I Just Received a Stimulus Check From the Government. What Should I Do With It?

A Little Lessons Series

Have you received your stimulus check from the government? If you’re a US reader, you may have recently discovered a big deposit from the government in your bank account due to coronavirus (COVID-19) hardships. Wondering what you should do with it? Discover more in this Little Lessons series with David Servant!

Picture of economic stimulus check relief program

I Just Received a Stimulus Check From the Government. What Should I Do With It? (Part 1)

The following excerpt is taken from a transcript of the video above.

Thank you so much for joining me. We’re going to try to tackle a question that is facing many Americans during the time that I’m filming this Little Lesson. This is early May 2020. And most American citizens and taxpayers have recently received or are in the process of receiving what is being called a stimulus check, about $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child, all across the American population. And so not too long ago, I woke up in the morning and I checked my bank account balance online and there was $2,400 more in my bank account than there had been the day before because my wife and I, all of our kids are grown and out of the nest, of course each receive $1,200 in stimulus money.

And it’s all due to the coronavirus and the shutting down of so many businesses. And granted, lots of people are hurting because of that. And I’m sure that to them the stimulus check has been somewhat of a lifesaver because maybe they don’t have any savings and perhaps they’ve lost their job or jobs and so forth, now they don’t have any income and times are really, really tough for those folks. And so I just want to start off by saying I’m just thankful that we have a government—and many governments around the world are like this today—that does have some concern for people among its citizenry who are hurting. I kind of think that’s probably unprecedented when you take into consideration all of human history, where governments are caring for the poor and have a concern for the citizens within their midst that are hurting that really until the advent of Christianity, Jesus teaching things the ethical and moral principles like, “love your neighbor as yourself” and so forth.

And these things became widespread ideas. The whole idea of democracy and republics, I think has sprung from some sense of moral obligation to our neighbors and the fact that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely has been proven countless times in history. And so we’re very blessed to have some form of a representative form of government where we can elect our leaders and we can vote them out as well as vote them in. And so some power then is invested in the citizens who are the subjects of the government. So from that standpoint, we were blessed to be living in the age and the era that we live, whereas in past times, the poor were reduced just to begging. And of course in many countries around the world, that’s still the case.

I don’t know how many countries have been handing out stimulus checks to their citizens, but I’ll bet it’s the minority. And there are no doubt people watching this video who just are shaking their heads in other parts of the world who’re saying, “Oh my goodness. The United States of America and these wealthier countries are so different than the country in which I’m living.” The poor are really suffering. And the coronavirus lockdowns that have shut down businesses and shut down our economy is resulting in people literally going without food and even starving. And yet over in your country, the government’s sending checks out to everybody. And you have so much of a safety net that other countries don’t have. So in any case, let’s be thankful for whatever blessings that we have.

Now, when I received my stimulus check, I was aware of the fact that I really didn’t need it. I’m in a stage of life where I don’t have dependent children any longer and my expenses have been reduced dramatically from my earlier years. And I’ve got some savings and so forth. I haven’t been laid off from my job. I work for the nonprofit that I founded about 18 years ago, Heaven’s Family, and our income has remained steady as a ministry, as a nonprofit throughout the whole coronavirus crisis. It’s a blessing there too that the donors to Heaven’s Family have remained consistent even in light of the financial crisis that is being faced. So anyways, I don’t want to make light of the fact that many people are out of work and many people are at stage of life where they’ve got dependent children or other people that are dependent upon them and the stimulus check from the government has been a real welcome.

But I think that morally, fundamentally, philosophically, we ought to think about these things a little bit more deeply. And one fundamental fact that I think is important, a moral fact, that’s important for us to remember is that the government really doesn’t have any money that it hasn’t gotten from the taxpayers, right? That’s how any government gets money. It taxes individuals and it taxes corporations. But again corporations, of course, pass those taxes onto the people that they do business with. So in the end it’s just the average Joe, all the people, the individuals, who are paying taxes, that we’re paying taxes not only individual income taxes, but we’re also paying those corporate taxes and everything we buy and every good or service that we purchase their taxes are built in to what they’re charging us for those goods and services.

