Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tax return bumps me above five minutes!

Well, my tax return arrived, and I promptly stuck over half of it into my 'trip to space' pot; that's by far my single largest contribution to date! Now granted, it's stuff I had taken out temporarily in December to handle some expenses, but I'm excited anyway. Based on Virgin Galactic's expected suborbital offering, I've now saved up for over five minutes of a flight on SpaceShipTwo!

Of the other half of the tax return, some of it went to fixing up things around the house. The rest went straight into my solar panel savings.

Wait, I haven't mentioned that yet, have I?

Yes, I've kind of been on an environmental kick lately, and I'm trying to save up for a solar array for my roof! I've already bought a couple of solar panels, and I use those to recharge all of the rechargeable batteries that I bought for all of my battery-powered gizmos. My goal is to have saved enough by the summer of 2009 to put a full scale array on my roof and power my whole house. Yeah, it cuts a little into my space tourism savings, but it's for the best. Besides, with the country's population growing with no sign of tapering off, energy prices have nowhere to go but up. If I save enough, maybe I can get a big enough array to start selling some of my own power, and that will only help my space tourism savings over the long term. In your face, Halliburton!


Actually, while on the subject of politics, I think I'll write about a moral quandary that I recently resolved. The government wants to hand out these $600 checks to everyone to "help fix the economy". Now, I know that a lot of people could really use the money, and I don't mean to slight them; they deserve it. However, most economists say that the checks will do little to stimulate the economy, and it seems like more of a political gesture than something that will actually help. In the meantime, these checks are going to increase are already bloated national debt. Did you know that this country is now over nine trillion dollars in debt?

That's Trilion. With a T.

To put that in perspective, each citizen's share of that debt is over $30,000. That's you, me, guys in retirement homes, newborn babies, everybody. That's right; our babies are born $30,000 in debt. That's sad.

To give you an even better idea of the gravity of the situation (har har), 9 trillion is about the average distance from the Earth to Mars. In inches. Yes, that's inches, from here to Mars. That's how much national debt we have. And we're about to increase it by spending a bunch of money to (essentially) make people feel better about the government without creating any significant improvement.

So here's my quandary: If George W. Bush came up to me, gave me $600, and told me that this was to fix the economy, I believe I would be morally obligated (based on the above statements) to throw it in his face and tell him to shove off. And that's if I was feeling exceptionally, unusually polite. But since it's coming in a check in the mail, how could I possibly accept it and look myself in the mirror the next morning?

Well, I pondered this for a week or two, until I realized, hey, I can drop the entire amount into my solar panel savings. They're giving the money to us in the hopes that we will spend it. So by doing this, I will both go against their wishes by saving it, and stick it to Bush and his big oil buddies by saving it toward solar power for my house.

And that, my friends, is poetic justice.

Progress: 3.74%  Flight Time: 0:05:36

No comments: