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As Long as We Remember...

April 28, 2008

Free Money!

Steven R. Berryman

Congratulations for being smart enough to be in the United States of America. Everything is free here. And when you run out of money to spend, we’ll give you some of that, too. In Frederick County, if you can’t read this, I’ll bet there will be a sign on a bus in Espanol repeating it soon.


Entitlement Society participants, and the poor, as well as the relatively well-off, will all be receiving their “Bush Stimulus Credit” check almost as your are reading this, as the timetable has been moved up. If you E-Filed your federal tax return, and chose direct-deposit as an option for a refund, it may already be there. This presumes that, of course, you bothered to file a 2007 tax return, as the payout mechanism of the IRS is based upon this.


Didn’t pay any taxes in 2007 or file a return?


No worries, mate, just as in “The Earned Income Credit,” there is another form to file in place of a 1040EZ that gets you the free money. And…No, you have to look it up.


Just one problem for us actual “citizens”…because the federal government has no actual money of its own, your money gets handed back out. Can you say “redistribution of wealth?”


An average tax refund credit to a family making an adjusted gross income of $140,000, or less (but not more), with two children 17 or younger will get about $1,200 for the parents jointly, and another $600 for the little ones, or about $1,800.


Say the average payout is a wee bit lower at $900 per the anticipated 137,000,000 recipients, and you will get a total reduction in funds from our government’s coffers of a grand total of: “$12.33 Error,” which means that even my SHARP estimators’ calculator can’t even count that high! But it’s lots.


This just adds to the total federal debt, and you pay interest on it each year. A huge percentage of tax proceeds (your money, that you worked 1/3 of a year for) covers just the interest on this obligation.


Special thanks to the Chinese people for helping out on this!


Okay, now “the plan.”


Uncle Sam says now your job is to go out as fast as humanly possible and to spend, spend, spend, until it’s all gone. That’s your part in turning our recession into a recovery.


There is another reason to spend fast, and they don’t want to talk about it, the “I” word.


Inflation! There, I said it. The longer you wait to spend it, the less it will be worth. One hundred dollars in cash may only buy you $98 in terms of value of merchandise or services, for example. Eventually a bag of rice could cost you $342. Your rich Uncle Ben.


If you don’t care about that, you could say, “Okay, we can just call Treasury and have them print some more cash.” True, but it has to go out in the form of loans and bonds that eventually have to be paid back, causing the inflation.


More money chasing the same amount of stuff equals a dilution in the ability of your money to buy things. Also, your money outside of the Bush Stimulus Package in your bank suffers the same fate; it’s worth less, too.


Is anyone trying to conceal this from you?


According to the noted economics guru from Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, the answer is “Yes.” A published indicator of our total money supply in circulation called “M3” is no longer published by the Federal Reserve Board, which is charged to hold things together in the financial sector. Hummm!


Instead of spending your windfall money, could you use it to pay down that 23.5 % rate credit card from Christmas? Sure, but what fun would that be?


Me, I’m going to spend it towards my Emergency Preparedness kit in the basement covered in a previous column!

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