2008-03-20 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

There's Nothing Like A "Feel Good" Letter From The IRS
By Charles Rogers

View From The Middle
There's Nothing Like A "Feel Good" Letter From The IRS
By Charles Rogers

I'll bet you didn't get your letter yet. Well, I did. I waited on the steps to my house from Friday evening when I came home from work and sat through a rainstorm through the night because I knew the letter was coming and the anticipation just got the best of me.

When I saw the mailman coming up the block at about 10 a.m. Saturday, I couldn't contain myself and ran and stumbled as fast as I could to catch up with him, at which time he sprayed me with pepper spray, thinking I was a dog trying to bite his leg. But as my eyesight cleared, he handed me the envelope with the return address: IRS-DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY-INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE.

How smart! How elegant! How impressive! I felt that the mailman must think I am a big government deal, getting letters addressed privately to me - from Washington. "This guy must be a 'Mister Big Deal'," he probably said to himself. It didn't really bother me too much when I saw quite a few, uh, maybe a lot of envelopes just like mine sticking out of his bag. There must be quite a few "Mister Big Deals" in my neighborhood, I thought.

My hands trembled as I started to open the envelope and gently pulled the well-folded letter from within. Although there were no neighbors around, and the mailman had gone on his rounds by this time, I pulled the letter closer to my chest so no one else could see it because I saw it had a notation - printed in red - along the top, similar to those that say, "TOP SECRET - FOR YOUR EYES ONLY," just like a James Bond movie.

What it did say, was, "Enclosed is an important message from the IRS. DO NOT THROW AWAY!"

"I won't," I yelled aloud, and then cleared my throat, hoping no one heard me, although they might have seen me salute.

"Economic Stimulus Payment Notice," the letter was headlined, followed by the salutation (meant specifically for me, I'm sure): "Dear Taxpayer....." I almost flipped! How fantastically nice of them to call me by that quaint name! It kind of set the friendly tone for the body of the letter, which started out, "We are pleased to inform you..."

I put it down for a moment, unable to clear the tears from my eyes right away, and bit my lower lip (just like Bill Clinton) in an effort to control myself.

I'll try again, I thought, clearing my throat and squaring my shoulders. "We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which provides for economic stimulus payments to be made to over 130 million households..."

Whoa! Wait a minute. It's nice of them to inform me, but here I thought I was getting a letter just for me . To find out the same damn letter went to over 129,999,999 other people was pretty much of a shock. And what might my mailman be thinking now?

"Under this new law, you may be entitled to a payment of up to $600 ($1,200 if filing a joint return), plus additional amounts for each qualifying child," the letter continued.

Yada, yada, yada, it rambled, going on to say we'll start getting the payments in May if we filed a 2007 tax return. Yay!

Big deal!

The next part of the letter patted themselves on the back for giving us all this money so we could "stimulate" the economy by paying some of our past-due bills. Then it proceeded to repeat everything it said in the first part of the letter - as any and every government agency does - mainly in an effort to tell us how wonderful they are and what they're doing with the money they receive on April 15 of every year from our pockets.

On the reverse side of the letter was a graphic that told us exactly the same information that was written - twice - on the inside of the letter.

It's nice of the IRS and President Bush to want to send us money so we can get the economy going again. Of course, if this stimulant doesn't get the economy back on track, you can bet your boots they'll blame US for not going out and spending that money the way they want us to.

Oh, incidentally, according to Washington pundits, that big fat letter I and 129,999,999 people got in the mail was sent out at a cost of $42,000,000.

Why didn't they save the money and just send us the check? Ya gotta give them credit, though. The letter was printed on recycled paper.

Ya'know? I think the next time I see the mailman coming up the block and it looks like he has another one of those stupid government envelopes with him addressed to me, I'll open it (in front of him) and, unless it's a check, I'll spray him with pepper spray and bite his leg!


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