Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan's Ballsy Attempt to Create A Huge Tax Reduction for His Crony Bow Hunters

It never ceases to amaze to what depths congressmen will stoop to create special privileges for their own. While Congressman Paul Ryan talks a good game about balancing the budget and cutting taxes for all of us, he really steps in to action when a tax edge is for him and his crony buddies.

Ryan is a bow hunter. So where does he focus his real tax cutting prowess? On archery taxes.

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 has a provision  that includes a tax on arrows of 12%.

Ryan  immediately attempted through legislation to freeze that tax at a maximum of 39 cents per arrow (with adjustments for inflation) This freeze is a big deal. When one does the math on what the Act tax calls for and Ryan's ballsy move for him and his fellow bow hunters, the change in the tax is mind blowing :

Here's how the Act reads (my bold):
  (b) Arrows.--Subsection (b) of section 4161 (relating to bows and  
arrows, etc.) is amended by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4) 
and inserting after paragraph (2) the following: 
            ``(3) Arrows.-- 
                    ``(A) In general.--There is hereby imposed on the
                sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any
                arrow, a tax equal to 12 percent of the price for which
                so sold.
                    ``(B) Exception.--In the case of any arrow of which
                the shaft or any other component has been previously
                taxed under paragraph (1) or (2)-- 
                          ``(i) section 6416(b)(3) shall not apply, and
                          ``(ii) the tax imposed by subparagraph (A)
                      shall be an amount equal to the excess (if any)
Here's what Ryan wanted to do to it (my bold):
 (a) Repeal- Subsection (b) of section 332 of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, and the amendments made by such subsection, are hereby repealed; and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall be applied as if such subsection and amendments had never been enacted. 
(b) Tax on Arrow Shafts- Paragraph (2) of section 4161(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to arrows) is amended to read as follows:
`(2) ARROWS- 
`(A) IN GENERAL- There is hereby imposed on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any shaft (whether sold separately or incorporated as part of a finished or unfinished product) of a type used in the manufacture of any arrow which after its assembly-- 
`(i) measures 18 inches overall or more in length, or 
`(ii) measures less than 18 inches overall in length but is suitable for use with a bow described in paragraph (1)(A),
a tax equal to 39 cents per shaft
`(i) IN GENERAL- In the case of any calendar year beginning after 2005, the 39-cent amount specified in subparagraph (A) shall be increased by an amount equal to the product of-- 
`(I) such amount, multiplied by 
`(II) the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) for such calendar year, determined by substituting `2004' for `1992' in subparagraph (B) thereof.
It appears most arrows sell for between $40 and $150 at retail per set  At a tax of 12%, that's a per arrow tax of somewhere between  $.80 to $3.00. The tax would, of course,be lower at the manufacturer's level but still far, far below what Ryan wants, a maximum tax of only 39 cents.

I am all for tax reductions, especially ones that reduce taxes to pennies from dollars, but does anyone seriously think Ryan would have focused on this tax, if he wasn't a bow hunter?

Bottom line: Ryan attempts to take care of his own, first, last and always, when it comes to serious tax cuts. The rest is babble. Typical congressman.


  1. Everyone acts in their self-interest. It's a key concept in Mises' Praxeology.

  2. Robert, this is bad. I have great respect for you, but I feel your attacks on Ryan today have been embarrassing. The GOP finally chooses an intelligent fiscal conservative, one of the good guys, and here you are bashing him with all you have (over government theft). I don't think the pioneers of libertarianism would look too favorably on these assaults, especially considering the situation we have with Obama and these statists, who you know damn well only want to increase their stranglehold over the individual.

  3. Hey frat boy, Ryan may be intelligent (who knows?) But "fiscal conservative"? Come on... who are you kidding? His record speaks louder than his words. And the pioneers of libertarianism left the old right because of guys like Ryan. They'd have no beef with Wenzel on this matter.

  4. I think the more interesting question is why the heck is there a special tax on arrows, of all things, in the first place? That seems pretty absurd to me. Government micromanagement and meddling at its finest.

    Also, the prices you're looking at are per half dozen. A bow's quiver usually holds ~6 arrows so they're sold as a set.

    1. Thanks, pricing adjusted to indicate per set.

    2. Actually I think that you've not quite zeroed in on the exact "why the heck?" here. But at least your initial reaction was a "wait a minute, why the heck?" kind of reaction.

      In fact, back in each of our individual subconsciouses, hidden behind the thick character armour locked into place by mega-mind programming, our natural human instinct to such a story is "wait a minute, these m-effers are actually writing tax laws down to the per-arrow level, defining schedules in codes 12 levels deep? What kind of distopian hell on earth is this?"

    3. "Why the heck is there a special tax on arrows[?]"

      The most general excise tax on hunting gear in the US, including guns, ammo, certain activity-specific accessories like tree stands and decoys; on the manufacturing and sale of fishing rods, reels, lines, and lures; as well as bows, arrows, mannequin targets and certain activity-specific archery gear, is mandated by the Pittman-Robertson act of 1937, as amended in 1970.

      P-R was among the several collectivist disasters of the late Depression era, largely motivated by the same redistributionist impulse which gave us Social Security, the Hoover Dam, the TVA, et. al.

      The funds from P-R are earmarked and directed back to the states for the support of state-level wildlife conservation efforts. Many state wildlife agencies and departments are supported exclusively by these funds, supplemented by the sale of state-level hunting and fishing licenses.

