Bailout Bill Includes Wooden Arrow Tax Break

A repeal of a tax on wooden arrows is but one of the many pork provisions getting tacked onto the bailout bill in order to win support from recalcitrant Congress Critters. So while the world watches and waits for us to rescue the financial system, our elected representatives are holding things up until they can grab their piece of the action. Awesome. This one is even better than the $0.10 Michigan recycling refund. I’ve been trying to crunch the numbers on my wooden arrow business for ages. Finally the margins will work. Full text of the passage, inside. What other fun special-interest pork projects can you find tacked onto this bill? Let us know in the comments.

NEWMAN: (peering at bottle label) What is this ‘MI, ten cents’?
KRAMER: That’s Michigan. In Michigan you get ten cents.
NEWMAN: Ten cents!?
NEWMAN: Wait a minute. You mean you get five cents here, and ten cents there. You could round up bottles here and run ’em out to Michigan for the difference.

KRAMER: No, it doesn’t work.

NEWMAN: What d’you mean it doesn’t work? You get enough bottles together…

KRAMER: Yeah, you overload your inventory and you blow your margins on gasoline. Trust me, it doesn’t work.

S 3055 [NYT] (PDF)
Text version [Open Congress]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. tedyc03 says:

  2. prag says:

    Isn’t it this kind of ridiculous, self-interested politics that get us into these kinds of messes. I suppose this bill isn’t important enough to stand by itself. What idiotic pol would change his or her vote based on the the repeal of an arrow shaft law? Does this not prove the politicians will vote for any piece of crap as long as there is something in it for them. sickening.

  3. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    what do you bet that somewhere there is someone who runs a business and wants to buy, sell, make, modify, import, export wooden dowels not much bigger around than your finger… and this part of the bill will give then a competitive advantage. Regardless of whether the dowels are for arrows or not.

  4. BoomerFive says:

    Read the rest of this, it’s fascinating. Lots of crap, like a fund to train emergency workers for mine accidents, aid for American Samoa, and lots more. Worth your time if you are an American citizen.

    • thelushie says:

      @BoomerFive: I am going to assume sarcasm in your post, particularly about your first example. It seems that for every good add on, such as training for emergency workers for mine accidents (which are far too common in my neck of the woods),there are garbage addons,such as the wooden arrow thing.

      • m4ximusprim3 says:

        @thelushie: I’m not against training emergency workers for mine accidents, but don’t you think in a rational system, that would be under some bill called “Motion to train Emergency workers for mine accidents” or some such, instead of being part of an economic stimulus plan which it has NOTHING to do with?

        Just sayin…

  5. Suttin says:

    I can’t wait for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to cover this.

  6. xredgambit says:

    Is this some sort of joke? Really, Is there some senator out there that is owned by the All Wood Arrow Shaft Commission or the AWASC? Last I heard the AWASC is worse than PETA.

  7. pezhore says:

    This is all part of the billion+ pork add on that makes this bill “impossible” to not pass. By tacking on so many special interest bull, the House cannot address the specific financial aspects without dealing with all the little pet projects.

  8. xspook says:

    Anyone know how to find out who introduced the pork to the bill?

  9. scoosdad says:

    I want the name of the congressman who inserted this clause. That way if the whole bailout bill goes down in flames again, we have someone to blame!

    Damn special interests groups ruining the American economy! Last time this happened it was the brass plated drawer-pull guys who were responsible.

  10. Urgleglurk says:

    GreatWhiteNorth: Considering the alleged “financial emergency that may take down the world economy” that we have on our hands, it is irresponsible to be putting ANY pork into that bill. I don’t begrudge the the dowel manufacturer, but there are far more appropriate places to insert that language.

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      @Urgleglurk: I guess my tone was not clear… I am not support the pork… I believe legislation should be clear, honest and above board. That politicians are permitted to play Russian roulette with the economy by adding their special interests is wrong.

  11. pezhore says:

    Its so weird to see so many Democrats following a Republican president. Especially one who has misled them in the past so many times.

  12. pezhore says:

    Weee!! Marcy Kaptur is speaking now. I <3 her.

  13. PixiePerson says:

    One of the gentlemen from Ohio I believe said this about ridiculous things like that in the bill:

    $192 Million for Rum. I guess we’ve got the pirate vote this November — Gentleman talking at the time.

