Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Playing politics with stimulus checks

The announcement from the Internal Revenue Service that, for example, more than 77,000 Wisconsin residents -- most of them elderly -- will not get their economic stimulus check from the federal government if they do not file appropriate paperwork by Oct. 15 is unsettling.

Doesn't the IRS work for us?

Why is it that the federal government can find people who fail to pay their taxes but cannot find people that it owes money?

The answer, of course, is that the stimulus checks are a political gimmick, rather than a sincere effort to stimulate the economy.

The Bush administration and its congressional allies want to make Americans formally request the money so that taxpayers know they are getting a "gift" from an embattled Republican president in a difficult election year.

Bush is shameful.

But the IRS is being even more shameful when it plays along with this charade.

There is general agreement that a simple computer program could identify the Social Security number and address of everyone who is owed a stimulus check, and the checks could be dispatched quickly and with a minimum of hassle.

That's not happening for all the wrong -- read: political -- reasons.

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl is right to be calling on the IRS and Social Security Administration to increase outreach efforts to let Wisconsinites know what they must do to qualify for the payments.


No comments:

Your Info