Home / Flash of Non-Newsworthy Note: Stimulus Arrives Via Payroll Check

Flash of Non-Newsworthy Note: Stimulus Arrives Via Payroll Check

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Today is payday, and it’s also April 2. That means the long-awaited payroll tax relief, touted by our current government as the tax break of the working man (should I capitalize that?) is now reflected on our pay stubs.

The word on the street was that the take home bonanza would be somewhere between $8 and $13 a week. Woo-eee! At the news of such a windfall of disposable cash, I had been planning my own spending spree to help the cobbled economy back on its feet. I gave up my initial plan of new lingerie in favor of buying replacement strings for my violin. My normal modus operandi is to wait until the strings break, but it’s been two years since the last string change and I have a couple of wolves on the box.

But of course, someone has to be the voice of reason and snatch away the dream. After gloating about my extra cash, my husband expressed an interest in confiscating the measly stimulus and putting it toward next year’s taxes. When you’re in business, you’re always paying taxes in advance, and you’re always paying more than you think you’re going to be charged. That’s because you don’t want to be caught with your pants down at the end of December, the slowest month of the year, with a big tax bill.

Personally, I wish the people would rise up and pull a Tim Geithner/Tom Daschle/fill-in-the-blank. If our bureaucrats and elected officials can be tax scofflaws, why can’t we? Oh, right. We are people of ethics and integrity. I don’t want to get all Anne Coulter-ish especially since I’m both an independent and an agnostic, but those dudes have a one-way express ticket to hell while I’ll have an angel’s escort to the pearly gates.

But as usual, I digress. I do the payroll for our business, but on pay weeks I don’t pay attention to the specifics. I just want the numbers to balance the first time and go on my merry way. So any change was negligible until I looked at my stub this morning.

The government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided not to give me $8 a week. It didn’t give me $10 or $13. Instead, I am blessed with a total of $15.39 per week! Net!

So giddy was I with the intoxicating dreams of an additional $800 a year that I almost wet myself. I was swelling with patriotic pride, knowing that some autoworker or AIG hedge funded phone jockey would live another day to spend a paycheck of their own. For a second, I really felt like a part of the global community, reaching out with my own personal stimulus to help the disadvantaged.

Then I thought I had better control myself, and not draw my husband’s attention to my glee. The next thing you’d know, he would be giving the money right back to the government.

Instead, I will invest $5 a week in the Mega Millions and put $10 cash in the basement crawlspace. The thirty-nine cents I can use for metered parking. Call the lottery ticket and the lockbox in the crawlspace an investment in the future. The parking money would go to my own city, and they could use the change.


It's not exactly a stimulus, but it's the best I can do under the circumstances.

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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.
  • When I came to US in 1961, you could get a brand-new Chevy Impala for mere two grand. Good old days. Of course, that was plenty of money back then, but quite realizable. My first salary in NYC, working as a gofher in a lawyer’s office – $80 a week.

    You cannot imagine how great it made me feel to put my hands on those four $20.00 crisp bills.

    What a life!

  • You’re preaching to the choir here, Roger. Back in the boom days, everyone could afford it. Not anymore. Everyone else has to cut back, sooner or later the union (and the state government) will have to do the same.

  • Mine is 1999 but only 38 thousand miles; still a cherry. That’s why I’d hate to see GM go. And it’s not exactly true they make a lousy product. Not economical, I agree, but all American car companies banked on consumer loyalty and sentimentality to what was, once upon a time, an American trademark (because we put automobile on the map). Well, they’ve lost their bet, but in no small measure because of their having been strapped with obscene labor contracts which made impossible for them to compete. The UAW have done a lot of good for the labor movement, but those were the times when we could all afford it. Since the mid-seventies, it was no longer the case; and it became a losing proposition since.

    Something ought to have been done right then and there, like a presidential injunction or something of that nature to save the industry by cutting into entitlements. But I guess no one had foresight enough, or the courage, to upset the applecart.

  • GM made good muscle cars. My last was a 2002 Monte Carlo. Sleek, nicely built, very fast. But then gas got over $2.40 and I opted for hybrid.

  • Well, you’re ahead of the game. Mine is a red Camaro and it eat gas like crazy. But I love the power.

  • I drive a Prius. I couldn’t spend $15 in gas in a week if I wanted to.

  • Don’t knock it, Joanne. $8 or $13 a week will put the gas in your car. These days, every little bit helps.

  • As it did last year, my stimulus money is going exactly where the rest of my paycheck goes – straight into savings (at least that portion of it which I don’t use to pay bills). There it will sit and earn a little bit of interest, thereby increasing the money supply (to my pockets).

    The plan is to use that money, later this year, to stimulate the economy not of the United States but of a far-flung country. Hopefully this will eventually have the knock-on effect of stimulating other things, like the Untied States.