Friday, May 02, 2008

Rebate Checks: Happy Thoughts During Law Finals...

It's week 1 of the federal government rebate checks, and $7.1 billion has been sent out.

I've heard a lot of discussion among my fellow classmates as to what should be done with the money. As many of us face significant school debt, one approach is to pocket the money and take less in loans (or have more to pay them down). However, that approach isn't the way the government wants you to spend it. CNN tells us "the effectiveness of the stimulus package depends on whether taxpayers actually spend their rebate cash. If consumers save the money or use it to pay down debt or buy imported goods, that would provide a smaller boost to the economy, critics of the program say."

So, how about a [hopefully] fun and light-hearted discussion: How do you plan on spending the money?

And here's a handy chart as to when you'll receive your check:

Direct deposit payment
If last 2 digits of your SS# are: Your rebate should be sent by:
00-20 May 2
21-75 May 9
76-99 May 16
Paper check
If last 2 digits of your SS# are: Your rebate should be sent by:
00-09 May 16
10-18 May 23
19-25 May 30
26-38 June 6
39-51 June 13
52-63 June 20
64-75 June 27
76-87 July 4
88-99 July 11


Blogger 3elle said...

I'm going to run out any buy 100 boxes of miniature made-in-the-USA American Flags.

Seriously though, those of us studying for the bar this summer sadly won't have a lot of time to spend it before August. And then in August, we'll want to spend the money abroad on our bar trip! Sorry, US economy.

5/02/2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Upon reflection, a better question to ask may have been "what possible ways can you spend the money that do not result in buying imported goods or otherwise directing the funds toward a different nation's economy?"

All I can come up with is gambling or personal services (i.e. house cleaner, getting a massage, etc)...

5/02/2008 4:06 PM  
Blogger tj said...

3elle: haha - that works too. Maybe we can all ship them to Obama.

5/02/2008 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Use it for a down payment on a GM Saturn
2) Do not patronize businesses of immigrants who will be sending their paychecks to family abroad
3) Buy American Apparel tees

5/02/2008 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking of putting mine in my locker, but apparently that's not a good idea, since nobody will be retrieving things. At least it's free.

5/02/2008 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am either doing to donate it to PBS or get 600 tacos for $600

5/02/2008 4:54 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

4:54, open a checking account with pictures of the Hindenburg explosion.

5/02/2008 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the money from those tacos will go straight to mexico

5/02/2008 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The method for sending out rebate checks is eerily similar to the method for assigning telebears times...

5/02/2008 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@5:06. You can apologize to the other folks in the reading room for making me laugh out loud at your comment.

5/02/2008 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

iPod Touch, or to go the America (fuck yeah!) route, lots of Shiner Bock. Good ol' Texas beer.

5/02/2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armen - only if it comes from a professional in an ape mask.

5/02/2008 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much for a lower SID number?

5/02/2008 6:02 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

6:01, a professional in an ape mask is still a professional. And are you ready to go ape?

5/02/2008 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buy cart-girl a new, QUIETER, scooter.

5/02/2008 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I plan to make a donation in your name to the Human Fund.

5/02/2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spend it quick, before inflation makes it worthless.

5/02/2008 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on an informal Boat Hall survey, it was learned that tax rebate checks were assigned in such a way that citizens with lower SS numbers received their checks earlier. Before we used this new software, the timing of rebate checks was truly randomized. In the future, different software will be used to ensure a more randomized and equitable distribution of rebate checks. Thank you for your commitment to this issue.

5/02/2008 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I move to have 7:00 deleted; thats just mean.

5/02/2008 8:51 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Forbes has some ideas as well.

They're not quite as fun as an iPod Touch, but the site did give me a couple new ideas (i.e. using it towards a nice new suit for this summer).

The idea said to have the most impact is to give the money to a charity. Charities also have a hard time during recessions.

Do you think the UC-system counts as a charity? I'm sure DE would like us to think so.

BUT, maybe they could use it to speed along the new Telebears system.

5/02/2008 11:45 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

The UC is indeed a 503(c). You think they pay federal taxes on your fees? Hah.

5/02/2008 11:51 PM  
Blogger Bekki said...

Curious... the economists tell us that the best way to use the rebate is to spend it, not to save it or pay down debt. But wasn't unprincipled, profligate spending part of what got us into this mess in the first place? *cough*subprimemortgatemess*cough*

5/03/2008 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The answer is no. Here is why.

