I’ve been stimulated!!!

We finally received our Economic Stimulus check in the mail today!  Three weeks after we thought we’d get it and it came in the mail instead of being direct deposited, but it’s here none the less.  I wondered why though it wasn’t direct deposited even though we had our tax refund direct deposited so I went online and found much more information than I remember hearing in the news when this was all going on.

“Taxpayers who used direct deposit for their refunds will receive the stimulus payment that same way, provided they have not done any of these things:
  • Taken out a refund anticipation loan or “rapid refund”;
  • Used a service such as TurboTax and had the transmission fees taken out of the refund amount;
  • Had their refund deposited across two accounts;
  • Allowed their tax preparer (such as a CPA) to deduct their fee from the refund amount.
If any of these scenarios apply, the payment will be sent as a paper check through U.S. mail.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rebate
The website also explains who is eligible for a rebate(You MUST have a SSN.  If anyone on the tax returns has a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, ITIN, all of those on the tax return CANNOT receive a rebate.  This was to keep the rebates out of “illegal workers” hands.) what businesses get out of it(offers businesses a one-time depreciation tax deduction equal to 50% of the cost of specified kinds of new investment during 2008) and how much individuals would get based on different factors(number of children, net income tax liability vs no net income tax liability).

All of this was proposed in January and signed into law February 13, 2008 as a way to “ward off” a recession and stimulate the economy through targeted government spending and tax incentives.  That was 6 months ago.  Now we’re facing $4 a gallon gas, increased food costs, increased energy bills, and they want me to take this money and buy, oh, a TV or some other big ticket item to stimulate our economy?  How about I pay any number of my bills with it or put it away for an emergency fund.  How about I use it to pay for my son’s preschool next fall?  I would rather they had passed legislation to lower my taxes all together!  Anyone else have feelings about this?  Am I going to turn down money, of course not, and I know that a lot of people really need this money.  I just hope that it helps as much as Congress thinks it will.

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16 Responses to I’ve been stimulated!!!

  1. Jason says:

    Well I happen to be the first…… Your not as dumb as toby says. good post. I agree with everything but some people don’t have the money sense you do. I know I don’t. Unfortunately we needed it to buy a car. No saving this check. I wouldn’t have anyway but I can say I might of. If I’m right and I usually am, we also get taxed on it next year. It’s counted as income earned. Thanx.

  2. Mckenzie says:

    I’m still waiting on my rebate. Going on week four, now.

    And yeah– kind of interesting, condsidering I spent 50 dollars filling up my car this afternoon, not to mention 4 dollars on a gallon of milk, and don’t get me even started about my tuition for this fall. And they want me to go and buy shoes or something?

    So savvy. Our government.

  3. nikki says:

    Oh you’ve got me going now!! Good post Sue. They didn’t explain things very well did they?!?! Same as you we were expecting it to be deposited into our account, then to find out it will be mailed 3 weeks after originally thought! We really needed it because Jason needed a more fuel efficient car to get back and forth to work. Most of everyone I now put that money towards bills. I would go further and say a majority of Americans will do the same. How the hell is that supposed to STIMULATE our economy!! Like you said Sue I would have rather them take that time and money they took to pass this and put it towards lowing our taxes. It’s killing us and almost everyone I know. I know, I know, the $ came in handy believe me I know, but will it help us in the long run? I’m not convinced it will solve anything!! I know it’s counted as earned income, I don’t really care. I think it’s just a band aide.

  4. Joy says:

    My only comment is that I’m totally in the dark about finances. The only thing I do with money is spend it.

  5. Sue says:

    I had thought that it would count as earned income as well, but a day after I got our check I got another letter in the mail stating that we do NOT claim it on our taxes next year as earned income. Now, whether there’ll be another section for us to claim it, I don’t know. The letter also had printed on it that we needed to keep it, DON’T throw it away. I don’t think that it will end up helping us as much as they hoped. I think most of us will spend it on something we NEED versus something we want. Like I said before, I’m not going to turn away money!

  6. Tosha says:

    I dont think its going to help as much as they claim. Most people will spend it on crap. It wont last long which is why its not going to help in the long run. We need it as a downpayment for dh a new truck. His is falling a part big time.

  7. amberfireinus says:

    Gee I thought you didn’t like to talk about politics…lol

    I would like to see them doing something a little more exciting to help us all, like lets just throw out a crazy – cut gas prices by puting a limit on cost allowed to be charged by the oil companies. And while you are at it, do the same thing to the drug companies. Those are two things that would help regular people.

    I would like to see Politicians work against the corporations, and more for the people that they serve. That would be the biggest help. Especially in businesses that make such rediculous profit margins.

  8. Joy says:

    Amber, I didn’t write this, Sue did. Just so you know. I don’t talk politics.

  9. amberfireinus says:

    Sorry Joy, it was said with tongue and cheek…. I hope you weren’t offended. No I didn’t see that it was Sue who wrote this… sorry.

  10. SKL says:

    Well, I am not sure I should be commenting on this. First of all, I did not qualify to get a stimulus check because I pay too much tax. (Yeah, all that stuff you hear about all the tax breaks going to the higher-income folks – not so much.) Secondly, I have somewhat different ideas about taxes and the economy and human nature. But what the heck, I’ll comment anyway.

    With people I know, if they were getting like $25 per month extra due to a lower tax rate, they would not even notice it. They would manage to spend it on stuff they neither need nor really, really want. An extra dinner out, and extra garment at TJ Maxx, shoot, a weekly trip to Starbucks would wipe it out, and nobody would even feel the difference. Then when it’s time to make that down payment on the new car or pay off those bills, there would still be no money for it. Getting it in a lump sum with a name like “stimulus” is different psychologically. I mean, not that long ago there was a significant tax cut, but how many people sat down and talked about how they were going to spend it? Yet spend it they did. Poof! And they didn’t feel one bit better about it.