So we’re paying the taxes. So the United States government has a budget currently of about $4 trillion. That’s how much they’re going to spend. And they got to get that money from somewhere. And so they get the majority of it from personal income taxes. And then of course you add on state taxes and corporate taxes and every other fee that they charge for the services they provide and that’s how they get the majority of their income. But yet I think this year, the United States government is going to borrow close to a trillion dollars. Actually that was last year. With the stimulus package, I think they’ve gotten a debt to the tune of another $2 trillion. So they borrowed money in order to send everybody stimulus checks. And how are they going to pay back that money? Well, it’s going to be because they tax the taxpayers and they’re so much in debt now that the national debt just is increasing exponentially over the last decade or so. There’s no way that my generation is ever going to pay back what the government owes and probably even the next generation, my kids.

So it’s going to be my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren are going to be paying the principle and the interest on the stimulus money that we all just received. So in one sense, and I think this is important for us to keep in mind, as we decide what to do with our stimulus checks, that’s money borrowed from our grandchildren, that’s money in one sense and borrowed from our grandchildren or our grandchildren will be the ones who have to pay it back or our great-grandchildren. You see? So I think that brings up kind of an ethical nuance that maybe lots of people aren’t thinking about. And I mean would you go into debt right now? Take out a personal loan that you sign the signature that my grandchildren will pay this back. I’m not going to pay back a dime, but my grandchildren will pay back this and I’m going to go out and take a vacation with this money or go buy a house or a car and I’ll enjoy the benefit of this money.

And my grandchildren will be paying it back. You wouldn’t do that, unless you’re the scum of the earth. But in essence, that’s what our government is, in one sense, doing on our behalf right now. So I haven’t answered the question yet. So we’re going to have to go into part two in our next Little Lesson. So be sure to watch that, okay? Until next time. God bless you.

I Just Received a Stimulus Check From the Government. What Should I Do With It? (Part 2)

The following excerpt is taken from a transcript of the video above.

On our last Little Lesson, we began to address something that’s on the minds of many Americans recently, and perhaps the citizens of other countries who have kind of followed suit with what’s happening in the United States at this particular time in history, this is early May of 2020 and most American taxpayers are receiving a stimulus check in the mail or by check or direct deposit into their bank accounts.

And my wife and I received $2,400. Being a husband and wife without any dependent children. So if we’ve had children, we would’ve gotten $500 per child. Okay? And that’s going to everybody. Where did that money came from? People say, “Well, the government sent it.” Okay, that’s true. The government sent it, as we discussed in our last Little Lesson, the government doesn’t have any money unless it taxes people.

That’s what the government, all governments get all their money in taxes. Now some governments like for example, in China, they’re getting income from businesses because the government owns so much of the business enterprises or joint ventures they have with citizens. So it’s a little different in those places. But nevertheless, in countries like the United States, governments get all their money from taxes. And so the money that we all just got had to come from taxpayers.

And when you say, “Well, I’m a taxpayer, so there’s nothing wrong with that.” Okay, that would be correct if it was that simple, but it’s just not quite that simple. And we all know that on one level, the whole idea of a progressive tax structure contains a degree of whether even that’s fair. Okay?

Because in a progressive tax system, people who make less pay a smaller percentage of their income to the government in taxes and people who make more pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes. And so those of us who aren’t in the wealthy classes, we benefit a great deal from the taxes that are paid by the welfare individuals. They’re taking a greater share of the overall tax burden in this country. Our government’s going to spend $4 trillion at least.

I think this year might be more like six trillion with the stimulus money that’s all gone out there. The government has to come up with the money by taxing taxpayers and they actually don’t get enough from the taxpayer. So the United States government borrows a huge percentage of their budget. I think last year before this whole stimulus thing, the budget was four and something like 800 billion of that was borrowed money.

And of course, who’s on the hook for that? Well, taxpayers. If you’re an American taxpayer, about 1/10th of what you pay in taxes goes just to pay the interest on the loans that the government has taken out to provide its services to you. Okay? And you’re benefiting so you ought to be paying a portion of it. That’s fair. All right. So what about these stimulus checks? Where’d that money come from? It came from a government, but it comes ultimately from your fellow citizens.

