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May 24, 2008


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Already used mine to payoff a small personal loan, two small medical bills, and two small, deferred car repairs. My $2,100 is gone...

Sorry G.W. Bush -- no new appliances, big screens, Wii's or autos in this family. Blame me for the long protracted recession if you'd like, but I've got a family of 5 to feed and transport.

I agree that this "economic incentive" is a farce. It is a house built on sand and will get washed out to sea with the next one or two high tides. When are we going to start seeing the Gov't and Business News start reporting Consumer Savings instead of Consumer Spending as an indicator of our country's economic health (unhealth?). Guess what, nobody wants to hear that the news is bad....very bad.

The economic stimilus package is nothing more than a vote buying scheme for politicians who want to be voted back into office by people who don't understand basic economics.

Agree with Cytoman.

As far as a rebate, this is nothing of the sort. A true rebate means the provider returns a portion of the revenue to the customer. The government isn't rebating. They are just adding debt.

our new HD video camera is pretty nice.

It is what it is. All I can say is, thanks for the help in paying down our mortgage! Btw...our paper check has yet to arrive...bummer! Hurry up already.

Agree with the original post and Cytoman - it is just a gimmick to show us that the government is "doing something". Granted, I am not exactly objective because I am not getting anything. As the original poster correctly said, those of us who pay more in taxes get exactly nothing.

I don't mind that I am not getting it since it wouldn't have made much of a difference in my budget, but I do mind the total amount of money that is spent on it. Starting with the ridiculous 50-something million wasted on sending everyone a letter telling us about the rebate. I wonder how much more waste is there in just processing the rebate. If I had believed for a moment that it would help the economy I'd be all for it, but I just don't see how it could for all the reasons stated above.

Thanks, whatever you may call it, now I can pay my bills to NW Hospital. I may have the courage again for another check up.

Gosh, I never knew letting people keep more of their own hard earned money would get ire up of so many financial types. I think it's a good thing when people keep more of thier own money instead of the government over burdening people with excess taxation.

My daughter dindn't receive the extra money for her two children ,she only r ecived $600. Why she didn't get the full amt. of $1800? The government took my check for taxas that I owe. I am on payment plan for last year 2006. Why did theyl take my money. I haaven't gotten the bill for last year yet, thely took my rebate check. For the amt. I owe. Why?

"None of these compliance costs are free. Someone has to be paying for them. Estimates suggest that compliance costs add an additional 50% to the expense of taxation. Because of the added burden of a unique program such as this, the costs are probably higher.

That means those $1,800 checks will probably cost taxpayers about $3,000 each."

I found this statement kind of dubious. For the government to send out $1800 checks, it costs $1200? OK, postage is $0.41. You have the IRS call centers and information campaigns, but the vast majority of taxpayers don't require these services.

Using the $100B in payouts, and the above 67% (1200/1800) cost, that implies that it will cost the government $67B to implement the program. From what I found online, it looks like the entire IRS budget is $12 billion.

This kind of looseness with the numbers makes it look like Marotta just has a bone to pick, and makes it hard for me to take the rest of the piece seriously.

Brett --

That's an interesting point of view. What about all the people that paid taxes that didn't get a rebate? And what about all those who didn't pay anything and did get one? Is this really people getting their own money back?

If the government really wanted to let taxpayers keep their own hard-earned money, it would lower taxes (and of course, lower spending to match).

"This kind of looseness with the numbers makes it look like Marotta just has a bone to pick, and makes it hard for me to take the rest of the piece seriously."

I am shocked, shocked!

Marotta's articles chronically make the mistake of starting with a viewpoint and then trying to make the numbers fit the viewpoint. Examples:
-- saying T-Bills are more risky than small cap emerging markets mining companies, and then changing the definition of "risk" to make it so.
-- pretending like inflation and exchange rates are the same thing in order to discredit CPI inflation numbers.
-- deciding that Democrats' regulations passed in the 1970s and 1990s created the subprime crisis, and ignoring numbers like volume of subprime issuance spiking in 2005-2007 because they didn't "fit".

And now it cost the government $1200 to mail me a check, on top of the money that I'm getting from said check?

"Consuming more goods doesn't really help our economy when half the stuff we buy comes from China anyway."

Worth noting that only 16% of our imports actually come from China, and that the USA's total value of imports was less than $2bn in 2007, which is less than 1/7 of US GDP. So about 2.28% of what we buy comes from China, while ~85.7% of it is produced in America. Inconvenient numbers.

"Estimates suggest that compliance costs add an additional 50% to the expense of taxation."

This is simply inaccurate. Actually, it's grossly inaccurate. Even, a website arguing for the virtual abolition of the IRS based on its inefficiency, estimates compliance costs at 10%-24%. Given the bias of the source, I think we can safely assume that the lower end of the range is more correct than the higher end. But when the numbers aren't convenient, why not just make some other numbers up out of thin air??

I agree the stimulus refund its mostly a gimmick and largely the politicians just bribing us for votes. I don't think its completely ineffective though as any increased spending will help stimulate the economy to some degree. Its not an efficient way to do so though.

However, the numbers presented to support the arguments in the article are just plain wrong and very poorly presented with no sources or substantiation. Colin rightly pointed out that the IRS's total spending is not nearly high enough to support an argument that it costs them $1200 extra to send us a $1800 check. For the article to make such a claim seems extremely ignorant of the real facts and is just plain misleading.


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