Free money? Keep it!

So far, I haven’t run across anyone eager to get their hands on the government’s proposed economy-stimulating rebates of $300, $600, $1200, or more. It’s hard for a non-economist like me to see how distributing money the government doesn’t have, increasing the national debt in the process, is going to improve the economy.

The whole concept is bizarre: On the one hand, financial advisors are constantly telling us to reduce our debt, save more, spend less, think ahead for our retirement, live within or below our means…in general to be frugal, mindful consumers. Now we have the government in effect saying, “Hey, here’s some free money, go out and spend, spend, spend!”

It’s like giving alcohol to alcoholics or drugs to abusers. Clearly politicians are counting on Americans’ addiction to frivolous, “feel-good” purchases, living beyond our means, buying today, and paying (or not paying) tomorrow. They’re counting on there being not many people like Mike and me, who plan to put the money toward current debt without incurring any new.

And does anyone really believe this is free money? That we, as a nation and as individuals, won’t be paying for it for years to come? I was always told the government “needs” my hard-earned tax dollars to keep the country running — that’s why I, as a self-employed person, dutifully write out my check to the U.S. Treasury every quarter — an act that would surely result in a nationwide tax revolt if every citizen had to do this, instead of the government insidiously taking our money from every paycheck before we’ve even seen it.

Now they’re OK with giving it back? They didn’t need it in the first place? Why, you’d think the need to cover health insurance and other benefits for all those illegal aliens alone would necessitate keeping the money in-house.

Somebody who understands all this, please explain it to me. (Oh, and please include an explanation of why people who’ve never paid federal taxes in the first place are getting money back too.)

Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. 
                                                     ~ Herman Wouk


  1. mel said,

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    can’t explain it. no explanation will make sense of senselessness. we, too, will be forwarding whatever “free” money we’re rewarded toward house debt. which will likely disappoint the govt., who is obviously hoping we’ll go spend it on something useless, thus helping a struggling biz. well, too bad. if they’re foolish enough to give it to us (i.e. lend it to us), then we’ll spend it as we wish. too bad that ultimately, it won’t help the poor sots who believed all the lies those lenders told them, and bought waaaay more home than they could afford.

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Amen! I agree that many people were duped by the banks. I also think there were a lot of people who should have known better (not poor, not uneducated) who were wanting to keep up with the Joneses in a swanky house. (These are often the same people who have massive credit card debt.)

  3. robbie said,

    Friday, February 1, 2008 at 10:21 am

    This whole “rebate” thing is just another example of how we let the politicians run our country as a nanny state. If ANYTHING goes awry, many people think the government should and will take care of it. It’s outrageous and if it’s not stopped, we will be reading Pravda once again. And if you listen to the presidential candidates, they seem tied in with the nanny state concept, too. Not much hope, is there?

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, February 1, 2008 at 10:36 am

    I fear the results of the upcoming election. Poor (even scary) choices all around.

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