Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Issue tax rebates as bonds indexed to commodities (with Anti-spin)

From iTulip:
(scroll down)

The Treasury paid soldiers during the inflationary period of the American Revolutionary War with bonds indexed to a basket of commodities. Can the method be applied to tax rebate checks?...

....AntiSpin: Not bad but they are still missing the story. We call it the Inflation Abatement Check because it might just about cover a year’s inflation costs for the average recipient. For example, the DOE and DOT say an American auto is driven about 12,000 miles a year and gets an average of 24 MPG. The average price of a gallon of regular gas a year ago was $2.27 versus $3.11 today. The average car owner will spend about $375 more this year than last year just on gasoline, or 63% of that $600 “rebate” check. Sum the higher costs of energy, food, utilities, insurance, and tuition and that $600 check is already spent by inflation. Sad that so many recipients think they are going to be able to save it.

But maybe there's a better way. The picture above is of the world's first known inflation-indexed bond. They were issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1780 during the Revolutionary War. Robert Shiller made the discovery in his research in 2003: "These bonds were invented to deal with severe wartime inflation and with angry discontent among soldiers in the U.S. Army with the decline in purchasing power of their pay.">>>MORE