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RSS icon Comments on Well, So Much for That "Economic Stimulus"


Saying and doing are two different things. I bet when that check hits their wallet it'll ultimately get spent on crap.

Posted by happy renter | April 10, 2008 9:43 AM

We totally need that additional $40 billion in direct tax rebates, Hilldawg. Cuz Chase is all over my ass.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 10, 2008 9:46 AM

100% of mine is going to the Obama campaign. Many people are. It's an investment.

Posted by Andy Niable, Obamamerican | April 10, 2008 9:49 AM

mine is going toward lottery tickets and beer.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | April 10, 2008 9:51 AM

So, slightly under two thirds of people are going to use the refund to buy frivilous crap?

Also, the article is about the normal tax refund, not the extra $600 or whatever they're supposedly giving out this year.

Posted by miss_m | April 10, 2008 9:53 AM

I still plan on spending mine on art and hardcore gay porn.

Posted by boxofbirds | April 10, 2008 9:55 AM

I totally understand this. I had to run up my credit card this year in an emergency situation, and both my husband and I are putting every penny toward the credit card. It'll cut the balance almost in half. Mind you, at this point, about the only industries our spending supports are food, gas, and publishing. I don't care how bad the economy gets; I want my fucking books!

Posted by Gitai | April 10, 2008 10:00 AM

Since when has a tax REFUND been about economic stimulus? You're confusing the topic of the article -- REFUNDS, or the amount people overpaid on tazes -- with the REBATE, which is what is allegedly the economic stimulus. Hey, I don't disagree with your opinion -- that the economy is fucked and the REBATE is a stupid and innefective attempt to stimulate the economy -- but you're not comprehending the article if you're trying to conflate a REFUND with economic stimulus.

Posted by Umm.... erica? Reading comprehension much? | April 10, 2008 10:02 AM

If it comes too close to the 1st of the month, it's going straight toward rent! If not, I'll probably give a chunk to charity or something.

Posted by T | April 10, 2008 10:04 AM

Maybe I should have RTFA first. I already got and spent my *annual* refund on crap I didn't need. Besides, considering the nation is drowning in debt, it really shouldn't be any surprise that people plan to use it to pull themselves out.

Posted by T | April 10, 2008 10:07 AM

I'm using my to buy my first bed restraint kit! Can't wait to try it out.

Posted by Rye | April 10, 2008 10:19 AM

I'm taking my rebate to Archie McPhee's and buying 144 gross of scary monster finger puppets and you fuckers will never know what hit you.

Posted by Ziggity | April 10, 2008 10:25 AM

What about the tax money that extremely rich people saved from Bush's tax cuts? Are there any polls that show what they "spent" that money on? Maybe that new yacht they couldn't afford before? Now that's economic stimulus, baby.

Not money. $15 million. Money is what you take to the grocery store. It's what you get out of an ATM. $15 million is not money, it's a motive with a universal adapter on it.
Posted by w7ngman | April 10, 2008 10:25 AM

i'm using it to visit a friend abroad.

Posted by jayme | April 10, 2008 10:26 AM

I'm sending it straight to Japan in exchange for a PS3. Thanks W.

Posted by heywhatsit | April 10, 2008 10:29 AM

Being a typical Capricorn, my logical little brain says I need to put the damn thing toward catching up on bills and debt payments...

But my irresponsible heart says $600 is a drop in big ass bucket full of holes... So why not buy a new flat panel TV with it instead!!!

And thus an internal battle begins...

Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | April 10, 2008 10:30 AM

Well, so much for calling yourself a "journalist". Next time why not try reading the article before posting with a snarky headline. As 8 above points out, no one ever claimed that regular, annual tax REFUNDS are meant to provide economic stimulus.

Posted by Very little "brain stimulus" in ECB's head | April 10, 2008 10:39 AM

I am going to use my, WAIT this article is about tax refunds not the rebates??!! WTF Erica????

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | April 10, 2008 10:47 AM

I don't get a refund this year, so I guess Unca' Sam will be using what I send him to - um, uh, send it back to me next month, I guess.

Yep, THAT makes sense...

Posted by COMTE | April 10, 2008 10:56 AM

Smart people don't get refunds.

