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Chris Salese

I’m wondering how many of you know the name, Mavis Staples.

Well, I didn’t and I had to look it up myself. Mavis is famously attached to the song “Christmas Vacation,” which was also a classic holiday movie released in December of 1989.

If you’ve seen the movie, then I’m sure the song is starting to play now in your head. If not, find it on YouTube and give it a listen.

Either way, there was something else that was released or enacted in 1989 too.

Not nearly as well-known as the movie “Christmas Vacation,” it was called The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). It’s a United States federal law that was enacted in the wake of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.

One of its main objectives was to establish the Resolution Trust Corporation to close hundreds of insolvent thrifts and provide funds to pay out insurance to their depositors.

The FIRREA effectively transferred thrift regulatory authority from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to the Office of Thrift Supervision as well as dramatically change the savings and loan industry and its federal regulation.

If you start reading through different articles written over the years on tax reform in the 1980s, some say that most of the gains in real estate acquisition, construction and the increase in property values at that time were driven by the advantages provided by the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982.

Also during that decade, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was passed, which was the most extensive review and overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code by our government since the inception of the income tax in 1913. As a result, FIRREA had a lot to clean up.

So, here we are again. I’m not a tax professional, but I assume that those in the accounting industry are buckling up their boots and getting ready. In the spirit of “Christmas Vacation,” I thought a bit of a sing-a-long would be appropriate for where we are now.

It’s that time, tax reform time is here

Everybody knows this is an awkward time of year

Hear that sleigh, Congress is on their way

Hip, Hip Hooray, for Christmas Vacation.

Gotta a ton of tax stuff to celebrate

Now it’s getting closer, Congress just can’t wait

Gonna make this holiday as confusing as can be

Just wait and see this Christmas Vacation.

This old tax code, sure is looking good

Got ourselves the finest taxman in the neighborhood

Ain’t it fun, always on the run

That’s how it’s done on Christmas Vacation.

And when the audits are peaceful and serene

We can cuddle up and do our Christmas dreaming

We’re so glad it’s Christmas Vacation.

Peace and joy and love are everywhere

You can feel the tax magic in the air

Let the spirit of the season carry us away

Hip, Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation.

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Chris Salese can be reached at or 707 363-4439. He is a licensed California mortgage lender (LO NMLS #254469 — State Lic #CA-DBO 254469 — Corp Lic #4170013 Corp NMLS #3113) and equal housing lender.