Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where Will My Stimulus Money Go?

I'm sure the thought that my family will make a killing when the government hands out free money has crossed your minds. I don't know how much we'll receive, but early reports indicate that we may get as much as $3,300 ($600 for each of us plus $300 for each of the seven dependents). Do we have to stand in line for that or will they just send it to us? I hope the check clears.

Anyway, does the government really think that I'm going to run out and buy a big screen TV, brand new car, or some other frivolous item. Maybe they should check people's credit first and only send checks to the ones who have large credit card balances--because they're sure to go out and perform some economy stimulation. I mean, if I were at risk for foreclosure, is the $1,200-$1,800 that most will receive really going to help? I think not. (Here is an explanation of why the economy may benefit from the plan.) When you contemplate it long enough, the thought of the federal government handing us all money because the economy is sluggish seems like a bizarre solution in a free enterprise system. In the future, can we merely call a toll-free number and make a request when we need a boost every now and then? I'll just ask for a couple thousand here and a few hundred there. Don't want to wear out the proverbial welcome mat.

So, what do I intend to do with my free money? Most likely, save it. Or, maybe, put it into our business. If we use it for our company, and, as a result, it grows, won't that help the economy more in the long run than if I go out and buy a new computer? I guess saving it would have the opposite effect, except for the fact that the banks may do better if everyone forks it over to them.

If I were the government (I shudder at the mere mention), I would allow the checks to be applied solely toward the purchase of goods. The back of the the voucher could outline specifically, in tiny writing, what the general public may buy with their "money". Then we hand it over to the retailer (or retailers, if we want to shop at various stores) and they use it like a gift card, sending totals to the feds for redemption. Would that anger people? I suppose so. The prevailing opinion may be, "Hey, that's my money! You can't tell me what to do with it!" Yes, we are, essentially, paying for the government's supreme generosity through the nose our taxes (although the article I reference states that the higher-income taxpayers, who are not eligible, are paying for it). But, let's not forget that they are under no obligation to give it back to us. So, if strings were attached to the stimulus, we're still ahead.

Obviously, for me, that would be the worst restriction in the world because I don't like to buy "stuff." Ever. I have a house crammed with toys and clothes and everything else "necessary" to support NINE people, three dogs, and 10 chickens (who, by the way, don't live in the house). Take my word for it, I trip over our possessions everyday, and we don't need any more junk. But, if the powers that be want to ensure that the "Stimulus Plan" actually works, they should insist that we use it to their end.

Maybe a general statement on the back of the check will work just as well as a detailed one: "This voucher may be used to purchase any electronic item, such as a big screen TV, computer, cell phone, video game console, or any other expensive discretionary gadget. It may be redeemed as the down payment for a new car, RV, or boat. Dining out is also acceptable. You may spend it on anything that you couldn't ordinarily afford and/or depreciates in value, whose cost you may never recoup." (Maybe they can buy some apartments.)

Somehow, I don't think that spelling it out to the masses will be necessary?