Today I got stimulated. I knew it was coming. It didn’t feel like I thought it would though.
You see, on Saturday, May 31st, I received a letter from Uncle Sam informing me that I should have received my stimulation (in the form of a US Treasury “2008 Economic Stimulation” check) the day BEFORE the letter arrived – at the LATEST!!!
Let’s see…the letter came before the check although, according to this important IRS looking letter, the check was supposed to arrive (days or weeks) beforehand and the letter was then supposed to arrive to make sure I got it (and make sure I hadn’t thrown it away). Too funny.
Hhhmmm, nope, I thought, this definitely couldn’t be a hoax; even spammers and identity thieves don’t goof like that. That’s just too easy. Yes, this had to be the real deal! Our government was hard at work and just didn’t get it right…again. They dangled the carrot then took it away. Or maybe they just tripped and dropped it.
I’m not too surprised though. I wonder how much they “made” by goofing. Let’s see. Suppose even 1 million Americans got their letter first and wondered why their “Economic Stimulus” check hadn’t arrived as scheduled. They called the IRS to ask. Phone bill, minutes used, time on hold, tax on the call, work time lost, etc. The phone companies (read: big business) and our government wins. The consumer loses. OK, so a portion of my check would have gone right back to big business (had I called) and, through our tax system, the money would go right back to Uncle Sam. Now suppose this happens monthly. At least twelve times as many Americans pick up the phone. My economics is rusty…vicious cycle…brutal…whatever.
Speaking of big business and the “2008 Economic Stimulus” check, let’s take a look at another scenario I considered as I tore open the envelope. This one comes courtesy of our Veep, Dick Cheney, and Prez, W. Remember them?
Let’s set the scene. How are gas prices these days? Oh yeah, they are at an all time high. Keep that in mind and follow me here…
VP – “Hey W, I got an idea. Let’s try to salvage our approval rating and make friendly with our overseas oil buddies at the same time by giving everyone in America some *cough* free money. We can even tell them they can spend it any way they want!”
Prez – “Free money? Are we allowed to do that? How come no Prez has ever done that before me? Isn’t that what the whole tax and tax refund thing is supposed to do? I’ll just ask Congress to…oopps, can’t do that any more. Go ahead, Dick.”
VP – “OK, I’ll make this simple for you to follow. You know all those gas and oil companies we own and that we will be returning to in a few months? And all of our oil buddies overseas? Well, if we raise the crap out of gas prices and then give Americans free money to spend how ever they want, they will HAVE to use it on gas. Americans are in debt, they aren’t smart enough to carpool, they are too lazy to ride their bikes or walk and too smarmy to use public transportation. They love big, fat American gas guzzling SUVs and that means more money for us. Get it?”
Prez – “Good idea, buddy, I knew you hired me for a reason. We are about to move out of this ugly white house (you know, I always hated that round-ish office that was supposed to be mine…I just couldn’t figure out where to sit without getting dizzy so I never used it), I don’t think I’ll be getting top dollar on the speaker’s circuit like the idiot from Arkansas and it will be a few years before the Twins run for office…”
OK, get my point?
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. (I’ll admit that I have been known to notice glasses that are half empty sometimes.) Maybe Americans will receive their checks and spend the money on goods and services that will help OUR economy or improve their lives and the well-being of those less fortunate. Perhaps they will invest the money properly and save for a better future. Maybe a larger portion than ever before will donate to a charity. Maybe people will buy mosquito nets to help cure disease. All the possibilities….wow!
Who knows, I’m tired and need to get some sleep. Maybe I’ll write more later.
By the way, I thought I’d let you know my little check came on the heels of having to write a big check to the plumber to fix a leak in my house. It came on the heels of my having to write an even bigger one to a boat electrician to fix wiring damage caused by a freakin’ muskrat who decided to feast on marine electronics. And it came on the heels of my receiving a note from the credit card company saying that they were sorry for having credited my account too much last month and they were going to have to bill me more this month. How’s that for home ownership, conspicuous consumption and credit buying? It’s madness, I say. It’s 100% American.
Anyway, I think I’ll just deposit my check in the bank (where it will earn a meager portion of one percent interest) until I figure out how best to spend it.
I’ll need to stop for gas first…