May 1, 2008

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if the federal government had to call one of those credit card relief companies we all see advertised on television all the time?

Not that the U.S. Government uses a MasterCard or Visa account, but I canít help but question some of the latest moves that truly resemble the same financial decisions that I have to believe result in the insurmountable credit card debt that hounds these debt relief companyís customers.

As a Republican, I hate to do this, but two of my partyís leaders could be poster children for InCharge or Freedom Debt Relief.

I envision the commercial with President George Bush saying - I had trillions of dollars of credit card charges before I went to InCharge and they worked with my creditors to create one manageable monthly paymentÖ

I hope they can do that. John McCain may be right in line with George looking for debt relief if his proposal to repeal the federal gasoline tax this summer comes to fruition.

While neither of these men needs any personal financial aid, their policies have me questioning if our great nation may want to ask the men for the credit cards so we can cut them up and toss them in the trash. (Now there is a debt solution that I will offer and wonít even charge you for.)

I understand our country is in an economic recession. Yes I used the R word. I also realize that plenty of financial masterminds generated the plans for the economic stimulus package and have offered the policy ideas for the summer gas tax holiday. Iím sure they know what they are doingÖ okay well I pray that they do.

I know I can not be the only one who wonders how we are going to pay for all of this?

Sure Iíll be happy to cash my familyís economic stimulus check. Iíve even pledged to try and spend it soon after it arrives, hoping to aid in achieving the goal of jump starting the national economy. I just hope that while Iím watching my new flat screen television, or surfing the internet on my new laptop computer, that I donít feel too guilty about robbing from the future to pay for the present.

This author feels the same way about McCainís proposal to offer fuel tax amnesty in light of the high gasoline prices. When it only costs $70 to fill my truck (can you imagine we would have ever read only and $70 in the same sentence about filling up anything but rocket fuel?) thereíll be plenty of Democrats happy to call McCain their president.

However Iíd recommend putting all of that saved gas money into a CD or just mail it to the mechanic and autobody shops now. Our cars will need it later to pay for all the extra wear and tear they will be getting in a few years because our roads will be in such poor shape. No fuel tax means no money to fix/build roads.

I only took one basic economics class in college, but I canít believe that the immediate gratification of cheaper gas prices will be warmly received when our economy falters even worse in a decade or two because of crumbling infrastructure.

If we donít need the taxes, then donít charge them ever. I believe we need the fuel taxes. As a matter of fact, I think we probably should raise these rates to help insure quality roads and highways. Unfortunately if McCainís credit card is used to pay for gas this summer, we will have to raise taxes just to pay off the deficit this policy will create.

Before all of my fellow Republicans band together to repeal my membership, let me say that both of these plans were warmly received across the isle by Democratic lawmakers. For years I have been chastising the other side for making such policy, giving it away today with little concern for tomorrow. One of the reasons I call myself a Republican is because I believe in fiscal responsibility. The War in Iraq has gotten us away from that, but it is time we return to trying to spend no more than we take in.

Drastic times make for drastic measures. I just donít believe that getting the U.S. credit cards out is the answer. Federal dollars are the straw that stirs the drink. Hopefully these plans will do just that and spur the stalled national economy. If not, I suspect those that proposed the policies will hope they arenít around when the debt collectors come calling.

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