      As I have commented elsewhere here at EPJ, the early half of the 20th century was a near cataclysmic moment in the history of hunting in the US. The great mistake of the depression era was that the thought leaders of the time felt that the federal government offered superior protection of their interests than any nationally organized private effort. Given the novelty of the redistributionist model, which seemed to provide a bottomless pit of loot for any special interest who could master the vocabulary (not unlike Daffy Duck in the "open sesame" cave of riches), it should not surprise students of human perfidy that embattled factions, seeing the gold rush to D.C., would join the herd and carve out their piece of the looted pie.

      W/r/t the Ryan paragraph above, it is unlikely that he would not have known that under the current excise regime, the reduction in the arrow tax would have been offset by marginal increases in the cost of hunting and fishing licenses at the state level. Wisconsin, being a very popular destination for out of state hunters and anglers, would have been unlikely to have suffered from an incremental increase to the tythe required of out-of-staters to hunt and fish there.

      Panning back, and applying Murray's "is liberty the first theme" litmus test of incrementalist participation, it must be admitted that Ryan's record provides little evidence to comfort the freedom-minded.

      Applying Murray's other test, bothering to vote if you personally believe your own life will be better under one candidate than the other; at this point, it is equally difficult to see any evidence of material improvement toward privatisation of government's chokehold on American life under either presidential option. Once again, we (the people of the United States), are offered the Ghostbusters' ultimatum: Choose the form of the Destructor.

  5. So how is Ryan acting any differently than Mitt Romney except for the fact that he has a vote in Congress? Wenzel is the guy who has been arguing for tax loopholes so what's the basis for the criticism here? Wenzel should be criticizing the $.39 tax that Ryan left on arrows instead of criticizing the larger tax he had reduced.

    Personally, I don't favor tax loopholes, but Wenzel does so I don't know how he gets around the charge of hypocrisy on this one. Furthermore, his is supposed to be a critical site not a propagandistic one. Is THIS the really big criticism of Ryan? This is the kind of nonsense the mainstream media picks up on which is why I don't watch it. I bet is would take ten minutes to find criticism of Ryan that would meet any libertarian's standard and that is what libertarians should focus on.

    1. As always, Robb misses the subtleties of Wenzel's point.

      Wenzel states in his post that he is for all tax reductions, but the post his about Ryan taking care of his crony buddies rather than any call for serious across the board tax cuts. Ryan is a phony.

  6. Every friggin' Congresscritter drives a car. They should have enough self-interest to vote down stupid safety or environmental regs that raise the price of cars exponentially. They haven't yet. But they are getting a big contribution from Big Auto to turn a blind eye. Or Big Safety Springs or some such. How's that bit of self-interest work for you? I'm sure the HUGE bow hunting lobby is a regular thorn in the side to the lesser lobbies like Big Auto or Insurance or the SEIU.

    Furthermore, why should there be any special taxes on arrows? If it came across my desk, I'd change it, too. And I don't hunt with a bow.

    However, I fully expect a Congressman to cut any damn tax he can muster. I can only hope he can cut taxes on bullets.

    In order for your umbrage to stick, you'd have to comb through every piece of tax legislation Ryan has ever amended and work it out through your ass that he is somehow shielding his cronies with each and every effort to lower a tax.

    What a stretch.

  7. Well as a bowhunter I finally get to be a part of the special interest group. Ha.

    Honestly I understand your point Robert and agree. But when I spend 150$ for a dozen arrows I will take any price reduction I can.

    1. Yeah, I'm not against the tax deduction, just pointing out the way Ryan really thinks.

      I didn't realize the arrows were so expensive. Are they reusable?

    2. Yes they are reusable... unless you hit something hard by accident like the metal frame of a target, or the wall behind the target, or a tree if you are shooting in the woods. Still, any tax on arrows specifically seems to be a real stupid and unfair tax. Seems to me like whoever initiated the tax was targeting archers specifically and as a bow hunter he took offense and went out of his way to mollify that. I may be prejudiced because I am a bow hunter but think about how pissed you would be if they put a 15% tax on golf clubs if you are a golfer or fishing rods if you are an angler... then things might get a little personal. To hell with Whiskey Rebellion time for an arrow rebellion, or maybe a Washington Arrow Party.

  8. anyone read the 2011 article in which details how Ryans budget protected the family business which leases land to big oil corporations like Exxon, and helped their clients? Paul Ryan to benefit from $45 billion tax subsidies for Big Oil.

  9. Man, I got scared there for a second that I was gonna find a reason to like Ryan. But then I read that he shoots a compound bow. When he picks up a traditional bow, like a real man, I might gain some respect for him. But even then he would still be a big goverment, inflate-and-spend phony.

    1. Real men use atlatls. The language looks like atlatl arrows would be taxed as well. This is really going to tick off the spear throwers' union.

      I wonder why they targeted arrows specifically. Is it because it is such a small special interest that archers have little political say, where taxing bullets would get the NRA and other organizations mad? Or were they trying to tax everything under the sun and this was just one of many? Crap, I just gave the politicians a new idea for a tax, the "everything under the sun tax" then they would probably tax shade trees to close any loophole.

    2. Anon, see P-R above. It is already much worse than you may think. Bullets are already taxed, including those that have no practical hunting application. As are pistols, revolvers, and rifles:

      And yes, the NRA is, as always, mad.

      To clarify a generalization above, fishing gear is excise taxed under the Dingle-Johnson act of 1950, a mere continuation of the P-R act and accompanying impulse. A complete obituary of landholders' rights on the fishing end may be found here:

      And yes, trees are already taxed, too:

  10. Hey, I am all for legalizing atlatls! I don't know of any state that allows atlatl hunting, other than for non-game fish.