Senate To Scuttle Timely Economic Stimulus Plan

Smarting from its continued failure to check the expansive growth of the unitary executive, the Senate has decided to assert itself by derailing an agreed upon economic stimulus plan. Senate leaders are now insisting that the stimulus plan contain an extra $25 billion to fund road work, tax cuts, and extend unemployment insurance.

Baucus, 66, said he opposes House provisions restricting tax rebates to those who earned $3,000 last year. He said in an interview he prefers sending smaller checks to more people, as many as 30 million additional Americans, who would not meet that income threshold. “Rebate checks should go to all Americans under that income limit,” Baucus said.

Other senators said they wanted to contribute their own provisions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the House proposal’s $150 billion price tag wouldn’t be viewed as a “magical figure.” Baucus said the package may grow to as much as $175 billion as lawmakers add money for programs benefiting low-income Americans along with tax breaks aimed at helping unprofitable companies.

“It may be a little bit more, but not a lot,” Baucus said when asked about the plan’s potential price tag. “Something close to 150, 175.”

Reid, 68, said members of the Finance Committee “and other senators will work to improve the House package by adding funds for other initiatives that can boost the economy immediately, such as unemployment benefits, nutrition assistance, state relief and infrastructure investment.”

Fellas, economic stimulus plans are time sensitive. The Treasury can’t issue rebate checks until two months after you invoke cloture and send your Christmas Tree of a bill to the White House.

Nobody knows when the stimulus plan will pass, but the State of the Union is on Monday. Don’t be surprised if the President interrupts his speech to chuck the mace at Harry Reid.

Senate May Scuttle Bush-Backed House Plan on Stimulus [Bloomberg]
PREVIOUSLY: Economic Stimulus Plan Passes
(Photo: Getty Images)

Comments

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  1. Buran says:

    Wasn’t this already approved? Now I’m confused.

  2. Nick says:

    @Buran: It was approved by the House, but not the Senate.

  3. realserendipity says:

    I knew it would happen, go figure that the Senate would add a small fortune in thier own magical cures to the bill

  4. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I wonder how many people have already spent their refund?

    “OMG, bill going through…better make sure we add our pork!!!” –The Senate

    And here I was hoping to buy $600 worth of MD 20/20 so I could stay drunk all the way through the recession.

  5. Kishi says:

    It was not, but it was written about- both in the general media, but especially on the Consumerist- as if it was already approved.

  6. nequam says:

    Bill: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favourably, otherwise I may die.

    Boy: Die?

    Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I’m gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.

    Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

    Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.

    Boy: Oh no!

    Bill: Oh yes!

    I’m just a bill
    Yes, I’m only a bill
    And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill
    Well, then I’m off to the White House
    Where I’ll wait in a line
    With a lot of other bills
    For the president to sign
    And if he signs me, then I’ll be a law.
    How I hope and pray that he will,
    But today I am still just a bill.

  7. StevieZ83 says:

    the sadest part is this kinda crap is what hurts democrats in elections, they can’t every figure out when’s a good time to act quick, or a good time to make sure they analize everything about a project…more uneffective leadership every day.

  8. gingerCE says:

    I am upset with the Senate on this. I’m not 100% happy with the House deal, but I was willing to accept it–now the Senate comes around and it’s like a pissing contest. If they did a poll, I bet most Americans would accept the House stimulus plan–now the Senate wants to make it fatter and more complicated. I feel like telling these Senators to back off.

  9. WhaDa says:

    I hope it just dies and doesn’t happen. It’s dumb and forces the debt onto our children. Again!

  10. CurbRunner says:

    The damage had already be done to the economy by the rampant spending of the Bush administration. Bush’s proposal was already way too little and way too late.

    The US is now indebted to other countries that have been lending the money for the Bush spending spree. This proposed $150 billion temporary patch would just further ad to that debt. Whatever bill arrives on his desk, will be made to fit his desires anyway by his abusive addition of signing statements.

