In his column this morning economist Paul Krugman complains that the Bush tax cuts are a poison pill:
A poison pill, in corporate jargon, is a financial arrangement designed to protect current management by crippling the company if someone else takes over.
As I read the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the presidential candidates’ tax proposals, I realized that the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration are, in effect, a fiscal poison pill aimed at future administrations.
Damn those presidents! They do things that have lasting effects. By that analysis Social Security, Medicare, and the Pure Food and Drug Act are all poison pills.
None of those are poison pills as the term is used because none of them cripple the company in the event of a takeover by another administration. What they do is make it politically difficult for a succeeding administration to abolish and that’s a horse of a completely different color. Political pain does not equal crippling the company.