Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Spend your money wisely or you may not live to regret it

Last week the president signed a bill that will reduce taxes by $350 billion over 10 years.

That signature triggered a process that will result in a check for $800 — $400 for each of my beautiful daughters — landing in my mailbox over the next couple months.

That’s great!

Right?

I didn’t support the monstrous $726 billion tax cut that W. had wanted. I also didn’t support the $550 billion that the House of Representatives had approved. Nor did I support the $350 billion figure that the Senate came to, the one that ended up being the landing pad.

The fact of the matter is, this country is in dire financial straits, and while I tend to think that the less of our money the federal government has to waste, the better, the $350 billion that’s coming back to us could be better used.

I’m not wealthy. Not even close. The $800 that I’ll be getting back represents nearly 3 percent of my salary (between two jobs). It’s like a week and a half’s pay.

But I don’t need it.

So, why don’t you send the money back, Scott?

Because I no longer trust our extreme right-wing government to spend it either. If I give it back, they’ll just sign it over to Haliburton or Ken Lay — and they need it less than I do.

Or worse yet, they’ll use the money to build bombs so we can destroy the lives of good people on the other side of the world.

You know who needs the money?

The 6 percent of our nation (that’s 9 million people, folks) that are unemployed.

Three years ago, our unemployment was only 4 percent.

Now the president says that we’ll take this money that he’s sending us (with a likeness of his pretzel-eating self, I’m sure) and we’ll spend it, bolstering the economy and adding jobs — thus reducing unemployment.

Cause that’s what happened last time, right?

When I get my $800, I’m not going to fly to New York and buy hard-to-find American-made trinkets. I’m going to reduce my debt since I know that this $800 is more like a loan than anything.

In essence, this tax cut put a lien on our future and it will take years to pay the mortgage.

Just like the great Reagan tax-cut did in 1981, this tax cut will necessitate a reduction in corresponding social programs. In order to pay for the tax cut, we’ll have to give up something.

Thirteen years later, Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution followed up Reagan’s tax cuts by claiming that we couldn’t afford all the niceties that we had been enjoying — Big Bird for example.

So in 2016, what right-wing zealots might we have running the country? And what “unnecessary program” will they want to kill? Medicaid? Medicare? Social Security?

And we’ll all wish that we had never gotten our $800 checks.

So if you — like me — are getting a “refund check” in the near future, be careful with it. It may represent your future.