WE HAD HOPED that the administration might exert a calming influence on the great Christman tree trimming party that the House and Senate have made of the tax bill markup now in full swing. The fun, alas, was simply too tempting. The administration joined in the merriment at the end of last week by adding its name to the card on some of Congress' favorite give-aways -- doodads like the "all-savers certificate," the near wipeout of the extate tax and continued absolution from taxation for the commodity speculators. It then added literally uncounted billions of dollars to the already munificents gifts planned for the oil industry.
The total tax package, with all the bells and whistles added by the three merrymakers -- Senate, House and administration -- is now probably worth about $155 billion in 1984. This is about a quarter of expected federal revenues in that year other than payroll taxes. Revenue losses in years after that would grow, however, not only because of the inflation indexing provisions added by the Senate and now endorsed by the administration, but also because some of the tax breaks have been pushed off into the future for appearance's sake.
The fun isn't over yet. The Senate has been adding to its gift list daily as it works its way through the 100 floor amendments it has promised to consider before the final vote, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Here's a litle something for the foundations, a token for the builders of pre-fab homes -- oh, and let's not forget the veterans, the private charities or the traders on the floor of the stock exchange. Over in the House they're still trying to determine the final price of a boll-weevil's vote.
The final product of all this activity is apparently going to be marketed nationwide this week on radio, brought to you by a grant from the GOP. Coming to work the other day we heard a preview of the coming attractions on our car radio, courtesy of Rep. Stan Parris. It was something abut how Tip O'Neill is pretending to be Santa Clause, only he doesn't have the real goodies in his bag. That's guite true. For a real orgy, you would now have to go with the administration's package. Rep. David Obey summed the situation up nicely at the end of the week. It would, he said, be cheaper if Congress just gave everybody in the country three wishes. It might add up to better policy as well.