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California Tax Refunds

December 29, 1987

It is popular in some quarters to scoff at the modest tax rebates now being mailed out. What will people do with them? Buy a couple tankfuls of gas, an evening's dinner, perhaps a few gifts. Meanwhile, we have unmet social needs! The money should go to the schools, the homeless, to society's victims! What sort of callous, unfeeling society would deny these needs?

I'll tell you what sort. It's a society that believes that the dollars earned by wage earners belong to those who earn them, and not to the state.

It is entirely right that those rebates represent a drop in the bucket to most people. But it is also true that these funds represent a drop in the bucket of those who seek to set our social agenda.

"The needs are so great," we are told, which is why our rebates should be canceled and our taxes raised. But under that slogan there is no end. To hold the needs of others as paramount is to sanction an open-ended raid on the people's wages and earnings, limited only by their ability to pay.

When the liberals begin to speak not only of "unmet needs" but of the effective use of available funds and resources--when they begin to insist that recipients of public support owe obligations to the rest of us--when they accept that America's taxpaying middle class is as deserving of respect as the homeless and poor--then the time may come when those rebates could be canceled. But that time, I fear, is far away.

T.A. HEPPENHEIMER

Fountain Valley

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