On federal budget surplus and taxes

by Wm. Robert Johnston
4 March 1999

Dear Editor:

Recently I have found out that I have been overcharged by an establishment I deal with, as have many other Brownsville residents. Specifically, I was overcharged about 10% in all my dealings with them in 1998. What disturbs me is the possibility that this establishment will not refund this overcharge to me or anybody else. You see, the CEO of this establishment recently admitted that most of their customers had been overcharged, but publicly stated that he would rather not refund the money. Instead, he wants to put that money into a nearly bankrupt side enterprise. He assures me and the other customers that this is better for us, because this side enterprise is a retirement plan that I and many other customers use. He even wants to continue this practice of overcharging. The board of directors is talking about supporting the CEO's plan--even though his plan will not change the projected bankruptcy.

I would prefer to switch to another retirement plan. The problem is, I'm not allowed to. You see, the establishment I'm referring to is the U.S. federal government. The budget surplus Clinton is so proud of resulted from our being overtaxed every payday and every April 15. The side enterprise is Social Security, which provides Americans with maybe 10 cents on the dollar compared to private investments.

But what really bothers me is that most of the other customers--who are also stock-holders--don't care enough to ask for their money back. It's ironic, considering that this establishment was set up for the stockholders in 1776 by people who thought they were overtaxed.

(printed in The Brownsville Herald 9 March 1999)

© 1999, 2003, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 27 January 2008.
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