Christmastime on Capitol Hill

Courting tax votes with tax breaks—and boondoggles

The great tax battles of 1981, waged by both parties in Congress as matters of lofty principle, were degenerating last week into a petty pursuit of votes in which special interests were courted with particular tax breaks. "It's terrible that we should be involved in a bidding war," admitted House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. "But it all depends on whether you want to lose courageously or to win. I like to win." In fact, except for various tacked-on goodies and a Democratic edge in...

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