Populist Bullshit


I hate tax rebates. And the politicians that give them. I have previously advocated buying loads of porn with republic generated rebates and buying guns with democrat generated rebates, but this fails on many levels.

The last rebate I got was from NM governor/VP hopefull Diamond Bill Richardson to the tune of 79 dollars as a tax relief from the high heating oil costs a few years ago. Unfortunately he is a gun toting Dem and buying a rifle from Walmart probably would not effectively punish him, even symbolically. I wrote about it way back in 2005, here.

The current proposed tax refund was passed overwhelmingly by populist vote seekers from all political parties and promises to be even more fiscally irresponsible than the previous 300 dollar one. It is hard to blame a single party for this type of populist vote buying endeavor. It is equally difficult to come up with an effective punishment. I think the responsible thing to do is to put the money in a long term higher interest CD and let it sit there and then send your grandkids to college. Donating to charities is fine as well. Anything to subvert the "increase consumer spending" paradigm.

More along the lines of "sticking to the man" I would like to be able to use it to buy a bicycle so I don't have to use my car, but at my current bike ownership level this is just an exercise in consumption, playing right into their hands. i heartily encourage anyone who has no bike or an inadequate one to use their refund to buy a sturdy commuter and use it for short trips and getting to work.

Along these lines, I would like to invest in some solar panels, but the large refund is probably not large enough to get me over the hump to solar panels I can use to effectively lower my bills. More realistically I can use the money to buy a new more efficient hot water heater which could lower our bills over our lifetime, and, perversely will give us a tax credit next year for buying a energy efficient heater. Perhaps I can look into grey water systems as well so I can irrigate our fruit trees and crops painlessly. A wood stove fits as well, but this may only make sense for people living in high beetle kill tree, low population density areas like NM.

On the devious side, I would like to invest in RJR or some other high return human vice stock, but it irritates me a bit to support the fat cats in this manner. Although the profit jump when supercool president Obama is seen puffing away after a stressful cabinet meeting is hard to pass up. Another good investment would be to buy all copper pennies and horde them as a manner of efficient metal speculation. This, of course, is technically illegal, and difficult as it is hard to get tens of thousands of pre-1982 pennies. But again as a small thorn in the side of the "man" it would be appealing. Take that "the man" I am a penny hoarding populist hater.

Any other thoughts on what you can do with your tax rebate to punish the populists fiscally irresponsible poopheads in washington?


Aili said...

How about if it spend the rebate here in China, helping them with their effort to increase consumer spending? Or is that going too far? It doesn't carry quite the same message.

Tarik Saleh said...

You are in the unique position to use your money to help balance the trade deficit! Just spend the money in China on American made goods. Say a number of gallons of Tennessee made whisky so you can increase your Guanshi with drunken business meetings. Singlehandedly saving the dollar. Go you!

Cody G. said...

I got me an old peanut butter jar with one of them tight fitting lids, and I'm fixing to bury my rebate in my backyard. Only you & the squirrels know this, so keep it hush.

Aili said...

Good point, Tarik. I have been buying Land'O'Lakes cheese and Multi-grain Cheerios, among other imported American foods, so I guess that is a start.

Marrock said...

How about you send me your refund and I'll use it to help pay for a bike I wont be embarrassed to admit I own?

Tarik Saleh said...

Good thinking. I will use an old sardine tin. I am going to seal it up real good like with duct tape. Sardines is known to repel squirrels. Thems is crafty fuckers, so careful with your nut jar...

Alison, now you are on it! Multigrain cheerios, eh? Impressive exporting USA!

No, that would be supporting the consumer spending, playing right into the hands of "the man". Sorry, I already know you have at least one usable bike. Nice try though.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

We played our first Bush tax rebate (2001) like this:

$100 went straight into Howard Dean's war chest.
$100 went to Oxfam International.
$200 went to the local community food program.

Seeing how Dean went on to become chairman of the DNC and that the Dems look like they're back with a vengeance, I'd say that was money well-spent. We deducted the other donations from our taxes for that year.

This time, I'd like to say that we'll just stick it in the bank, but the current trend line for the value of the dollar makes that look like not the best of all possible ideas. I guess I'll just have to keep checking the comments on this thread.

PS--I agree that pissing away that much of the Federal Treasure is just about the worst possible thing the government can do and those who perpetrate this sort of theft deserve our eternal contempt.

Joseph j7uy5 said...

Rainwater collection systems would fit in with this, along with the graywater system you mentioned. Plus stocking up on food. These have the additional benefit of helping prepare for disasters, such a a pandemic.

Marrock said...

Actually, no... I have a bike shaped object that I spend more time working on than actually riding.

At the time I needed a ride and it was all I could afford... it's bad enough that I wont name where I got it or what it is.

christian said...

