Monday, February 11, 2008

Editorial: Speedy checks

Editorial: Speedy checks

By Staff
Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Congress' swift approval of a $168 billion economic stimulus package sends a strong signal to worried consumers and wobbly financial markets that the federal government is capable of taking swift action when it feels it has to.

The plan will provide tax rebates of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples, with additional payments of $300 per child for families and a minimum payment of $300 for people who pay less than that in income taxes.

The package is intended to provide cash for people to spend and tax relief for businesses to make new investments, hopefully providing a boost for an economy plagued by a downturn in the housing market, rising unemployment, shaky financial markers and a credit crunch.

The legislation bogged down earlier last week in the U.S. Senate, where Democratic leaders sought to add increased home-energy subsidies for low-income families, extended unemployment benefits, tax credits for alternative energy and tax incentives for the coal industry to the package already approved by the U.S. House. The turnaround came after Democrats fell one vote shy of overcoming Republican objections and pressing ahead with their $205 billion plan.

The Senate package did expand the House plan to include payments for about 20 million Social Security recipients and 250,000 disabled veterans who would not have qualified for the tax rebates. The House quickly approved those changes and sent the legislation to President Bush.

While the stimulus package will not be a magic bullet that will reverse the looming economic downturn the country is facing, it will provide a one-time injection of cash into the economy, as consumers spend their rebate checks and businesses take advantage of the added tax incentives and write-offs. And after the acrimony of the past several years in Congress, it was indeed a good time for lawmakers to undertake a successful bipartisan effort.
editorial on stimulus checks

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