Conservative Activists Propose Horsetrading

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Americans for Tax Reform, the conservative group run by Grover Norquist, is suggesting that House leaders sweeten the package with (mostly unrelated) goodies. I doubt this will get very far, but someone has to find a way to get those 12 votes. Here is the release:

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist today offered a path forward for negotiators on the financial bailout package. By adding targeted and timely tax relief to the bill, the belief is that many more Republicans would vote for it. Americans for Tax Reform opposed the bill because it believed, along with most other conservatives, that there was nothing in it of value to conservatives. “In prior ‘emergency’ bills, there was some acceptable ratio of tax cuts to new spending,” said Norquist. “There were virtually no tax cuts in this bill, and a staggering $700 billion price tag.”

The best and most timely tax relief would include:

–allowing companies to repatriate foreign earnings to the U.S. tax-free if the money were used to purchase distressed assets in 2008 and 2009
–creating a capital gains tax holiday for 2008 and 2009; short of this, the capital gains tax rate for corporations could be temporarily cut to the individual rate of 15 percent (down from 35 percent today) in order to encourage corporations to sell assets and purchase distressed assets
–providing that current income and capital gains resulting from the purchase of distressed assets would be permanently free of taxation
–lowering the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent in 2008 and 2009 for companies that agree to purchase some significant amount of distressed assets