It won't work for everyone, but I'm buying a public transit pass that provides for more service than I'll actually use (mostly because I want to ride my bike sometimes). It's an admittedly inefficient way to put tax dollars where I think they ought to go, but it makes *some* sense to me. Other possibilities include donating to foundations that support public school programs that are being cut due to stupid budget decisions (like giving tax rebates). Our local hospital also has a fund to support a van that drives around to vaccinate poor children. A tax rebate could actually buy a bunch of flu shots (for example). Maybe you've got something like that near you?

Dan said...

If you are looking to harvest your rainwater, I suggest you seek a copy of Brad Lancaster's Book on the subject, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and beyond. http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/

Great information. Brad uses this technique to great effect in Tucson, AZ, irrigating his garden and other groovy uses (outdoor shower!). He's also a super nice fellow, to boot!

Tarik Saleh said...

Wow, cornicopia of responses. Thanks for reading everyone. Here goes...

I think I spent my 2001 one on rent for a month as I was approaching zero in the checking account as a grad student. I think the dollar will prevail really, so I think keeping it in the bank is not too bad an idea.

Yeah, I need to get some rain barrels for sure, but we get a huge 20" of precipitation a year here in Los Alamos, so it is not quite as critical as other things. Food for pandemic seems like I would be playing into the hands of code orange though, maybe I should get duct tape and plastic sheeting?

Ok, I am not making fun of your bike. Doesn't it have a milk crate on it though? How could that be bad? You can get a new bike if you want. I won't judge, trust me...

Good thoughts all. I could buy millions of cookies at the school bake sale, helping support the school AND buy food for pandemics to come.

I will check out the link, thanks. Like I says we get almost twice a Tucson worth of rain a year, but it is something I am working on.

Marrock said...

I know you're not making fun of it, I just hate the damn thing even though I still ride it.

The old one had a crate, that bike's dead now though...

The "new" one can't take a crate despite my best efforts, also, I've spent the past couple days trying to figure out why the damn thing wont shift down into the lower gears...

Right now I'd consider selling a bodypart to get a Kona Smoke or Surly Cross-Check but the way things stand right now I can't even replace a backpack that's more repairs than pack.

These elected asshats can take their rebates and handout checks, roll them up really tight, and jam them up their smokeholes.

I don't need governor dingleberry or president monkey passing bad checks my way, I need a frigging job and a bank to put the money I hope to make in that will stay in business long enough for the ink on my signature card to dry.

I'm tired... of the frustration, the nonsense, the lies told on a daily basis by smiling idiots in suits that cost more then the rent on this apartment that I can't pay...

I'm tired of the "everything will be just fine" rhetoric spewed out by the truckload as their house burns down around their ears.

I'm tired of legislated morality, government endorsed stupidity, mutually agreed to destruction...

I'm tired of seeing president monkey all pouty-faced on TV because his latest attempt at fascism wasn't voted through congress... actually, I'm just tired of seeing president monkey, period... the guy looks like he should be riding around in a truck with Greg Evigan for crying out loud.

And... I'm just tired, I feel like I haven't slept in days, been filling out job apps for months now and riding to do follow-ups on apps that all get the same response.

Man... I'm not angry, a little mad, but not angry... to quote the Hatter "We're all a little mad here"... but seriously, I'm sorry for dumping this here when I have an easily ignored blog of my own...

Something just seems to have come loose and opened a flood gate of sorts.

Feel free to delete this or mock it if you see fit, it's just been one of those decades... Know what I mean?

gpickle said...

Marrock, you poor thing, I feel your pain. Try to sleep if you can.

I slept through my Econ 201 class which is why I have no good ideas for how to fix the economy. When I woke up I had passed with a D, maybe our country won't do that well but at least asleep you don't have to suffer through the "experts" lies.

christian said...

If you do decide to give in and go the consumer route, the Ibex outlet is looking fine these days:

tricky said...

Marrock, that was a quality rant right there. Sucks that you are in such a tough spot. I will keep you in my thoughts.

My plans are to pay off some cc debt. This is a double edged attack on the populist vote seekers and their corporate puppet masters. My money won't be going to grow the consumer economy (why do we need to do that, again?) and it will be sticking it to the fuckers at the cc card companies that expect me to continue to pay the minimums and line their pockets with interest for decades to come.

Shit, I see why they are doing this, but come on. It's a bandaid. A really, really expensive bandaid.

j.d. said...

I say we secretly send our money to China to all the people being "evicted" in the name of the Olympics. The Chinese Govt. gave them crap and bounced them out on their arses, it seems.

OR we could buy a bunch of generators and send them to Iraq where after 5 years, the almighty US of A has yet to rebuild any of the infrastructure we destroyed. Great forethought there, boys. (Before anyone gets thier panties too twisted, my eldest is on his second tour over there right now).

Sorry for the rant-ish-ness. Most likely it'll go toward paying off CC debt. Bastards.

I got a frame & fork I can send Marrock if'n he'd like. Probably most of the components, too, except for wheels.

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