It’s not a rebate … stupid


I just read an article about a new tax rebate program. The only problem is it really is not a tax rebate at all, except in name. Let me run through the article and show you what I mean (or at least the salient parts).

With unprecedented speed and cooperation, Congress and the White House forged a deal Thursday to begin rushing tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 to most tax filers by spring, hoping they will spend the money just as quickly and jolt the ailing economy to life.

Sounds good so far. If you are a tax filer, you must be a tax payer, right? Let’s read on.

Individual taxpayers would get up to $600 in rebates, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. In a key concession to Democrats, 35 million families who make at least $3,000 but don’t pay taxes would get $300 rebates.

Okay, so people who paid nothing into the system will get a rebate? I thought you had to actually participate for something to be called a rebate. Better go check Merriam Websters.

Main Entry:

2re·bate Listen to the pronunciation of 2rebate

Pronunciation:

ˈrē-ˌbāt

Function:

noun

Date:

1656

: a return of a part of a payment

Seems Webster had the same dumb idea I had. Stupid man did not realize that a rebate is simply a payment, not a return of part of a payment. Either that or politicians don’t understand the meaning of words. I am serious here. Not knowing the meaning of rebate is just like not knowing the meaning of the word is. Oh, sorry. I guess there are some people that do not know the meaning of the word is. My bad.

The bill will go straight to the House floor next week and on to the Senate, where some Democrats hope to add elements such as extending unemployment benefits for workers whose benefits have run out.

A rebate? Right! Try collecting a rebate for a product you never bought. I think they call it "jail time".

Indeed, many Democrats, such as Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, the liberal lion of the Senate, were deeply unhappy that Pelosi agreed to jettison that proposal in late-stage talks, as well as plans to increase food stamp payments.

I can see the confusion here. It is because tax rebate and food stamp payments sound so much alike.

"I do not understand, and cannot accept, the resistance of President Bush and Republican leaders to including an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are without work through no fault of their own," Rangel said.

Maybe they understand the meaning of the word "rebate"? I also wonder if Rangel is not for extending unemployment benefits for those who lost jobs through "fault of their own".

Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not balking at sending tax relief or even incentives to those not paying taxes. Well, I might balk at that, but it is not my point in this article.

I, instead, want to illustrate a major problem with our government and that is the fact that you can tack anything onto a bill. Need a pet project passed, like building a new, useless government building in your state? Tack it on an education bill, as no President wants to be accused of starving children. Need fish atlases for your rivers? Tack it on a health bill, as no President wants to be accused of denying children health care. It’s real simple: pork has a lot of fat, so you should eliminate it from your diet. 😉

I also have an issue with calling this a tax rebate. Why? Words have meaning. Okay, so some cannot properly conjugate the verb "to be", but the rest of us can.

It is unlikely anyone is going to call this an incentive to spend money (which it is), as rebate sounds so much fairer than incentive (or perhaps even entitlement). But, then, rebate can get you into trouble, as well. After all, aren’t many rebates there because you overpaid for your merchandise?

Peace and Grace,
Greg

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