Saturday, August 02, 2014

Congress: The Road to Roads

Gail Collins, NYT
AUG. 1, 2014

Well, all I can say is thank God we’ve got that Highway Trust Fund fixed.

Congress raced for its August break on Friday, with many complaints about voting on legislation nobody had ever seen (“What bill are we talking about?”) and plaintive cries of: “We can do better than this!”

There is actually no evidence whatsoever that the current Congress can do better than this. But good news — the House and Senate did manage a last-minute agreement to keep the nation’s road-building programs going for a few more months by putting some cash into the exhausted Highway Trust Fund.

The money will mainly come from “pension smoothing.” Perhaps you have never heard of pension smoothing. It involves allowing companies to put less than the required amount into their pension funds, thus creating more profit, which leads to more tax revenue for the government. Until later, when the whole thing turns into geysers of red ink.

I think I speak for us all when I respond: “Say what?”

(More here.)

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