    If people had more “rational” budgeting habits, a simple reduction in tax rates would be a much more efficient way to help taxpayers. Who wants to pay for all that paper, postage, and administration? Even better would be if people were better educated about the tax breaks that are there for the taking. Like, if you are going to buy new windows or doors or a furnace or water heater or whatever, there is a tax break for you if you buy one that meets certain energy-efficient standards. But how many people know this in time for it to influence their buying decision? There is a lot of stuff like that out there.

    As far as what would make the economy seem better. First, a lesson in the state of the economy of every other nation on earth, or better yet, a world tour. We really have it good. Even today’s gas prices are extremely low compared to most other countries. Universal access to clean water, an unemployment rate hovering around 3-6% for years, etc. – just amazing from a world and historical perspective. Second, better individual choices. How many of the people living paycheck to paycheck are really living lean and mean? How many are in their situation because of choices and could get into a better situation by making other choices? How many individuals who have struggling relatives leave it up to the government to help them, though they have the means to help? How many people could eventually get current on their payments if they did any of the following: work overtime or take a second job instead of playing video games or watching TV; pay bills instead of buying beer, cigarettes, chips, and pop; say “no” to their kids now and then; or pack their lunch and stop eating out? If people had all been totally honest with themselves and their banks when they took out their mortgages, would we be seeing all these foreclosures?

    I think a big issue in this country is that many of its citizens are financially illiterate. They don’t know how to budget, what their financial options are, how interest and inflation work and how they impact them, how to evaluate risk, and how each tiny financial decision today has a significant impact down the line. I am not sure what to do about it, but I feel that blaming “the government” or “the corporations” is only ignoring the real problem and making it worse.

    If it weren’t for all those evil corporations, we’d have a lot higher unemployment, and everything would cost a lot more to make and acquire.

  11. amberfireinus says:

    SKL – beautifully put. I agree with you. I was trying to put that into words, but my words failed me.

    First thing is financial responsiblity! YAY. Its one of my pet peeves to be honest. People aren’t financially responsible. They put things on the “Never Never card” (they never never pay it off). They never consider their future. Its all about instant gratification. Unfortunately, there is little the government can do to help educate people in this way. Students are taught in school how to budget and do financial plans, but somehow it is forgotton along with Algebra and any foreign language studied.

    As for the Evil Corporations – well, Im not trying to say that ALL Corporations are evil. I am however saying that the combination of HUGE profits and excesses (golden handshakes to executives who screw up), and the campaign contributions make them iffy. Drug companies and Oil companies both make excess profit. Drug companies make more money if people stay sick and just treat their symptoms than curing them. Yeh, that is pretty evil. Then they charge excessive amounts for the drugs they sell.

    Alot of people would be better off if these prices would be capped. Capped so that they were affordable.

  12. SKL says:

    I agree that drug companies would probably be happier if people stayed just sick enough to keep needing medicine. But, for most people, it’s still a choice to first screw up your health and then rely on medicines instead of lifestyle changes to deal with the problems. The information is out there if people took the time to learn what’s healthy and what’s not. And truly, at least 90% of our unhealthy choices are made consciously. How many people can honestly say they thought that bag of Lays was healthy? If someone gets rich off our bad choices, it’s still our bad choices. We have little influence on what others do, but we have pretty much complete control over our own choices, so it seems to me we ought to start there. Then, when the biggest health issues in this country become nearly unheard of, the drug companies will be out in the cold, and nobody will be sad about that.

    As far as oil, I don’t know about their profits, but the last rant I heard on that was that the companies’ “revenues” were at record highs. Well, I bet their expenses were at record highs too, so higher revenues are inevitable, especially when people don’t scale back their gas usage regardless of the price. Again, we can make choices to reduce the hit on us. Don’t use unnecessary disposable products made from petroleum (plastics, etc.), reduce overall consumption which will reduce truck travel, drive at a speed that produces optimum gas mileage (I’ve heard 55 and 60 but most people go way faster than that and can actually double their gas consumption that way), don’t drive any more than you have to, consider gas mileage when you buy your car, etc. Most of us choose to keep using the same amount of gas and then complain about it. If you want to stick it to the oil companies, cut your own gas usage. If all of us did it, you can bet they would be the ones crying.

    Notwithstanding what some politicians would have us think, individual, everyday people are not powerless to make a difference – in our own lives or overall. We just have to take the attitude that we’re personally responsible.

  13. SKL says:

    By the way, I think of the gas prices differently. I feel that our usage of gas is way higher than it needs to be in the first place, and this has been encouraged by the relatively LOW prices we have been paying compared to other countries. Making gas more expensive “should” force people to come up with ways to cut their consumption, which would in turn reduce our reliance on foreign oil and mid-east “peace,” and our impact on the environment. But, we haven’t made the adjustments that the free market would dictate, partly because certain politicians are pushing the idea that we are entitled to the low prices that encourage our behavior, instead of acknowedging that cutting usage is a more rational behavior than cutting prices.

  14. nikki says:

    SKL- I can’t stand it when I hear people complaining about gas prices when they’re driving great big trucks that they really don’t need. We just bought a smaller car with a smaller engine but with the gas prices it won’t make much of a difference. If everyone did one thing that you mentioned above it would make a difference, I just don’t see it happening. Too bad huh?

  15. Joy says:

    Amber, no offense at all taken. I just wanted you to know I didn’t write that. I’m not smart enough either to write something that “deep!”

  16. Ali says:

    Alas, we don’t get a check either.

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