In the Loop

Stimulus checks: Botox, blow it at the casino...but mostly savings

Posted at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2008 by Jeff Horwich (7 Comments)

We already had one round of this when the President signed the bill, but the media (Associated Press, for example) today is taking another run at the "What will people do with their checks" question.

If $600 - $1,200 worth of impulse shopping at Wal-Mart sounds attractive, the big blue behemoth is offering to cash people's checks for free. (For many people, though, the "check" will actually be a direct deposit right into your bank account. Wal-Mart, however, will still be happy to take their money.)

Seems like, hmmmm, In The Loop already took a run at this question a couple months ago. But media momentum impels me to revive our contribution to the conversation:

Now that the grand moment is almost upon us, what'll you do with yours?

Comments (7)

We figure our checks are going towards a baseball road trip we have planned for this summer. We probably would have taken the trip maybe that's not a boost to the economy, but it's definitely a boost to our fun!

Posted by Nikki | April 30, 2008 11:30 AM

You raise a good point, Nikki. With the economy in the crapper, why isn't the government telling us to go out and have fun with the money?

That might be the most effective application of all. Go have a pick-me-up on Uncle Sam.

Posted by Jeff Horwich | April 30, 2008 1:28 PM

What about college-aged students in between the ages of 17 to 24? These people can still be considered dependents but neither the parents nor child (17/24 year old 'child') will receive a stimulus check for that person. After doing some looking around it doesn't seem as though my parents or I will benefit from the stimulus (my parents will get theirs, of course, but not with consideration to me). Is this true and if it is, why aren't more people talking about it? It would be silly not to give it to young people who would be very likely to spend it and not save. Does anybody know about this?

Posted by hannah | May 2, 2008 10:14 AM

You bring up a good point Hannah. I hadn't heard about this either but after some digging it looks like you are correct. Parents will not get the $300 per child rebate for children over the age of 17 even if they are claimed as "dependents" on their tax return. If you are over 17 you must claim yourself as an "independent" and you have to make over $3,000 a year to get the rebate. You also have to make sure you parents didn't claim you as a dependent on their returns or the IRS will probably hold the check and look into things.

However, I've been told the rebate is actually for your projected 2008 income, not 2007. So, if your situation changes in 2008 and you end up filing as an independent and make over $3000, then you might qualify for the check and receive it in 2009. Tax forms next year should explain how to do this. So there is hope.

As to why college students are left out in the cold? Good question. One could argue that they already receive a lot of government money in the form of grants and subsidized loans. Or that they are likely to pump that money into paying off tuition rather than spending it on retail and service. But truthfully, I think you are right. Put $600 dollars in the hands of most 17 to 24 year olds, and they are as likely to spend it as anyone, especially since many are living on their own for the first time and have a lot of everyday items they'll need to purchase.

Also, who do you think will end up paying for this rebate? It'll come out of young people's taxes sometimes down the road. What gives?!

Posted by Sanden Totten Author Profile Page | May 2, 2008 11:02 AM

"Also, who do you think will end up paying for this rebate? It'll come out of young people's taxes sometimes down the road. What gives?!"

Its about political clout. The young people who will pay for this 'stimulus' have none.

Posted by bsimon | May 2, 2008 11:41 AM

These days everyone is saying that young people are becoming an ever bigger and more important voting block. Maybe if their vote decides the election we will have a dramatic shift in the spend-now, pay-later mentality . . . but for some reason I don't see that happening.

Posted by Sanden Totten Author Profile Page | May 5, 2008 3:29 PM

It is not fair that the government did not stipulate that children born 1n 1990 will not receive a stimulus rebate check. My son is graduating from high school, and he really needed that money for prom and graduation. This should have been made clear to parents with children 17 years old. The IRS should be held accountable for this lack of information to people inquiring about who is eligible for a rebate check.

Posted by debra gavin | May 9, 2008 10:27 AM

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