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?