Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2008


Why must the IRS spend extra millions to let the people know they are going to get something they already know is coming?

March 27, 2008


Journalism teachers often instruct students that the best formula for a good analytical article is to (1) inform readers what you're going to tell them, (2) tell them, then (3) tell them what you've told them.

Somebody in the federal government, be they in Congress, at the White House or some other Washington bureau, must have decided that is also a good way to handle the recently approved economic stimulus package. The only problem is that in their zeal to get things moving and to make themselves look good, bureaucrats will be spending millions of dollars, our dollars, allegedly to let the populace know what is happening.

One Internal Revenue Service mailing already has been sent out, at an estimated cost of almost $42 million, "informing" taxpayers that some 130 million of them are going to be getting rebate checks of $300, $600 and even $1,200. And this first missive says there will be another notice later to focus on what is happening (and that means more millions of dollars in cost).

It isn't as though the well-orchestrated stimulus package didn't get enough coverage when officials were trying to depict themselves as saviors in arranging for the payouts. Says the IRS:

"We are sending this notice to let you know that based on this new law the IRS will begin sending the one-time payments starting in May. To receive a payment in 2008, individuals who qualify will not have to do anything more than file a 2007 tax return. The IRS will determine eligibility, figure the amount and send the payment." How thoughtful of the IRS!

General rules of allocation then are outlined with emphasis on the fact that people to get the money must file tax returns.

The stimulus effort has its merits. With the economy slowing in many sectors, more spendable income in more American hands is likely to boost activity. While there are critics of the stimulus program, those who believe it is needed are in the majority, by far. They believe the billions due to be circulated may well create some valuable activity.

All well and good, but why spend the millions it takes to let people know what they already know due to a big publicity campaign about the stimulus package?

So the government has told people, will tell them again, then will send out the money. Can we expect still another mailing after the handouts to bring things full circle: Tell them it's coming, tell them again, send the money and then - hopefully not - let them know it's been sent?

This, again, is a terribly frustrating event at a time when the millions being used for the handout mailings can be used for so many worthwhile ventures. It's another example of "your tax dollars" at work, too often, by the government to make itself look good.


Magpie 6 years ago

I think the excess mailing is part of the stimulus plan. The more people get excited about that money, the more they'll go out and spend NOW, or that is the idea anyway. I, too, am completely irked that I got this dummy tax paper in the mail with no check inside, but I understand that it probably has stimulating effects. Plus, isn't junk mail the cornerstone of the U.S. Postal Service these days? Most people will have probably spent their paltry $300 several times over by the time the money shows up.


bobberboy 6 years ago

They are trying a s hard as they can to piss away the social security fund.


Pilgrim 6 years ago

This is all being done at the direction of Congress, which is once again showing its opinion of its constituents. They think we're too stupid to read a newspaper or watch TV or listen to the radio. If there's anyone out there who meets that criteria, they deserve to miss out on this "freebie."


macon47 6 years ago

one of the reasons was to prevent millions of calls by the welfare pimps, wanting to know "when does we gets our check?" i agree it is a waste of money, but so is the rebate program. too little too late for alot of the wrong people . just another bandaid the liquior stores will rejoice when the poverty pimps get thier checks


hawkperchedatriverfront 6 years ago

All the mailings of the IRS perpetuates someone's job, just like the social service pimp jobs in Lawrence. Employees are needed, but not an overabundance. KU is a good example of a bloated employment agency, along with USD 497. Why should anyone be surprised that the IRS is too. Plus, this filing by folks who havn't filed in years is going to provide the IRS new ID numbers to check on. There is more to this than just mailing out a paltry $300 to some old age pensioner, the $300 will barely cover one months heat and electricity. This is truly '"intrustion" at it's best.


BigPrune 6 years ago

Just for writing this editorial, the editors have set themselves up for an audit by the IRS (Oh, I forgot, that only happened when Clinton was president).


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