Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stimulus Rebate Payment Schedule Is Racist Against Awesome People

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

comic 23 - social security number

As of tomorrow, about 75 percent of people who filed their last tax return specifying a direct deposit account should have received their stimulus rebate-a-ronis in their bank accounts. This is based on the schedule of payment on the IRS website. According to that schedule, tax filers with Social Security Numbers ending in the digits 00 through 20 would receive their directly-deposited stimulus rebates by May 2nd. Assuming a proportionate allocation of SSNs, that means 20 percent of direct deposit rebate recipients have their cash in hand right now. The majority of rebate-kateers—those with SSNs ending 21 through 75—will get their payments by tomorrow, May 9th. And an unfortunate few with SSNs ending 76 through 99 will have to wait until May 16th to get their rebates credited to their bank accounts. (As for people getting their rebates by paper check, some with unluckily high SSNs may not see their checks until mid-July.)

I wasn’t too upset about this payment schedule until I realized a few things:

  1. My SSN falls between 76 and 99.
  2. That means I won’t get my $1,200 rebate until May 16th.
  3. Two weeks worth of 3% APY interest on $1,200 is almost $1.40.

Thus, the Federal government, by staggering the payment of these stimulus rebates, is cheating millions of people out of their $1.40. By my calculations, that’s about $140 trillion dollars people like me are being cheated out of, more than the entire economic stimulus package amount!

The reasons for the staggering payments have been cited before: the IRS and U.S. Treasury just can’t send out tens of millions of electronic and paper payments all at one time due to the fact that the entirety of the Federal government is still run on Apple IIe computers from the 1980s. So splitting the payment distribution into chunks by Social Security Numbers—which are more or less randomly assigned and evenly allocated by geography, financial status, ethnicity, etc.—seems to make some sort of sense.

Well guess what—it’s inherently biased against a really swell group of folks. That’s right, I’m talking about awesome people.

You see, just about everyone I know who is awesome has a Social Security Number ending somewhere between 76 and 99. For example, me. Here’s a list of just a few of the really awesome people whose SSNs fall in that pitiful 25% range of taxpayers who’ve been shunned by the IRS and the government:

  • Most New York City firefighters
  • That nun you see in the grocery store buying food for the homeless
  • 90% of orphans
  • Vietnam and Iraq War veterans
  • Almost every Starbucks barista east of the Mississippi
  • Santa Claus
  • Spiderman
  • All of the good living former U.S. Presidents

And if it isn’t bad enough that all of these amazing people are being punished just because they showed up too late (or too early) at the Social Security office, it turns out that a lot of terrible people were assigned SSNs with last digits between 00 and 20. Here’s just a sampling of the kinds of scum who are getting their rebate money before fine people like me:

  • 67% of prostitutes
  • 39% of convicted rapists
  • The guys who canceled Star Trek
  • Unwed teenage mothers
  • Zombie Hitler
  • The person you asked to the prom who turned you down because you were a nerd

Just how did so many losers end up with lower-ending SSNs while we monuments to humanity got the high ones? There are many theories, ranging from DNA profiling to covert behavioral analysis. But whichever school of thought you buy into, there’s little arguing that something is amiss with the way we’re being numbered.

By now you’re probably as outraged at this blatantly obvious conspiracy as I am. While the minions of evil are out there purchasing new cars and big-screen TVs with their rebates, people like you and me are stuck at home eating leftover lima beans and reading last month’s Reader’s Digest for the third time. And I bet you wish you could do something about it.

Well, there is. To be precise, there are three things you can do about it:

  1. Write your local Congressman and let them know just how irate you are over the supposed “random” rebate payment schedule. Tell them that you’re just as awesome as, if not more awesome than, people with lower Social Security Numbers. Suggest that the next time there’s a stimulus rebate that payments be issued according to some more noble metric such as number of volunteer hours performed or number of homeless kittens adopted.
  2. Write to the IRS and the U.S. Treasury demanding your $1.40 in interest. And if you’re getting a paper check in July, you should demand as much as $7.00. Be sure to let them know you’re a Punny Money reader so they understand right away just how awesome a person you are.
  3. Refuse to stimulate the economy. The best way to say “screw you” to a government that has wronged you is to do the exact opposite of what they want you to do. For the stimulus rebates, that means not injecting that money into the economy. Put it in savings, stuff it under your mattress, burn it—just don’t spend it. That’ll teach those government number-crunchers to piss off the awesome people.

Finally, if the wait for your stimulus rebate is too painful to bear, feel free to print out the following simulated stimulus check and hold it in your hands for as long as you like.

fake rebate check

Just don’t try to cash it at the bank or you might end up in Federal prison where the only stimulation you’ll receive will be of the surprise-from-behind variety, probably from someone with a low Social Security Number.

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