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Stimulate THIS - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
May 13th, 2008
10:37 am

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Stimulate THIS
So, I filed my taxes earlyish this year (over a month before the deadline - which is uncharacteristic for my procrastination-prone self), and had my return deposited electronically. And I had the foresight to have a SSN with low digits. So, I expected to get some money within the first few days of the Economic Stimulus program.

Last night, I got paper mail from the IRS telling me that I should be getting something in the next six weeks. Yeah, that's great. Thanks for letting me know you're on the job. Also, they told me the exact dollar value that I'd be getting.

Not to spell out my taxable income here, but I had thought that the absolute minimum that people would get would be around $300 - those that needed the stimulus the most would get $600, and it would start phasing out at $75k, down to $300 or $350.

From the math I saw on the IRS paper mail last night, take a look at your taxable income for 2007, and if it's over $75k, take 5% of the amount it's over by, and subtract that from $600 to find your stimulus. So, if you made, say, $86,000, that's $11,000 more than $75,000, and 5% of $11,000 is $550, so your stimulus check would be $50.

I'm pretty sure that if you make six figures, the "stimulus" doesn't go negative. Maybe it should.

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:moonlightnrain
Date:May 13th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
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I got mail from the IRS last night. The date on the letter? May 12th. The body of the letter? Tells me I will get my stimulus check no later than May 9th. I have no check, nor any notice that they've applied it to what I still owe from 2006. Isn't that brilliant?
From:ericasco
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
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It is this from whence comes the phrase: "Close enough for government work."
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From:moonlightnrain
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
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No kidding. If I pulled that kind of crap, I'd be fired within the week.
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
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I think it's a little crazy that I'd be getting any money anyway - if I got hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, it'd go towards paying off credit card debt, so I'm an unlikely candidate for actually stimulating the economy.

However, if the government found a couple extra million that it wasn't using, I'd pay off the credit cards, and the house, fund my retirement accounts, and then start my own company. I'd probably even hire some people, which is reducing unemployment (aside from the fact that the folks I'd hire currently have jobs, but there's a shell game one can play that makes that make sense, I'm sure).


I'm mildly frustrated at the discrepancy between my expected check and my actual check, but that's not a big deal.

I'm more frustrated that the civil servants who work for me have such an uninformative website, and the paper mail (as you confirm) is so unhelpful, and this process seems so unclear.

Can I hire a new government?
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From:moonlightnrain
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
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Yes, yes you can. :)
From:ericasco
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Every even numbered year.
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
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Sadly, the interview process for hiring new employees involves 300 million interviewers. Maybe I should fire some of them to make the process more speedy.
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From:kiffle
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
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I got my letter from the IRS telling me when to expect my money AFTER I got the money. Huh.
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From:moonlightnrain
Date:May 13th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
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I'm under the assumption my letter acknowledging that the amount was applied to my debt will arrive shortly. But sending a letter dated 3 days after it was remotely relevant... boggles my mind.
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I knew from the very beginning that us "rich people" will get SQUAT from Uncle Sam. Now, I fully support the notion that if you make over a certain amount you shouldn't get or need the stimulus package. But what I don't agree with is that that line is hard coded and does not take into account your geographic location. Our salaries in the Bay Area mean something completely different than if we lived someplace scarier, like near the in-laws in Alabama. Here we're upper middle class, but there we're "New Money." ;)

Edited at 2008-05-13 06:22 pm (UTC)
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
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I suspect that if they accounted for cost of living, there are certain coastal states that'd get more money than certain other states, and that might be politically sticky.
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:May 13th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
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They don't need to give the coastal states more money, they just need to raise the bar on the salary cap, so to speak. If I buy a DVD player, it costs about the same to buy it here as for someone in Alabama. But my rent/mortgage is higher here than in Alabama, so to make up for it, I get paid more.
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From:tsmaster
Date:May 13th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Right, and then the question becomes what the intended use of the check is - is it to pay 2 weeks' worth of rent/mortgage? Is it to buy 2 months' worth of groceries? Or a PS3?

Some of these are priced differently across the country, and some stimulate the US economy more than others. I'd discard both the housing and the electronics, as housing costs are already pretty much figured into one's budget, and electronics would send money overseas, stimulating the US trade deficit.

I recently heard of charities making a special plea for people to sign their stimulus checks over to the charity, which seems fairly compelling - using the liquid cash to buy food is more likely to help more people than using it to decrease upper middle class consumer debt.
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From:scoreboard
Date:May 13th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
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I am sure we're getting fuck-all, but if I were in charge of the money, I'd do what I did in 2001: sign the whole thing over to the DNC. That way, I can have them stimulate the economy FOR me while simultaneously getting started on that whole interviewing-new-government thing.

Given the massive load of personal debt in this country and the shrinking value of the dollar (thanks, Bernanke! YOU ASSHAT), I strongly suspect that the "stimulus" provided by this money will largely amount to pissing off the pier...but they don't care, they're just trying to run out the clock and dump the whole shitpile on whatever poor bastard wins in November.
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From:ginsu
Date:May 13th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I had an exceptionally good year last year and as a result, ponied up a horrendous check in April.

Then on Saturday I got a four-figure refund check. It seems IRS looked over my return and arbitrarily decided I had given it too much and that it needed to give that back.

This was so shocking, I didn't know how to react. I would have expected their policy to be keeping it in such cases, always, regardless of my theoretical or legal entitlement.
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