Your future dream is a shopping spree

The top 10 ways to get the most out of your $600 income-tax rebate this summer

Illustration By robert armstrong

Remember compassionate conservatism? The whimsical notion that Republicans can be both fiscally and socially responsible? It was the theme of George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, promptly abandoned in favor of tax cuts for the rich, program cuts for everybody else and out-of-control budget deficits driven by the military debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet some ideas refuse to die. Compassionate conservatism is back, in the form of $600 income-tax rebates for every qualified American, just in time for summer!

The rebates are designed to stimulate the sluggish U.S. economy, which means it shouldn’t be used to pay for baby formula, delinquent credit-card bills or mortgages in arrears, but to purchase frivolous goods and services made and provided right here in the good old USA. With that in mind, here’s a list of the top 10 things you can buy with your rebate check this summer. Remember, don’t ask what your country can buy for you, ask what you can buy for your country! President Bush is counting on us!

10. Five barrels of oil: Why leave rampant speculation to the upper classes this summer? With the price of light, sweet crude hovering around $120 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and projected to break the $200 per barrel by the end of the year, time’s a-wastin’. Finding a place to store it in the garage is a minor inconvenience compared to the windfall you’ll reap later. Refinery not included.

9. Laser hair removal: Listen up, Grundleena! Summertime’s no time for unsightly body hair, and shaving your perineum taint no joke. Such delicacies are best left to your friendly neighborhood laser hair removal specialist, who for roughly $600 will permanently render your genitalia as bald and as naked as the day you were born. Pervert.

8. Pocket dog: Just like it takes two to tango, it’ll take both of your rebate checks to purchase a show-quality miniature Chihuahua, the perfect foil for fending off those annoying queries as to when the two of you are planning to start a family. The clock is ticking …

7. Dom Pérignon: Assuming some homophobic magistrate doesn’t intervene, same-sex couples will be marrying en masse across the state this summer. Celebrate the occasion in class with a $600 bottle of champagne. Best get your order in now—the price is only going up after June 17.

6. Above-ground pool: Keeping up with the Joneses? Not a problem, as long as neighborhood aesthetics aren’t a concern. For less than $600, you can cool off this summer in a brand-new above-ground swimming pool from Wal-Mart. True, the box-store behemoth pays its employees like crap and imports most of its wares from China. However, the best pool in rebate-check price range just happens to be made in America. Come on in, the water’s fine.

5. AK-47 assault rifle: When it all comes down—and it’s going to all come down—there’s no better weapon to have on hand than the tried-and-true Kalashnikov. Various models, complete with bayonets, grenade launchers and other accessories, are available under $600. Semi-auto to auto conversion sold separately, where not prohibited by law.

4. Disneyland: Six bills get one adult two nights at the Sheraton Anaheim Hotel and a three-day Park Hopper souvenir ticket. Unless they got separate rebate checks, looks like the kids are on their own.

3. Volcano Vaporizer: It’s inevitable. Sooner or later, you’re going to come down with something that can only be cured by medical marijuana. Prepare your lungs for the future by purchasing the $539 Volcano Classic Vaporization System today. A quick fix for those summertime blues!

2. Digital TV: By government decree, all full-power television broadcasts will be switched over from analog to digital on February 19, 2009. That means analog TV owners must buy a new digital TV by next year or be forced to rely on a converter box. Your rebate check will solve that little problem nicely. What the government taketh away, it giveth back in return!

1. Forever stamps: Do the math. The current price of the U.S. Post Office’s “forever stamp,” which retains its value even if the price of mailing a letter goes up, is 42 cents. You can buy 1,428 forever stamps for $600. If the price of mailing a stamp goes up just one penny, you’ve made an astounding $14.28! On second thought, don’t do the math. Buy a calculator. You’ll be far better off in the long run.