing tracks, extending restaurant improvement credits and exempting from excise tax wooden arrow shafts for use by children.
"I am hopeful that there will be bipartisan, majority support for this bill that is critical to stabilizing our nation's economy for all working Americans," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said last night in anticipation of the debate that begins this morning.
The vote is expected to be close on what Paul Krugman calls "originally the Paulson plan, then the Paulson-Dodd-Frank plan, and now, I guess, the Paulson-Dodd-Frank-Pork plan (it’s been larded up since the House rejected it on Monday).
"I hope that it passes, simply because we’re in the middle of a financial panic, and another no vote would make the panic even worse. But that’s just another way of saying that the economy is now hostage to the Treasury Department’s blunders."
Pass the mustard.