  14. BeataNumshun says:

    You need to read beyond the headline, Consumerist. This “tax break”, as you call it, is actually a fix for unintended consequences of a previous tax. That tax ended up adding a $0.39 tax on top of wooden arrows used by Cub Scouts that cost $0.30, which more than doubled the price. This tax exemption corrects that.

    I know it’s a lot of fun to point at silly laws as an example of Washington’s stupidity, but in this case I think this tax exemption is a good thing. A case of them correcting a previous error. Isn’t that what we want them to do?

    Suttin: You may want to start getting your news from real sources instead of comedians.

    • orielbean says:

      @BeataNumshun: Then put it in a different bill!!! If I agree or disagree with the tax break on arrows, why must I vote for or against the bailout? THey are two different unrelated items. Don’t you get it?!

      This is the same as bundling in bridge funds into a war spending bill, or cramming in money for a golf course tax break into a crime bill…………ITS CRAP

  15. MayorBee says:

    You know there’s gotta be some tax break for fiddles sold to members of Congress provided they play them while Rome is burning.

  16. mizj says:

    I hate the whole idea of this bailout. I hated it then and I hate it now.

  17. noscamsplease says:

    $ estimates range from $112-115 BILLION dollars in pork inserted into the bill, and people say i’m unfairly anti-government.

  18. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Senate Speaker:”The Speaker recognizes the Esteemed Senator from ButtPoke WestArmpit.”

    Senator: “Mr. Speaker I have a small rider I would like to tack on to the bailout bill as I think it would both ensure that the bill passes and it will do a lot of good in ButtPoke WestArmpit. This rider will redirect all the monthly bills for Visa, Mastercard and Amex for myself and my immediate family, extended family, relatives, close buddies, friends, hangers on, and anyone else who’s vote I can buy with this legislation. The bills will be redirected to the Federal Government who will pay them in full and on time so as not to adversely affect our credit reports. Thank you”

    Senate Speaker:”You are welcome Senator. NEXT!”

  19. jaydez says:

    I will be taking note of all the senators and reps who represent me and be sure to send them a letter telling them they lost my vote for any future elections because they voted yes on this shit.

  20. Shadowman615 says:

    Check out a very incomplete top-ten list here:


  21. YardanKabolla says:

    I have a kinda weird comment.
    Now I do not support the Confederate States of America (The CSA) but the Confederate Constitution did have one very very nifty thing in it:

    “A bill, or any resolution carrying the force of law, could only deal with a single subject, which had to be stated in the title.”

    Just think what would happen if we implemented that today.
    Its in the Changes from U.S. constitution section.

  22. Blitzgal says:

    So…was this measure voted down because the ensuing chaos and fear would allow for all kinds of extra crap like this to be added? I know, conspiracy theorist. But, come on!

  23. ordendelfai says:

    I already emailed all the senators I could telling them no vote from me for voting yes.

    And this wooden arrow is disgusting. I want to know who introduce this and other porky items into the bill so I can send them letters too. >:-(

  24. ajresch says:

    The Michigan can thing DOES work, if you do it on a small scale. (Say you take back 70 cans a trip and can buy yourself a free lunch.)

    Of course, you have to be making the trip anyways.
    Say you are from Wisconsin and go to school in Upper Michigan, for example.

    Don’t ask me how I know this…

  25. narq says:

    THIS should mark the absolute need for ridding of earmarks. Wooden arrow shafts. That is the worst earmark I’ve ever heard of. Who does that help? So by the time this bill gets passed, if it does, only like 5 bucks will go to the market. The rest will be earmarks.

    Can we add an earmark where people with natural red hair get $75 billion? I mean we are one of the smallest minorities and it really would benefit me to offer more employment opportunities.

  26. MercuryPDX says:

    How effing ridiculous. This just furthers the point that this bailout is unnecessary BS. We STILL do not know the impact if nothing is done, when STILL don’t know the impact if it’s approved and they get the money, and Congress doesn’t want to “take it seriously” enough to pass it w/o crap like this “hidden” in it.

