Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
Readers weigh in on if they will save or spend
By Shelley Grieshop
Putting extra cash into the hands of local residents might not get the results the U.S. government is seeking to jump-start the economy.
A survey this week by The Daily Standard revealed that most people intend to keep their rebate money for a rainy-day emergency, pay bills or put a dent in rising gasoline and food costs instead of making purchases to "stimulate" the sagging economy.
The rebates - ranging from $300 to $1,200 - began arriving to direct-deposit tax filers this week and will continue being distributed through the week of July 11, based on Social Security numbers. Paper checks will start arriving by U.S. Postal Service next week.
Vicki Derossett, 57, of Mendon worries that a little extra money in the hands of people who already are fiscally irresponsible might make matters worse.
"I'm just not sure it will help people already in debt," she says. "What if they go out and spend more than they get? They'll be in worse shape."
Derossett, a married woman with grown children, calls the rebate idea a "Band-Aid" for a major problem stemming from what she calls government lies, deceit and wasteful spending.
"If they were doing the right thing with our money in the first place, we wouldn't be getting it back," she adds.
Christina Smith of Celina will get $600 back but there's no big vacation plans in her future, she says.
"I'll try to get caught up on bills and buy food," she says. "It's so expensive right now."
Melissa Moeller, mother of four children ranging in age from 4 months to 20 years old, wasn't totally aware that she and her husband qualified for the cash. When told, the 42-year-old Chickasaw resident thought a vacation would be nice - something the whole family could enjoy.
"But then again, we might just put it in savings," she says.
New Bremen resident Nathan Hirschfeld, 80, also will pay bills with his bonus money. He understands that nearly everyone who files income tax will get the stimulus check, to be fair, but he isn't sure it's just.
"I'm not saying it's bad that everybody gets one, but some people don't need the money and they get it, too," he says.
A semi-retired contractor and widow, he blames the government for the slumping housing market and poor economy and believes President Bush is the root of the problem.
"We need to get him out," he adds.
Sally Schnelle of St. Marys is glad the money will be sent to senior citizens and others who often are too proud to ask for help. As for her, the 68-year-old lost her husband in January but isn't financially strapped like others she knows, she says.
"I think it's great. It's about time we do something for the people here instead of always doin' for people in other countries," she says.
Her rebate check will help pay utility bills and gas up her Dodge Durango, she says.
With three young children, Dave Jacobs will use his check of $2,100 to pay back the money he borrowed on his 401K "so I can borrow more," he says with an embarrassing laugh.
He'd love to take his family on a vacation this year, but the 39-year-old likely won't be able to swing it, he says.
Several people told The Daily Standard they haven't yet decided whether they'll spend or save the funds coming their way. Most said they have a wish list and are tempted to cave in to extras like trips to Disney World or high-tech gear they didn't get for Christmas.
Danny Meyer, a 19-year-old Wal-Mart employee, has his eye on a new gun or motorcycle. He recently moved to a farm between Chickasaw and New Bremen and just talking about the added cash put a smile on his face.
"I want a lot of stuff and I want to spend it but ... I'll probably end up putting it in the bank," he says.
The IRS is issuing stimulus payments of $600 ($1,200 for married couples) plus $300 for eligible children younger than 17. Anyone who did not file an income tax return this year can qualify for the rebate if they have at least $3,000 in qualifying income or file a 2007 return by Oct. 15.
For more information go online at www.IRS.gov.
When will I get my check?:
Economic stimulus checks will be issued based on the last two digits of a taxpayers Social Security number. Listed below are the dates checks will be issued and the divisions in SS numbers.
For those whose tax returns were direct deposited:
May 2: 00-20
May 9: 21-75
May 16: 76-99
For those whose tax returns were issued by paper checks:
May 16: 00-09
May 23: 10-18
May 30: 19-25
June 6: 26-38
June 13: 39-51
June 20: 52-63
June 27: 64-75
July 4: 76-87
July 11: 88-99
Source: IRS Web site