Stimulated by stimulus…

The President and members of the House have announced their plans for an economic stimulus package (the Senate has yet to make any announcements).  If this plans gets approval there will be another round of “tax rebates” in June.  From what I have read, this package is pretty similar to the one they passed in 2001. 

So far, they have come up with a system that will give $300 to $1200 to singles earning under $75,000 and couples earning under $150,000.  All for the “itty-bitty” cost of 150 billion dollars.  To stave off a recession that may or may not be coming, the government which is already in deficit spending is going to add more to the deficit.  Great idea.  They must be the brightest minds of our country.  But, I read somewhere that recessions as made worse by governments spending beyond their means.  Hmmh…  Brilliant.

In 2001, when I got my $300 check I was thrilled.  Who doesn’t love unexpected free money?  I blew the whole check in a matter of days.  S  blew hers too and we had fun doing it.  But then the following April we learned that our free money wasn’t really free.  It was merely a loan. 

You see, that stimulus money wasn’t the government easing our burdens by rebating tax money that we had paid.  A true rebate would be to say you normally pay $6000 in taxes, but we’re going to cut you some slack and only charge you $5700 and you get it early.  But this slight of hand rebate was just a loan on the tax refund you would have gotten after the following April 15th, if you were getting a rebate at all.  At the time, I should have gotten something like an $80 income tax rebate.  But because the government had “given” me that $300 check, I ended up having to pay them $220.

This sucks.  If the government really wanted to help me out they could cut the Federal gas tax or give us a gas tax holiday for a month.  But no.  They need that money.  They could give me a tax moratorium like they do for some victims of natural disasters of the families affected by 9-11.  But no, they really need that money.  They could suspend FICA witholdings for six months and then I would be set.  But no, they need that money.  Or, they could cut their spending and live by a realistic budget just like I have to do.  But no, they need to spend that money.  I wouldn’t even mind if they cut business taxes on small businesses which wouldn’t help me in the immediate but would help me in the long run.  Anything other than these silly little tax rebates.

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