  11. Mustang Paul says:

    @dwayne_dibbly:

    That’s a whole lot of MD 20/20.

  12. DMDDallas says:

    Congress is the opposite of progress.

  13. humphrmi says:

    @DMDDallas: Uh, Congress passed the bill. In the context of this article, you would be more accurate saying “Senate is the opposite of progress.” But yeah, I get it, Senate doesn’t rhyme with progress.

  14. ClayS says:

    @gingerCE:

    You’re right, let’s get this passed into law and then they look at other measures separately. Instead, they try to bundle everything together so less popular expenditures can get stuffed in.

  15. ShortBus says:

    $150,000,000,000 would likely save a lot of dying children or maybe even permanently solve the homeless problem in the US.

    I’m all for moving money from the government’s pocket back into the citizens’ pockets. But I can’t help but shake my head over this deal because the government is really, really hoping that everyone is going piss away $600 almost the moment they get the check. Yay for our consumeristic culture!

  16. GearheadGeek says:

    @humphrmi: Actually, the House of Representatives passed it. The other house of Congress, the Senate, is proposing to attach more crap to it and delay things, so it’s in fact still in one of the 2 houses of our bicameral legislature, the United States Congress. Representatives like to call themselves Congressmen/women because it sounds more official than Representative, and Senators call themselves Senator to differentiate themselves from those lowly congressmen who are “only” in the house of representatives, but they’re both part of Congress.

  17. ExecutorElassus says:

    @ShortBus: Uh, you seem not to have noticed, but the government doesn’t have any money in its pockets right now; just some Chinese credit cards.

    I like how it’s called a “rebate.” Is that like a defective-product rebate (what part of America was defective?) or an instant-savings rebate (are we trying to lure taxpayers away from our rivals?)? I sure hope it gets here soon! I need to go buy shit!

  18. Just to clarify, nobody passed anything. An agreement was reached in principle between House leadership and the President. No legislation has been introduced, no votes have been cast. The House package will skip the Ways and Means Committee and head directly to the floor. The Senate, rather than assent to the proposed agreement, will markup its own bill.

  19. thedanza says:

    Like other modest proposals made in the past during recessions, this will likely drag on and not be enacted until the recession is already over, deeming it pointless. Let the market solve itself. How about this? Don’t take the money from the citizens in the first place, then you don’t have to worry about waiting another two years to get 10% back after the government wastes 90% of it.

  20. samurailynn says:

    They’re probably going to end up sending everyone $100. And you know what? To most people $100 isn’t really a big deal. Sure, it’s some extra money, but it’s not really enough to do anything with. You can’t take a vacation, you can’t buy any good electronics, you probably can’t pay off any bills. We’ll get the checks, and we’ll all be like “Woo-hoo, a hundred bucks. I guess we could go to that classy restaurant downtown, or we could just stick it in the checking account and forget that it ever happened.”

  21. thedanza says:

    $100 sent back to a lot of citizens adds up to a lot though. It’s better than having it in one lump in the hands of congressmen to be spent on “projects.”

  22. MelL says:

    @ClayS: That’s the only way some things get passed, though, by attaching things onto bills, especially must-pass bills. Like it or not, it’s a real time-saver. I mean, imagine having to go every single item that every Congress critter wanted to pass in full detail. They’d be backed up and things would take too long to be considered.

  23. Okay, maybe I am naive, but what exactly are the 150 billion going to do? The country is already bleeding money out of every orfice it has and now they want to slash another wound for a short term “stimulus” based on consuming more goods?

    If they would really want to think long term then they would try and upgrade infrastructure and work on Education and things that will have value in the long run, not just allow everybody to go out and buy a bigscreen TV.

    Or maybe I am just ignorant and there is more to this than meets the eye.

  24. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @WhaDa: WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  25. jeffjohnvol says:

    @StevieZ83: You got that right.