  27. The funny/sad part. The congressman who this “sweetener” is actually aimed at (company in his district) has already said he’s not voting for it anyway.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @TracyHamandEggs!: Good for him. Hell, he probably found it insulting. I know I would have. He’s supposed to vote for the worst idea ever for the sake of arrowheads?

  28. pezhore says:

    “We will be back next year to do major work on the finances…” Not if we (the sane americans) have anything to do with it.

  29. tande04 says:

    I supported the “bailout” in the begining but this is downright ridiculous. Turns out that the favorable tax benfits to “sweeten the pot” was nothing more then a ton of washington pork.

    As others pointed out the wooden arrows is just part of it. $100 million for race track owners, $148 for wool research, $192 for Rum (which we’re all going to need more of so maybe that wasn’t so bad). If there was ever a bill that should of lived or died on its own merits it was this bill. If it had to be sweetened with pork none of those people deserve a job anymore.

  30. katylostherart says:

    glad they’re covering all the things that matter!

  31. tgrwillki says:

    it’d be a shame if they ever pased a law limiting the number of items that could be includd in a bill.

    Of course, I’d hate to se how much pork would have to be on that one to get it passed.

  32. Hongfiately says:

    Taxpayers are getting scammed. This bailout bill is such a fraud, it’s unbelieveable (even for Washington). Whatever the merits of giving a break on taxation of wooden arrows, could that not be a part of a standalone bill? And all the other stuff in it, too… can that not be in standalone bills? Why is all of that other stuff needed to pass an emergency bill? Also… Congress took off for Rosh Hashanah. Emergencies can wait, I guess.

  33. Skeptic says:

    The question should be “Why is there a **Federal** sales tax on archery equipment” in the first place?

    • pezhore says:


      Because you can shoot an arrow across state lines… that makes it federal. :)

    • kidgenius says:


      Here’s the story. There is a federal excise tax on arrows (and other hunting equipment I believe) that goes to support like the department of the interior, or some department in the federal government that ensures there is wildlife, etc. Now a few years back some of the larger arrow manufacturers that were making aluminum and carbon arrows were upset about this excise tax (something like 3% or such), when their arrow shafts were costing $10-15 per shaft. So, the lobbied to get a flat tax implemented at like 50 cents or something. Well, the wooden arrow boys their shafts only sell for like $2-3 a piece, so this unfairly hit them more than it hit the other guys. So, they now sell their wooden shafts as “hobby dowels” and such. So, this lowers the excise tax to a more reasonable amount for them. It actually is probably a good thing to have implemented, but this is by far the worst place to put it.

  34. QrazyQat says:

    A little online searching informs you (if you don’t want to be ignorant all your life) why this tax was repealed, and it makes perfect sense for it to be repealed:

    Long story short: All hunting equipment is taxed, the taxes put into some sort of trust and then sent back to the states as matching grants for their hunting management/support programs.

    Since toy wooden arrows are not used for hunting, a specific exception is made for them. It’s really just to stop toy arrows from being miscategorized as “hunting equipment,” subject to the tax, when they’re obviously not that at all. It’s pretty much the same as a bill saying that toy cap pistols shouldn’t be hit with a general tax on firearms.

  35. Ber'Zophus says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, democracy simply doesn’t work.

  36. SushamaJiblical says:

    If we killed the pork out of this bill it would include the bailout package. The bailout package is an ammendment to an exsiting minor bill. It was that minor bill that had this lump of pork, not the bailout portion.

    The senate did an end run around the constitution here. The senate can not orignate spending bills. They MUST come from the house. The senate is cheating this by attaching the bailout package to a bill with a bunch of comparitvely little things (small SEC rule change, this lump of pork). This tax cut was part of a trivial bill not one of the “sweeteners” in the bailout package.

    BTW… this provision was put in the minor bill before the senate knew that the the bailout pork would get attached by the Honorable Gentleman for Oregon Mr. Wyden. (Interestingly he rejected the final bill with the bailout package attached)

  37. pezhore says:

    Come’on Pelosi, say something incredibly partisan!!

  38. Gorphlog says:

    How is it even possible to add this kind of stuff in the bill. I always understood the law being that every bill could only have one topic, and anything not related to the content of the bill could not be added and had to have its own bill

  39. pezhore says:

    There’s so much talk about passing this bill now, and determining who to blame and discovering the core reason for this financial crisis later. Is it just me, or is that very, *very* backwards? Without knowing the reason for the current crisis, how can we expect to handle the issue properly?

