The checks aren't in the mail yet, but plenty of Americans already seem to know what they would do with the rebates proposed by Congress and the White House. Under the economic stimulus plan announced yesterday, most tax filers would receive refunds of $600 to $1,200, and more if they have children. Those who make too little to pay income taxes would receive a check for at least $300 as long as they earned at least $3,000 last year.
Lawmakers hope the rebates will encourage consumer spending, but many responded to an informal ABCNEWS.com poll to say they intend to sock their cash away into savings. Many others, however, aren't shy about spending their expected green on things like bills, groceries, clothing, vacations and, in one case, a kitchen sink. Below, an unscientific sampling from our online audience."
Dawn Ketcham of Fergus Falls, Minn. "An extra few hundred dollars will definitely come in handy. ... I will be spending some on summer clothes for my son, since I think he outgrew every article of clothing from last summer. New school clothes will be on the to-buy list as well. As far as fun things go, we have a big family camping trip planned for late this summer, so that's most likely where the rest will get spent."
Raquel Sanchez of Pacoima, Calif. "I would buy some food and shoes for my son. I'm a 53-year-old single mom having to pay for a class after my financial aid ran out and can't start my master's program till I pay it. I would also make a payment on my car before it gets repossessed again."
Charles W. Yagel, of Branford, Fla. "I guess I'll fill the gas tank on my car and get a dinner at McDonald's with the change. Do you think that will boost the economy?"
Matt Van Every of Oklahoma City, Okla. "I plan on buying a new HDTV. I could use the money on many larger priorities and to pay debts. However, I feel that the government intention with this money is to help the economy by having people buy stuff. For that reason, I will spend it how the government intended for me to spend it ... on a luxury item."
Stephen Madaio of Sutton, Mass. "I will NOT buy, buy, buy. I will pay bills, bills, bills!"
Diane Andree of San Jose, Calif. "A few hundred dollars isn't much these days. It costs me $150 a month just for gas, and I carpool with my daughter, so that's probably as far as it's going to go ... or I could buy a month's worth of gas and a month's worth of groceries. That really puts these hard times into perspective, doesn't it ? For my mom, it wouldn't even cover one month of medications for her."
CPT and Mrs. Joanna Taczanowsky of Fort Irwin, Calif. "My husband and I would put our money toward my college loans, our two car payments and any other debt I went into while my husband he deployed. I can't think of anyone on our post who is going to use the money to go buy some frivolous thing because everyone here is in debt!! Thanks for the couple hundred bucks, Mr. Bush, but we'd much rather you get us out of Iraq so we can see our husbands for more than a few months this decade."