  26. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @humphrmi: No, you don’t get it. It isn’t just a rhyme; CON is the opposite of PRO, thus congress is the opposite of progress. And congress hasn’t passed the bill; only HALF (the house) of congress has.

  27. Islandkiwi says:

    I would be much happier if they scrapped the whole damn thing and just focused on paying down debt. I don’t want to hear about any type of plan that adds money to the deficit. We’re a wealthy country, we should be paying our bills, not living on credit.

    This is the downside of politicians. It’s an election year, let’s give money to the people.

  28. ChimpWithACar says:

    Inflation is the great hidden tax on the masses. Might as well get some votes out of it. Hooray for deficit spending!

  29. gingerCE says:

    @mell: I really do blame the Senate Democrats for wanting to add more pork to this bill. I’m not a Dem, I’m an Independent, and usually I like the Dems–but this time they’re messing around with something they shouldn’t be messing with. I thought Pelosi did a good thing in negotiating this bill. Now the Dems want to give rebates to those on Social Security who also, don’t pay taxes, then more food stamps and extended unemployment, also heating oil money to the poor–a Dem even mentioned adding money to repair roads and highways onto this bill!

    Why can’t this bill remain simple and stay the way it was intended. All of the Dems ideas have some validity, but they seem like separate issues and shouldn’t be part of a tax “rebate” plan.

  30. MelL says:

    @gingerCE: While I agree that keeping the bill ‘clean’ would help it speed through, most of the items to be added at least be said to be useful to help people as well. Obviously, the road issue doesn’t but nutrition assistance and foodstamps, for example, are fabulous additions, and I can’t see why the President would hesitate to pass a package that helps more people with essentials.

    If the President truly calls himself a compassionate conservative, he should support these additions.

  31. Half Beast says:

    Ahh, the sweet BBQ-esque smell of congressional politics.

    Pork++;

  32. nequam says:

    @mell: Actually, the road issue helps people. Sometimes the reason for a major road project (besides the obvious infrastructure benefits) is that it puts lots of people to work and involves large purchases of domestic materials. Just think of the massive public works projects during the New Deal. The reasoning was the same.

  33. MelL says:

    @nequam: It helps, but road projects do not benefit people as immediately as foodstamps or nutrition assistance does. And I think it goes without saying the road projects to be funded in this attachment would come nowhere close to those performed to fight the Great Depression. A bridge here, repaving there, maybe an exit or two.

  34. gingerCE says:

    @mell: I am not against helping the poor and elderly, I just feel that is a separate issue. This bill was proposed as a tax rebate–starting out as 800/1600, then 600/1200 with 300 for low income workers, to what will probably be 200/400 with 100 low income, 100 all seniors on SS, 100 additional in food stamps, 100 additional in unemployment, 50 in heating subsidies, and who knows how much given to states for road infrastructure. Given as this is more or less an advance paid for by taxpayers for 2007/08 to be taken out of their 2008/09 tax rebates, people who already subsidize most of the poor/elderly/state projects with their taxes, it’s like a form of double taxation. As for where this money is coming from? Rumor has it is going to be deducted from the refunds of taxpayers in 2008/09, so really the taxpayers get nothing, while those who didn’t pay taxes in 2007/08 get free money, and then again, pay no taxes in 08/09.

    It’s not fair. And I stress again, low incomers already have a very generous tax credit, the EIC worth up to $4000 in refund even when they pay no taxes. Why should they get a piece of this rebate when they already have a much better tax rebate program just for those making under $36K.

  35. MelL says:

    @gingerCE: You’re going off of rumors to argue against aid to the poor that is attached to a bill that is supposed to help America. Isn’t the whole point of the bill to take care of Americans? If so, and as I said before, if the President truly is compassionate (I don’t believe it for a second), he’ll jump on this chance to help less fortunate people.

    As for the EIC, how many people does it pull out of that bracket? Apparently none. If anything, it simply holds them steady instead of letting them sink further. SO I see nothing wrong with helping out more.

