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By David Chandler
[This Letter to the Editor (with small variations) was sent to the Fresno Bee, Los Angeles Times, Visalia Times Delta, & the Porterville Recorder]
It appears that the Republicans in the House want to hand out $775 billion in a way that would give 70% of the benefit to people with incomes over $200,000. (They don't tell us how much would go to those in the billionaire category, but you can bet it is a substantial fraction of the total!) Congress appears to be set on keeping the general fund impoverished so it can claim it is too poor to fund Social Security or Medicare, build roads and bridges, improve funding for schools and colleges, pay down the national debt, or do anything else that would benefit the population as a whole.
If they are dead set on giving away the store, why not at least distribute it evenly. According to the census bureau's population clock (http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/popclock) at this moment the population of the United States is 273,074,695 people. If you do the division, the giveaway comes out $2838.05 for every man, woman, and child in this country. If you are in a family of four and you aren't getting your $11,352.20 you are getting cheated.
More likely you may get $50-$100 or so knocked off your taxes, if you are lucky, and even that will be more than compensated for by hidden costs to be made up down the line. Meanwhile millionaires stand to receive handouts of $100s of thousands and billionaires stand to receive $100s of millions, and a few of the very top could pocket several billion.
Why not kill two birds with one stone. The census is coming up. Everyone knows certain segments of the population are chronically undercounted. Why not tie the giveaway to registering for the census? We will get an accurate census for the first time in history.