You can count me among the millions not happy with the caving to give additional tax subsidies the unneedy rich. With this deal, however, unless blocked, the true pain is wondering what we could -- or should -- have gotten in return.
Why isn't there $200 billion (or, better yet, $500 billion) or so for stimulus in the coming 24 months. There won't be anything coming out of the R House that will stimulate job creation. The Administration should have gotten some on the table and in this deal.
Staying within tax cuts and policy, why not include in clean-energy tax credits. To provide one clear example, why not extend Section 1603 (action item)?
While I find it absurd that the additional tax subsidies for the wealthiest among us will be extended at the very time when we have people screaming about our deficit problems, if we are going to see a caving on this shouldn't there be as many useful and valuable provisions added to the legislation as possible.
Section 1603, in short, authorizes renewable energy projects eligible for production or investment tax credits to take the funds as a cash grant instead. For the taxpayer, this is essentially a wash, but for the developer this is 30% downpayment rather than money that eventually comes back -- that is, if they can get someone interested in those tax credits.
Analysis to date has shown this to be a highly effective program. According to a Berkeley study of Section 1603
"Although a significant number of the wind power projects that have chosen the grant likely would have been built under the PTC absent the Section 1603 program, we estimate that the grant program may have helped to directly motivate the construction of as much as 2,400 MW of 2009 wind power capacity that would not otherwise have been built in 2009,"
As things stand, this is about to expire -- to 'sunset' as were the tax subsidies for the obscenely rich and sadly famous. For our future prosperity, it is clear which would be the better one to have in the sun.
NOTE / UPDATE / PS: The Power of Wind version of the action item.