  36. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @gingerCE:
    The EIC only affects those that have earned income.
    But, and it’s a huge but, it doesn’t help anyone with a low income solely from Social Security and/or a pension.

    So hurray for Max Baucus for remembering that there are lots of people without a lot of money.
    A year or two ago, several Congressmen tried to live on food stamps for a week.
    Guess what happened?
    They had trouble getting enough healthy food & had to rely on crap, which causes more obesity.
    They proposed an increase in the food stamp amount and of course the Republicans opposed this, because a few on stamps might actually buy a cheap steak as a treat occasionally.
    Can’t have that, can we?
    A welfare queen or two might exist.
    They are taking so much more money than all the giant corporations that get corporate welfare in this country.

  37. Islandkiwi says:

    @mell:

    You don’t believe the President is a compassionate conservative, which is exactly why you don’t add stipulations to a bill like this. He will veto it, as he’s done before. I understand that you want to help people more than what this bill does, but it’s obvious that adding projects to this bill virtually guarantees its demise.

    And although I wouldn’t mind seeing this bill wither away,I don’t want it to do so because Democrats couldn’t leave it alone. I don’t see how this bill failing helps Democrats.

    I tend to favor Democrats because I’m a strong believer in individual rights and freedoms, but I’m also heavily in favor of fiscal responsibility. Apparently neither political party seems to recognize what that is anymore, and it makes me want to scream.

  38. MelL says:

    @Islandkiwi: Just because *I* don’t believe in the President’s compassion doesn’t guarantee that he won’t follow through to help the people. I’m just of the personal opinion that he will show his hypocritical side yet again.

    And it’s because of that that he gives Democrats ammo by shutting out programs to the poor, just as he vetoed the insurance program for children.

    I tend to favor Democrats myself, but every so often I see a Republican I like (Ron Paul). I would be a registed Democrat if they would only show some backbone when it comes to dealing with the GOP.

  39. nequam says:

    @mell: You’ve got a retort that’s in search of an argument. Nobody is saying it should be road work OR food stamps. Both appear to be in the proposal.

  40. Atomike says:

    “I tend to favor Democrats because I’m a strong believer in individual rights and freedoms”
    Then you support the wrong party. Democrats = Big Government (Government getting all the money and deciding what’s best for you). Republicans = smaller government (letting people use their own money the way they want to).

    You’re completely backwards on this one. If you want financial freedom, you can’t ever ever ever support a Democrat. That’s just the way it is.

  41. BStu says:

    Democrats are proving their fiscal irresponsibility by NOT rushing out to spend billions of dollars? The bill the President wants is flawed and the legislature exists to act as a balance on whatever the President wants. Adding extensions for unemployment benefits is one thing that Congress can do that can provide real and immediate stimulus for the economy. There you are dealing with the individuals directly impact by the slow-down and these are people who will likely put that money right back into the economy which is the net result we’re looking for. Leaving it out is just partisan politics from the GOP. The Democrats should push for that kind of provision if what we really want is an effective stimulus package. Rebates can have a positive effect, but the overall effect of the package will be much greater if it includes aid to unemployed workers.

    Free-for-all gifts ultimately can do more to buy support from the public, but that support would go to President Bush so why should Democrats go along for the ride? Infrastructure improvements DO put money into the economy while making much needed repairs to our roads. Do we need another tragedy to get how important that is? And the work creates jobs, too! People need to work on those roads. People need to produce the materials to fix those roads. If we can fast track needed projects already in the pipeline, we can ensure the safety of our nation’s infrastructure while also stimulating the economy. Not every road project is a bridge to Nowhere, Alaska.

    Yes, this needs to be fast, but that’s not a reason to give the President a blank check. His lack of leadership on the economy allowed the mortgage crisis to explode, so I fail to see why whatever pops into his head is automatically the right choice.

  42. MelL says:

    @nequam: I was saying there shouldn’t be road work since it’s my belief that the bill should be of a more direct nature in how it helps people.