    Ugh.. here comes the vote.

  40. chiieddy says:

    Remember, McCain promises to veto any bill with pork in it crossing his desk.

    And he voted for this bill.

  41. scoosdad says:

    And you know, the sad part of this is that this pork barrel stuff happens with just about every major bill in Congress. We’re all just hypersensitive at the moment and it seems worse while our financial futures twist in the breeze.

    • crabbyman6 says:

      @scoosdad: Yeah, I was explaining this to someone yesterday. So much crap gets passed because while the congressman might want to vote no on issue B, it was tacked onto issue A which will get a unanimous vote. This is where a lot of the “well so-and-so voted for THIS” crap comes from too that politicians love to use so much.

  42. johnnya2 says:

    Do you people have any clue about how legislation works? Is this the first you realized this happens? The question is, will the bill pass? If it is a good bill, everybody will try to get something. The Oregon senators could just say no and not vote for it at all by saying it gives all the money to New York city wall street types, and those of us in Oregon want some too. The entire idea of one penny bailing out incompetent so-called free market business people is more outrageous than anything worth so little overall. Unfortunately most of you will vote den or republican without realizing there are other choices, or think if you wish hard enough the problem will go away.

    • mdoublej says:

      @johnnya2: I’m sure most people here realize that add-ons to legislation is pretty much par for the course. Speaking for at least myself, I expected the gravity of the situation to make this the one time this didn’t happen.

      I’m writing in Ron Paul.

      • MercuryPDX says:

        @mdoublej: Agreed. Even though I am against the bailout I thought the urgency of the situation would keep this pork free.

        @johnnya2: It’s great we have other choices, but how many of them are realistic? I don’t forsee any change from a “two-party” system in my lifetime.

  43. pezhore says:

    Annnnd I’ve just recieved well over $10,000 in debt.

  44. BeeBoo says:

    I hope the House votes this BS down again.

  45. Moonshadows says:

    This isn’t the pork, this was the bill. They tacked the bailout money onto an existing bill in order for it to be passed by the Senate. Something about no funding initiatives can begin in the senate, but they do have the abilitiy to add funding to an existing bill.

    Now why all this stuff was in one bill to start with is an entirely different question.

  46. YardanKabolla says:

    Can we not just make Pork on Bill illegal?

    Not more then 2 attachments to a bill which must be clearly named in the title of said bill?

  47. Ber'Zophus says:

    What’s annoying, even from an outsider perspective, is the amount of arguments that this bill is needed for America so vote Yay and don’t think. Now with the number of tacked-on-pork on it, it’ll likely be passed. “Oh, you voted no, you must be against renewable energy tax breaks and increased FDIC insurance coverage…and the American economy! Ur against America!”

    I don’t really want to argue whether this bill (and really, I only mean the bailout portion of it not the sweeteners) is what’s good for America, but the bill is ridiculous. If this is truly what America needs, does America need their wooden arrow tax break at the same time? Why is this in here???

    A question….all those accountability issues with the first one….are they addressed in this one? At all? Or is this the equivalent of giving away a free pepsi for signing up for a new 29.99% APR credit card?

  48. howie_in_az says:

    There was also a clause about motorsports facilities having 7 (or so) years to recoup investments or something similar.

    Hopefully something good will come out of this bill — perhaps Formula One will come back to the US!

  49. smartmuffin says:

    Wyden is such a joke. I’ll bet DeFazio is in on this too…

  50. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    What kind of fuckery is this?!?!?!

  51. Roy Hobbs says:

    That does it. I am voting against every single incumbent this year, on every level, from dog catcher up to Senator.

  52. Mistrez_Mish says:

    Awesome! This is going to so totally fix the housing crises and guarantee that banks will start making loans again (at amazingly reasonable rates too!)!!!

    Oh wait… this bailout/rescue doesn’t do anything of the sort?… damn… we’re all still pretty screwed

    At least we’re keeping the pirates at bay – more rum?

  53. econobiker says:

    Are there any subsidies for wooden wagon wheel makers???

