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How Greedy Was My Valley
Bernard Kaye

If you are unemployed or about to be laid-off, or you have severe cash need, this opinion piece is not meant for you.

But if you are one of the many Americans continuing to experience and enjoy prosperity, please read on. And if the shoe described below fits, wear it with my compliments.

In the late 1930s-early 1940s, there was a great movie, adapted from a wonderful book, "How Green Was My Valley," by Richard Llewellyn. Though my memory of the movie may be fading, the author remembered with great love and affection his Welsh coal-miner family and its valley's struggles against poverty, the oppression of mine owners, the raw toughness of life, and most important, his family's love and concern for all of the family, though they had serious differences.

How will I remember my family, the American voting population, and my valley, the U.S. Congress, twenty or thirty years from now? In part, my remembrance will be based on how they react to the current get-the-vote by quick-tax-refund and massive tax-cut drive of President George W. Bush and his Republican and Conservative allies. Bush wants to secure votes for 2002 and 2004 by forcing a quickly legislated tax-refund and massive tax-cut in the face of overpowering evidence that the projected surpluses on which they are based are just that, projections and not certainties?

Compound the scenario with the huge national debt created during the Reagan presidency, need for Social Security and Medicare funding, big increases for defense spending, for education of our children requiring more funds for school facilities and teachers' salaries, and as a side show, the pouring of sixty to one hundred billion dollars into a Star Wars- Missile Defense System.

Something has to give. Federal Reserve System Chairman Alan Greenspan did not say that President Bush's tax cut should be enacted. Greenspan did say that a tax cut was preferred over increased government spending to boost the economy. Taken in context, that is a far cry from the Bush tax cut proposal which was intended by him to get votes to become president, which it did, and now is intended to gain votes for Republicans in 2002 and 2004, which it may, or may not.

That is up to my family, the American voters and my valley, our Congress.

What I hear now from my family and from my valley is sheer greed. The phrase, "The surplus is the people's money" is political contrivance and nonsense. It is not the people's money. It is government money legally collected for government use. It is yours only in the amount that you overpaid as tax laws defined overpayment when you paid it. In most cases, you did not overpay.

The question is, "Should the Republican congress and President refund it as fast as possible to you to get your votes in 2002 and 2004; damn the children and their health and their schools. Also, damn the elderly, damn the ill, damn the environment, damn the national debt, and commit to Star Wars in a rush without thinking it through, or should congress and the president hold hearings, carefully consider all relevant budget, social and national interest concerns and problems and arrive at a well-reasoned and not vote-oriented tax cut?"

I vote for reason and for the classic approach to legislation. Hold hearings, listen to witnesses, and reason it out to arrive at sensible adjustments and legislation intended to benefit our family, not in a rush to greed, and appeal to greed which President Bush, his advisors and sponsors and congress have so carefully planned. They are taking advantage of your current greed, "Give me my biggest possible tax refund and tax cut now, now, now, regardless of all other concerns." Your greed is like a too tight shoe; the pain closes out thinking and consideration for our country.

To expect the Democrats to stop the Republican tax cutting vote-getting juggernaut is a waste of expectation. It is for you the voters to decide that we are to have sensible fiscal policy by so informing your Senators.

Or you can ignore that it will be too much for our national family to bear while keeping the family healthy, prosperous and intact for the future. Just stop reasoning, stop budgeting, stop worrying and say, "Though now I am more prosperous than ever, I want my tax-refund and tax-cut money now." Yes, you pay taxes every which way, but every which way you also enjoy services, facilities, prosperity and security unheard of until you started to enjoy them. They are not cheap, and there is the national debt that also is yours.

If you want the biggest refund possible and before it prudently can be calculated, then you have succeeded in two areas: firstly, you have your idol of greed in the White House and secondly, the shoe of greed is yours, it is too tight but it fits you. Wear it and damn my memories, yours too.