Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Robin Hood Rebates

Molly at North Conway, NH WALMART service desk

Great news from the government! Tax rebate checks are coming! Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told us last Thursday that: “Tens of millions of Americans will get a check in the mail.” What a country! Even people who didn’t pay any taxes at all are going to get a “rebate.” Isn’t that wonderful?

Those who paid the most taxes last year, however, aren’t going to get anything back. No rebates for them. That’s the deal our inarticulate president got when he emerged from his emergency meetings with the bug-eyed Democrat Speaker from San Francisco. You know her. She’s the one always complaining about tax breaks for the rich. In case you were wondering where all the billions in “rebate” money for the non-taxpaying check recipients is coming from, it’s coming from those rich taxpayers. The top 10% of Americans pay about 70% of all federal income taxes - and they’re not getting rebates. The top 50% of Americans pay more than 96% of those taxes. The bottom 50% of Americans, who would be considered rich in most parts of the world but are viewed as marginalized here, pay less than 4% of all federal income taxes. The bottom 75% pay only 14%. They’re the ones, however, who are getting nearly all the “rebates.”

Who said Robin Hood was dead? Seems like he’s alive and well in Washington, DC. It’s like Sherwood Forest and the Big Rock Candy Mountain all rolled into one. Fired up by the spirit of this “economic stimulus package” our leaders have worked out for us, I dropped into the local WALMART in North Conway, NH and waited in line at the service desk. When my turn came, I asked the woman behind the counter for a refund. “On what?” she asked because I hadn’t put anything on the counter.

“You mean I have to buy something to get a refund?”

“Uh-huh,” she said and pointed to the word “items” on the Return Policy sign behind her.

“You mean WALMART isn’t going along with the economic stimulus package worked out in Washington?” I asked, after explaining the deal our leaders made that very day.

“Nope,” she said.

“What if it works? What if our economy booms after everyone gets their rebate checks? Will WALMART get into the spirit then and give refunds to people who didn’t buy anything? It could be great for business.”

“If we did that, the line of people here would be all the way out the door,” she said, gesturing toward the parking lot outside.

No wonder liberals hate WALMART. Did you notice how the audience jeered at Hillary Clinton during the debate in South Carolina when Barack Obama pointed out that she served as a corporate lawyer for the WALMART board of directors? Evidently WALMART doesn’t care about people as much as Democrats in the US House do. If it did, it would give money to people whether they bought anything or not. But then Nancy Pelosi and most other Democrats give away other people’s money, and WALMART would have to give away its own.

That made me wonder how much of their own money liberal Democrats give to charity. I remembered reading that the past two Democrat candidates for president, Al Gore and John Kerry, gave very little of their own money to charity compared to their opponent, George W. Bush. Then I did some research. “The Chronicle of Philanthropy” in its November, 2006 edition reports that: “. . . religious conservatives are far more charitable than secular liberals, and that those who support the idea that government should redistribute income are among the least likely to dig into their own wallets to help others.”

Hmm. Come to think of it, Robin Hood didn’t give away his own money either. He robbed the rich with bows and arrows and gave their money away instead. Liberal Democrats use the IRS instead of bows and arrows but it amounts to the same thing. It’s not their own money they’re so generous with. It’s other people’s money. It’s my money.

This stuff all sounded great to me when I was an impecunious teacher with a wife and three kids back in 1979. The federal government classified me as poor because my income put my family below the federal poverty line. I’m still a teacher but I have two other jobs as well. My wife has worked also since the kids grew up. Now this Robin Hood thing doesn’t sound so great because the Democrats think I’m rich. I pay a lot of taxes and I’m not sure I’ll qualify for this “rebate” after Harry Reid and the Senate get through tweaking it.

WALMART isn’t going to give me anything and I may not get any rebate check in the mail either, no matter what our bug-eyed Speaker Pelosi says. I’m thinking maybe I should stop working so hard.


Anonymous said...

Three cheers for the ever-wise McLaughlin!

Anonymous said...

You really are a moron, aren't you.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think this "rebate" which puts the country even deeper in debt will do any good? Say "No!" And our fearless Prez even said that the next meeting of the North American Union steering committee, (Heads of government of Mexico, Canada, and himself), will meet in New Orleans this summer. Will they decide then when to collapse the dollar and bring in the Amero to solve all our problems with our fake fiat money?

Harvey in North Baldwin

Anonymous said...

You make some interesting points in you're column here, but you come off as a sore loser because you won't qualify for the rebate. Congratulations, you're more successful than some. I understand that this whole rebate thing probably won't work in the long term, but there are some people hurting out there that could use a little extra. I know you'll roll your eyes at that one, but you live in Maine. Drive around the northern part of your state. Granted, this rebate won't help the poverty in some towns, but it won't hurt either. One just hopes individuals will spend it appropriately. I, for one, look forward to paying off student loans with it. I won't be taking my government money to WalMart to blow it on mega bags of Dorritos and $1 DVDs (although I'll be tempted!) But maybe I'm just different.

I also have to say I've been a faithful reader of yours since my time in North Conway. I've since moved on, but I continue to read your material and share it with friends. I rarely agree with what you write, but I do enjoy your columns. For some reason, I felt compelled to comment today. Perhaps I'll do so again in the future.

Tim - Waterbury, VT

alan said...

What's your problem that you are in the top 1% and not getting a refund? Using your statistics the top 1% AGI has increase 24.3% between 1999-2005. While the top 5o% has only increased 17% but still is paying over 10% of the total tax burden. The short of it is they has less real dollars to pay the same amount of tax. While the top 1% has more real dollars. An if we are both honest it's not our money funding the refund it's our grandchildrens money.

Tom McLaughlin said...

I have been a moron - at times - as we all have. I've never be an Anonymous moron, however. That would be stooping too low.

No Harvey. It won't do any good. It'll only get us deeper into debt as Alan points out.

And Tim: I've never been called a loser so nicely before - ever. You have a knack. And yeah, there's a lot or rural poverty here in the north country. Maine competes with Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas for the status of poorest state. We're also the highest taxed state in the country. There's a definite correllation and causation thing going on here. Government give-away programs aren't going to make it any better. Businesses moving in will, but they won't with the tax structure we have. Let's not call it a tax rebate when it's a give-away. Glad you enjoy reading here especially when you disagree. That's high praise. Thanks.

Alan: I'm near the bottom of the top 25%. Never been close to the top 1%. I'm a school teacher who never inherited anything. I just work hard. We agree that we're really taking it from our grandchildren. Did you know that illegal aliens will get checks too? Wonder what the grandchildren will say about that.