  43. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @gingerCE:
    And here is an article from Salon that expands on the theory that a higher food stamp benefit will decrease obesity!

    No more food stamps. You’ve eaten enough

    [www.salon.com]

    As Paul Krugman observes in his column Friday, the Democrats are not doing much with their majority in Congress. The fiscal stimulus package “deal” agreed to between the White House and congressional leaders on Thursday is a Bush administration dream: a broad-based tax cut, plain and simple. It fails to do what many economists stressed should be the primary focus of any rescue plan: target relief at the poor Americans who can most be counted on to quickly spend any additional help and thus boost demand across the economy.

    The most glaring absence in the terms of the deal announced so far: No extension of unemployment insurance or increase in food stamp benefits.

    If the U.S. does officially enter a recession, help on unemployment benefits will undoubtedly arrive separately from this fiscal stimulus package. Or at least that’s been the typical pattern in previous recessions. But what about food stamps?

    The attraction of food stamps is that, unlike cutting a check made out directly to every American, increasing their value doesn’t require goosing cumbersome IRS machinery into motion, a process that requires months or longer, even with the best of intentions. Food stamps are administered through debit cards — at the flip of an electronic switch benefits can be boosted, with the advantage of being perfectly targeted at those most likely to need help in an economic downturn. According to longtime Food Stamp program advocate, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., every dollar invested by the government in food stamps results in $1.84 in economic activity. So what’s not to like?

    Well, aside from Republican reluctance to boost any kind of government spending aimed at making a tangible difference in the public welfare, there is also the assertion, reiterated Friday morning by the consistently interesting and provocative Megan McArdle, whose libertarian-oriented blog is hosted at the Atlantic, that poor fat people shouldn’t be encouraged to buy more food.

    The poor don’t need more food. Obesity is a problem for the poor in America; except for people who are too screwed up to get food stamps (because they don’t have an address), food insufficiency is not…

    The economy doesn’t need a food sector more distorted by daft government programs than it already is. If you want to give money to the poor, give it to them. Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.

    Would increasing food stamp benefits worsen American obesity? The claim that this is so has been a hobby horse of the right in recent years, most often associated with the writings of Douglas J. Besharov, the director of the Social and Individual Responsibility Project at the American Enterprise Institute, a hard-right think tank. But there are plenty of academics who argue otherwise. One economist at Sonoma State University declared in 2003 “that the data does not indicate any relationship between obesity and food stamps.” That same year, a paper titled “Food Programs and Obesity in U.S. Children” by two University of Maryland Family Studies professors found no evidence that food stamps were correlated with childhood obesity in the United States. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition (also in 2003) by a City University of New York researcher did find that food stamp participation was “positively related to obesity in low income women” but a commentary in the same issue by a Cornell University nutritional scientist cautioned against making too much of the findings.

    Low incomes in the United States are correlated with obesity, a stunning turnaround from the pre-World War II era. Low incomes are also correlated with food stamp program participation, so it makes sense that there would be some relationship between obesity and food stamps. But obesity is also correlated with disproportionate patronization of fast food outlets — a practice that food stamp benefits don’t cover. Which at least raises the possibility that strapped families would use a food stamp increase to buy more groceries instead of eating out at McDonald’s, and thus potentially reduce obesity among the poor.

    Ideally, a properly functioning food system in the United States would subsidize the production of nutritionally healthy food, rather than an abundance of high-fructose corn syrup subsequently injected directly into the body of nearly every American via the vehicle of cheap junk food. Addressing the root causes of that problem presents far greater challenges than simply helping out, as quickly and easily as possible, poor Americans in a recession.

  44. BStu says:

    @Atomike: Right, smaller government. Unless you’re gay. Gay people don’t get rights or freedoms. If you’re black and want to vote, too, that’s not really going to be protected, either. Or if you’re a woman making health decisions for your own life. That’s really more of the government’s business.

