O Tannenbaum – Christmas Tree Bills and Laws


O Tannenbaum, a public domain Christmas carol, extols the venerable Christmas tree. While the lyrics may be seasonal, the melody is truly evergreen, having been remixed into other popular songs, such as Michigan, My Michigan. Now, you can hum the tune 365 days a year. Go Blue!

In the spirit of the holidays, let’s take a look at a few Christmas tree bills and laws:

At the top of the list is the repeated efforts by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to recognize the live-cut Christmas tree industry. If you have yet to assemble your tinsel tree or support those employed in the live-cut Christmas tree industry, you can gain some inspiration from this White House video, which shows the four and a half day process to transform a magnificent Douglas fir into a truly magical Christmas tree.

The fake Christmas tree industry should not feel miffed because Congress is quite promiscuous when handing out gold stars to its industry benefactors. (See National Watermelon Month, National Ceramic Tile Industry Recognition Week, and the National Convenience Store Appreciation Week). Actually, I don’t begrudge watermelon growers or convenience store workers because I can sense that Congress will be recognizing National Blogger Appreciation Week very soon. đŸ˜‰

Last week, I wrote about the various fairness bills before Congress. This resolution from 1998 merits similar acclaim: the Christmas Tree Tax Equity Act. You would have to be a damn Grinch to vote against Christmas trees and tax equity. Just in case you were not entirely sure, let me assure you that Congress loves tax equity. You would think that the U.S. tax code was rife with injustice and inequity considering all the bills to “fix” the tax system: Corporate Tax Equity Act, Border Tax Equity Act, Seniors Tax Equity Act, Aviation Industry Tax Equity Act, Political Organization Tax Equity Act, Songwriters Capital Gains Tax Equity Act, Former Insurance Agents Tax Equity Act, and the Domestic Spirits Tax Equity Act. Now, let’s summon the inner infomercial spokesperson in all of us: but that’s not all! Maybe Congress has some rule that determines which bills are tax equity bills and which ones are tax fairness bills. The second group includes the Alcohol Promotion and Advertising Tax Fairness Act, School Bus Driver Tax Fairness Act, Motorsports Tax Fairness Act and the all-encompassing American Tax Fairness Act. And, as if to prove that there can never be enough of a good thing, I offer you the Transportation Tax Equity and Fairness Act. The other acts were fair, but not equitable. Or, they were equitable, but not fair. This one is both equitable and fair.

Finally, I leave you with H.R. 2516, which was co-sponsored by Rep. John A. Boehner (R-OH), “[t]o amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to clarify that Christmas tree farming is agriculture under that Act.” When a republican seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, will the proposed changes be fairer to the employer or the employee?