Monday, June 23, 2008

Six Hundred Dollars I Didn't Earn

I'M SOMEWHAT ASHAMED TO ADMIT that for the past week, after our hilariously wasteful government burned even more postage (which is more what we who've played a lot of Illuminati would call a "money transfer" from the Federal Reserve to the Post Office) in sending me a second notice that I was due some cash as part of the Bush junta's "Spend Your Way Rich" plan, I've nonetheless been racing home after work to see if the check has arrived.

Not that I had any specific plans for the check. I'm not in any long-term debt; I have no major, vital purchases cued up that this would expedite; the Vegas vacation was funded via (horrors!) not going to Vegas for a year and saving up the money in ING Direct; and I've been reducing my apartment of what the great fallen hero of the Republic, George Carlin, would call "my stuff" — with no plan to make things worse by reintroducing needless crap into these halls. Yet the prospect of cash I didn't earn still had me zooming directly home for a few days. So I feel little better than the folks who'd already decided at which bonus-dangling retail emporium they would cash their check.

Needless to say, certain uses came to mind:

Playing that TV all-in game: This is worth two buy-ins at the $1/$2 no-limit hold'em games at the Atlantic City and Foxwoods poker rooms. What better way to recover the donations I made to the Vegas poker economy than by extracting it from the East Coast one?

Advantages: It's fun to take money from morons.
Disadvantages: Sometimes the morons take money from you. Plus driving the requisite 130 miles to either destination is no longer as painless as it used to be. And getting this check from the Feds is, by definition, "taking money from morons."

Getting it all in $1 bills: No easier way to illustrate the fallacious nature of this governmental move than to see it, in all of its paper glory, as a giant stack of singles. Which I can then toss in the air like a man in an invisible cash-blowing cube.

Advantages: Put a $5 on the outside, roll it up with a rubber band, and I will look like a BEEEEEEEEG MAAAAAAN. Or a gas-station attendant.
Disadvantages: Will attract every stripper within 20 miles.

Euro-papering the walls: The hilariously colored currency from the European Union is applying its Italian-crafted heel squarely to the greenback's ass. Cash this, then swap it for euros, then wait as the country continues to mortgage itself to China via the Saudi money laundering machine.

Advantages: Throw 'em in the safe deposit box, cash 'em in for Benjamins sometime late in Obama's second term, buy 45 Priuses, drive them all around with my followers like an energy-conscious Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Disadvantages: The foreign-exchange market is juuuuuuuust a little more complex than this. The big move in EUR vs. USD already may have been made. Plus, Obama might actually improve our standing in the world, leaving me singing on a hillside with the children of every nation and a pocketful of gaily tinted Scottissue.

Index fund or T-bill: Go long. I'm talking out the chute and into the Giants' parking lot. I'm talking take a canoe halfway down the Meadowlands until you drift under the Pulaski Skyway. Pick an index mutual fund or ETF, or a long-term Treasury instrument, throw the cash in, and forget about it.

Advantages: Boring enough to work. Plus getting Uncle Sam to pay me more money on top of the dough he's already sent me is, as they say on the Internets, a "sick burn."
Disadvantages: Hard pressed to name any. Schizohedron McDuck will probably go this route.

PS. Does it strike anyone as more than coincidential that the $600 conforms to the maximum amount one usually can take out of an ATM in one shot?


Amy said...

Oh GREAT! Thanks!! Now I feel horribly guilty about thinking of using most of ours for a laptop. Of course, this will be itemized on our taxes, as it would technically replace my computer that died, but still. I am sure we will save what we don't use. Oh, do I need to see my financial planner! I am so behind on fund contributions! Ugh.

The checks are sent out based on your SS# and a sched is online at the gov't site for the refunds. Ours is in the LATEST category, so we have a month or so to wait!!!

Schizohedron said...

That laptop will be as much of an investment as a T-bill or anything along those lines, especially with the itemization. Even sweeter is the chance to have a reliable machine in the house, as I know you've had ups and downs w/ the main thinkbox. So if nothing else, it will pay a sanity dividend.