I get a whopping total of $300. Thanks to last year being such a banner year \"" <--(hand of sarcasm icon for those just joining us) I didn't pay any income tax. I don't know whose taxes are being given to me, here, but whoever it is, I thank you for it, instead of the government, because I know where government gets all its money.
I suppose I am more than a little cynical about all this, but I can't help it. There is no one in Washington DC who is interested in actually limiting the size of government, and whoever came up with this John Maynard Keynes-inspired notion should probably be sent back to a non-Ivy-league school for remedial Macroeconomics 101.
Though really it's not entirely a Keynesian idea. There's just enough supply-side economics in it to make it actually work, which is a feature that Keynesian economics lacks, particularly in the long term.
Isn't it amazing how die-hard Keynesians suddenly worry about government deficit spending as soon as they're no longer in charge? Look at the about-face the Democrats did after 1994--suddenly the deficit was the biggest problem in the world; and now that we're trying to fight a war against islamic terrorists they can't stand that the US is running a bigger deficit than a decade ago. They like to pin that deficit on the "Bush tax cuts" but those prevented the 2001 (9/11) recession from lasting much longer than six months or so. In fact, the deficit is caused by two major factors:
1) Congress going on a huge freaking spending spree, 2000-present; and
2) the war.
In that order.
Example: President Bush signed the single largest-ever increase in Department of Education funding. A few weeks later Teddy Kennedy--who had co-authored the freaking bill!--said it wasn't enough money.
In 1991 or 1992 George H.W. Bush signed the largest tax increase in US history to that date. In 1993, Bill Clinton signed the largest tax increase in US history ever. Government at various levels now consumes 36% of our GDP.
...yet we're running deficits. And no one in Washington DC is interested in controlling spending; no, they want to increase taxes--not that that will make a difference.
Remember TEFRA? Ronald Reagan signed it into law in 1986. It was an agreement: taxes raised by X much, spending limited to Y.
Instead Congress spent $1.40 for each new dollar in taxes they got from TEFRA. End result: skyrocketing deficit.
Congress' power is defined by how the federal budget is spent. There is no incentive whatsoever for limiting that. If they didn't have to worry about being re-elected, God alone knows how high our taxes would be.
...and so here we are, facing an energy supply problem; and the Democrat-controlled Congress has no interest whatsoever in taking steps to increase the supply of energy. The price of everything is climbing like a JATO-equipped Piper Cub; and so our government's solution is to give out $300-$600 per taxpayer in the form of an "economic stimulus payment".
* * *
As for me, I'm thinking of upgrading my entertainment system. Just go out and buy a DVD recorder and a new CD player. Something like that, yeah.
Other thought: $300 is most of a new laptop. But do I really need that?
Other thought: Kindle?
Other thought: How many anime box sets would $300 buy?
Other thought: Fiero stuff!
Other thought: Small trailer and hitch for Jeep.
...no dearth of ideas here. I just need to figure out which one makes the most sense.