Posted by Fnarf | April 10, 2008 11:19 AM

Maybe the real 'economic stimulus' is in the form of credit card and mortgage payments propping up the viability of a sagging banking industry that will continue to sag if people aren't able to pay their bills on time.

Not saying it'll work, because it won't in the long run, but don't get excited if banks and brokers report an increase during May and June.

Posted by Gomez | April 10, 2008 12:17 PM

$300 bucks: 2 trips to Costco.
$600 bucks: 4 trips to Costco.

With dog food and cheese costing what it does today, it's money that would get spent anyways.

Posted by Dave Coffman | April 10, 2008 12:20 PM

I have no idea what my refund/lack of refund will be yet, since one of my W2s got lost in the mail and my former employer has been utterly unresponsive. Sigh. Thank god for TurboTax, e-file, and direct deposit.

Fnarf, explain. I've recently been wanting to learn more about the withholding process, but isn't there sort of a fine line between taking 1 allowance and having a refund, and taking 2 allowances and owing money at the end of the year?

I suppose if you're truly smart, you would not have anything withheld, put the money in savings, and collect interest on it instead of letting the IRS do that (filthy swine!), but who the hell does that, really? Especially if you're pretty poor, the interest gained from the money would be pretty negligible, and you would be tempted to spend it and then have issues paying at the end of the year. In some sense, it would in that case be "smart" to let your employer/IRS manage the money for you.

Posted by w7ngman | April 10, 2008 12:31 PM

It's a moot issue for me. I don't get any tax rebate.

Posted by elenchos | April 10, 2008 12:44 PM

I'm "lucky" enough to not have any CC debt. Too bad $600 can only buy 3 shares of AAPL stock.

Posted by montex | April 10, 2008 1:15 PM


Unless you have some mix of W-2 and 1099 (independent contractor) income, taking one exemption on your W-4 should keep your federal withholding at around 10%, which for most people should be sufficient to cover their annual tax obligation.

I personally, would never advise anyone to take 2 exemptions, for the obvious reason that, while it may add money to your paycheck, you're just going to have to turn around and pay it to the IRS in the spring anyway, and unless you can actually squirrel it away in a savings account - AND KEEP IT THERE - you're not really going to get that much extra benefit out of it.

And the sad fact is, most people so impoverished they need to reduce the amount of their federal withholding by taking extra exemptions on a W-4 are probably not going to be in a position to save the roughly 10% or so of their income they would need to cover their tax obligation, and so they inevitably end up not only owing a big bill come April 15th, but probably won't have the cash set aside to pay it, either.

Which means, not only do they owe the federal tax, but if the bill is large enough, they could also get dinged for quarterly advance tax payments, the first of which is due on April 15th - natch, plus penalty for late payment if they can't cough it all up by the dealine, PLUS the interest the IRS is going to charge them if they have to pay in installments.

I always tell the people for whom I do tax seminars and returns that, despite the apparent financial hardship, it's way better to just pay the federal withholding from your regular payroll, and at least maintain parity, than to sacrifice the tax for a bigger take-home check, since in 90% of cases they won't have the financial discipline to save it, because there will always be some pressing need to spend it.

And fnarf does have a point: people who get big refunds are basically allowing the U.S. Government to collect interest on money THEY could be collecting interest on, or spending on other necessities during the year, instead.

Posted by COMTE | April 10, 2008 1:32 PM

My refund money's going to the ACLU. Sit on that and spin, Torturer in Chief.

Posted by Greg | April 10, 2008 1:38 PM

what Comte said, but I'd add: withholding all your money and paying the IRS at the end will get you into big trouble -- if you owe more than 1000 to the IRS and paid less than you owed in the previous year and paid less than 90% of what you owed, they start slapping you with penalties. Paying penalties will quickly erase any benefit you would have gained by hoarding your money until the 15th.

Posted by what comte said | April 10, 2008 1:41 PM

As usual, my tax refund will be far smaller than it should be because our dumbshit government forces me to file as head of househould even though I am married. Fuckers. You'd think the Republicans would be somewhat embarrassed to impose a tax on married gay people.

Posted by gay dad | April 10, 2008 1:46 PM

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