Sunday, January 20, 2008

Economic stimulus - Rebate or Welfare?

While the President and Congress agree in principle on some form of a stimulus package, everyone also concedes that many details must be vetted -- and quickly. The centerpiece of the plan will be: the form of one-time rebates. But he [President Bush] did not say how much money Americans would get to keep or the amount of other tax incentives that could be in the package. Nor did Bush detail how the nation would pay for such a plan.
Does this seem to anyone else like "robbing Peter to pay Paul"? I get the concept, and this approach has precedent. However, I'm concerned that the only real impact will be in this week's headlines - and not on our economy.

Furthermore, when the Democrats have Charles Rangel (Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee) spouting off on national television this morning about how Republicans want to "exclude" 45 million people who didn't pay taxes from receiving a rebate, you really have to wonder what they're doing at both ends of Pennsylvania avenue. For all the supposed non-partisan-we're-working-hard-for-you-America tone, it sure feels like party politics are out weighing some pretty major domestic problems.

How can someone who never paid a cent in taxes be eligible for a tax rebate - excuse me Mr. Rangel, but if that's the goal for this package then let's call it what it is, welfare. I agree that many inequities still exist in America: jobs, wages, taxes - take your pick - but playing Robin Hood with funds from the IRS will not even that out... not by a long shot.

Perhaps if our legislative body would get down to actually doing some serious legislating, we might see an improvement in the Tax Code, Healthcare, and other crucial domestic issues. Whatever the approach, it will have to be more substantive than a soundbite on ABC.

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