    “Small government” is branding. That’s all. Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they never actually do. Bush is spending more than Clinton. Clinton rolled back Republican tax cuts and decreased spending. Bush cut taxes and increased spending. What’s more fiscally responsible? To increase revenue while decreasing expenses or decrease revenue while increasing expenses?

  45. Islandkiwi says:

    @Atomike:

    What BSTU said. Republicans should be about fiscal responsibility, but they’re not. They’re supposed to be small government, they’re not. The deficit, borrowing from foreign nations, the size of the government…all these dramatically increased under the Republicans.

    With the Republicans it hasn’t been about rights or freedoms, it’s all about control.

  46. gingerCE says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: I didn’t read your article, but I would like to add I eat very healthy, am single, and my grocery bill is probably under $30 a week. I try to buy the fruit/veggies on sale, whole wheat bread, tofu which is very cheap instead of meat, and chicken when on clearance etc, though I do buy only organic milk . . . one blogger did a story on trying to survive on $30 a month for groceries and I actually decided to try this on my own–and I did it for a week (so ate on $7.50 that week–did not include beverages though). I lived on mostly rice, homemade chicken stock, chicken I bought on clearance and made into soups, whatever clearance veggies I could get and eggs (though I bought regular brown eggs–normally on $30 a week I buy organic eggs).

    How much do families get on food stamps each week? I’m kinda curious.

  47. smitty1123 says:

    @WhaDa: I don’t have children. I just want my damn tax money back. Worry about your own children and leave me the hell alone.

  48. gingerCE says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: I actually went grocery shopping today–my total for the week $25.93.

    It’s actually a lot cheaper to cook healthy food from scratch than to buy convenience food like microwave meals or fast food.

  49. MsClear says:

    My hubby and I generally eat for about sixty per week. I made this recipe for dinner tonight. Delicious and about $2.50 total to make.

    [recipefinder.nal.usda.gov]

  50. wyocwby says:

    You know, this might be the last straw for Nancy. For the past year I’ve been waiting her to march over to the senate and beat Harry Reid to death with her shoe. Everytime she’s inches from a PR coup he trips it up.

  51. I’m a taxpayer and voter. Send money quick.

  52. rdm says:

    It doesn’t force the debt on to anyone.. except the people who get the checks since we have to pay it back when we file next year.

  53. BalknChain says:

    @Carey: Hmm, I noticed you on my list of followers; I’m flattered. Well, I clicked to see who you were and I am pleasantly surprised for it. This is my first visit and comment on Consumerist and I’m liking it.
    Anyway, my husband and I were discussing the tax relief plan earlier today and I have a question for you. The government hopes we put the money into consumer circulation as it were, but I’d like to pay off some debt. The debt I am thinking of is college debt on a credit card; it’s not a huge amount. Relieving some of this debt could turn into us charging goods or services on our card. This in turn gives money towards (possibly struggling) banks. What is your opinion of this?
    P.S. I work in manufacturing and the budget cuts are killing us. (Flour prices, oh boy..) A quick summation is too much trimming results in more frequent, and worse, errors and a high cost of corrective actions or repetitive work.

  54. Derffie says:

    I think infrastructure repairs are several magnitudes more important than putting a Wii in everyones living room.

  55. djanes1 says:

    I really don’t see how giving people a $600 check to buy things made
    in other countries will stimulate this country’s economy. It will buy a
    lot of votes, though.

  56. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Is there a way to send the rebate back if I don’t want it? My taxes are complicated enough without this bullshit.

  57. goller321 says:

    @djanes1: Exactly. Much like that famous Bush line about showing our patriotism by going out and shopping. The plan is a load of crap, and should die.

  58. Illusio26 says:

    I think its stupid that the dummycrats want to give more money back to people who don’t pay taxes. If your not paying any taxes you shouldn’t get a dime of this rebate money. If you don’t pay to begin with, its not a rebate, its a gift, that comes out of me and other tax payer’s pockets.

