"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Duct Tape In Hand- Here I Go

>> Thursday, January 24, 2008

I think that I will begin by saying that if I ran my household the way the federal government runs our country my family would be living in the south (because it's warm there), under a bridge, my kids would be begging for money (because who can resist a kid begging) and Doug & I would be searching for soda cans in dumpsters.

I don't think that anyone can deny the government spends like Britney Spears in a 7-11. Cheetos and soda for all! This, of course must be fixed.

Now I will interject that I am not a politician nor am I an accountant. What I am is a mom who must balance the books of my household. And the plain and simple fact of our life is this: if we don't have the disposable income we don't get "extras". Period.

Next I want to address the comments from my last post:

Jarod: OK, these people pay taxes, but they get everything back when they file. So, in essence, they come out even. Or, in many cases, they make more money. Let us not ignore a fact right in front of our faces: Our sister-in-law's sister. She actually makes money when filing her taxes because she is an unwed mother. So, in essence, the government is paying her to have her children.

Fritz Facts- Social Security is, as Doug pointed out, a different "pot" of money that we all (in theory) get back when we retire.

KL- thanks for the link, I'm gonna add it to this post. I'm not sure that giving cash to the bottom of the payscale is really a good place to begin. As you point out, you will be using your "rebate" to pay credit card bills and your upcoming taxes. And while the people at the bottom of the payscale won't have to pay in come April 15th (which is about the time we can expect these checks to come out- coincidence? I think not) they will probably use the money to pay bills. I'm not really sure how exactly that will stimulate the economy since initial purchase was made months ago.

Unless, of course, our government is hoping people will see this as some sort of "windfall" and spend it unwisely. Cheetos and soda for everyone!! Now, honestly, how has that helped the bottom of the payscale people? They still have debt and low paying jobs. OK, so they have a new TV but id doesn't do much good if they can't keep the lights on.

Now, KL did point me to a nice post over at RothCPA. In it is a graph that disputes the "fact" that the working poor get nothing from the government. Hmmm.. I can think of a few federal and state programs right off the top of my head that are pretty damn easy to qualify for. In fact, Doug & I could get state health coverage for the girls right now instead of paying for it ourselves. Oh, and I could easily walk into an agency and walk out with food stamps. Don't believe me? I qualified when I gave birth to Caelan. A state worker was in my room every day until I filled out her stupid paper work.


These "rebates" are going to cost $150 billion dollars. And where does this money come from? Taxes. So why not just lower taxes? Instead of sending everyone a check why not just give everyone a tax credit in the amount you plan to send? Doesn't it all add up to the same thing? People at the bottom of the payscale will still get the money... And I'll get to pay just a bit less.

Now I am going to climb up on my food stamp soapbox. (I can go there- I don't joke when I say I grew up dirt poor) This is a program that is embarrassingly easy to get on and difficult to monitor. With food stamps you can buy everything from soda to chips, snack cakes to frozen pizza. Of course you can also buy meats, milk, veggies and fruit. However the new data that shows poor kids are fatter than rich kids leads me to conclude that processed foods are much more prevalent in low income homes. And low income homes often receive aid. Notice I didn't say everyone.

A great way to combat that would be with a WIC style program- only healthy items allowed. If the kids had apples instead of Apple Jacks I bet you would see a change.

I also saw this in the bill:

To address the mortgage crisis, the package also allows Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac — government-sponsored companies that are the two biggest U.S. financers and guarantors of home loans — to buy home mortgages much larger than the current
$417,000 limit. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and chairman of the House Financial
Services Committee, said that lending cap might reach as high as $700,000 in
areas with the highest home prices.

Why are government sponsored companies giving loans up to $417,000 in the first place? If you can "afford" a house in that price range why do you need government assistance? Geez... Hmmm... Maybe we should look into that.

I guess I'm most annoyed by the fact that personal responsibility has gone and is being replaced by the proverbial "government tit". We cannot expect our government to give, give, give. In case noone has noticed we have a national debt of 9,193,945,322,817.09. Nine TRILLION dollars.

