Tax rebate checks

Right now as I write this, the top searched item on the Yahoo! network is ‘tax rebate checks 2008.’ No question that many people are eagerly awaiting the rebate money and thinking about how they will spend it.

But some of my colleagues and I here in the newsroom started doing the math, and
we were discouraged.

We realized that for a typical family of four, a rebate of $1,800 will likely not go very far. One of my colleagues pointed out that many people are likely to spend their rebate money on household necessities: filling up the car with gas, and other bills – not on taking a vacation, or shopping, etc. We calculated that with rising prices, groceries and gas alone could easily add up to $1,300 for a month.

So maybe $1,800 will help with a month’s worth of bills, but what happens after that? And I wonder what people will indeed be spending their rebate checks on.

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