Monday, May 05, 2008
SPENDING YOUR STIMULUS CHECK
(5.05.08) - I’m totally excited that our tax rebate checks are coming! Washington has turned into Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, all rolled into one, now delivering $300 to $600 checks to nearly every U.S. taxpayer.
The idea is that everyone will want to rush out and buy, buy, buy - thus stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and causing bluebirds of happiness to trill with delight. Wal-Mart is ready for you, offering to cash your government checks for free and tempting you with special price promotions. Indeed, every big retailer is running shopper specials in May.
But, wait - most of the stuff sold in those stores isn’t made in America. So those sounds of economic stimulation we’re hearing - from factory machinery to bluebirds - are coming from China, Singapore, and other low-wage nations where U.S. corporations have moved production. Spending at the Wal-Marts won’t create new production or new jobs in your town or mine.
That’s why I have a different plan for my $600 check. I’m setting $400 of it aside to spend at farmers markets, artisan shops, and hometown businesses that sell goods produced locally, or at least produced in America. This way, our tax dollars can circulate here at home, genuinely benefiting our grass roots economy.
Then, I’m going to donate the other $200 to public interest groups or progressive candidates who are pushing for real economic reform, not made-in-China consumerism. In particular, my small donations will support those working for a massive public investment in repairing and extending America’s deteriorating infrastructure - including water systems, bridges, schools, parks, public transportation, and a state-of-the-art internet system.
Instead of a shopping stimulus, we should be employing millions of Americans at good wages to do the good grassroots work that needs to be done.
"As tax rebates arrive, retailers hope to sway wary consumers," Austin American Statesman, April 29, 2008