At the risk of having beat this one to death, here's some final thoughts on the economic stimulus payment.
- After reading the comments and talking to many people over the last few weeks, I have been encouraged by the number of folks who have processed the issue of what to do with the rebate. I've been excited by the amount of mental energy that many have put into this discussion.
- As a practice, I do not open my finances and giving habits to public scrutiny, but I felt it was essential on this issue. Tracy and I are giving the money away, but the point of the conversation was not to guilt others into doing the same. Each family/person should decide how to use the money after thoughtful and prayerful reflection.
- Giving the rebate away is only one anti-story to the consumerist narrative we find ourselves in. Others are focused on social justice issues. Some are working on environmental responses. Still others are seeking lives of moderation. I have heard so many wonderful and creative ways of responding.
- While many of us have been having a helpful conversation on the issue, I am very disheartened by the lack of discussion on a public level. There has been little, if any, critical dialog; it's virtually nonexistent in the news and media outlets.
- Saddest of all, very few people are considering using the rebate in charitable ways. I acknowledge that many need the money because of uncertain or difficult economic situations, but why isn't this at least an option? I have only been able to find one (of many) surveys that even asks whether people will use their rebate on charitable causes. And that survey reveals that only 3% of respondents are considering the donation option:
Finally, some words of humor regarding the economic stimulus payment from Dave Barry. (source)
This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:
Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.