The check is in the mail

How will you spend your "economic stimulus" payment"? Members of Salon's community, Table Talk, reveal their plans.


--

Shares

Salon Staff
May 9, 2008 6:35PM (UTC)

Issues and News

How shall we spend our "economic stimulus" payments?

BurstOfLethargy -- 02:27 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008

What should one do with one's piece of $168 billion that will now fail to find its way into any of the mechanisms by which the federal government used to promote the welfare of the neediest citizens?

Advertisement:

Go on a shopping spree for fig leaves to cover the unaddressed structural problems that brought the U.S. economy to this pass? Or ...

Homeless shelter? MoveOn? ACLU? National Network of Abortion Funds? Bureau of the Public Debt ("in the memo section, notate that it is a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public")? How does a smart person spend this money?

DejunaB -- 02:38 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #2 of 28

I was going to save our money. Put it in the bank and stick out my tongue in George's direction. But then we decided the best thing to do would be spend it on services versus goods. We are using our money towards our landscaping. We will pay our landscaper who will pay his helper and they in turn will feed their families or do whatever with the money.

Meera Hyphenated -- 02:46 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #3 of 28

Honestly? It will very likely go right back into our pockets to help with the day-to-day expenses. I won't likely get any kind of raise this year, nor will my husband. Gas and food prices have gone up so much, I can't afford to be idealistic about it, which makes me very sad. I think TPTB are banking on that.

Advertisement:

StephanieL -- 04:33 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #4 of 28

Yup. Live. I'll use it to live. I'll not be buying more things, just spending more money. Honestly, I'm shocked by how much this recession is biting my pocket already. What I pay for friggin' toilet paper has gone up by $1 in the last six months already. I look at my grocery bill and go WTF? And that's before I even get to the gas pump. No, I need every penny I can find just to eat.

Aquarius -- 05:23 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #5 of 28

Hookers and blow!

GaudyNight -- 05:41 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #6 of 28

Savings. To replace some of the $3,800 we owed in federal and state taxes.

MacGuffin -- 06:47 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #7 of 28

Advertisement:

More alcohol.

clemencedane -- 09:13 pm Pacific Time -- May 5, 2008 -- #8 of 28

Pay off my only credit card.

jenbynight -- 08:06 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #9 of 28

Total first-world problem, but I make too much money to get one. So, I guess my answer is "nothing."

Advertisement:

Gulielma Springett -- 08:10 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #10 of 28

Pay down my credit card.

ambott -- 08:32 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #11 of 28

What I want to do with it: get that lovely $600 raincoat that's in the specialty shop down the way. It's currently on sale, so I may even have enough left over for the matching purse. What I will do with it: (grumble) credit.card.stupid.debt

Advertisement:

jtr - 09:41 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #12 of 28

Ironically enough, it looks like fixing the transmission on my car will be (drumroll) exactly what our stimulus payment will be! Woo hoo! The economy is bursting at the seams now!!!

ETA -- and as a data point, ALL of my clients who asked/talked about the stimulus payment said they were going to be paying down existing bills. What a crock this thing is -- it's just highlighting ONE MORE TIME that our elected representatives are completely out of touch with actual living conditions here in Realityland.

ambott -- 09:58 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #14 of 28

Advertisement:

They seem to think that the $600 (or however much you get) would buy more than just groceries in a month.

BurstOfLethargy -- 10:11 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #15 of 28

This is why I started thinking in terms of using the aggregate to do something both subversive and good. For example, MoveOn has 3.3 million members. If half of them gave their stimulus payments to MoveOn, it would have one billion dollars.

mschmidt - 10:14 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #16 of 28

Advertisement:

Well, it's a macroeconomic thing. I read all this stuff about how the money is going to be spent, and how spending it in one way or another is going to be better or worse for the economy, but it doesn't make any sense to me. If you put a cup of water in a small lake, it won't raise the water level perceptibly. But if you gave a cup of water each to 400 million people in the watershed feeding into the lake, the water level is going to go up a bit, whether the people dump it directly into the lake, pour it on the ground (thus decreasing the amount of water absorbed by plants from the area water table), or drink it and piss it into the nearest creek.

If you have debt, and use the money to pay off the debt, the money you would have otherwise scrounged to pay off the debt is freed up for other expenditures. If you could not have otherwise scrounged up the money to pay off the debt, then you avoid bankruptcy, and that's good for the economy, too.

Some have suggested that the money would be better injected into the economy by giving it directly to local and state governments, who would be more likely to spend it on investments (infrastructure, education) that will ultimately benefit the future economy more than trinkets made overseas. I think this is smart, but in an election year, all we can expect is pandering.

My accounting is too loose to say how I'm going to spend the money. I will deposit my $300 in my bank account, and the resultant increase in the running balance (which will be just 10 percent of the monthly fluctuation) may subtly affect my spending and investing habits over the next six months.

Advertisement:

Elmo Beachwin - 11:15 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #17 of 28

It looks like we'll be spending it on a painter to repaint our foundation and chimney so we can finish up on refinancing our house. That's me, always behind the times.

Jared2 - 11:26 am Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #18 of 28

"If you have debt, and use the money to pay off the debt, the money you would have otherwise scrounged to pay off the debt is freed up for other expenditures."

Advertisement:

But since the government has no money, it is borrowing this rebate money from China and Japan, you may pay down your debt, but your share of government debt just goes up. If you don't pay it, your children will.

Angry Liberal -- 02:23 pm Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #19 of 28

I spent $50 of it becoming one of Obama's 1.5 million donors (I'm pretty sure that's not what boy genius had in mind). The rest will go towards my car note.

Chris P -- 04:54 pm Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #20 of 28

Advertisement:

Got it, sent it straight to MasterCard.

Chickadee Whisperer - 07:10 pm Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #21 of 28

I'll put it into my car loan. Unless it's all needed for gas.

Twinkletoes -- 11:12 pm Pacific Time -- May 6, 2008 -- #22 of 28

I'm a Social Security/fixed income gal, and had planned to use it to finally pay off this computer and donate to Obama. But then, whoops, with inflation I had to charge some groceries last month. Sending the whole $300 to American Express.

Katbart -- 07:22 am Pacific Time -- May 7, 2008 -- #23 of 28

I will make the final payment for my Honda Odyssey (bought used from Carmax). It will be paid off 6 months early, due to this and having made slightly larger than needed payments. This will free up 400 dollars a month! I will also stash around $300 of it in the bank, for emergencies. We tend to pay for emergencies with the credit cards, so this might have a more positive outcome than just using it to pay down the cards. We seem to pay down the cards, something or two happens, and we are right back where we started.

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week can be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.


Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •