CNN is reporting:
" The federal government, eager to boost the flagging economy, will start distributing special tax rebates on Monday - five days earlier than expected, the Treasury Department said Thursday.
The department had said last month that it would begin giving rebates on May 2.
Instead, 800,000 tax filers daily will get rebates on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. No rebates will be distributed on Thursday, and 5 million payments will be made on Friday.
The payments will go out ahead of schedule because of a new computer program that updates records daily - faster than an older program that updates weekly, according to Andrew DeSouza, a Treasury spokesman.
Checks are being distributed to people who file 2007 tax returns. Those who opt for direct deposit with the Internal Revenue Service will start getting rebates before those who use the mail.
The program calls for rebates of up to $600 for single filers making less than $75,000. Couples making less than $150,000 would receive rebates of up to $1,200. In addition, parents would receive $300 rebates per child. Tax filers who do not owe income taxes but have at least $3,000 in income would get a $300 rebate.Rebates to taxpayers slated to get paper checks will start to go out on May 9 - one week earlier than originally planned"
I applaud the IRS on its new computer system and its newly found efficiency. But I strongly suspect that given a national average gasoline price of $3.46 and the rising cost of food, there may have been a little pressure from Pennsylvania Avenue to get the checks out asap and momentarily divert Americans' attention. And a quick moment it will be because $600 (for an individual) and $1,200 ( for a couple) won't stretch very far.
- the average price for regular gasoline is $3.27,
- the average cost of a gallon of 2% low-fat milk is $4.29,
- the supermarket brand loaf of whole wheat bread averages $2.00,
- a dozen grade A large eggs is $2.79, and
- 5 lbs of long grain rice is $3.99
Speaking of rice, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Yet this past Tuesday, President Bush stated, "We're not in a recession, we're in a slowdown."
" The climbing global price of rice and other staples shows no sign of leveling off, given caps placed on exports and various supply-side squeezes. As a result, food experts predict hunger and poverty in poor nations along with a restricted supply of grains coupled with rising prices in this country.
The worldwide rice crisis lapped over into the United States this week when Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, the two biggest warehouse retail chains, limited the amount of bulk imported rice customers can buy. Sam's Club said the restriction is due to 'recent supply and demand trends.'
Meanwhile, the combined campaign fund-raising totals for all of the candidates running in the 2008 US presidential primary election race has exceeded $800 million. Now if that hasn't stimulated the US economy I can only wonder where we'd be if this wasn't an election year.
$800 MILLION spent, to date, in an effort by politicians to convince the American public that they can solve our economic problems among hundreds of other critical issues.
Is anyone else beginning to suspect that no one in Washington has a clue of just how bad this mess could get or how to fix it ?