A Flock of Fine-Tuned Favors

Squabbles over amendments delay the tax bill

Even by Senate standards, the provision was a triumph of devious verbosity. It granted a special tax break on corporate debts "if such indebtedness was originally incurred before May 30, 1985, by a domestic corporation which was incorporated on March 18, 1983, in Delaware, and which indebtedness was subsequently transferred to a domestic affiliate which was incorporated on October 17, 1890, and whose principal place of business is in California . . ." and so on and on through 131 words. The purposes of this lush verbiage: 1) to make certain that the favor would go to just one company, Unocal,...

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