And what’s odd about it is it’s not just the people who are living on your street or who are alive right now. It’s people who are babies right now, because this debt is so huge that our grandchildren will be the ones paying back the principle and the interest. So that brings kind of a moral question, is it right to keep these stimulus checks when it’s actually money that has been borrowed from our grandchildren?

And I think most of us would agree that to take out a loan and you benefit from that loan and then buy a car, buy a boat, buy a house, whatever. And in the loan it says that your grandchildren are going to pay this back 20 years from now or 30 or 40 years from now, that wouldn’t be ethical. But that’s in essence what the government has just done on our behalf. So some of us have had a little trouble taking that stimulus money.

Now I totally get it and that people who have lost their jobs, people that don’t have any savings, those people are in desperate situation and for them it’s a little bit different. They’ve got to feed their families and so forth and so the stimulus check was a godsend to them. Folks like me, who didn’t really need it. It’s a little different. So as I wrestle with it, and I’m not going to give you a pat answer on this. So you’re entitled to your opinion and I’ll respect you and hope you respect me for my opinion, but I didn’t really feel right about keeping it.

I actually have quite a few friends who are Amish. And as a rule, at least this is what they tell me. When they get their stimulus checks, they just throw them in the garbage can. And it’s based upon their, their conviction that they should be taking care of their own and they don’t need help from the government. Not even considering the fact that the money is being borrowed from their children and their grandchildren, who will be the ones who have to pay it back. Just that we’re self-sufficient, we can take care of our own. So we’re not going to take money from the government.

That’s their conviction. And I can actually argue that there’s some flaw in that, a little bit of a flaw and that conviction, but regardless, what about for you? Well, I received money from the government and it was a direct deposit because that’s how I have gotten tax refunds in the past. And again, there’s nothing wrong with the tax refund. You’re just paying your fair share of taxes. And if you’ve overpaid, they’re giving you back what you overpaid. So that’s your money. There’s nothing wrong with taking a tax refund.

And every year I get my tax refund by direct deposit. So they sent me my stimulus money by deposit. It wasn’t in a form of a check that I could rip up. I suppose I can investigate how to send a check to the government, send it back for $2,400, but I don’t know how to do that. That’s beyond my pay grade. Okay. Anyway, so I just decided I’m going to try to help people. This is a windfall for me that I wasn’t expecting. Yeah, I know my grandkids are going to pay it back. I don’t know what I can do about that because I have the money. I can’t give it back.

So I gave the money to charity and I gave him money to my favorite charity Heaven’s Family because I know what we’re doing, helping the “least of these” around the world. Some might say, “Well, actually you’re giving money to yourself then because you get paid by Heaven’s Family.” Actually I don’t. I have friends who personally support me and so I don’t have to be paid by the ministry. When people donate to Heaven’s Family to help the “least of these”, none of that money gets back to me in the form of my salary.

Because I have a personal support group that takes care of me. And that’s a blessing. I’m so blessed. We’re all so blessed in so many ways so if we just start thinking about it, okay. So I actually recommended to our constituents that if they didn’t need the stimulus money and it wasn’t in the form of a check that they could just tear up that they could prayerfully consider donating it to charity.

And of course, Heaven’s Family is one of the many great charities that are out there and do as the Lord leads. But I’m not, of course setting any rules. I have no right to do that. Right? Of course not. And I find no fault with anybody who needed their stimulus check and utilized it to take care of themselves and their families.

And isn’t it a blessing that our government is concerned? It’s a blessing. Both Democrats and Republicans are both concerned. And we all know that our system isn’t perfect. But let me tell ya, it’s a whole lot better than what has existed in many, many countries around the world in the past and that exist in many countries around the world today. Okay.

So thank God for those blessings. Okay. Well, there’s much more I can say on this subject, but I think I’ll just stop there because of recent I’ll be opening cans of worms and it’s hard to get those worms back in those cans. Oh boy. All right. Thanks for joining me. God bless you.