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Bogus Bipartisanship: Congress Cooperates in the Service of Corporations

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Reprinted from The Nation

From flickr.com/photos/27282276@N02/2723240330/: US Capitol
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The problem with bipartisanship as it is currently understood is that, for the most part, cooperation in Congress serves the elites that already are living large thanks to federal tax policies that redistribute wealth upward.

That was certainly the case this week, when the US House voted 378-46 for the so-called "Tax Increase Prevention Act."

Hailed by politicians and pundits as an example of Congress coming together to get something done, the measure -- which still must be considered by a somewhat skeptical Senate -- is better understood as a glaring example of what is wrong with Washington.

"There are a lot of things that Congress didn't get done in the last two years," explains Congressman Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat who cast one of the lonely "no" votes in the House. "The fact that this was a priority of this leadership at this point shows just how broken this Congress is."

The measure seeks to extend many of the most absurd tax breaks enjoyed by multinational corporations in a way that Congressman Keith Ellison says "gives away too much to big business, while doing little to help working families make ends meet."

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"The bill is full of deficit-financed corporate giveaways that won't stimulate the economy or help working Americans," notes Ellison, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "The bill retroactively restores the bonus depreciation tax break, which doesn't increase economic growth because it helps companies pay for equipment they've already purchased. It also costs $1.49 billion. The active financing exemption allows companies to keep a huge amount of profits overseas and costs $5 billion. The bill also provides tax breaks for motorsports tracks such as NASCAR ($33 million) and racehorses ($45 million)."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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