Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm Not Poor; I Just Don't Have Any Money

Get a load of this opening from the AP article about the tax rebate deal Congress did today:

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.

Rebates would be even higher for families with children.

EVEN higher? A one-time check for $600 is high? When you're unemployed and your benefits ran out months ago, and you're about to lose the roof over your head? Oh, wait. If you're that bad off, you probably don't have to pay taxes at all -- and that means your rebate check is $300, not $600: Even better! The less money you have, the smaller the amount on that check you receive, if you receive one at all. The logic works for me.

It gets even better. In order to get Republicans to agree to that measly $300 check for employed Americans who earn too little to pay taxes, the Democrats had to wave goodbye to extended unemployment benefits and increased food stamps.

This is what our government is willing to do for hurting Americans.

Meanwhile, some people who are unquestionably smart enough to know better are experiencing brain freeze:
According to AP, congressional leaders have reached a deal on those economic stimulus checks. And rather than being geared towards helping the economy, they're apparently geared towards redistributing wealth (that would be our wealth) to the poor. What a surprise. Folks in the middle (i.e, those who are not rich or poor) are screwed by the Democrats (and Republicans) yet again. Let me give you the details that just leaked, and again this may not be the final deal, but it sure sounds like it:
Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, subject to an overall cap of perhaps $1,200, according to a senior House aide who outlined the deal on condition of anonymity in advance of formal adoption of the whole package. Rebates would go to people earning below a certain income cap, likely individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less.

That means that if you make $75,000 or more a year, no check for you. Forget that fact that you live in NYC or DC or San Francisco, where prices from property to food are outrageous. No, forget that. Some guy living in a mansion in Topeka making $74,999 a year will get his little gift from the US Treasury and you, living in NYC making $75,001 out of a 300 sq ft studio apartment will get nothing. How about my friend who bought an entire house in Baltimore for $275,000 when that would get you a very small studio in DC. I know someone who got an entire house in Ohio for $2000 a month when that would get you a one-bedroom apartment in DC. I have a friend who moved to North Carolina and got offered a bit over $75k a year. He said it was a king's ransom in NC. In DC, well, again, keep checking out those studios. And another friend has a 900 sq ft condo, and paid more for it than another friend's parents paid for their 6000 sq ft house.

That's because far too often the Democrats don't give a damn about anybody who isn't a minority or starving to death (both valid causes to be sure, but are they the ONLY causes out there?). If you're in the middle, you're on your own.

Well, John, I'm not a minority and I'm not starving to death -- but if it weren't for the food pantry, I sure would be very hungry most of the time. There are more difficult and stressful choices than the choices you and your friends must make between living in a 900-square-foot condo in D.C. or a 6,000-square-foot house in the suburbs. There's the choice I'm making, for instance -- between letting my rabbi or a social service agency help me with my rent month after month and feeling like I'm a lower form of life than an earthworm, and being evicted from my apartment and living on the street. You can understand why I might be less than sympathetic to your plaint that your $2,000 studio in D.C. could be a whole entire house if you lived in Ohio.

Cernig dubs Aravosis "John Avaricious":
When the Right moans about latte-sipping liberals, this is the kind of thing they mean.
I mean, wtf? The poor are getting so much help that they're now richer than middle-class jerks like Avaricious now? I'm here to tell you, from experience, that isn't the case. As for saying that aiding the poor is just as bad as aiding the rich...that's got to be the most stupid bit of false moral equivalence I've ever heard.

His commenters aren't being kind, in the main, with the most apposite being that now would be the wrong time to hold that AmericaBlog fundraiser. As Wolfrum at Shakes' Sis points out, the wingnuts will lap up this greedy rant. James at the Mahatma X Files gets closest to my own view. I am so far from agreeing with Avarosis that he's from a different dimension. If I ever accidentally link to or blogroll this latte-sipping leech from this day on, please bash me over the head until I come to my senses.

I won't go that far -- John's on my blogroll and I'm not going to take him off for one incredibly weird post -- but that said, I won't hide my disappointment in the callousness of someone who is usually sensitive and compassionate in the way he discusses the issues. He would never have made it to my blogroll in the first place if he hadn't been.


Chief said...

Many, many, many aspects of this package of horrible, bad, will not slow down or mitigate the recession and are intentionally misleading. Where did Speaker Pelosi hide her spine ?

Why can’t she frame the issues?

Pelosi is on the “people” side of so many issues, she could dominate the MSM and suck all the oxygen out of the White House in discussions on national issues.

But she caved in. Instead of Democrats, we should call them Spelunkarats.

Consumer spending must increase. Extending unemployment benefits would help increase spending.

Tax breaks to business will not, I repeat N-O-T, increase consumer spending.

You may not have much money, Kathy, but you are very rich in the human qualities that are important.

Kathy said...

You can't hide a spine you never had, George. :-)