The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 September 2003

Checked and balanced

Bruce thinks we're being taken for fools:

You know how every week or two you get a set of checks from your credit card companies reminding you that you have money that needs to be borrowed? Occasionally they even send you a check with your name on the "Pay to the order to:" line and an amount filled out in the amount box. Now, you know that that check is not free money, that once you cash that check you will be liable for the money you borrowed.

So how is it that tax payers can get a tax rebate while we accrue debt? Aren't the latest tax cuts the federal government's lame attempt to buy us off with our own borrowed money?

Well, yes, I suppose they are. On the other hand, I'd rather I had it than they had it; I am (ever so slightly) less irresponsible with my money than they are. And I need hardly point out that if they didn't take so much in the first place, they wouldn't feel compelled to issue a rebate.

Besides, MasterCard will balk if I try to write too many of those convenience checks; Congress merely votes for an increase in the debt ceiling.

Posted at 3:52 PM to Political Science Fiction


Besides, since tax cuts have generally had a positive effect on the inflow of revenues, refusing to give a tax cut while there is debt is arguably about as close to a guarantee that there will never be tax cuts, as it is possible to get while politicians need votes to keep their jobs.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:07 PM on 4 September 2003

The difference is that we, personally, would owe the credit card company in the first example. However, a tax rebate contributing to government debt can be enjoyed personally but the responsibility of repayment passed on to others; particularly nice if you don't like young people.

Posted by: Mike at 6:47 PM on 4 September 2003

By coincidence, Effing Bank sent me a page of convenience checks today, offering 1.9 percent APR through the first of the year. (Anything still unpaid at that time reverts to my standard 7.9 rate.) Since I don't have Alan Greenspan on speed-dial, I set them aside for now.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:55 PM on 4 September 2003

Its fine to rebate money when you're not spending it like a horny drunk on lady's night!

But its not like we have troops standing around Iraq wondering "What do we do with all this extra money they sent us, we've already rebuilt everything?"

Or teachers soliciting their students for suggestions on how to spend the leftover money they have after paying for operating expenses, salaries and textbooks for the kids.

Governors saying "no thanks, we're caught up on road repair and maintanence!"

and lest we forget, there is pretty direct correlation between the amount of money we divert to debt repayment and the shrinking of available funds for expenses.

Posted by: bruce at 11:37 PM on 4 September 2003

Bruce, after reading your comment, I stand by mine. The notion that government employees and politicians can't come up with infinite new ways to spend every penny that comes their way, is quaint and naive. Where have you been?

Posted by: McGehee at 5:14 AM on 5 September 2003

well, at one point in time I walked around lower income neighborhoods talking to parents who wondered why their kids couldn't EACH have a textbook, but instead were not allowed to take them home, because they didnt HAVE ENOUGH BOOKS!!

My point was exactly that government officials are not sitting around figuring out new ways to spend a surplus of money. they are sitting around wondering how they are going to do what they are asked to do WITHOUT THE MONEY TO DO IT.

kids are not being educated because we dont want to pay for enough teachers, or make teaching a viable vocation. Roads are not being fixed for lack of funds. WE (the people) ask government to act on our behalf to do certain things. By not provisding funding we are dooming them to failure, which if I was thoroughly cynical I would say is the conservative agenda. Failure through starvation.

of course, not having enough money isnt going to stop us from starting wars we cant afford, is it? Even if they were based ON A LIE.

Posted by: bruce at 9:11 PM on 5 September 2003

Iraq as Unfunded Mandate. Interesting.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:34 PM on 5 September 2003

I wonder if it would give more legitimacy if we actually declared war on Iraq.

Posted by: Mike at 10:45 AM on 6 September 2003

can you do that AFTER you've declared fighting over?

Posted by: bruce at 5:33 PM on 6 September 2003

I'm not quite sure what the rules are in this case, though I suspect they're rather flexible: consider that the Korean War is technically still going on, even though fighting was over 50 years ago.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:04 PM on 6 September 2003