  54. Tmoney02 says:

    “This one is even better than the $0.10 Michigan recycling refund.”

    Are you ridiculing Michigan’s pop can deposit program? Because that would just be stupid. Every state should have a deposit program.

    • mpaquette says:

      @Tmoney02: Right on. Anything that keeps this crap out of the landfills and/or off the side of the road is good. Every state should have a similar deposit law.

  55. Marshfield says:

    The version of the bill that I saw that had this in there also had a provision for money for bicycle commuters. Now THAT I can support! I bicycle commute nearly all the time.

    Also in the interest of fairness they added 2 more years of letting sales-tax only states residents deduct their state sales tax from their income on the 1040. Why that isn’t permanent is beyond me.

    • pezhore says:


      Hate to pick on you Marshfield (esp, since my last name is Marsh), but its adding provisions like the bicycle commuter cut out that carried this bill. Its not that I oppose the wooden arrow provision (actually it sort of makes sense as another Consumerist commentator has shown) – but this bill, having major impact on the future free market should have had the smallest amount of extraneous provisions added to it.

      Fer christ’s sake, the main bill was to require mental health issues to be treated the same as physical health problems. So what now… those who voted against this bail out are also against the mentally handicapped and clinically depressed?

      We saw what happened on Monday when the bill was $700bil with little earmarks – it got shut down. The Senate then used a can’t fail bill and amended the crap out of it to ensure it would pass both the houses of Congress… amendments that added almost $150bil to the overall cost.

      This is utter horseshit.

  56. henrygates says:

    Finally Americans will have access to the wooden arrows they need. They can use their credit card!

  57. Ayo says:

    Yeah, i read this on yahoo news this morning. i thought i was going to die. I hope Steven Colbert address this issue, he could do wonders with it.

  58. trademarked67 says:

    Wouldn’t the line-item veto help minimize some of this crap? Of course the vetos would probably fall along party lines…and the argument that it gives the prez too much power. But this is bs.

  59. vildechaia says:

    I just may write-in Harry S. Truman come this November. I mean, really, arrows? Wool? Seems we’ve got a big bunch of morons in congress. Time to get ’em all out of there.

  60. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i waited and waited and waited….
    and no one did it.
    i have to. can – not – resist – temptation -any – longer —

    if the bill doesn’t pass, toy arrow makers are going to get shafted…..

  61. I grudgingly supported the original bill on the proposition that it was absolutely necessary to stanch the bleeding of an extremely volatile financial sector. Now that a week has passed and there has been no massive collapse, and now that I see that Congress has had enough time to shove in a heap of the obligatory pork, I’m much less convinced of the urgency of this distasteful solution when there are slower but more responsible alternatives. I’m thoroughly convinced of the bipartisan incompetence and corruption of our Congress.

    Susan Davis, if there’s anything I can do to ensure that you never serve in the House of Representatives again, I’ll make sure I do it, starting Nov 4. John McCain and Barack Obama, you’ve done nothing here to demonstrate any of the “change” or “reform” you’ve been peddling even when given a perfect opportunity to show some sober, responsible leadership. I think a 9% congressional approval rating is generous.

  62. Triborough says:

    This thing needs to be vetoed, since it has more pork than a shipping container filled with Spam. We are supposed to be a in a crisis and these asshats want to blow money on their little pet projects. Typical!

  63. spyz88 says:

    I really cant believe that they had the balls to pass this bill. I am going to vote against all of my state reps who voted for this.

    And you have got to love the change from “bailout bill” to “rescue plan”. Gimme a break…

  64. Ubik2501 says:

    Man, this is just like the gub’ment – affirmative action for dem damn Injuns! I demand a tax break on wagon circles, dagnabbit!

  65. The other white meat.

  66. JediJohn82 says:

    This should be illegal. Imagine the reduction in federal taxes if they would eliminate gross spending like this. If a state, city, or county wants to have pet projects then have those that live in that state/city/county fund those projects with increased LOCAL taxes.

  67. kmiles says:

    Hmmm… while the wooden arrow and other interesting (read: stupid) provisions that were tacked on to this bill are a sign of what politics in the US has come to be, I think we maybe missed something more important here (Or maybe I’m one of the few worried about this).


