Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day

Barack Obama's tax cut, says the President, will be felt by April 1st, April Fool's Day.

Now, I'd like to take just a moment to ask for a little consensus. Since I'm single and unmarried, my additional tax credit will be only $400 while married people will get $800. That will translate to about $13 extra dollars in my paycheck. By next year, that'll get cut almost in half and we'll be back to where we started.

Question: How is this tax cut supposed to be efficacious in any meaningful way? It seems supportable on a macroscopic level, since that money, obviously, will be trickled into the economy piecemeal by each family.

But on a family level, how is this $13 extra a week that we'll be seeing in our paychecks going to significantly contribute to our personal financial salvation?

$13 will buy you maybe half a tank of gas or two packs of cigarettes. The difference will not be nearly big enough to allow me to get health insurance, which at my job is a joke, and Mass Health's premiums aren't much better. Myself, I'd rather get that $676 extra a year bundled in with my tax return next year. At my current tax table, that will get me $1100 instead of the $400+ that I'll be getting next month.

It's unreasonable to think that the average American taxpayer, in order to maximize the impact of this extra money, will put that extra $13 in the bank. And, of course, that was never the President's and Congress' intention. They want that money to be put back in the economy since people in my economic strata are what one person called "raging economic engines."

So in a macroscopic way, it makes sense to do it this way but I don't see how it benefits the average family. As much as I was opposed to it at the time in principle, I have to admit that George W. Bush's $600 stimulus check last spring did my family and I a helluva lot more good than the $676 dollars that Obama and Congress will be giving us by dribs and drabs. Plus, let's not forget, while the consumer price index will go up by at least its normal 3-4% (and the economy worsening the way it is, it could easily be higher than that), next year's tax break will shrink down to $7.70 per week.

What are your thoughts on it? Have we just been made fools of?


At February 21, 2009 at 11:00 AM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

when you look down, and discover that you're wearing clown shoes there aren't many other conclusions to be drawn.

At February 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM, Blogger Rehctaw said...

Only if you don't have a Plan B or the talents to wing one.

Do you think when the dust clears, anybody will remember who screwed the pooch? Care?

Cheers to marketable skills.

At February 21, 2009 at 12:11 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Do you think when the dust clears, anybody will remember who screwed the pooch? Care?

Dude, this is a country that "re-elected" George W. Bush and, prior to that, elected his Nazi, treasonous grandfather to the US Senate.

Those facts alone pretty answer your question.

At February 21, 2009 at 6:06 PM, Blogger Bukko Boomeranger said...

I too have questioned the wisdom of these tiny dribbles of tax cuts. Are enough people living THAT close to the bone that they'd notice if there was an extra $13 in the cheque?

It wouldn't faze me, but then again, I've been lucky enough to get to a position in life where I don't pay attention to what I earn, and I can't even be bothered to do anything about my bank balance in the local currency until the account hits five figures. I mean five figures that's in there, not that I owe. I still have to wipe shite off peoples' arses, though, so don't get the impression that I'm high-falutin'.

Down here, the next round of economic stimulus bribes is supposed to be a one-off payment of $900 per citizen. Last Christmas, there was a $600 payment, but that was given to seniors and poor people. I did not qualify. They're getting more desperate now, so the juice is bigger, and more spread out.

The Liberals (who would be called "Republicans" in America) whinged that the December payouts would be spent on pokies (electronic poker machines) and brothels. Conservatives are as stupid and mean here as they are anywhere. Statistical analysis showed that much of the money went to pay off credit cards and mortgages, so it was actually a subsidy to the banks.

The latest $900 (which was supposed to be $950, but the Libs succeeded in getting it shaved in the name of fiscal responsibility -- oooh, THAT'S a vote-winner) is hoped to be used more on splurge spending. I say "Fark that."

Mrs. Bukko and I are going on a snorkeling and wine-drinking holiday to Ningaloo Reef and the Margaret River region of West Australia. We're going to add the stimulus money to what we use to buy silver bullion coins from a place called the Perth Mint (because it's in Perth, and it's where the mines get their precious metal made into stuff they can sell.)

This is an ineffective use of stimulus money, because it's essentially going into our mattress. No stimulating effect there at all, just a paranoid flight to safety. This is an illustration of why economic stimulus money should NOT be given to people who are relatively well-off.

I reckon that every form of fiat currency in the world is going to become worthless (except maybe the Swiss franc) because governments everywhere are ginning so much of it out of thin air. I hope I'm wrong. If I am, things will be better for the world. If I'm right, I'll be among the last people to starve to death. Either way, I win!

At February 21, 2009 at 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the original bill had for tax cuts in it - wasn't that put in as a sop to the Repugs in the hope of getting that bipartisan thing happening? All I've ever heard from the right as far as input into the stimulus bill was whining for tax cuts. I think they wanted them to go to the rich people though - there's less of them so it goes further. There's so damn many poor people that the cuts get spread out till they're meaningless. I get the same kind of whoop-de-doo feeling when my employer generously gives me a 2% raise....oooh, don't spend all that in one place!

At February 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The theory is that if you give a big sum of money all at once, people saved it (like Chimpy's rebate was used to pay down debt or tucked under the mattress - there was bupkiss for stimulus). But if you made the money so that it arrived in smaller bits it would not be "worth it to save."

Personally, I don't think this is anything more than just another GOP circle-jerk.



At February 21, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I'm not sure what the original bill had for tax cuts in it - wasn't that put in as a sop to the Repugs in the hope of getting that bipartisan thing happening?

No, the GOP doesn't give a shit about working families, obviously. Look at the 2005 bankruptcy bill. What they wanted was a revision of the AMT: The alternative minimum tax of 1969. It has to be adjusted for inflation once a year, typically in the fall. They wanted their tax breaks for their wealthy buddies now.

At February 22, 2009 at 2:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How is this tax cut supposed to be efficacious in any meaningful way?"

It isn't. Tax cuts have ONLY one effect: making the economy worse. Moderate tax increases make the economy better.

Anytime you ever hear anyone talking about cutting taxes, they either have no critical thinking skills, or they are GOP operatives complicit in the intentional destruction of the American economy and the impoverishment of the Middle Class.

America is financing everything on the National Debt. When we CUT taxes, we send a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are intentionally screwing up our ability to secure that debt.

Tax cuts are treason.

At February 22, 2009 at 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Minstrel Boy said...

Thanks for the Sunday morning Laugh, sad but so true.

At February 23, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP, Here in California, we're getting a 1% sales tax increase courtesy of our idiot legislature and governator, so if I buy anything beyond food, it's kind of a wash.

At February 23, 2009 at 7:10 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Stu, actually, I'm in favor of a 1% sales tax increase so we all pull our weight. Fuck this, "Let's tax the smokers again" bullshit that's a fetish for the Democrats.

They seem to forget that many of us live within an hour or two of New Hampshire, which doesn't have a sales tax.


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