The IRS announced today that it would send letters to 130 million U.S. tax (presumably) payers to make sure these people take advantage of its free money giveaway. At a cost of now $.42 each, that’s almost $55,000,000 in additional government waste to encourage people who are too stupid or out of touch to file for a rebate. That is, of course, in addition to the $55 million it will spend to send the checks totalling $168 billion to those, confessedly, idiotic taxpayers.
Is it just me, or is there something terribly wrong here? I, of course, am too wealthy to qualify for these rebates. As one of those “fat cats who don’t pay taxes,” last year I paid over $90,000 in taxes last year (not including sales taxes, telecommunications excise, you-don’t-pay-enough-so-we’ll-charge-you-more taxes (state and federal) and countless indirect taxes on luxury items, like milk and gasoline). In fact, I’m so wealthy that they made a special “alternative” tax just for me.
All of this wealth, and yet my wife and I have one car, can’t afford to buy a house and still have over $100,000 in consumer and student loan debt. It’s great to be wealthy, I just wish it didn’t cost so much.
Of course, there are people who are less fortunate. People like George and Martha Doughn-Reade, who make less income than me, yet still decided to take out an interest only adjustable rate mortage to buy a house they couldn’t possibly afford. It doesn’t take a high-priced Manhattan lawyer to tell you that your payments after the interest-only period will nearly double, or worse.
Now that they’re in trouble, the government also wants me to step in and bail them out. So I’m paying for some schmuck to live in a house that I can’t even afford. To make things worse, the fact that this guy won’t be forced to sell his house means the inflated housing market will stay inflated that much longer. And to top it all off, even the government doesn’t think Mr. and Mrs. Doughn-Reade are smart enough to know there’s a rebate waiting for them. Must be an election year.
Now, the purpose of these rebates is to stimulate the economy. How, exactly, is someone who doesn’t know that an interest-only ARM is a bad idea, going to stimulate the economy with $600 in their pocket? Not to mention that this is a person who, according to the IRS, still doesn’t know that he or she qualifies for that rebate?
If you really want to stimulate the economy, (1) stop robbing people who are making a good living and (2) take your $168 billion and give it to small businesses, who are the heart and soul of the American economy. Of course, what do I know? I’m just one of the “top ten percent” who don’t pay any real taxes.