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Location: United States

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Corporate Giveaway Instead of Help

Tragedy, as always, brings out the best and the worst in people. Uncommon kindness has become almost common as survivors of Hurricane Katrina have fanned out over the entire country. Homes, schools, hospitals, and hearts have been flung open wide to accept all who are in need. If ever America aspired to be a nation founded and ruled by Christian principles, it was this time, in these places, for these people.

Congress has also flung something open wide, but it isn't their hearts. It's their political opportunist instinct that has loosened their purse-strings in all the wrong ways for all the wrong people. On top of that, President Bush has promised that he will totally ignore the patent fact that increased spending requires increased revenues by repeating his father's Read My Lips pledge of no new taxes.

What Congress has done, instead of sending money and resources into Southern Louisianna, is give TAX BREAKS to survivors of Katrina. This is the kind of false aid that can only be called "aid" if you consider cutting off a leg a good cure for a sore toe. Let's totally forget the fact that a whole lot of people will not be earning any money for the rest of the year (hence not pay any taxes).

One of the things Congress has done is revoke penalties for the early withdrawal of IRAs. See, your IRA is supposed to be the first leg of your retirement planning (since Social Security isn't going to work). So, we cut off the leg to treat the sore toe of current problems. So what will they do when it comes time for these people to retire? Well, of course, they should have thought of that before they withdrew the funds early. After all, personal retirement is a personal responsibility, right?

When they file their taxes in april - SEVEN MONTHS FROM NOW - they can use their 2004 income to figure their tax credits. Now, if they can just stay alive until 2004. Don't worry about your rumbling tummy, Thiboudeaux, we'll eat in the Spring.

The idea of using your taxes to recoup uninsured and unreimbursed losses has the same problem. Don't worry about the lack of funds now, you'll have plenty later. Yeah, because no one worries about accepting cash or anything at the grocery store.

Oh yeah, there's now a good side to losing your house. If you can convince the mortgage company to completely forgive the debt you can write that off on your taxes. Seeing as how the mortgage companies just got through pushing through a bankruptcy bill that will make it harder for these people to legally have their debts forgiven, I don't see this as a big group.

Then they are giving companies a tax write-off for hiring people. Sounds great. However, most businesses already don't pay taxes on payroll. It's considered - rightly so - a cost of doing business. You pay taxes on profits, not gross receipts. Since payroll is a business expense that is taken out of the gross as part of legitimate tax expenses, this allows some employers to exempt their payroll from taxation, then write-off the entire payroll from their legitimate tax bill. The companies who benefit most will, of course, be those with high payrolls - like Halliburton (remember Halliburtion?).

Small businesses that continue to pay their employees (with non-existent money) can also write that expense off on their taxes.

Far be it for me to bring up the 2004 Presidential election, but Senator Kerry did warn about a President who displayed faith without works - and was widely criticized for doing so. Let's look back at the source of his speech - the Book of James. Specifically, let's look at the following two verses: James 2: 15-17.


Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.


Here, my friends, is a real world example of the very sort of faith without works that James spoke of. Without food and shelter, without a way to maintain business or home, our Congress has told the survivors of Katrina - "Be fed. Be comfortable. Write it off on your taxes." The only real benefit here is that big government contractors - like Halliburtion - will boost their bottom line. In the most Christian outpouring of real emotion and sympathy I have ever seen in my life, Congress has sought to harness that emotion and line their pockets with it.

I am proud of my countrymen and women. I am ashamed of our leadership.

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