    The government sucks a big, fat percentage of my paycheck out every time. I have zero sympathy for people who don’t have to pay any taxes not getting a portion of this rebate. Start paying taxes, than you get the right to get some money back.

  59. BalknChain says:

    @darkjedi26: hear, hear. Tax ID numbers-ugh

  60. A_B says:

    @BStu:

    Well said. I’m glad somebody understands that “fast response” is not equivalent to “good response” the current situation.

    The people complaining about the delay, it appears, largely fail to appreciate how bad this “stimulus” package was. I’m pleasantly surprised that the Senate did something.

  61. Estimated approval date: Never.
    If approved, estimated benefits: Minimal.

    Thank you government for never getting anything done.

  62. Charred says:

    Is it any wonder that Congress has a lower approval rate than Bush?

  63. RvLeshrac says:

    @StevieZ83:

    Democrats are certainly NOT the only people adding crap to bills.

    I’m for barring all riders. A bill should pass or fail on its own merits. You want to pay for a $5 billion highway that leads into the middle of the Atlantic or extended unemployment benefits, you can draft your own damn bill.

    These people barely do any work at all, ever. I can’t choose to not show up to work whenever I want, why do we still allow our representatives to just not show up for voting and sessions? I think forcing them to draft their own legislation instead of tacking legislation onto other legislation might force them to show up for work once in a while.

  64. RvLeshrac says:

    @darkjedi26:

    I don’t understand that, either. I’m still *slightly* more concerned about the people who make millions complaining about taxes, though. If someone was paying me $1 million/year, the government could take half of it and you wouldn’t see me complaining.

  65. Hoss says:

    The rebate to individuals and families predictably will not have much “stimulus” effect. People will either use it to pay the last mortgage bill that got behind, or bank it because of the jitteryness about the future state of the economy and jobs.

    But the effect of the bonus depreciation on businesses will help a lot.

    The senate will rush this bill through. They won’t back out of an effective promise to give most families $1,200.

  66. HOP says:

    these lice will still get their wonderful pensions for doing a couple of years of ‘work’?

  67. Snarkysnake says:

    Okay,take a deep breath you people…Exhale…

    The reality is,there is going to be an election in November.This thing has gone too far,too fast for the blow dried phonies in the senate to de rail it.There will be some kind of deal because every incumbent running for re election wants some cupcakes for the folks back home.A LOT of people that I know have already “spent” this money mentally and they will be grouchy if it never arrives.The fact is,there are a few blow hards in the upper chamber that know that they can hold this thing hostage until they get their indefensible “bridges to nowhere” or what have you. (The “infrastructure investments” that HR hinted at) They want it to pass,but this just gives them a way to squeeze that last pet project out of the taxpayers before the next budget cycle. Democracy ? Of a sort.These people are a perfect mirror image of the people that sent them there.

  68. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @gingerCE:
    You didn’t read the article but comment on it!
    You must be a right wing Republican.
    Take a trip through Chicago where I live, go through some poor neighborhoods.
    There isn’t a real grocery store in them!
    Lots of crummy convenience stores, rarely is there any fresh meat or produce in them! The closest thing to fresh is white bread! At least it’s fortified with vitamins, but only because the law requires it. Mostly overpriced canned crap, full of sodium that worsens high blood pressure.
    They’ve been totally abandoned by the big grocers!
    But there’s a hell of a lot of McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, White Castle, KFC, Church’s Chicken & Popeye’s. All full of delicious, fattening & definitely unhealthy food!
    Also there are numerous independent greasy spoon types.
    Not to mention the huge number of liquor stores!

    To get to a real grocery, it might take three blocks!
    There’s only one Costco in Chicago, nearest bus stop is a long block away, try doing that with a big load of food!

    The poor live a totally different life than the rest of us when it comes to food shopping!

    As for food stamps, I believe a single person will get about $135 a month, but I’m not sure as the amount decreases as income increases!

