Five Ways To Spend Your Gas Rebate

For a nation “addicted to oil,” as President Bush put it, Senate Republicans have a proposal that can only be described as enabling: Put $100 back into the pocket of every taxpayer.

The proposal, unveiled Thursday, has been roundly criticized not only by Democrats but also by fiscal conservatives who warn it will widen the deficit while doing little to encourage energy conservation.

“It could be one of the dumbest ideas of the year,” said Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the conservative Cato Institute. “I haven’t looked at all of the ideas yet, but it’s got to be right up there.”

Taylor pointed out that as proposed, the rebate would go only to people who paid federal income tax last year, meaning it would be no help at all to the millions of low-income Americans who pay no income taxes but arguably suffer the most in times of rising fuel prices. About 100 million taxpayers would qualify for the rebate, which would be limited to filers with incomes under $150,000 for couples or about $100,000 for singles. It would cost more than $10 billion.

We love how a conservative numbers guy has to point out the obvious flaw in the GOP’s otherwise damn fine plan.

What shall we do with this munificent benefit, this tremendous windfall? Why, it will buy us about 2 tanks of gas eachl – an amount that’s pretty meaningless to both Ginny and I given our lightfoot driving habits. So what shall we do with our $100 gas rebate, assuming that this bill passes (and you can bet that the push will be on to pass it just in time for ‘lectioneering, kids, because after all it’s a “please-vote-for-me-in-November” ploy by the GOP).

Here are a few ideas we have about what we’ll do with the (theoretical) rebate. They all involve endorsing or re-directing the rebate to a more deserving target – this may not be possible depending on how it’s structured, so it may be necessary to deposit it and write a check, but I’m hoping endorsing to third parties will be possible. You’ll see why:

  1. Re-direct your rebate check to our local Meals on Wheels program, or to a a charity that picks up homeless people and transports them to shelters
  2. Donate it to a hybrid or alternative-fuels pilot project, or to the National Park Service to be used to fuel the shuttle buses they run in order to cut down on traffic
  3. Sign it over to your friendly neighborhood police, fire, and emergency rescue organizations
  4. Forward it to an organization that helps the working poor and Katrina refugees with gas money and bus/transit fare cards
  5. Endorse it over to the campaign fund of a Democrat running against an incumbent Republican, and fax a copy to Sen. Bill Frist’s office as a big “THANK YOU.”

Please feel free to steal this idea, or enlarge on it. Think of the good that could be done – $100 isn’t that much money to Ginny or I, but it’s a lot of money to a poor person, or to a non-profit trying to eke every last penny out of a small budget.

Note: This post also appears, almost word for word, on Ginny’s blog … we worked on it together.
[tags]car, gas, rebate, frist, hybrid[/tags]

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