NOTE: Shortly after 9/11, when President Bush was asked what patriotic Americans could do to most help the war effort, he answered with one word: Shop!
Earlier, in the summer of 2001 with the nation in recession, millions of us were each issued $300 checks to spend as quickly as possible. To shop!
Now again, starting in May – see when you’ll get your check below – with Wall Street crumbling from years of deregulated greed, we patriots are asked again to sacrifice, this time to save capitalism, and to take our newly minted $300 rebate checks and, you guessed it: Shop!
If you’re wondering how to spend your latest rebate, read this Suddenly Senior column from July 2001.
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I CAN’T WAIT to get my $300 tax rebate.
Can you imagine? That compassionate softy in the White House actually thought of the likes of little old me. I’ll tell you, this $300 windfall changes my mind about the man.
I’m one happy senior just to get a crumb of the $1.35 trillion coming back to Americans from President Bush’s largess.
After all, I’m not wealthy.
I’m not connected.
I’m not even a Republican!
Yet, I too can participate in this, the greatest treasury giveaway in a generation.
I gotta be proud.
Not everyone gets this refund. Millions of Americans earning minimum wage or so – probably needing that $300 far more than I – won’t get a penny.
Although they pay lots in payroll taxes, this is for those of us who pay income tax, not them. If the president chooses to ignore these people, that’s good enough for me. (Note: This is how our current rebate started, but a Democratic Congress expanded it to Social Security and the disabled. See bottom of column for how to get your rebate.)
Like His Bushness says, “If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get a tax rebate.” Keeps those slackers where they belong.
For me, it’s found money. And I don’t mind telling you, I’m mighty grateful.
The big question is how I’m going to spend this boon.
My first thought was to take a nice cruise. You know, South Sea Islands, bare-breasted babes, chocolate cake ’round the clock. But my travel agent pointed out that $300 might buy me a couple hundred miles to sea. I’d better be able to walk on water from there.
Then I had a lavish brainstorm! I’d use the money to return to my upcoming 45th college reunion. It would be my first since graduation.
But would I remember anyone? Would anyone remember me? And, come to think of it, wouldn’t all those folks be – well – old, speaking only of grandchildren and golf scores?
Anyway, just flying there and back would blow my $300 budget. So never mind.
Let’s see. I could use the refund to make up the difference Alan Greenspan has made to my income by halving the interest on my CD. Need a lot more than 300 measly bucks, though. In fact, if CD interest counts as taxable income, I won’t have to worry about what to do with a refund next year.
I’ve got it! I’ll spend the money on prescription drugs I’m supposed to be taking but can’t afford. That might make me feel better. But it’s short term. A month, maybe. Then, without the medicine, I’m back to my miserable self again. Why bother?
Truth is, I’d like to get something tangible, something that will always say to me, “This is what George the Younger provided just for you back in 2001.”
At The Sharper Image, $300 buys a CD Alarm/Clock/Sound Soother with Talking Time. Among the “20 digitally recorded environment soundscapes” are birds of the Redwood Forests, fresh, clean sea breezes, even an endangered whale singing to his beloved.
I’d consider it George W’s personal legacy to me: Sounds that may not be around much longer.
Suddenly Trivia: When the National Debt Clock near Times Square was taken down in 2000, how much was “your family’s share of the debt?” a) $300, b) $12,044, c) $73,733.
Three hundred dollars will buy me a Saber-Tooth Tiger Skull at The Edge Company. This thing, measuring a full 13 x 8 x 13 inches is truly scary with its seven-inch fangs. As the copy says, “12,000 years ago it stalked prey in your backyard.” It would be a poignant reminder of the Alpha Dogs now stalking us from Washington.
This is one tough decision!
Maybe I’d better forget the whole thing.
NOTE: Currently circulating on the Internet…
“Now, if we spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China, if we spend it On computers, most of the money will go to Korea or India. If we spend it on gasoline it will all go to the Arabs ….. and none of these scenarios will help the American economy. We need to keep that money here in America …..so the only way to keep that money here at home is to drink beer, gamble, or spend it on prostitution. Currently it seems that these are the only businesses still left in the U.S.”
With our president determined to build a missile defense system that, for starters, will cost $60 billion, perhaps I ought to give my $300 back. If all those scientists and engineers are right about the system never, ever working, George will to need all the dough he can find.
What about you? How will you spend your $300 tax rebate?
Suddenly Trivia Answer: c) $73,733, of a total of $5,676,989,904,887. At one point in the mid-1990s, the debt was rising so fast the clock’s computer crashed. (Note: It is widely estimated that your family’s share of the current debt of $9,384,612,013,399 has increased to about $120,000 in 2008.)
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