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Baucus. Max Baucus

Some people seem to think tax policy is boring. Well, here's proof that nothing is boring if you make it hip and relevant to the young people with some references to popular song lyrics and cool movies:

For Immediate Release Contact: Melissa Mueller/Wendy Carey
Wednesday, March 16, 2005 202-224-4515

Statement of U.S. Senator Max Baucus
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Hearing: "Expiring Tax Provisions: Live or Let Die"

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement for the Senate Finance Committee Hearing entitled, "Expiring Tax Provisions: Live or Let Die."

"This hearing is aptly titled, 'Expiring Tax Provisions: Live or Let Die.' Back in the early 70's, there was a popular song by a similar name. That song spoke about the 'ever-changing world in which we're living' and said that 'when you've got a job to do, you got to do it well.' That's a good description of why we're here today - to consider what to do about several temporary tax provisions that are about to run out, some of which have been renewed many times over, and even allowed to expire on occasion.
This leaves America's taxpayers in an 'ever-changing world' of uncertain tax laws that make it difficult for them to plan and make decisions about their future. Congress needs to do its job, and not wait until the last minute when these laws are ready to expire and then simply re-extend them. We should decide if they should be made permanent or not; whether they live or let die.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on March 16, 2005 | Permalink


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It would have helped if he had mentioned the 1990s GNR remake. Half the u-30 crowd (or more) probably doesn't even know about the original.

Posted by: niq | Mar 16, 2005 6:14:30 PM

Of course, the song (and the movie) is "Live and let die". Mixing AND and OR kind of ruins it for a geek like me.

Posted by: idook | Mar 16, 2005 6:29:26 PM

Man! Others beat me to the two points I wanted to make.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Mar 16, 2005 7:41:10 PM

I like the way the silent fix of the line "in this ever-changing world in which we live in," but what do they mean at the end? They're going to decide whether the tax provisions live, or the tax provisions let die? What are the provisions letting die? The only way it works without adding words is if you assume they meant "let dye," and that's pretty nonsensical.

Posted by: Dubner | Mar 16, 2005 8:50:37 PM

Aaargh! Worst use of a rock song by a politician since Reagan co-opting Born in the U.S.A. I can see the wonks in Max's office had no clue about the context of the song, let alone the right lyrics. Next we're going to see Dubya using "Fortunate Son".

Posted by: Jerol | Mar 17, 2005 9:48:54 AM

My youngest brother works for Max in Montana. I sent him this email after reading the post:

Hey Dave,

I liked the James Bond reference, but the name of the movie (and the song) was "Live AND Let Die", not "or". Trivial, I know, but I'm a detail person, what can I say. Plus, when you try to be hip and popular and use a song to make a point, and then get the name wrong, it's a little uncool.

A more substantial criticism I might offer is that taxpayer uncertainty is probably one of the lesser problems of the ever-changing tax laws. The ever-deepening debt, the ever-weakening dollar, and the doubtless soon to be ever-rising interest rates are larger reasons to let the tax breaks die.

Posted by: Ken | Mar 17, 2005 10:27:58 AM

In defense of Baucus's speechwriters, his speach does say that there is a song with a "similar title" not an identical title.

And yes, the song is stuck in my head, too, efforts to the contrary notwithstanding.

Posted by: niq | Mar 17, 2005 6:24:08 PM

My favorite "bad use of popular music" example is the Bob Dole campaign playing the theme from "Mission: Impossible" at their rallies.

Posted by: Thomas Nephew | Mar 18, 2005 5:22:02 PM

Montana has been known of late for its politicians who have a taste for their own feet rhetorically. Our last Governor, “Lap Dog of Industry” Martz, the other dim bulb Sen. Conrad “they’re a bunch of ragheads” Burns. I blame the Republicans. They’ve run the sate for the last sixteen years and the economy has so deteriorated that the best and brightest leave the state to find better paying jobs. And that leaves we Montanans with these second stringers.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 30, 2005 11:02:48 AM