Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Check's In The Mail

By now, most of us in the U.S. have received our letter from the IRS, informing us that the rebate check will be sent to us next month. (At a cost of $42 million dollars)

In case you’ve been on a desert island for the past two months with no contact with the civilized world, news sources, or e-mail. I’m talking about the government’s decision to send us all money to help the economy.

A few weeks ago, I contacted my senators and state representative to ask them to pay a visit to the IRS office and suggest that maybe they should just send the checks instead of the letters. That would save the taxpayers $42 million dollars, because that is the price tag for actually mailing the checks next month. If we only had one mailing that included the check, we wouldn't have to pay $84 million for our rebates.

Being an idealist, I was hoping that one of the senators, or my local representative would jump on the chance to do the right thing.

Sadly, the response I received from my state representative was a form letter thanking me for my inquiry about restrictions on credit cards and proposed tax increases. One senator also thanked me for my interest in tax reform, and the other just sent a form letter letting me know that the amount of mail received makes it impossible to respond personally to every letter, but I could rest assured that he has the concerns of all constituents in mind as he conducts business in Washington. (Not his exact words, but close enough.)

Hello? That is not what I wrote you about.

I was disappointed. Really disappointed. There is still a part of me that wishes....hopes...would like our representatives to really represent us. That we can have some influence on what happens in Washington. Otherwise, we might as well sit back and just let them steamroll us.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Don't Waste My Money

Some of you may have read the news item about the latest waste of money that someone in Washington decided was a good idea. The IRS is spending about $42 million dollars to send letters to let taxpayers know that rebate checks will be in the mail. The notices are going out this month to an estimated 130 million households who filed returns for the 2006 tax year, at a cost $41.8 million. This was confirmed by IRS spokesman John Lipold.

This is part of that economy stimulus plan pushed through congress a few weeks ago that none of us had a say in. And now the government is going to spend 32 cents to print, process and mail each letter to these 130 million households. And, oh, it doesn't include the tab for another round of mailings planned for those who didn't file tax returns last year but may still qualify for a rebate.

I don't often take partisan sides in political nonsense, but I have to agree with the Democrats who have called this a waste of money. I only wish they had not held back and called it what it is. A colossal waste of money. Our money. Not the government's. OUR MONEY.

If you would like to join me in protesting this measure, contact your local representatives and senators and ask them to stop this nonsense. Contact them via the Web site for the U.S. Government.

We do a lot of complaining about government. At least I know I do, so I am making a conscious effort to be more involved in the process. I guess the idealist in me still believes that we can make a difference. So I am contacting as many members of the House and Senate as I can and voicing my concerns about this measure.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Guest Blogger

A few weeks ago Mike Befeler let me be a guest blogger on his blog, so this week I am returning the favor. Mike is a mystery writer with a fascinating central character who is a "geezer." Interesting concept and well worth checking out his books.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed since becoming a mystery writer is attending mystery conferences. Next week the Left Coast Crime 2008 conference takes place in Denver, Colorado. Over four hundred mystery fans and writers will congregate for panels, discussions, awards and general schmoozing. I attended this conference last year when it was held in Seattle. One of the highlights was a night tour of the Seattle underground, the old street level of Seattle that has now been covered over. At this year’s conference I have the pleasure of introducing twenty new mystery authors at the New Authors’ Breakfast on Friday, March 7. I’ll also be moderating a panel titled, “What’s Age Got To Do With It?” If any of you are attending, stop me to say hello. I’m the geezer-in-training who will be wearing a straw hat with “Geezer-lit Mysteries” on it.

Mike Befeler
Author of Retirement Homes Are Murder
Web site: