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I Can't Wait For My "The New Built To Spill Album Kind Of Sucks" Check!

People often complain that they don't know what Democrats stand for. Thankfully, there is no such ambiguity regarding the Republicans. Today they again reminded the nation of the bedrock principle that their party was found upon: giving voters $100 each in an election year.

They are calling the swag "gas rebate checks," because it's supposedly to reimburse citizens for the high gasoline prices they have been subjected to over the last year. Never mind that subsidizing the purchase of gasoline will increase demand and lead to yet higher gas prices.

But there's no obligation for the recipients of these checks to actually spend the cash on fuel. In fact, as near as I can tell there is no connection whatsoever between the money and gasoline prices -- I presume that bicyclists will be getting the same amount as truckers -- except that the checks will probably have the words "Republican sponsored gas rebate" in the "memo" field.

Frankly, I think Congress is missing an opportunity for a more targeted approach. What they should do is ask each American what he or she is most unhappy about, and then label the checks accordingly. There could be "gas rebate" checks and "cable rebate" checks and "dadgum Mexicans taking our jobs" checks and "dudes kissing dudes" checks. That way, Americans will know that Republicans care exactly $100 worth about whichever issue concerns them the most.

The whole thing would seem kind of silly if the government were just giving us back the money we paid in taxes; it would like a bank touting their generosity every time you withdrew your own money. How fortunate, then, that the United States has long since exhausted its cash on hand. Now the cost of funding the program will get tacked onto our already obscene national debt, and it will be the poor saps down the chronological line that will get stuck with the bill. In other words, it's 100% completely free money!!

In fact, they should just call this the "Five Dollar Bill in the Birthday Card Preimbursement Program." Here's how it works. First, we give you $100 now. Then, after your grandchild is born, you include $5 in every card you send them on their birthday -- iIf you stop sending them cards before they turn twenty, you get to keep all the extra money! Then your grandchild joins the workforce, gets burdened with astronomical taxes, and struggles to pay down the gargantuan debt we saddled him with. It's like your adult grandchild is sending $100 back in time to you, who is then sending it forward in time to your adult grandchild's younger self. How totally awesome is that? It's pretty much exactly like The Terminator!

All in all I think the "giving voters $100 each in an election year" program this is the greatest things to come out of Washington since prohibition. It's so clever that I can't help but wonder where Republicans got the idea. Lord knows no one has ever given a Republican a bunch of "no strings attached" money in the hopes of influencing their vote.

Posted on April 27, 2006 to Politics


...yeah, it's totally a ponzi scheme... as contrasted to other government programs, like, oh, say, social security...

Posted by: matthew Arnold on April 29, 2006 1:37 PM

I'm going to spend mine on beer and anime, watch anime whilst drunk, and then vote Democrat in the Fall.

The system works!


Posted by: elf radio on April 29, 2006 2:41 PM

Why do we assume our grandchildren are going to be "paying off" the national debt? We aren't even trying to pay it off NOW.

I love these deals to give me my own money back and hope I feel grateful.

Charge me $100 less in environmentally friendly gas taxes, and we'll call it even, k?

Posted by: Partisan Pundit on April 29, 2006 5:10 PM

By the way, I still have MY ganglion cyst.

Posted by: Carny Asada on April 29, 2006 7:26 PM

You are so right. Now if they gave us THEIR money, that'd be a different story. I mean, even if they sent me a pack of gum, if they paid for it out of their own pockets, that would dampen my outrage, outrage stoked and enflamed by these six horrendous awful years...OK, maybe not.

Maybe if they paid off my credit cards? Or all our credit cards? And bought us each a pack of Starburst? Why, that might do it!

As for Bush, he could give one of the speeches here


Posted by: ozma on April 29, 2006 7:50 PM

So true. I'm going to donate my $100 to getting a Democrat elected.

Posted by: erika on April 29, 2006 8:13 PM

This the bill that's all "$100 and a mule to pay you back for gas!" and in teeny-tiny print at the bottom has "PS We also get to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge- suckers!" ...isn't it?

So if this bill passes, it once again opens the ANWR to drilling.

Tricky bastards.

Posted by: liz on April 29, 2006 8:19 PM

There didn't seem to be a way to post a comment to the post about your cyst, so I'm adding it here: Nice Connect Four commercial reference, Matthew!

Posted by: Eric on April 29, 2006 9:04 PM

Looks like not only are they trying to bribe Americans to vote for them next time around, but they are trying to buy us off so we'll let them drill in the Alaskan wilderness.

Oh, well, no one ever said they had ETHICS!

Posted by: april on April 30, 2006 6:49 AM

You paid $100 for 'You in Reverse'? Man - you got robbed bad.

Posted by: mistake on April 30, 2006 10:39 AM

no, it doesn't.

Posted by: dystopiandreamgirl on April 30, 2006 11:13 AM

If I receive this money, does that mean I'm yet another person to take money from Jack Abramoff?

Posted by: Karl on May 1, 2006 12:15 AM

$100 is less than two fillups in my 13mpg 1978 Grand Marquis. Criminy, this is a bad idea.

Posted by: Emily on May 1, 2006 9:20 AM

$100 for bread and circuses, but not a dime for albums I can get off bittorrent.

btw I agree re: You in Reverse. Except for maybe Conventional Wisdom, which isn't even that great of a track but still it doesn't totally suck.

Posted by: Sean on May 1, 2006 9:24 AM

Just don't forget to declare it as income on your next tax return!

