Spend your stimulus money wisely!

Alligator skin boots for her: $600,
Playstation 3 with Call of Duty 4 for him: $550,
Having your unborn grandchildren foot the bill: Priceless.

Today I got the same letter from the IRS that some 120 million other Americans received, informing me that in the not-so-distant future my wife and I will be honored with a check for $1200 from the US treasury. Apparently we’re going to avoid the recession caused by us borrowing too much money by borrowing more money. Given that this is a done deal, there’s no point in opining on the criminal irresponsibility of our pandering politicians adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt to buy us bread and circus in an impotent attempt to stave off the well-deserved economic hangover we all should have known was coming after decades of partying on credit. So I won’t mention that.

But given that we’re going to be getting this de facto tax break, I think we all should do our best to actually help the American economy with it. This is harder than it seems. You can’t just go out and buy an iPod. Sure, Apple will get some of the money, but all the components and the manufacturing are done overseas. I don’t think taking our tax money and using it to worsen the current account deficit is the idea here. What does America still make? Mostly lattes, lawyers, pills, software and movies. So, it’s not going to be easy to spend your money on the American economy. Thus, I’ve decided to provide a few ideas, some of them even feasible, for fun things to spend your money on that will maximize the impact on the American economy and won’t require you to sue anybody:

  • Pay off debt. It may not give an immediate jump to the GDP, but it has long term benefits that will accrue to it.
  • Patronize those locally owned restaurants you’ve been meaning to try. Tip heavily.
  • Go to the theater. Buy lots of candy and popcorn. (But stay away from the Nestlé products.)
  • Rent a Harley and take a trip somewhere. No going into Canada!
  • Take flying lessons. You won’t be able to get your license with $1200, but you’ll have a lot of fun and will probably get to the point of soloing. No going into Canada!
  • Get 20 friends together at work and buy a car to raffle off. I suggest the new Charger, but just make sure it’s American.
  • Finally buy legal copies of all that software you’ve been pirating. Yes, I know about that copy of Photoshop!
  • By some really good California wine. I recommend Coturri.
  • Purchase a custom made bag by Timbuk2, built by hand in San Francisco.
  • Take a class or two at the local community college.
  • Get a weekly massage and get a happy ending for the American economy.

More as I think of stuff. Suggestions always welcome.

6 responses to “Spend your stimulus money wisely!”

  1. Massages! Get one a week for however long that lasts. Just think, it’s the best kind of service economy there is. All the money stays local (at least for one hop), and most of it goes straight to the providers pocket. There aren’t any environmental, moral, or health side effects, and you’ll feel happier.

    This assumes you don’t have any credit card debt to pay down, of course. That feels even better than a massage.

  2. michelin-starred menu in scandinavia? because (1) it will make me a happier and more productive worker bee when i’m back in the US and (2) it might convince the swedes/danes that us americans aren’t at the brink of a recession, increase international confidence in the US economy, and thereby bolster the US economy. you feel me?

  3. jp:

    Scandinavia? You can rationalize it any way you want, but clearly you are trying to cheat the system. I am inclined to report this to Homeland Security. Our kind and fearless leaders did not bless us with their generosity for us to go and give it away to Europeans. You will spend your money here, and you will enjoy it. Please report to The Ministry of Reeducation at once.

  4. Well now we’re on stimulus #2 and this one is much worse for the economy (and our future children). One of the most searched for terms recently has been “when will I get my stimulus check”.

    Will this one pass the Senate? I don’t think it will pass as-is but we’ll know in less than 2 weeks.

    And I almost forgot, our stimulus checks from 2008 went into the bank.

    • I agree. This one might be worse for the grandkids, but hopefully it will be better for our long term success as a country if they actually spend it on infrastructure and R&D, instead of everybody just saving it. The latter is the most ludicrous potential outcome of a stimulus, because we’re basically borrowing at a higher rate than you’re earning. (Except that somebody else is paying for it, which is pretty much the entire trick behind most of the American economy.)

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