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Failed Plans for My Personal Stimulus Package

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Word on the street has it that the big banks, Wall Street, auto manufacturers and state governments are not the only ones to get a shot in the arm from our dear, old Uncle Sam. The common working folk will also be privy to a piece of the bailout pie.

According to various news outlets (most of which I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw one), the working stiff will get a little relief in the form of a credit bouncing back from our payroll taxes.

How nice. I work, so I’m in line, right?

The amounts vary depending on who you are listening to. Some say $8 a week, and up to $15 a week. This amazing bounty will be available sometime after the first of April.

Woo hoo! Even anticipating at the low end, this was more than I could have ever hoped for! There is a God, and he lives in the White House!

Of course, upon hearing the news of this most important windfall, the first order of business was to map out a strategy for the many ways to spend the dough. I don’t want to be known as some ditzy broad with money burning a hole in my pocket. The days of handing over cash for the first glittery thing that crosses my path is long gone. I was a gadfly shopaholic, but I'm reformed now. There’s a right way and a wrong way to spend. After all, our nation’s economy is important to me, too. I want to stimulate it just as much as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

And with so many businesses needing financial transactions to stay afloat, it’s hard to narrow the field to a few viable choices.

So armed with last week’s catalogs and a Sharpie pen, I spent a gloriously frigid Sunday afternoon wishing for items I couldn’t have afforded before.

I crossed new car off my list, because they are too expensive. Besides, a dealer would have to pay me to give up my Prius. Ditto for a new house. The old one is worth almost one-half what we paid for it in 2004, and we can barely afford that. You won’t see us buying any boats, RVs or skidoos either. Or $1,400 trash cans made out of papyrus.

I could surely use some new underwear, but the price of bras has gone up dramatically since I last visited Vicki’s Panty Shack (a.k.a. Victoria’s Secret). I would have to save up for five whole weeks before I could afford a Body by Victoria bra, my favorite line. Oh, well. I suppose the girls can stay unfettered until the next stimulus.

Moving on, I had my eye on a rain barrel from Gardeners’ Supply. You know the type, a barrel that collects rainwater for use in the yard so the water bill could be manageable. However, at $149, I would have to wait almost 19 weeks before I use my stimulus money to buy that. Nineteen weeks would put me in the second week of July, and if I don’t water the veggies by then, they’ll be toast.

Of course, I could use the cash to finance one of my bad habits. No, I’m not talking about smoking or internet porn. I wouldn’t waste a found dime on that. I’m talking about my compulsion to take small semi-precious stones and craft them into jewelry. Consider a replenishment of supplies an investment in my possible future. I know I’ll have to work until I die since I can’t afford to retire, and it’s handy to have more than one skill to carry one through the New Greater Depression. (I already have urban gardener, amateur knitter and aspiring novelist on my resume. One can never have too many hats to wear.) Damn, but $8 a week is a mere drop in the bucket, not enough to keep me in (new) business. Come to think of it, I don’t think I could buy a ball of yarn with $8.

Perhaps I should use my $8 a week to go to the movies. Oh, wait. The movies are $10, and that’s not even including refreshments. Add that in, and you have a $25 night, which is why I don't go to the movies. I suppose I could reinstate my Netflix account.  That would give me entertainment galore and I’d have enough left over to buy a month’s worth of popcorn and Junior Mints. But do I really want to fork over my money to Hollywood? They’re the only people in California with any money left.

I told my husband we should pool our found moolah into building a bomb shelter in the backyard. As a child of the Cold War ‘60s, I can remember all of my neighbors with bomb shelters. In addition to protecting one from nuclear fallout, they are also handy for storage, unexpected houseguests and wayward tornadoes.

My dear husband made no bones about bursting my bubble. He said we need to apply any money toward next year’s taxes. As he pointed out, someone’s going to have to pay for all this “found” money, and he figures the IRS will come knocking at our door.

That’s because they miss all of the big shots in Washington.

Oh, well, I tried to do my best to stimulate the economy.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • tammi

    we go the same hobby, just want to share here is some pretty mounting form


  • Doesn’t ‘economic stimulus’ mean I.O.U.? Gladly pay you Tuesday for a billion dolars today….


  • If only McCain had won. We’d probably be looking forward to, oh, I don’t know, maybe $9.75 or even ten bucks! Then we’d be talkin’ about real money!

    We don’t need no stinkin’ “hope and change.” Just SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!


  • bliffle

    Good article, Joanne.

    It’s amusing and clearly points up the difference between the solicitude shown towards Big Banks and little citizens.

  • Very informative. I wonder whether the American public is aware of that, or would they care?

  • Cindy

    Victoria’s secret is that it uses slave labor.

    The Victoria’s Secret workers toil 14 to 15 hours a day, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., seven days a week, receiving on average one day off every three or four months. All overtime is mandatory, and workers are routinely at the factory 98 to 105 hours a week while toiling 89 to 96 hours. Treatment is very rough, as managers and supervisors scream at the foreign guest workers to move faster to complete their high production goals.

    Workers who fall behind on their production goals, or who make even a minor error, can be slapped and beaten. Despite being forced to work five or more overtime hours a day, the workers are routinely shortchanged on their legal overtime pay, being cheated of up to $18.48 each week in wages due them. While this might not seem like a great deal of money, to these poor workers it is the equivalent of losing three regular days’ wages each week.

    “The larger point here is this. The U.S.-Jordan so-called “free trade” agreement was held up as the model deal. It was approved by a voice vote in the Senate in 2001–with virtually no Democratic opposition.”

    Hillary Clinton says: I supported these agreements despite…[my] concerns because I believed the agreements would not harm the average working person in those nations and, thus, the flawed labor provisions did not outweigh the benefits offered by the agreements.

  • Baronius

    Glad to hear that you’re an aspiring novelist; you sure can write. I’ve got an idea: get everyone to chip in their $8 per week to a Victoria’s Secret pool. It might not help the economy much, but everyone would be in a lot better mood knowing that his or her money was going to something important.