Seriously. The last time they gave us "free money," it moved some people up a tax bracket, and they got in trouble for not declaring it!

Posted by: petitchou on May 1, 2006 11:31 AM

And what about that Alberta $400 dollar bonus cheque? Are the Americans following the Canadians in this case?

Posted by: Jack Ruttan on May 1, 2006 3:29 PM

I'm just pissed because now we have to live through the inevitable flock of well-meaning "How to spend your $100" emails from cause-oriented friends.

Posted by: Sue on May 1, 2006 9:02 PM

Ralph Klein, outgoing premier/viceroy of Alberta, Canada, actually did give everyone in the province a "gas refund" about 5 or 6 years ago, in an election year. I think everyone got like $200 or something. (This was Canadian dollars six years ago, so that would be like $130 USD). I can't believe they're stealing that idea. (It worked though, Klein won by landslide.)

This past year, everyone who filed an Alberta tax return got a $400 "prosperity bonus".

At least Klein was paying off the deficit and balancing the budget.

Posted by: Brenda on May 1, 2006 10:31 PM

Ya, its said to see what happened to Built to Spill. I think the fire went out.

Posted by: Brian Brewer on May 2, 2006 8:33 AM

They should put the $100 into a savings account for each of us. That would have several effects, including increasing savings rate of the average American by about 70,000%, increasing the savings of many Americans to a grand total of $100, and prop up the banking industry because of all those teller/ATM fees they'll be charging people to get at their money.

Amazing, though, how novel the idea of saving money on behalf of taxpayers seems to be, eh? I'm looking at you, mythical Social Security "lockbox."

If the Feds really wanted to reimburse us for gas, maybe they'd federalize the Alaska Fund and divvy that dough up over the 50 states. Then you'd be talking real money. Anyway, as a Capitalist Republican who doesn't own a car, I think this $100 is bullshit. The $300 Tax Refund, at least, was something I'm behind in principle. $100 because the oil market is feeling unstable? Pfft.

Posted by: LAN3 on May 2, 2006 5:11 PM

Hey Matt-

This has nothing to do with your current post, but Connie Chung just did a segment on the 5:30 news called Tricks of The Trade. She talked about real esate tricks, such as calling a small house "cute" and a lous neighborhood "busy and bustling."

Posted by: Andrea on May 2, 2006 5:54 PM

Instead of $100, I'd rather see Bush's daughters enlist. That will never happen, have to keep the offspring of the Aryan Christ alive to occupy future posts of government.

Who cares about the money, it is Federal Reserve notes. And everybody knows the Federal Reserve is part of Satan's plan for One World Government.

Or something like that.

Note to self: Avoid the Ritalin, Vicodin, NyQuil, and Everclear cocktails.

Posted by: Karl on May 2, 2006 7:52 PM

As always, great post.

And Andrea, hush--we're about to put our "adorable, cottage-style" house on the market, and we're trying NOT to highlight the fact that it's just under 1100SF!

Posted by: Belinda on May 2, 2006 10:04 PM

Though I don't like how the vocals were produced, I think the new BtS album is freaking sweet.

I can't wait for the next one.

Posted by: Tom on May 3, 2006 11:43 AM

TNAFT (There's No Accounting For Taste), but I also think the new album does not "kind of suck". However, I was certainly happy when KEXP started playing more than just the first track over and over. I like "goin' against your mind" but anything can be hammered into dust.

Posted by: Mister Man on May 3, 2006 5:57 PM

Amen! You know something? I'd pay $100 to watch someone make fun of Bush some more (Like during the White house correspondents dinner).

Or, maybe we could pool all of our $100 checks together and get a big name star like the guy that played "The Greatest American Hero". He could show them what it really takes to be a hero in America!

Posted by: Hazzard on May 4, 2006 1:39 PM

"Lord knows no one has ever given a Republican a bunch of "no strings attached" money in the hopes of influencing their vote."

Because democrats conduct themselves in a completely different manner.

Look, the gas rebate check is a bad idea, but come on. Both sides pull stupid stunts to get the pieces to fall into place in an election year, so this "its from the republicans! teh gasp!" business is really unnecessary.

Posted by: Brian on May 4, 2006 6:47 PM

I still do not understand why they voted to give the 12 BILLION DOLLARS in tax breaks to the oil companies a while back. Why not split that up among the people of our country... let's see, 300 million people in the US, so approximately 200 million can drive, so they all hybrid cars (and that would be $60,000 to each person, so probably only half of that would be spent on the hybrid car, and the rest could go to paying for gas and maintenance forever... or even that silly National Debt).

But, I'm sure that the $100 "Republicans love you" check will bring up the approval from 32% to 37%. It's funny that the $500 that democrats previously proposed was so quickly rejected by the Republicans and now they create their own plan and try to sneak in the ANWR drilling in there...

Posted by: Ian Clifton on May 4, 2006 9:47 PM

I'm going to use my rebate check to buy a key fob for my Hummer. (*snark*)

Posted by: Wende on May 5, 2006 10:34 PM

I love the new Built To Spill album. Give it another listen.

Posted by: Ohsalita on May 7, 2006 1:41 PM

I can wait for my "Defective Yeti hasn't posted yet this month" check!

Posted by: the other white jason on May 8, 2006 6:24 AM

I'm going to use my $100 to buy Ian Clifton a calculator that works...

Posted by: Crash on May 8, 2006 10:25 AM