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'Active financing' exemption for some businesses to cost taxpayers $9 billion

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Enough U.S. senators vote to advance an $858 billion tax-cut compromise between President Barack Obama and Republicans. More than 60 senators voted to move the measure, clearing the way for final passage of the bill as early as tomorrow. Bloomberg's Lizzie O'Leary reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Scott E. Talbott, chief lobbyist at the Financial Services Roundtable, said the economic benefits of the active-financing exemption far outweigh the costs to the Treasury. He said the measure is particularly important in helping U.S. companies rebound from the recession.

"As the U.S. economy is struggling to recover, if we don't provide an even playing field for U.S. companies, it provides a huge disadvantage," Talbott said. "It allows U.S. firms with overseas operations to remain competitive globally."

What $185,908 buys

Getting in the spirit of the season, the Center for Responsive Politics took an only-in-Washington approach to the "Twelve Days of Christmas" - tallying up how much it would cost to enlist lobbyists for all the items listed in the iconic song.

The pipers and drummers at DLA Piper and at Drummer & Associates, for example, will cost about $56,000 for a dozen days of service, the watchdog group calculated.

The Dairy Farmers of America - presumably with access to maids-a-milking - will require $11,100. Getting all those birds, from swans to French hens, will run more than $12,000 for the National Chicken Council and others.

The biggest expense would be Goldman Sachs, which surely could turn up five gold rings for $103,000 in lobbying costs.

The California Pear Growers Association will cost just $879 for the necessary pear tree, if not the partridge.

"All told," the watchdog group concludes, "$185,908 can buy you 12 days of access to everything from drummers to pear trees."

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