Ever wondered just how the national debt works? This should sufficiently scare you- it did me. One thing it really sets in my mind is that I want to erase all my debt ASAP because when our government goes belly up- which it will if our politicians keep spending and not slashing programs- I want to have money (more preferrably gold because US currency will be worthless) to live on.

OK, now that I am sounding completely crazy I will stop.

Doug is trying to talk me off my ledge. He tells me the economy is growing. But, I asked him, if any of the democratic candidates become President will our economy continue to grow? The answer, easily, is no. Large corporations will have to pay more taxes, have more regulations, etc, which will mean layoffs as they won't be able to afford as many workers. If fewer people are working that will mean more will be unemployed and collecting money from the government. Which means more taxes from fewer people.

Really, I must stop... But I am beginning to think I should start a garden. And maybe invest in some chickens and pigs.


Fantastagirl 10:23 PM  

Well said.

Iowa Bob 11:10 PM  

Yeah, this “stimulus” package doesn’t make much sense to me either. If they can afford to do something like this, then doesn’t that prove that they’re taking too much of our money to start with.

And I know that $417,000 buys a nice house back in Iowa, but check out what $600,000 buys in California:
2 bedrooms, I bath – 800 square feet. Welcome to California

Of course you could always buy this three bedroom-three bath house down the street in Monecito for only 35 million. Can you imagine a MONTHLY house payment of over $177,000. Check it out:

Jody 6:52 AM  

I've never understood the land values in California. It seems to me that so many homes out there are uninsureable due to locations (on a cliff, on a fault line, in a fire zone) yet people pay so much for living there...

Tamara B 9:48 AM  

now my dear Jody, I haven't read your post yet but I had to laugh at the gov issue since I work for the gov. I'm sure I'll get a kick out of your post when i read it.

Kyle Lobner 12:28 PM  

I still think you're missing the point of the rebate. Fairness of distribution isn't the intended goal. Helping out people in need isn't really the goal, either. It's an economic stimulus package.

As such, it doesn't really matter (within reason) how it gets spent, as long as it gets spent. If the low-income family you described above decides to spend the whole thing on cheetos and soda, like you suggested, they're still helping the economy, because they're pumping $300 into the store that sells the cheetos and soda. If they pay their credit card bill or their energy bill, they're giving $300 to the credit card company or energy company that the company otherwise might have had to wait for.

The only way it doesn't end up producing the intended effect is if the recipients receive the rebate and save it, adding a little to their personal wealth but nothing to the economy, or they ship it overseas, or they just use it to pay taxes.

Now, I'll say it again, I still don't think it's a good idea. Our government has a big enough financial problem without throwing money back at us. But if you're using it as a economic stimulant, the most effective way to do it is to give it to the people least likely to save it. The people who need it now, or the people who are impulsive enough to go burn it on cheetos.

Side note: I'm a bit confused by this line:

In it is a graph that disputes the "fact" that the working poor get nothing from the government.

Who called that a fact? I think everyone knows the working poor get things from the government. I think a lot of us have arguments from different angles about how poverty and government assistance should be handled, but the argument that some people believe the working poor get "nothing" from the government is pure fallacy.

Jody 12:38 PM  

Well, I'm not one to dispute pure fallacy, but I will say that if you listen to John Edwards (to name only one) you could certainly be led to that belief. And there are plenty who listen to him, and those like him.

As for paying bills, I don't see that halping stimulate the economy. The only real stimulation will come from the money being spent in stores, and I just don't see that happening.

I really think a tax credit would have been a better idea...

The Fritz Facts 1:45 PM  

Very well said. I have yet to fully understand what the package entails, but am slowly working through it. You brought up many good points, and some that confused me. I am definitly going to take more time to go through the bill, and make sure I understand.
Oh, and I will pay some bills, but will also get things we need...clothes the kids need etc. It all depends on the need at the time.


I love Cheetos

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

Awesome comments! Thanks for giving us some thoughts to chew on. (Lower cal than Cheetos too.)

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