The Splurge is Working, Comrades!
It’s not a tax cut. It’s not a tax rebate or a deferment. Let’s call it the fuck what it is: This $168 billion stimulus package, or what I call “The Splurge”, is a tax loan.
Not only do I resent Congress and the Bush administration conjuring another way for us to live beyond our means (borrowing against next year’s return) I resent the out-of-touch assumption by all parties that all Americans get back more than the $600 we single people will receive this May.
I’m living proof that we all do not.
Without getting into specific figures, based on my income and the tax structure these past several years, I get back on average about $420 from the federal treasury every February. That means, when this $600 note comes due less than a year from now, not only will I not get my usual return, I’ll wind up owing the IRS about $180.
And how many of us can confidently say that the tax cuts for small businesses such as the one for which I work will benefit them personally?
This stimulus package was designed, don’t forget, to stimulate the economy (read: the corporate sector), not our personal finances. By pretending to fling $168 billion at us like Jack Nicholson’s Joker and his poison gas balloons, he’s positioning himself to take credit for giving us momentary spending power.
To paraphrase Wordsworth, it has nothing to do with getting- it’s about spending. Or, rather, buying. Buying gasoline. Buying heating oil. Buying groceries. Paying for HMO premiums, car and home insurance, credit card payments, sinking this tax loan back into the home lending industry and the banks to forestall the inevitable crash another month. In other words, taking $168 billion of our 2009 returns and making us stuff the money $600-1200 at a time into the pockets of Bush’s base of Haves and Have Mores in the corporate sector.
Of course, even if reinjecting this money into the economy was in itself a good idea, it only works as far as the working poor (formerly known as the middle class). We’re what you’d call “raging economic engines.” Meaning, middle class and lower income people, when coming into a windfall, naturally pump that money back into the economy to keep the wolves from the door a little while longer. Rich fucks who’re used to getting six and seven figure income tax refunds will just sock their $1200 in the bank, safely out of the reach of the economy. They also won’t miss the $1200 that’ll be due back next year.
But those of us who dare not grumble about this so-called windfall… we’re going to be the ones to foot the bill.
It’s like being force-fed methamphetamines and having to wait for the crash.
It’s sheer genius when you think about it, people. Through his actions, misactions and inactions, George Bush continually created or presided over emergencies like spiraling deficits created through endless wars and endless tax cuts, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and he always manages to find a way for private industry to make out like the bloated bandits that they are and at taxpayer expense.
Except Bush won’t be stuffing their already bulging, bottomless pockets, as usual- it’ll be you and me who’ll be tribally committing this latest trough-filling.
It’ll just take the cute balloons a year to start hissing out that payback.
And Congress is talking about a second stimulus package 2-3 months before the checks from the first one are even cut while Daddy says, “Finish what’s on your plate and let’s wait and see if you’re still hungry.”
Yesterday’s press conference was so delusional and out of touch with basic, blaring, glaring reality that it made me openly wonder why Helen Thomas and the rest of the press pool even bother showing up for these dog and pony shows. What do they expect to hear?
“Well, yeah, I lied us into a war. Tough shit. Yeah, we torture. Tough shit. Yeah, the stimulus package, in lieu of putting your social security retirement fund on Wall Street, was specifically designed to help out my buddies in the corporate sector and you’re going to have to pay for that little spending splurge next year.”
Instead, all we got was an impassioned speech about why we need to give the telecoms immunity to hedge against the 40 “abusive lawsuits”, as he’d termed it to we can make retroactively legal what was legal all the time.
That we’re not heading for a recession, despite the fact that virtually every economist in the land is saying the exact opposite. And why shouldn’t we believe him over the economists? After all, this is coming from the same guy who singlehandedly, in the space of a year, turned a nine figure surplus into a nine figure deficit and lost $317 million for all the companies that he’d ever headed up starting with Arbusto.
What’s that hiss, comrades? Is it the hiss of hatred for the Joker? Sadly, no. Look up at the balloons high above. Hold your breath and party and spend like it’s 1999.