Do You Feel Stimulated Yet?

It was announced today by our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that he is putting out another “stimulus” package to help soften the blow of the global economic crisis (which I’m not sure is as big as the media like to portray).

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We had one just before Christmas where SOME of the population got a so-called one off payment of $1000 and were urged to “Spend!  Spend!  Spend!”  Unfortunately I didn’t see any of that money, because I’m not on welfare, nor do I have children that I can’t afford to support.  I would have gladly spent $1000, but despite my paying one of the highest ratios of tax in the country, the stimulus wasn’t extended to me.
It pissed me off no end to trudge home from a long, hard day at work to see my dole bludging neighbours unpacking a massive plasma screen TV that they had bought with their payment.  It pissed me off no end to hear two women on the bus discussing how they were going to buy computer games for their kids, when at the time I was finding money to buy a washing machine.
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However, this time, one of the parts of the package is apparently another “one-off” (how many one-offs can they create?  I thought the point of a one-off is that it is ONCE!) payment of $950 payable to all taxpayers who earn up to $80,000 per annum.  I’m WELL under that, so it seems that I am getting myself $950!  Not sure why we taxpayers get 50 bucks less than the welfare mob, but hey, I’m not going to sneeze at $950.
Of course, we’re all being urged to “Spend!  Spend!  Spend!” again.  I personally will be, because I’m a responsible worker who doesn’t have scads of debt to rid myself of.  My payment is earmarked for that iPhone that I really want.  But isn’t it a bit irresponsible to be encouraging those who DO have scads of debt to spend it rather than pay off their debt?
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Some of the other parts of the stimulus package include:

MAIN POINTS:

    * Tax bonus of $950 for those earning up to $80,000, and smaller amounts for those earning up to $100,000.
    * $14.7bn for school infrastructure and maintenance and trade training centres;
    * $6.6bn to boost  public housing by about 20,000 new homes;
    * $3.9bn for free insulation to 2.7 million homes and solar hot water rebates; 
    * $890m for regional roads and blackspots, railway boom gates; 
    * $2.7bn small and general business tax break to provide deductions for some equipment purchases before the end of June 2009; 
    * $12.7 bn for one-off payments to working Australians, families with school-age children, farmers, single income families and for those undergoing training.  (Source)
It’s good to see money going towards schools, public housing (the rental market is obscene here at the moment), roads and railway safety, small business help and payments to working Aussies, farmers and those undergoing training.

However, WTF with the insulation for the homes?  How is THAT going to stimulate the economy?  They claim it’s going to create jobs, but I can’t see how that’s going to happen.  I can just see a back log of people waiting to get free insulation in their house.  And what about all the people who can’t afford the ridiculous prices to buy a house at the moment, so they have to rent (like me).  Will our landlords be putting insulation and solar hot water in our
homes?  I doubt it very much.

So if you’re eligible for the $950 payment, how do you intend to use yours? Are you going to spend it? What are you going to buy? Or will you save it or pay bills? If you’re not in Australia, what would you do if the government handed you $950?

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February 3, 2009. finance, global economy, money, shopping, society, spending, stimulus packages, taxes.

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