Economic stimulus makes my head hurt

After working to survive the soul-sucking, blackhole-encompassing process that is preparing my tax return, Ė I only need to find 3 million more tax documents to finish the process Ė the idea of getting some extra money back from the government that I have to do absolutely nothing to get sounds good to me; however the realization that the process could very well double the national deficit and leave our childrenís, childrenís, children to pay off the debt, probably isnít such a great idea.

Iíve never been financially minded, so maybe the reasoning behind this is just over my head. Iím not sure if this is just me being crazy or if things actually are as messed up as they appear. Currently, the plan is to give 130 million households rebate checks for $300 to $600 per person. That part sounds great in theory. I know I could use an extra $600. However, the project will cost the government in excess of $150 billion, and as far as I can tell, that is money that the government doesnít actually have.

I have problems balancing my own check book, so understanding how going $150 billion further into debt is good for the economy escapes me. I just know that if I go in the hole with my bank account, itís a bad thing. Trying to completely understand the logic behind this may make my head explode.

However, since I have no financial background, I will admit that there may be several key factors that I am missing in this plan.

On the upside, a bunch of us are going to be getting extra money soon. Like most people, I love getting a little extra money every now and then. If I find a $5 bill in the dryer, Iím happy. Getting an extra $600 out of the blue would be great, and Iíve never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but while the government is working to send out these checks, theyíre also encouraging taxpayers not to save the money for a rainy day or to use it to pay off debt, but to spend it in an effort to boost the economy.

That might be a great way to keep the country from experiencing a recession, but Iím pretty sure itís not the best way for taxpayers to be fiscally responsible. Watching your credit score decrease, your bills pile up and your savings account dwindle because you chose to spend your rebate money on new shoes instead of paying off current debt seems pretty irresponsible. Doing it because the government said so, seems absolutely ludicrous, but thatís just the opinion of someone who canít balance a check book.

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