Saturday, May 10, 2008

What Would plezWorld Do?!? - Stimulus Check

Congress and George W. Bush did not listen to plezWorld when I decried this economic stimulus package a few months ago. I felt that it was a miserable band-aid for an economy that was - at the time - spiraling into recession. Well, those economic stimulus checks, in the amount of $100 billion to 130 million American homes, have started showing up in mailboxes and direct deposit accounts for about a week now. This may not prevent the recession as Americans spend their paltry $600 windfalls on more video games, cd players, higher priced food, and soaring gasoline prices.

Instead of encouraging folk to spend their money paying down personal debt and maxed out credit cards, retailers around the country are falling over each other to get you to stimulate their economy! The New York Times reports that Sears has started a “stretch your stimulus check” campaign, Supervalu, the grocery chain, is promoting a “watch your refund grow” program, and Kroger is calling its stimulus gift cards “a powerful new financial tool.” All three companies offer shoppers a 10 percent bonus if they buy a gift card with their checks. Domino’s Pizza is also offering a “recession-busting” special of three pizzas for $12. “While you’re feeding the economy with your special refund check, let it feed you back,” the company said in a news release promoting the offer. Home Depot is encouraging customers to buy energy-efficient products, like compact fluorescent bulbs, to save money.

One has to wonder how much the economy will be stimulated if everyone spends their entire check with only one retailer? If Sears or Kroger is tying up all of your money, then you cannot use it to pay off or pay down a credit card, you won't put a portion in savings, etc.

Some stores are putting together their programs so that it doesn't appear that the average consumer will have to spend their check at one location: Wal-Mart and RadioShack are offering to cash checks, a program aimed at customers who have no bank accounts. Wal-Mart’s check-cashing service is free. RadioShack’s requires a purchase, and the unspent balance of the check goes onto a prepaid MasterCard that can be used elsewhere. And Kroger is allowing any consumer to buy its gift card, both to avoid the bother of tracking stimulus-check receipts, since a sizable number of consumers will receive their check via direct deposit into a checking account, and to appeal to affluent consumers who earn too much money to receive any checks.

Read the entire New York Times article about retailers push for your economic stimulus check here.

plez sez: stimulus check? what stinkin' stimulus check?!? plezWorld ain't getting any check... it doesn't feel like it, but the government considers that my particular economy doesn't need any additional stimulation. if they knew that my gas guzzling SUV now requires a small loan to fill it up with premium gasoline flirting with $4 a gallon these days. and who knew my company would decide to downsize me during an economic downturn, but after i'd already made too much money to get a check! can i get a mulligan?!?

well, the subject of this post is "What Would plezWorld Do"? so i guess i better stop bitchin' about not getting a check and let you know what i would do if $600 just showed up in my checking account tomorrow. for fun and kicks, let's also assume that plezWife didn't also make too much money to get a check and we were eligible to get a $300 check for the SugarPlum, that would be about 1,500 clams to freely spend. i guess we'd also have to assume that i don't have a stack of credit cards with over $5,000 on them that needs paying down. so what would plezWorld do? well, my wife has an eye on this cold-blooded Gucci tote for mother's day, i think the price on that thing is around $1,500! i guess we could put $1,000 in the SugarPlum's delinquent college fund or just slide it into the savings account and let it grow some interest. then again, my SUV could use some new tires: four tires at $350 each would leave enough money for dinner at McDonald's!

i guess my initial assertion (read them here and here) that by stimulating the economy with a one percent welfare check wouldn't do much to jumpstart this feeble economy without addressing the root cause of the problem: a weak ass dollar, the credit crunch, the on-going mortgage mess, loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas companies, loss of high tech jobs to overseas companies, trade imbalance, NAFTA, $125 a barrel oil, inflation, and the tax burden placed on the middle class. so when this economic stimulus package doesn't work, don't blame plezWorld because he didn't even get one of those stinkin' checks!

but i'm not "bitter."

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