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The Times

Instead of bailouts, suspend income tax

It seems that Congress is always able to surpass its previous level of either chicanery or stupidity. Either our representatives are making a wedding gift commemorating the unholy marriage between big money and big government, or someone needs to hand them a sign saying "I'm Stupid!"


The recent hand-over-fist outpourings of Americans' money to lenders and others have already exceeded a trillion dollars and now they are considering dishing out as much again to everyone except those who need relief.

The current crisis is that people are losing their homes and people are losing their jobs, making the purchase of goods and services beyond their reach which leads to more people losing their jobs and unable to pay for their homes. So, why are they giving the people's money to bankers and corporations that can afford to hand out $100 million plus bonuses to CEOs who have managed to fail their companies into government bestowed prosperity? Give them their signs.

Congress needs to put the water on the fire, not on the arsonists. One simple move could regenerate and stimulate our economy without writing a single check and would cost less than half in reduced revenues of what they have handed out and are proposing to hand out.

It couldn't be simpler or more obvious: Suspend the collection and withholding of personal income tax, effective immediately.

For no more than the initial $700 billion "bailout" to lenders and less than the current "stymie us" plan, additional (and earned) revenues can be instantly injected into millions of working households across the country. No check writing, no administration, no weighing and balancing of requests and, most importantly, no printing (and borrowing) more phony dollar bills to further dilute the buying power of working and struggling American families. Just distribution would be self-effecting because not one dollar would go to anyone who had not already earned it.

The impact would be felt on the first payday following the suspension. What would those earned dollars do for those in distress as opposed to giving truckloads of the money they've earned to corporate and political cronies? What effect would that have on local, state and national economies? People who are struggling to avoid foreclosure on their homes may be able to save them (Wasn't that the problem?).

The economic boom would create the need for more workers to meet the increased demand for goods and services — people go back to work. The boom would also generate a spike in local and state tax revenues, allowing them to reduce their dependency on federal grants. Isn't being independent a good thing? Isn't saving federal grant money a good thing? Give 'em their sign.

What would happen to the revenues the federal government receives (already accounting for 70 percent of revenues) on its 80-something other taxes? Does the current "stymie us" plan automatically pay itself back in other revenues? Give 'em their sign.

Everyone needs to tell Congress to wise up, remove their "I'm Stupid!" signs and do what is best for America, its states and, above all, the people it is supposed to be serving. Suspend the collection and withholding of personal income taxes effective immediately.

Tom Cryer is a Shreveport resident.

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