The subprime mortgage problem is a product of unprincipled, profligate borrowing, and unprincipled, profligate lending. When problems started occurring, the structure of the securitized mortgage market market inflicted such high transaction costs that the parties on both sides were unable to negotiate.

Spending during a recession increases exchange, which according to economists is generally Pareto efficient, and makes everyone better off. Paying down your tab at the bank doesn't have that exchange effect, and doesn't make everyone better off. (Unless you live in that magical place called Regean-land. Then the effect will trickle down.)

5/03/2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got to say, with a $9.3 trillion national debt going on right now, its hard to see how, assuming *most* of this money will be spent in non-exchange ventures (gas or debt-servicing), its hard to see this move as anything but unprincipled borrowing and lending by the same entity, the US federal government. I'm going to go to Canada and spend it there, so as to improve the economy of the country I will be moving to once this whole law school thing is over. This boat is sinking fast.

5/03/2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

On irresponsibility: Agreed. If the federal government really wanted to get consumers' money into exchange, they would be looking into legislation curbing interest rates on credit cards, cracking down in predatory lending practices, etc. Not borrowing from one account to pay another, giving tax revenues back, or throwing dollars out of helicopters.

On Canada: Disagreed. It's cold up there. And full of Canadians!


5/03/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck putting that $150K U.S. law degree to use in Canada, 10:25AM

5/03/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pareto efficient? Misspelling someone's name? Er*c Tall*y is commenting on Nuts & Boalts again!

5/03/2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger get thee to a dookery said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/03/2008 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how fellow law students think about this payment. To me it's just another $600 dollars sitting in the checking account that has no special meaning attached to it (even though it is tempting to spend it on something fun). Do others view it as a carve out piece of money that can be spent on whatever? Also, how many of you really needed that money and it means that maybe you can do something basic that you could not before (like afford the gas to drive somewhere, buy a food item you may not have otherwise bought, buy a Gilberts)?

5/03/2008 6:09 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Excellent question 6:09.

I can connect with your sentiments regarding it not being a "special" $600 to spend. To start each semester, my bank account is huge - but it's all debt money. $600 in comparison to $100k or so in debt is nothing.

But let me try to take your question to an even greater level of detail: are you 1Ls and 2Ls going to take $600 less in loans for the following year? Or does this $600 not impact how much you take? If the latter, chances are that it'll be put to use, even if not especially targeted at one extravagant purchase (i.e. iPod Touch).

I know the $600 isn't likely to impact how much I accept in loans. Given that fact, I'll have an extra $600 to start out fall quarter with, and it'll likely be distributed among the local watering holes over the course of my 3L year.

Buying Jupiter / Trumer Pils is American, no?

5/03/2008 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I figured the $600 was aimed more at stimulating spending among the throngs of idiots (i.e. average, everday Americans) who maxed out their credit cards and helped get us into this mess in the first place.

5/04/2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Question of the day:

The online exam interface says: "Take home 8:00AM - 05/05/08 to 5:00PM - 05/16/08 - 24 hours"

M*nd*'s email says: "The final exam period runs from Monday, May 5 - Thursday, May 15, 2008. All take-home exams must be uploaded by noon on May 15, 2008."

So, which is it? Noon on 15 May or 5:00pm on 16 May? (I know. I know. I should just finish them by noon on the 15th, but I'm thinking the extra 29 hours could be helpful...)

5/04/2008 6:24 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Matt: that sounds like a question easily asked to M*nd* tomorrow - not one that you should be relying upon an anonymous forum to answer. [Would you rely on someone only identifiable by a time and date?]

It's a good question nonetheless and I'm in the same boat. If you get an answer, please encourage M*nd* to send a follow-up clarification email. One that's not going to cause as great of a stir among grumpy law students as the teacher eval one.

5/04/2008 6:58 PM  
Blogger trentblase said...

If they really wanted us to spend it, they would have given us a $600 Visa gift card.

5/04/2008 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, Actually I asked Mindi the same question because I too thought I had until the 16th (which would be nice), but takehomes are due by noon of the 15th.

5/04/2008 10:14 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

To all who were wondering, 10:14 is correct. I emailed Mindi on Saturday. She told me today (in person and by email) that it is noon on Thursday. She also said she's going to try to have the exam interface fixed. So there you have it. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

5/05/2008 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad Mindi "fixed" that little problem where the exam interface actually agreed with the Academic calendar.

5/05/2008 11:11 PM  

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