Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tax rebates and a southern border

I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard about the tax rebates the federal government is planning on giving some Americans. And some non-Americans. And some non-taxpayers. And how about 1.4 Billion dollars President Bush is proposing to give Mexico? Now that’s an economic stimulator if I ever read of one.

Let’s start with the tax rebates. The Feds are getting ready to send out checks anywhere from $300 to $1200 with the anticipation they will stimulate the economy. But not everyone will get a rebate. And some who haven’t even paid any taxes will. I guess we’re redefining “rebate.” Those rebates, according to most reports I’ve read, will be based on your individual income tax filing and the taxes you’ve paid. Here’s the rub: many poor in our society not only don’t pay any taxes, they don’t even have to file a return.

I always thought a rebate was a return of a portion of a payment for something. I’ve sent in rebate forms for many items such as computer software from a local office supply store. After waiting patiently until in many cases I’ve forgotten I requested a rebate, a check for a few dollars or less arrives in the mail. That’s a rebate. Now I have paid my taxes and when that check arrives, if I’m one of the lucky ones, it will be a rebate.

There’s no guarantee I’ll be one of the lucky ones. Sure, I did pay my taxes, but I’m not sure where the “cut off” bracket is. You see, as much as this is a rebate, it’s a feds’ way of taking from one segment of society and redistributing it to another. Among those who will receive the money are many people who didn’t even pay taxes in the first place. That’s sort of like my watching for a $1500 rebate on a car purchase and going to a dealership and demanding my rebate. I’m not going to buy the car, you understand; I just want the rebate.

You know who else will get rebates? I read that illegal aliens will also be eligible for the cash. That one makes even less sense to me than giving money to citizens, at least, who didn’t pay taxes.

The rich, who pay some 75% of all collected taxes, probably won’t get any of their money back. They are providing Robin with his money to give to the poor. I’m not rich, in fact I’m very far from it, but I paid taxes so I’m not sure if I’m eligible for a rebate or not.

As for stimulating the economy, the money will probably be used by many just to pay off some debt, buy some much needed heating oil, food for the family, maybe even a mortgage payment. I have little hope that people will spend the money on new goods which is the only way the economy can be improved.

This is an election year and this rebate program is only to help politicians get re-elected next November. It is a Washington gimmick. If the government truly wants to stimulate the economy, it should review the way John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan ran their presidencies. Tax cuts, putting more money into Americans’ pockets, giving them the ability to buy more goods when they are needed or just on a whim is a true program to stimulate the economy.

Then there’s another President Bush proposal that has gotten under my skin just a little bit. He is asking Congress for a 1.4 billion dollar program to aid Mexico shore up its southern border to keep illegal aliens from entering Mexico. Why doesn’t the President use that money to shore up our southern border to keep the illegals from Mexico from getting into the United States?