Limited Taxation
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Barbara's Column
July 2001 #4

Some suggestions on what to do with your tax rebate.
(Hint: Don't give it to Congress to spend!)

by Barbara Anderson

The Salem Evening News
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Over the next two months most of us taxpayers will be getting a federal income tax rebate of up to $300 each. The tax cut was suggested by President George W. Bush and passed by the majority of Congress, with some leading Democrats protesting that, a) the tax cut was too big; b) it's just a few dollars a day and therefore worthless to taxpayers, and; c) the federal government can spend it more wisely than we can.

There are actually some Massachusetts taxpayers who have been quoted making that same statement about the superior spending wisdom of the federal government. Some humility may be appropriate; there are people who buy swamp land in Florida or invest in Internet companies made of air, and government admirers may be among them.

But ask yourself this question: Are political spenders who get their money by threatening us with the IRS going to be as careful with it as those who have to work for each paycheck or take risks for each dividend payment?

Anyhow, those who want can send the federal rebate check back to Washington. Or they can take the advice of some liberals and donate it to political organizations whose goal it is to make sure we never get another tax cut as long as we live.

The rest of us have the enviable job of deciding how to spend this return of our own, over-collected money. Here are ten random ideas on what to do with your tax rebate.

1. Buy plane tickets to visit your family. I just returned from seeing my twin grandchildren and figure there can't be anything better than doing it again.

2. Sponsor a child with the Christian Children's Fund or Save the Children. For about, coincidentally, $300 a year, you can make a real difference in a small life.

3. Send a contribution to a veterans' organization.

4. Adopt a pet, or contribute to an animal shelter.

5. Surprise your pastor with an anonymous donation.

6. Send a contribution in honor of Ronald Reagan to an Alzheimer's research foundation. Or contribute to the defeat of another disease that has attacked someone you know.

7. Save for your own rainy day. If you're young, set aside for your retirement, because Social Security is estimated to be bankrupt by 2038. Or start saving for "family leave" when you have a baby or need to care for elderly parents.

8. Fly off-season to Disney World. If you doubt you'll ever be able to take a trip around the world, Epcot is the next best thing.

9. Contribute voluntarily to an "open space" project in your community.

10. Send a contribution to the Committee to Elect or Re-elect politicians who work to let you keep more of your own money for your own priorities.

Or, you can return the check immediately to the federal government for your congressman to spend on something more worthwhile than any of the above.

Recent congressional spending choices, according to the 2001 edition of Citizens Against Government Waste's "Congressional Pig Book" have included:

1. Vidalia onion research, in this case "pungency testing."

2. Premarital sex workshops (for those singles who can't figure out how to get in trouble by themselves).

3. Development of a "smart truck" at the National Automotive Center. Bet you didn't know there was a National Automotive Center

4. A national water sports center.

5. And, if the water freezes, an Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

6. A Rice Museum. "And over here, ladies and gentlemen, Uncle Ben's brown rice in a rectangular box...."

7. A media literacy project. (Just read the reviews!)

8. A historic study of jazz in Moscow, and, a Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis.

9. Money to house a clock that was shot down during Pancho Villa's raid on the United States.

10. Swine waste management.

I choose management of waste created by porker congressmen, otherwise known as a tax cut. Thanks, President Bush.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem Evening News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

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