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Can rebates really help?

May 20, 2008

Re "Thanks for almost nothing," Opinion, May 14

I agree with one of the central premises of Erica Sackin's well-written Op-Ed article: that President Bush's tax rebates are pointless and won't do any good. But I am concerned about why Sackin, "a gainfully employed 27-year-old," would have only $12 in her bank account and would charge her groceries to her credit card (apparently without paying it off each month).

Where does her income go? Does she, like many young professionals in New York, spend most of her money on rent? Perhaps she should move to a less expensive apartment in a less expensive part of town. Does she eat at trendy Manhattan restaurants on the weekends? Maybe she shouldn't. Does she have the latest clothes or shoes or electronics?

A major cause of young Americans' rising personal debt is their refusal to live within their means. And if they choose not to, is it really the responsibility of the government -- that is, the taxpayers -- to provide a "safety net"?

Joe Laska

Culver City

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Sackin's opinion is right on the money (pun intended). I am also a gainfully employed 27-year-old. In fact, I am gainfully employed twice over, working for both a marketing firm and as a server in the evenings and on weekends. I also have a hard time seeing how an extra $300 is going to significantly affect my life, or the economy for that matter. As soon as my check arrives, it will be going right back out to pay off money I already owe. In effect, it's already spent.

Rather than pumping more money into the economy, this rebate is pulling it out, placing more money into the hands of our creditors. Instead of giving the billions to the banks, maybe the president can use it for something worthwhile -- like bringing home the soldiers in Iraq.

Charles Pomerantz

Moorpark

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