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Check This: How Many Flat Screens Will the Stimulus Buy?

Repeating ad nauseam that the $150 billion economic stimulus package was aimed at "middle income" Americans, Congress and Secretary Paulson announced their proposed stimulus package this morning.

Pelosi said it was created to "strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and turn the economy around." To do this, Pelosi said, "we need to get the money to those who will spend it immediately." That's what concerns me.

They've decided they're cutting checks, willing to further disrupt our wildly unbalanced budget, for what seems like a band-aid, and a teeny-tiny one at that. Though no official promises have been made yet, the amounts of dough distributed are said to be between $300 and $600 for individual filers and up $1600 for families. Granted, it's more than $1.95, but they're gambling on human nature. To find out how,


They're gambling that if an American knows he's getting $600 bucks in the mail, he'll probably go out today and put a $1000 TV on a credit card, promising that he'll use his rebate to pay it down but probably adding to his mounting personal debt that will make it all the more disastrous if he loses his job. They're gambling that a family won't snatch that thousand bucks and use it to pay a portion of their precarious mortgage, only to be in the exact same state in a month. But is the gamble worth it?

Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas said, “if you’re going to have an economic stimulus package, it ought to contain some economic stimulus.” So, it seems like a huge national price to pay for relatively meaningless personal gain. Is the rebate worth it to you? Will Congress's gamble work? That is to say, have you already spent yours and then some?


Join The Conversation
mghnow mghnow 9 years
The money will be used differently depending on one’s current economic situation, but most people will either be spending the money on essentials or saving it. Spending behavior will also be effected by gender and age. To check out some more info on the checks, and who will benefit, check out our MGH Now blog post
glofriend glofriend 9 years
The rebates will probably only cover gas and food. Little room left for a flat panel HD TV.
kia kia 9 years
I think many Americans are feeling the crunch of our economic downturn and will use the money for necessary services, save for a rainy day, or bills. I don't know how many material items (that aren't even U. S. made) will be bought with this money.
bluesuze bluesuze 9 years
I'd like to put it in savings, but we do need to upgrade our kitchen :ponder:
Those of us who do qualify for the checks, will not even receive them until July. At which point, gas prices will be at or near $4/ gallon for the 4th of July Travel period. So, to change from what I said earlier, at that point, I will probably be forced to put it into my gas tank, like a lot of us will. How convenient that we won't receive them until the time of year that they jack up gas prices the most... At least it will stimulate the gas and oil companies bottom line, and you know they allow it to trickle down... haha
ALSW ALSW 9 years
mguy - you will have to add it to your tax returns next year. Boo. Ours is either going to pay off some debt or a down payment on a new car. Either way, definitely not a new flat screen!
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I'm with julko. I'm going to cash the check and not complain, but this isn't goig to solve anything. We're taking money we already don't have and spending it to get money back into circulation and stimulate the economy. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if I have nothing in my checking account and I wirte a bad check to pay my bills I still haven't paid them. Why doesn't government work like this? Why are we fooled by things like this spending package? And when are we as a nation going to get it together and start doing as a country what we have to do as individuals: Stop spending money until you have money to spend!
julko julko 9 years
I am not going to complain when I get this check in the mail, but this seriously seems like a temporary solution to a big problem. The only way that this money will help is if people keep the money local. So buying from local stores and supporting local services. If people just buy things like tvs then we will only support a few huge businesses and the only ones to benefit will be CEOS and foreign companies. But since the majority of American's are in so much debt, due to the housing economy or credit cards, I am sure the money is just going to go here. I am trying to save to go to grad school next year so like most of you, this is is going right in my savings account. Ha ha, silly gov't.
raieven raieven 9 years
precious metals is a good idea, but we do need a new tv (currently using a 14" one-not flat screen either-but the kind with the built in VCR :/)
mguy414 mguy414 9 years
Are they going to tax these checks? I mean when they say they're sending me a $300 check, it will really be $300 and not $250? Or are they going to make me add it to my tax return NEXT year and get me that way? Otherwise, I'm quite excited! I want to either finish paying off my car or go to summer school, I can't decide!
jkat jkat 9 years
As much as I loathe Huckabee, I think his idea in the debate last night that using this $150 million on improving US infrastructure (using US materials, workers, etc.) would provide much more benefit to the economy that giving everyone $600 that they will probably spend on foreign-made goods.
chancleta chancleta 9 years
i'm using it to pay off debt
redegg redegg 9 years
"We need to get the money to those who will spend it immediately" ?? That's just great. Hopefully people use it to pay off debt, bills, and mortgages that they can't afford. Anyone who doesn't agree with it can donate it right back to the government.
syako syako 9 years
Well the whole point is for us to spend it to "wake up the economy" but ultimately if we're all suffering the way they say we are wouldn't we all do what jessy is doing?? saving it!! On the other hand, even if they did go out and buy a 1000 dollar flat screen, even if it is on credit card - the money is still in the economy, which is a good thing (according to the supporters of this package). I think that this is widely unnecessary - especially when you consider the amount of debt we're in as a nation - to give all of us a rather small amount of money to "stimulate" the hurting economy. This (America) isn't socialism, this is free enterprise, we're supposed to make/save/spend money all by ourselves.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
If I get one it is going into to savings immediately. All my bills are paid and budgeted for the rest of the year. I will simply add any extra money to my growing savings account. That is what I have done with my tax return as well. I think it is a bad idea and they are trying to get people who live paycheck to paycheck to go out and spend frivolously to stimulate the economy. It is a quick fix and will not help the tanking economy. However, it will keep people from panicking for another month or two until Congress can create a another solution so we will have to wait and see what they come up with next.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Because as a city employee I make right at the cut off for the check. We transit operators are not low paid workers. Last stimulus check I got zilch, salary was too high. My sister who had two minor children got the minimum because she even as a widow made too much to get the full check.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
wackdoodle why don't you think you get one? Isn't it going out to tax payers who make under like $75,000 a year?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
If I actually get a check, I would completely go against the governments desires by socking it way in my savings account. I want to go to Germany in the winter. I'll need Euros. Now with that statement I will not receive a check.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I'll be paying down my debt--definitely not rushing out to buy a new tv.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I'll be sending my husband out for an eye exam and then six months worth of contacts, and then splitting what's left between the kids' college fund and our savings account. I think this was an irresponsible move on the government's part.
Well, my rebate will be going to bills. With any leftover, I'll buy some silver, because as the stock market goes down, price of silver and other precious metals go up. I don't think that these rebates will make it past many people's bills.
karmasabitch karmasabitch 9 years
Citizen Sugar!? HOW DID I MISS THIS!?!? Whoaaaaaaaa I'm soooo loving this, its bookmarked already!! :WOOHOO: VERY COOL!!!!!!!!!! :WOOHOO:
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Likely I will use this money to pay for things like summer daycare for my son which is horribly expensive. I may splurge and get some new running shoes, but our family does NOT plan on buying any big ticket items.
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