AARP Complains Not Enough of Stimulus Goes to Seniors

January 26, 2008

You knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time before one of the biggest interest groups in the country weighed in on the fiscal stimulus agreement reached between the White House and the House leadership. The AARP is pressuring senators to expand the fiscal stimulus so that more money can go to senior citizens who don’t pay income taxes. The stimulus already includes money for those who work yet pay no income taxes. Now we are being told that it needs to be expanded to those who don’t work and pay no income taxes yet earn some sort of retirement income.

Should these seniors be included? Who knows? Maybe. When dealing with a policy that is designed primarily to stimulate the economy, any arbitrary policy can almost be justified to some degree. But what this shows is that there is a problem in trying to use the tax code as the main vehicle for fiscal stimulus and/or social policy. Everyone is always going to complain that they are being shortchanged, despite the fact that getting money to everyone is difficult.

On second thought…maybe we should just send helicopters over every major city in the country and drop out $20 bills. And we can even make AARP happy by putting double the money in the helicopters that fly over golf courses in Florida and Arizona.

UPDATE: The cries have been heard by the Senate. News reports now indicate that the Senate will push for senior citizens with no income to be included in the rebate package, with the result that individual rebates will be cut from $600 to $500, and rebates for couples cut from $1,200 to $1,000.


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