Do tax rebates work?

I love the articles we are now seeing that the 2001 tax cut did not work.

But look at what happened to real retail sales right after the 2001 tax rebates were implemented. The US experienced a very large surge in real retail sales that were
not adequately explained by the usual factors. ( see the jump above the arrow in the chart)

This looks a lot more convincing to me about the impact of the stimulous then some survey asking people to remember how they spent the money. This is especially true when the biggest use of the rebate was to pay off debt, and this free up resources that would have been used for debt servicing to spend on other things. The retail sales data implies that is what happened.