CLT Update
Friday, June 22, 2001

"It's time to put your money where your mouth is"

"It's time to put your money where your mouth is. You didn't want it; give it away. You don't like the budget; make your own."

Ellen Goodman
Boston Globe Columnist
Jun. 21, 2001

Our Voluntary Tax concept is catching on ... even among liberals! Did you ever expect to see those above words published in the Boston Globe?

Or one of CLT's letters to the editor published so quickly (or at all)? [My letter, published today, follows Goodman's column.]

Year after year, an organization that tracks charitable giving in all 50 states consistently ranks Massachusetts at the bottom, last year 49th. Could this be due to the overwhelming liberal population here; to their utter lack of comprehension for giving voluntarily; to their total dependence on government and only government to address problems? It wouldn't surprise me.

But we've got their attention at last with our alternative: "You said you don't want or need it; simply don't take it!"

That has always be an incomprehensible notion for liberals. Propose it and they look at you like a deer in the headlights.

But today, it's catching on.

That's progress!

Chip Ford

PS. Note that Ms. Goodman doesn't want government deciding how to spend her tax rebate: "they'll use it for some missile fantasy." I wonder if she yet realizes that we all feel this way, when government takes almost 50 percent or our earnings for priorities and programs with which we might disagree? But, she is "growing"!

The Boston Globe
Thursday, June 21, 2001
Op Ed

Hush, everybody, the tax cut is coming
By Ellen Goodman
Globe Staff 

OK, so you were an opponent of the tax cut. You called the president's "tax relief" a four-letter word: S-C-A-M. You ranted about how the $1.3 trillion cut would benefit the rich at the expense of the rest.

When you heard about the $300 rebate, you sneered, "Oh goody, I'm rich." You figured that could pay for one month of your mom's prescription drugs or buy three sets of silver-plated place card holders from Saks Fifth Avenue. And when you discovered that 35 million low-income workers -- those who need it the most -- would get no rebate at all, you just about went apoplectic.

Well, guess what, pal: You're gonna get the money anyway. They don't just give the rebate to people who agree with the policy. You're one of the 91 million Americans who are going to be getting a big fat collective $38 billion.

Soon you'll get a letter announcing this with a fanfare: "We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed -- and President George W. Bush signed into law -- the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income taxes."

This will read like a rouse from Publishers Clearing House or a fund-raiser from the Republican National Committee, but it's from the IRS, and the message is simple: Here comes Santa.

The letter says something else: "You will be receiving a check. You need to take no additional steps." But there, dear IRS, I beg to differ. You do need to take additional steps. You need to figure out what you'll do with your 300 ill-gained bucks.

I know. Many folks regard the rebates as their money wrenched back from the thieves in Washington. Many regard it as found money, picked up on the sidewalk of a forgetful administration. Some regard it as house money in the big gamble of the Bush budget.

But you have a suspicion that it's also hush money designed to create silent accomplices.

It's time to put your money where your mouth is. You didn't want it; give it away. You don't like the budget; make your own.

"This is like a giant social experiment," says Richard Thau, president of Third Millennium, an advocacy group for young adults. "If you send unexpected money to tens of millions of households, what percentages of those households will give all or part of the rebate to charity?"

Thau is going to donate his own rebate to a program for homeless women. But his group has set up, a site that leads to, which lists 700,000 nonprofit groups. Many help the people that are hurt the most.

Tony Adams, a Houston Web site developer and a political "in-activist," goes a step further. The 35-year-old Adams, engaged to a woman who "pledged her rebate to shoes," didn't even vote in the last election. But he was so infuriated when Bush reinstituted the global gag rule against international family planning groups, he pledged his rebate to "help counteract Bush's actions."

His new Web site,, has already attracted more than 300 people who promised more than $100,000 to groups that oppose the administration on such things as international family planning, the environment, and civil rights. "People think I'm some kind of a liberal wacko," says Adams. "If your country is a car and about to veer off the road to the right, you got to jerk it pretty hard to the left to get it back onto the center."

Now I know that despite all your ranting, it's easiest to cash the check. You could pay down the credit cards or invest both checks at 8 percent and have $6,500 in 2031. Heck, no one-time rebate is going to create an alternative budget or an alternative politics. Your whole point is that individuals can't replace every function of a government. And you can't send it back to the government, or they'll use it for some missile fantasy.

But you've got a month or more to turn this rebate scam into a discussion about how to make a difference, where to begin and what's most important. You can be a $300-a-person philanthropist, a $600-a-couple social change agent.

And while you're putting your money where your mouth is, why let the tax-cut supporters off the hook? Didn't they tell us that private folks use the money more wisely than Washington?

When George W. signed this tax cut, he said, "This bill is more than just tax relief. This bill reflects a philosophy that says we trust the American people more than we trust government."

Now there's $38 billion coming our way. Sometimes hush money can make a very loud statement.

The Boston Globe
Friday, June 22, 2001
Letters to the Editor

Forced to take a tax cut?

ELLEN GOODMAN'S June 21 column was right on the money ("Hush, everybody, the tax cut is coming," op ed). Nobody should be forced to take or spend a tax cut against their will.

This is why Citizens for Limited Taxation filed a bill, a version of which is included in the Massachusetts House budget now in conference committee, that provides for a voluntary tax checkoff. It allows that 41 percent of voters who said "no" to Question 4 last November, those who stated they don't need or want a tax cut, to turn it down and continue paying the higher rate on state taxes.

We agree with Goodman: "It's time to put your money where your mouth is. You didn't want it; give it away."

Director of Operations
Citizens for Limited Taxation

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