I almost fell off my chair when I read the story in today’s Journal on A6 about a pilot program the Treasury is running to give some taxpayers their refunds via debit cards. They’re going to send an offer out to 600,000 taxpayers, in the lower brackets, mind you. The idea is that many of them don’t have checking accounts, and this is an easier way for them to get their refunds, and less costly than those check-cashing joints.
But to me this is another stealth stimulus. Sending debit cards loaded with cash to poor people? (Can we call them poor anymore? Are we allowed to use that word? Well, come on in and scrub the post if you want; if they can do it to Mark Twain, they can do it to us.) You can’t tell me the subtle goal here is to get people to go out and spend money. We all know, or have been told repeatedly, that “lower-income” people (not poor, mind you, nobody in America is poor) are more apt to spent their income immediately; I imagine that’d go for refund checks as well.
So, our profligate government is encouraging profligacy among the what are likely its least financially sophisticated citizens. Welcome to Bizarro America, folks.