Friday, May 02, 2008


GETTING STIMULATED


When it comes to stimulation, often as not you'll find me first in line. I've got nothing against being stimulated, as long as it isn't by a government; that's like being stimulated by an oversized steam-driven contraption in desperate need of oil.

So I chuckled when I heard about the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the Diebold president’s Surge-like plan to save the US economy from what he and his crew have done to it, by giving each not-yet-completely-broke citizen a nanodrop to put in their personal debt bucket-- if they don’t, under the circumstances, simply blow the check on a few cases of beer.

With a national debt in the trillions and a derivative threat of many more trillions, the crew call $300 an Economic Stimulus. (Those with qualifying income of less than $3000 [!] and tax liability of zero don’t get stimulated at all; somehow that makes a GOP kind of sense.)

I expected, though, since I’ve been living outside the country for the past 35 years, that I personally would not get stimulated in such a way. But not long ago I received one of those classy tear-along-dotted-lines-to-open letters from my relentless friend the IRS, addressed precisely to my foreign home, informing me of my possibly being entitled to a payment of anywhere from zero to $600 "plus additional amounts for each qualifying child.” In natural disbelief I looked the pulp document over carefully, searching for the must-be-there clause along the lines of “...those who have lived overseas for more than 34 years and have never paid any US taxes do not qualify for the Stimulus Payment, and will be liable for $10,000 or more in Life Elsewhere Tax for every year spent abroad.”

But I could find no sign of the naysay clause that characterizes hopefully scanned government/financial/insurance documents; there was nothing specifying my ineligibility, not even in the small print or between the lines. Can I therefore expect-- my “Net Income Tax Liability” being “Zero” (Foreign-Earned Income Exclusion) and my “Qualifying Income” being “At least $3000"-– a check from the IRS for this summer’s beer? According to this hedgy letter, I can.

Actually, I suspect I’ll get the old steam-delivered naysay clause instead of a check, but that's ok-- I’d rather not be stimulated by the G-device; who knows where it's been.

Anyway, E pluribus unum, Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes and so forth.


7 comments:

Tabor said...

The cost alone of mailing this little piece of propaganda to the masses makes me cringe.

Bob Brady said...

Yeah, they could have emailed it and used the savings to restore New Orleans... But then, you know how steam is...

Winston said...

If you have paid in no taxes, yet you get a stimulus check, and I did pay taxes, then is it not true that I sent you a check (indirectly, of course, but nevertheless...) to pay for your summer beer? You're welcome... Enjoy...

We haven't decided what to do with our windfall. Perhaps buy a tank of gasoline...

Bob Brady said...

Thanks, Winston; here's to you. If I get a big G-raspberry in the mail, here's to you anyway. Sorry I couldn't help pay for your gasoline...

Nowee said...

I think it scary somehow. If they feel like giving peanuts to the people, then it means the situation is so much out of control they need their people to look at something else.
To me it isn't a way to "excuse themselves", but a way to recognize how wrong are the superpower finances.

As would the romans have said, "panem et circenses"

Bob Brady said...

The panem et circenses are the media... and nearly all are enthralled... here's hope for the unenthralled (i.e, free)... May nowee remain among them...

joared said...

"Let them eat cake..." that's what you're supposed to use your windfall stimulus for -- what is this business about beer??? Do we have to declare this as income on our taxes for 2008?