Horses Versus Health Care

GOP Tax Giveaway of the Day: Mitch McConnell’s Bluegrass Boondoggle

As the Aug. 2 deadline for resolving the default crisis nears, we will start taking a closer look at some of the wasteful tax giveaways that the GOP is refusing to eliminate while at the same time demanding trillions of dollars in spending cuts. As President Obama has repeatedly noted, for each dollar in tax giveaways the GOP refuses to eliminate, that is one more dollar that will have to be cut from Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, or another important program.

Today’s nominee for elimination is just one of the more than $1 TRILLION in wasteful tax giveaways that need to be sent to the glue factory.

WHO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

WHAT: The Bluegrass Boondoggle, a special tax break for the horse racing industry

WHERE: Inserted into the 2008 Farm Bill by McConnell. McConnell, who was up for re-election in 2008, publicly took credit for it at the time by noting how much it would benefit Kentucky’s horse racing industry.

HOW MUCH IT WASTES: $126 MILLION over 10 years

WHY IT MATTERS: It is the perfect example of an industry using one politically powerful member of Congress to obtain special favors and giveaways — giveaways the rest of us pay for. This tax giveaway is particularly egregious, as it is both costly and benefits a very small and wealthy group of individuals. When it was first inserted into the Farm Bill in 2008, ThinkProgress referred to it as McConnell’s “millionaire-only earmark.”

NOTABLE QUOTABLE — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR): “Giving Triple Crown treatment to millionaires while workers are put out to pasture – that’s not right, and it’s not the American way.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Just two hours ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a resolution expressing that it is the sense of the Senate “that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort.”

This resolution will give both sides a crystal clear opportunity to express whether they think millionaires need to start paying their fair share or whether they favor eliminating Medicare instead of getting rid tax breaks for millionaire horse breeders, billionaire hedge fund managers, and corporate jet owners.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says he will filibuster all Senate business until they discuss the debt ceiling negotiations.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum mistakenly insists the U.S. economy has added 100 times more jobs than it actually has.

Anti-marriage equality groups in New York may not pose as big of a threat after all for the four Senate Republicans who voted to legalize marriage equality.

By modern Tea Party standards, Margaret Thatcher would be some kind of communist.

In 2010, 19,000 service members in the armed forces were raped or sexually assaulted — the vast majority of whom never reported it.

The New Jersey legislature voted decisively this past week to ban hydrofracking, a controversial form of natural gas drilling that is being studied for its documented dangers to the environment.

The managing director of credit rating agency S&P said if the debt ceiling is not raised and the U.S. defaults on its debt, the U.S. will lose its AAA rating and will receive a D.

The rate of American troops killed in Iraq is at 2003 and 2004 levels.

With drone wars and secret ops, is the U.S. government sliding into uncharted territory in its fight against al Qaeda and other extremists?

Numbers to Know: CEOs Got a 23 Percent Raise Last Year, What About You?

It’s like the Roaring ’20s if you’re a corporate CEO these days, reports the New York Times in a special report on skyrocketing CEO pay. Here’s the numbers you need to know:

$10.8 MILLION…the median salary of a CEO in 2010 at 200 large companies

23 PERCENT…the increase in CEO salaries between 2009 and 2010

38 PERCENT…the increase in cash bonuses between 2009 and 2010

0.5 PERCENT…the increase in the average worker’s salary ($752 a week) during the same time period, which the New York Times dryly notes actually means a net decrease for workers once inflation is figured in.



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Advocacy Team