January 6, 2003
Over the past year or more I've taken to task the Great Bush Tax Cut Sham; the US budget surplus squandered in the form of $300 to $600 'refunds' in the name of stimulating the economy. Was the US economy stimulated? Was your personal economy improved? Do you even remember how you spent the money?
"Tax Relief for America's Workers," read the front of the check, next to a picture of the Statue of Liberty. I was so disgusted by this Bush Hush Money that I vowed to donate it to a cause that would make the President's hair curl. Yet I was never able to decide on the most appropriate one, faced with far too many choices, and in August of 2002 the check became null and void.
Two weeks ago I received a letter from the IRS (always a heart-stopping moment) which stated that "The law required us to mail all Immediate Tax Relief checks by December 31, 2001. Since it was impossible to mail you the refund by that date, you cannot receive the advanced payment. Instead we have allowed the credit as the Rate Reduction Credit on your 2001 tax return. Please allow 6 weeks for the overpayment to reach you." ...."We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you, and thank you for your cooperation."
I was confused by the factual errors and fuzzy logic ("Since it was impossible to mail you the refund by that date, you cannot receive the advanced payment"), and the requirements of my cooperation; am I getting a credit or an 'overpayment?' A week (not 6) later, a new check arrives! Where once was printed "Tax Relief for America's Workers," now reads "12.38 Interest." By not cashing the check, I got a new one, AND $12.38 more!!! $300 plus 4.126% interest -- where else can you find 4.126% interest these days? Now I've parlayed this into some REAL money that can stimulate the economy! (Had I bit the bullet and taken my own advice, my Lockheed Martin shares would have gained 57%. Now my $312.38 will only get me 5.3 shares...)
The fact is, I did not agree on the principle of this "refund," and now I have even more of it...
I have to wonder if this check is a trap -- one of those criminal sweeps in which unsuspecting characters are told to 'come to Las Vegas to claim your winnings,' only to be arrested for some outstanding misdemeanor; or men of Arab descent are told to 'come and register with the INS,' only to be fingerprinted, detained and shuffled off to Guantanamo Bay. "Come, little girl: take the money, it's yours," hisses Tom Ridge, as he whisks me away into that black hole of journalistic silence.
No, this time the answer is clear: the check will be endorsed to Swans to support free speech and exchange of ideas not covered by the corporate media. I think that might just put a curl in the president's hair, and it will be worth every penny of it.
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Related Internal Links
2002: Still Hope For The Future - Jan Baughman (December 2002)
Sixteen Shares of Lockheed Martin - Jan Baughman (July 2001)
Forty Five Shares of Lockheed Martin - Jan Baughman (April 2001)
Jan Baughman is a scientist in the Biotech Industry. When Jan does not travel around the world on behalf of the company where she manages a clinical research department, she spends most of her time devouring books like candies and relaxing over the preparation of the finest recipes in Northern California. She started writing at a very young age when she found this mode of expression easier than having to answer the perpetually boring and conservative chit-chat around her. Jan's sense of observation is directly related to her sense of humor. She is a founding member and co-editor of Swans, and brings to the site wit and a lightness of being.
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