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News - Should we help the economy by blowing our tax rebates?

No. In the face of trillions in impending government liability, a $38 billion tax rebate offers only the most transient of consumer orgasms.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh the other day, only because I was on one of those rural highways where all you can tune in is paranoid white guys and unsedated religious obsessives, and I once again was amazed by the ads targeting dittoheads: gold bullion schemes and insurance scams, get-rich real estate cruises and magical fat-burning powders.

Listening to the crap these guys fall for raises a question central to the subject of Bush's tax rebate: Who in the hell decided conservative Republicans are good at managing money in the first place?

Since I began paying down on my own imperiled retirement benefits, Republicans have given us Reagan's $2 trillion debt boondoggle, Bush Sr.'s impotent fiscal mop-up, and now his son's bread and circuses rebate — which won't even dent the extra utility bills we have thanks to the pillaging of public power company assets.

In a move that can only be described as congressional babysitting, even Democrats let George W. have his tax rebate. After all, they knew they were just going to have to get it back from us later — in the form of new taxes — to pay for real things like Medicare and Social Security.

Bush can pretend all he likes that his tax refund will stimulate the economy; once debt piles up elsewhere and we're in another Republican-manufactured fiscal crisis, the Democrats know they'll be shoo-ins for eight more years as the grown-ups who clean up after Republican administrations.

At least Reagan's fiscal denial was the cheery sort of big-production denial that made for entertaining politics: George W isn't even convincing as he urges us to help Wall Street by blowing our wad on water skis. There's the unconcealed desperation of the dry drunk in his inability to meet our eyes on the evening news.

We know, and he knows we know, that we're facing a Social Security crisis that will require trillions of taxpayer dollars to delay what Republicans coyly term "consumption sacrifices" by the elderly — less euphemistically known as "starving undermedicated grannies."

In the face of trillions in impending government liability, a $38 billion tax rebate offers only the most transient of consumer orgasms, the memory of which may splash a smile across our lips as we're axing the baby boomer's security net — but memory it will be.

So why shouldn't we all go ahead and blow our tax rebates? Because cat food's gonna cost a whole lot more in 2030.??





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