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The Bailaholics

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Tombstone, Ariz., has nothing on Washington, D.C. Friday's financial OK Corral took place when federal politicians had a standoff over the mother of all bailout bills. Bullets called ballots were fired from both congressional houses and the White House. And when the smoke cleared, the bad guys appeared: Bush, Paulson, Barney Frank, Pelosi, Dodd and most of the other members of the House and the Senate, including Obama and even McCain.

The truth is most members of Congress voted to pass the bill but don't have a clue what is in this 500-plus-page legislation, which was birthed in the White House just two weeks ago as an infant of only three pages. Then it was voted down at the Capitol a week later in its adolescent-sized 100 pages. And of course, in good bureaucratic fashion, it met the criteria to be mature when it was more than five times that size and packed with governmental goodies. And the president signed it just an hour after receiving it from Capitol Hill Friday. I guess that speed-reading course paid off.

In the fine print, inserted between the lines of that 500-plus-page bill, are loads of fiscal additives and more financial toxic relief. H.R. 1424 -- the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which now has been signed into law -- officially includes more than $112 billion in political hors d'oeuvres and pork-barrel teasers and sweeteners that have absolutely no direct relation to the Wall Street bailout but were included to bribe congressional naysayers and others to get on the greed train:

--$6 million in tax breaks for wooden-arrow manufacturers in Oregon.

--$148 million in tax breaks for wool-producing companies.

--$128 million in tax breaks for the manufacturers of car-racing tracks.

--$10 million in tax breaks for small television and film producers.

--$223 million in tax breaks for Alaskan fishermen.

--$33 million in tax breaks for corporations operating in American Samoa.

--$192 million in tax breaks for rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

What the &$=/?! And that's just a drop in the bailout bucket. And we the taxpayers are just supposed to sit back and take it in the arrears?

Shockingly -- or maybe not so -- both Democratic and Republican nominees for president, self-professed agents of reform, followed the cattle call to back the bailout. Sen. Obama, who claims to be the messiah of change, sure is showing his true colors in two huge decisions: his appointment of politics-as-usual Joe Biden and his vote to pass this economic bailout bill and drive us deeper into debt. And quite frankly, Sen. McCain also is disappointing me at this point. At the Republican convention, John talked about bringing the power back to the people. So he chose Sarah Palin and finally gained my respect and vote by picking this Washington outsider. But when he had the perfect opportunity to side with the majority of Americans, who didn't want to incur a trillion dollars more in debt, he voted for not only the bilking bailout but also the earmarks and pork-barrel projects packed inside.

John, you gained my vote with your conservative choice in Gov. Palin; don't lose my vote (and others' votes) by your return to politics as usual. For many of us, you have one last chance in the debates. You must choose radical reformation. This is a time for maverette Sarah to stand up to maverick McCain and say, "Enough is enough!" Speak up, Gov. Palin. Please speak up!

All is not lost yet. We still have a voice in this bailout; it's at the ballot box in November's elections. The remedy for our country is clear. Congress doesn't need another bailout but a roundhouse kick right out the door. I plead with you to join me and millions of others in a voter revolution to oust political and congressional corruption and stalemate. If the members of Congress from your states or districts voted to pass this bailout bill and gamble nearly $1 trillion of our children's and grandchildren's money -- in addition to showing the reckless fiscal behavior of stuffing such a bill with perks and pork -- you must not re-elect them. If your representatives voted for this economically rotten (not rescue) bill, vote them out in November by voting for new blood that has a track record of fiscal prudence and consistently will vote for constitutional limitations of government, reductions of big government (deficits, budgets, spending and taxes), reformation of the tax code (by providing a "fair tax" or its equivalent) and a constitutional amendment for a mandated balanced federal budget.

Despite the heartbreaking passage of this bill, thank God 161 representatives and 25 senators opposed it and weren't enticed by the pseudo-urgent Wall Street panic, their own re-election pressures, or the Senate's pork-barrel schmoozing. For example, I commend Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who voted "no" for the emergency economic bill despite the fact that the tax break for Alaskan fishermen was inserted to sway him to bite at the bailout. Rep. Young is correct in a letter to his constituents: "This bill is nothing more than a slippery slope to socialism."

One thing is apparent: Alaska can produce some great Americans.

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