Take the money and run
The check is in the mail. And with that check you will have the power to change the world. Unless, of course, you try and let common sense push you around.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the economy isn’t doing so well. It regularly tops polls regarding issues voters find most important, homes are being put up for foreclosure left and right and, as if that’s not enough, President Bush has been likening this possibly imminent recession to a bad case of the flu. Luckily, a so-called "booster shot for our economy," in the form of legislation that passed through Congress like a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup, is here to save the day – if you let it.
Never mind, for a moment, the logistics. A rare bipartisan effort, the intent of this stimulus package is to serve our drowsy market with a shot of adrenaline that, it is hoped, will spur more growth in the immediate future and put us on a path to long-term recovery. The idea is to give away "free" money to tax-payers and hope that they will know what to do with themselves. Average Joe is the remedy.
While this may start to sound like the plot for the worst movie ever, it’s a reality that we’re all going to have to go along with. It’s too late to take another look at the package and speculate about what else could have been added to it. Now is the time to spend – frivolously. This new deal of sorts is said to throw the budget deficit more than $100 billion more out of whack over the next few years, so it is absolutely essential that we do our part to make this work. Let’s be optimistic and cooperative for once.
Here’s what’s coming your way. Tax payers earning – from working, Social Security or veterans’ disability benefits – between $3,000 and $87,000 (or $174,000 for couples) will receive an extra refund reflective of their income. It is said that most singles will receive up to $600 and couples up to $1,200, with an extra $300 per child they support. Those whose incomes fall between $75,000 ($150,000 for couples) and the cut-off point will not receive as much as their less wealthy counterparts.
Who would have thought that doing your taxes would be so exciting? Any of the rebates from the rescue package will arrive with your tax refund, so right there is a reason to not wait until April 15.
So when you get what’s coming to you, whatever the denomination, don’t hold onto it. Treat it like a sort of golden hot potato. Spread the wealth a little. This is no time to be responsible or exercise forethought. Uncle Sam wants you to live a little on his dime. Just do it. This would probably be a good time to go get one of those fancy HDTV sets that everyone keeps talking about.