June 7, 2001

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if our country were headed into a recession, with headlines filled with news of lay-offs, business declining and stock market crashes? One wouldn't expect a newly elected president, one who barely won the election at that, to be real popular considering he was taking the place of a man who had the good fortune of spending eight of the richest years in U.S. history in office. However, come July I suspect President Bush will be quite a popular man. You see it's "His" tax plan that will be responsible for the letter U.S. residents will begin receiving on July 12 telling them how much of a tax refund they can expect courtesy of the recently approved legislation.

According to recently published figures, anyone who paid income tax in the year 2000 can expect a tax refund of up to $300. That's for a single person. Married couples could expect twice that much while a single parent could get up to $500 back. I suspect if GW had promised as a campaign slogan that every tax payer who voted for him would get $300 back from the IRS, we would not have had to worry about pregnant chats and Florida's recounting ability.

The letters will be mailed July 12 and the checks will begin flowing at a rate of nearly 11 million per day from July 20 into September. Shoot, that ought to be enough stamps to keep the post office from having to raise the rates again until at least October.

I can't help but appreciate the new tax plan. It doubles the $500 child deduction to $1,000 just in time for baby #2. (In case the in-laws have not made it to your home - I think they're going door-to-door for announcements - the stork is set to arrive out our home again in November). The new law also changes caps on Individual Retirement Accounts allowing us to invest up to $5,000 in the IRA funds instead of just $2,000. It eliminates the marriage penalty and makes several other needed changes. Of course the rich benefit enormously as the top tax bracket will see a decline from 39 percent to 35 percent. But heck, I'll take that. Shoot as soon as my editorial skills are recognized by the world, I might move into that high tax bracket courtesy of the What If syndicated column.

Our country overlooked the fact that we had a lying, cheating adulterer in the White House because the stock market was booming and the economy was zooming. Now we have a president, whose intelligence level has been questioned (well at least made fun of in about every other email joke I get these days) and who supposedly has alcohol and drug issues in his background. It makes me afraid to consider what we will let old GW get away with thanks to his get-out-of-jail-free card that he just bought with the tax refunds. But then again, at least he didn't tell us that he invented the Internet or try to sleep with every woman who uses it.

While I'm on the subject of President Bush, did you catch the recent remarks by his mother? It seems the president's daughter got caught trying to purchase liquor even though she is under age. It seems like Grandma Bush was amused by the predicament her son was in, telling the press in her own words, she thought it was only fair that her son got a little payback for some of the same things he had done when he was a teenager. It was a sticky subject and she used the good old parental logic to defuse the topic and sweep it off the front pages. You should thank your mom, one for the publicity help, and two for not grounding you for the rest of your life, so you could come out of your room and be president of the United States.

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