  68. TorrentFreak says:

    This is ridiculous. How the F— is a government that is broke ($4 trillion in debt) supposed to pay for this?

    Tax money? (Thanks a f—ing lot)

    or tell the Federal Reserve to print more money (Yay! Hyperinflation just what I always wanted.)

    How come the rich get bailout, the poor get welfare….WTF does the middle class get besides getting s__t on? I mean seriously, why does the middle class ALWAYS have to be the one that sacrafices? Im tired of it.

  69. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Pork provisions are tacked onto bills all day long, year in and year out, by both Republicans and Democrats, in both the house and senate. Has been for years and will continue for years.

    Why the sudden shock?

  70. hhole says:

    I’ve never been a single issue voter like the Iraq war, abortion, etc.

    HOWEVER, with this not frickin’ sweet, corporate handout package I will make an exception now and forever. If you were dumb enough to vote for this than you’ll be dumb enough to vote for other stuff.

    I don’t care if we’re in agreement 99.99% of the time. If you voted for this hunk of crap you will not be able to buy my vote. That would just make me a hypocrite like you. I hope those pieces of silver you sold out the country for, to the damn lobbyist who is lining your corrupt pockets while getting his/her slice of pork pie, burns a hole through your pants and ass*%$e!

    I am so pissed that this piece of FUBAR piece of legislation passed. Everything is aOK in DC, SNAFU is in place everyone.

  71. ageshin says:

    It’s bad enough that we are giving 700 billion to the very folks who screwed up, but on top of that we are again giving tax breaks. Instead of tax breaks we should be taxing those folks. The can afford to help pay for their own salvation. They should bail out the poor and middle class and give us tax breaks.

    • TorrentFreak says:



      Exactly Where the F is my bailout? I got bills too. Our government doesn’t give a damn about the middle class. They have failed us.

    • RayDelMundo says:

      @ageshin: The poor don’t need tax breaks. They pay no income taxes.
      38% of all American households pay no income taxes.

  72. QrazyQat says:

    The bailout bill, in any form they’ve done, is not the solution to the problem we face. Sweden had a terrific solution that worked when they had the same problem in the early 1990s; why not just use their solution? It helped the people, the economy, and didn’t reward people who’d done a lousy job.

    But this wooden arrow tax repeal was a good, sensible thing, which I notice no one here is wondering. Shouldn’t you wonder what’s going on with your government and try to find out? Living in ognorance isn’t a good way to run a democracy, in fact, Jefferson specifically pointed out that it can’t be done. And when your ignorance can be cured with a 5 second online search it’s really inexcusable. Here’s why the wooden arrow tax was repealed; it’s because the tax is supposed to be for hunting equipment and they realised that toy wooden arrows aren’t hunting equipment, so they thought kids’ toys shouldn’t be used to subsidise spending for hunters’ interests. Does anyone here really not agree that kids’ toys shouldn’t be used to subsidise spending for hunters’ interests?

    And Why Was the Wooden Arrow Tax Exemption Passed 93-2? Because It’s Utterly Uncontroversial

    Long story short: All hunting equipment is taxed, the taxes put into some sort of trust and then sent back to the states as matching grants for their hunting management/support programs.

    Since toy wooden arrows are not used for hunting, a specific exception is made for them. It’s really just to stop toy arrows from being miscategorized as “hunting equipment,” subject to the tax, when they’re obviously not that at all. It’s pretty much the same as a bill saying that toy cap pistols shouldn’t be hit with a general tax on firearms.

  73. squish123 says:

    when are you people going to learn that (almost) nobody in government gives two @&(%’s about you or your well-being.

    everyone join me and watch from the sidelines as our government for and by the people votes to make us more impoverished and the make the rich richer.

    more of the same. if you’re surprised you haven’t been paying attention.

  74. xkevin108x says:

    The federal government has just as much business worrying about wooden arrows as they do your home mortgage – NONE. Washington has turned into Peewee’s Playhouse. This country is screwed.

  75. redkamel says:

    not trying to justify pork (ie wooden dowels), but I believe one reason some of these pork “bills” are attached are because it takes longer to pass a bill to train mine workers for emergencies (or whatever) than it does to just paste a paragraph on a bill that is already going to go through, and possibly sweeten that bills chance of being passed at the same time.