Archive for May 9th, 2008


The Patriotic Duty Of Blowing One’s Stimulus Check

May 9, 2008

The other day I saw an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:  The economic-stimulus rebate: Save it or spend it?   Having not yet received my check from Uncle George, I decided to read on.

America needs help. Sue Wagner, an economic patriot, is answering the call.

The Brooklyn Center telecommunications worker used her $600 check — part of the $168 billion national economic-stimulus package — for a spa that was installed in her back yard Tuesday.

I want this country to be stimulated,” Wagner said.

That’s exactly what government officials want to hear. Checks began to flow from Washington, D.C., this week, part of a program to lift the economy out of the doldrums by boosting consumer spending. Every taxpaying adult is supposed to get $600, plus an extra $300 per child for families. But as officials await the impact of the rebates, a Pioneer Press online survey showed fewer than a third of volunteer respondents would spend the money as officials hoped.

It got me thinking.  Should I blow this thing?  And if I do, will I feel patriotic?

I sat and thought about all the things I could do with an extra $600, and my practical side kept telling me that I should put it on a gas card to combat the ever-soaring gas prices.  Then I thought I should just dump it into my mortgage.   Heck, there are probably a thousand things that I could have done that would have been financially safe and reasonable. 

As I was arriving to work the next day, I got out of my 2000 Cougar, walked toward my building and looked back to confirm that I had armed the car alarm.  As I looked at it I was reminded how old the car was getting, and that it wasn’t looking as good as it used to.  It had a crack in the fiberglass front bumper valence, and my carbon-fiber hood was looking cloudy and discolored (having been subjected to the elements for a few years).  I decided right then and there what I was going to do with that check:  My Cougar was going to get a makeover.

So, I contacted my body shop and scheduled the appointment.  I told the guys while I was there for the estimate that this was a stimulus check expense.  They smiled and a few of them told me that work had been pretty slow lately and that they really appreciate the business.  Apparently people had better things to spend their money on than repairing cosmetic damage on their vehicles, or so I guessed.  I handed over the keys and told them I’d see them in a week.

Well, I recently got the car back, and I gotta say that I couldn’t be happier.  I figure that I killed a couple birds with one stone.  I had fixed up something that had been bugging me for quite some time, and used my chance to stimulate the economy.  I guess the added bonus is that I get to advertise it all over town as I drive around: