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.