What Good Are Rebates?

Much though I do applaud the new sense of bipartisanship in Washington (brought on by a “holy shit” economic outlook), the suggestions so far show the typical in-the-box thinking that dominates Washington, especially when there is a Bush in the White House.  What are the Bush proposals to ebb the tide of recession?

Why, tax cuts and tax rebates, of course.  The government has oodles of money to just throw out there willy-nilly in tax rebates.  The only problem is: the last time they tried that crap, most people did what seems to the individual to be the most responsible thing to do with their rebate checks, which is pay down their credit cards.  The net affect is that the rebates had almost no effect on the economy or consumer spending at all.

Here’s an idea: if you’re just going to give that money away, why not give the money to the states in exchange for sales tax-free shopping days?  Better yet, make those sales tax-free purchases cash-only transactions below a certain level, so we’re not making our private debts worse.  In those states like Florida where there is no sales tax, some other incentive would need to be worked out.  But the point is to focus what we give away on the national level (where we really can barely afford to give anything away in the first place) on retail sales and things that would actually stimulate the economy.

Discounted rates on home purchases or rebates for purchases; ditto for cars; state tax relief on gasoline.  There are lots of options that don’t involve simply handing us a check as citizens.  We’re perfectly responsible people out here beyond Washington’s borders, but as demonstrated in the recent past, our priorities as individuals may not always be what’s in the best interest of the economy.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.