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Thursday, January 3, 2013
NASCAR real winner in the fiscal cliff deal

By Steve Etheridge

Brad Keselowski
This is how we'd celebrate if favorable legislation were enacted on our behalf.
If, like 93 percent of Americans, you have an uncle who is both belligerently political on Facebook and head over lug nuts about NASCAR, then here’s a bit of news you might want to send his way.

As our beloved members of Congress mashed their teething rings together late into the night Tuesday in an effort to not pull a fiscal Wile E. Coyote, both sides relented to an unusual provision in the bill that will reportedly save NASCAR tracks a whole lotta dolla dolla bills in the future. As in, like, $70 million.

The so-called “NASCAR tax credit” extends an existing credit that lets eligible racing track facilities benefit through accelerated depreciation. The racetracks are allowed to condense the number of years they’re required to write off their costs, saving them lots of dollars that they can turn around and reinvest in developing more powerful T-shirt cannons.

So when Mr. Treasury stops by and tries to hit up Talladega for a 39-year write-off period, Talladega’s just gotta be like, “Nah, bro, I got that NASCAR credit, I only owe you for seven.” Then Talladega lights a cigarette and blows smoke in Mr. Treasury’s face.

And that’s how politics work.

The credit’s a stout and gristly piece of pork, and you’d imagine it was pushed into existence by some very persistent lobbyists. I’m imagining Denny Hamlin turnin’ doughnuts on the Capitol lawn, shouting “Give us our loophole!” over and over through a megaphone ‘til Mitch McConnell hobbles out and shoos him away with a broom.

Politics! NASCAR! Everyone’s two favorite things. Next time we’re dangling on the edge of the fiscal cliff, I propose that we strap all the members of Congress into stock cars and have them hash everything out on the racetrack. Last guy with his car still intact gets to run with whatever legislation he chooses, and the people of the United States can delight in the exotic sensation of having elected officials do their jobs.