Salon readers refuse to go on spending spree

When their check comes in, they'll be banking it or paying down debt. Among other things.

Topics: U.S. Economy, Globalization, How the World Works, Great Recession,

When the polls closed at How the World Works at 3:30 p.m. PST, 261 respondents had, with varying degrees of seriousness, chosen to inform the rest of us how they intended to spend their fiscal stimulus check.

The news is not good for the American economy. Sixty-eight said they would use it to pay down their credit card debt. How the World Works salutes you. Fifty-four said they would sock it away in some form of savings account. Another 26 planned to use the money for either a college savings plan, investment in foreign stocks, taxes, paying off student loans, or applying toward mortgage or car payments.

Twelve promised to donate their check to Barack Obama. Two said they’d give theirs to Hillary Clinton. Three planned to donate to the Democratic Party, and two to a “third party.”

Charitable impulses: church, a food bank, pregnant teenage girls, charity, California elementary schools, Kiva, a veterans group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Dallas Peace Center, Union for Concerned Scientists, Eastern Washington University and “organizations fighting the Bush administration.”

And elephants.

Five planned to buy gold, two mentioned ammo and survival gear.

A fair amount of cash appears headed toward boosting the economies of other countries, including Ireland, France, Jamaica, Europe and England. But some travelers will stay closer to home — Miami, New Orleans, and getting their kicks on Route 66.

Somewhere, there’s going to be a kick-ass party, featuring “hookers and blow,” good wine, 25-year-old Scotch, “whiskey and women,” weed, poker and a craps table.



A handful will do their patriotic duty. Among the consumer items mentioned were a Mac, a musical keyboard, an iPod, an iPaq, comic books, plain old books, a new computer, a CD player, an HD DVD player, three HD TVs, an Xbox, a PlayStation and a Wii. Two promised to specifically focus on Chinese-made goods. Three vowed to buy only locally made goods.

There is more, but aside from the man who said he planned to get his wife’s prosthetic leg tuned up, the rest adds up to a fairly random grab bag. But one thing seems clear. Salon’s readers have no intention of bailing out the U.S. economy. Bully for them!

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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