  69. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:
    Oops, brain freeze! I meant it might take three buses to get to a real grocery store!

  70. gingerCE says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Hi–I tried to read the article but it didn’t make sense to me. I am not a Rep or a Dem–I am an Independent–but I have never voted for a Rep. president or a Rep senator–always Dem or yes, Green party. I currently volunteer with low income seniors in my community. And I have volunteered for food banks and feeding the homeless in the past.

    I think food stamps is a valuable program, but a food bank can give a family for free packages that include healthy food vs. letting them go into a store and buy junk food. It does sound like that’d be a better program in your area because there doesn’t sound like there are enough grocery stores around and too many people are buying fast food.

    If this thing derails though, I will blame the Democrats because they are the ones adding the fat to this bill and they need to simply leave it the way it was intended–as a tax rebate. Pelosi did a good job in bargaining and they should congratulate her and move on.

  71. tmed says:

    FAT?? Adding fat to the bill? Issuing this package with the rebates but no extension to unemployment is unconscionable. It will take 2-4 months to get these rebates checks mailed. Unemployment can be started in a week. This extension is for people who have been unemployed for 1/2 a year and can not yet find work.

  72. disavow says:

    Sounds to me like the Democrats are making a two-pronged political gambit. If the modified bill passes, they get to brag about how they delivered for their constituents. If not, they can easily pass the original version while accusing Republicans of being uncaring obstructionists. The presidency isn’t our only election this November.

  73. Vilgrom says:

    It seems like they’re throwing some stuff they want to see passed onto this bill because it’s getting a lot of attention.

    If Bush doesn’t sign it into a law after they add new provisions to it, the President might be seen as the stubborn politician that doesn’t want to compromise to help the people.

    He’ll probably veto it, though. He vetoes anything that isn’t exactly to his liking without giving it a second thought.

  74. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @gingerCE:
    The Salon article doesn’t make sense to you?

    Here’s the real simple explanation of it:

    Poor neighborhoods with lots of food stamp recipients: No large grocers & numerous fast food joints = High food prices, poor selection, little fresh produce & lots of filling but fattening foods which cause or worsen obesity & other health problems!

    Middle class or better neighborhoods & suburbs with few food stamp recipients: Lots of large grocers, lots of competition, lower food prices, huge selection of fresh produce = healthier people.

  75. XTC46 says:

    Stimulus packages like this are like cutting your self to feel alive. If your broken and bloody like our country is, making a small cut might cause a short term adrenalin rush (similar to the short term spending this will increase) but long term, it wont do much.

  76. Snarkysnake says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:

    Sorry,help me here.

    Fast food is not known for being healthy.Ditto filling but fattening foods.Can the poor read ? Reason ? Do they not know what this crap is doing to them ? Can they not be told ? You sound like you’re not happy that the “Big Grocers” have “abandoned” them. But you have left out the fact that Wally World basically had to fight tooth and nail to be able to put a store in ChiTown.(It opened in 2006,I believe). Who opposed this ? “Community Activists” and others that want to preserve “Mom and Pop” grocery stores. You also seem chapped that there are more liquor stores than grocery stores in these neighborhoods.I’ll grant you that.But I’ll wager that the people that go into these liquor stores do so voluntarily.They piss their money away getting drunk and then they blame “the man” “Right wing Republicans” or whatever for their plight. I grew up poor. I know what it’s like. But we never accepted that as a permanent condition. My folks made us study. They made us work.Now we’re not poor any more. And the money that gets mailed to these people comes directly from that hard work.The food stamps that they spend are a gift from producers of goods and services to consumers of same.

  77. gingerCE says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: It’s cheaper to cook food at home. Period. Plus, I didn’t know fast food places took food stamps. If so, they need to stop that practice as I totally agree that is wrong. But instead of food stamps, the govt. should fund a food bank which would give out healthy food to residents–not giving them choice but forcing them to eat healthy. If you give them more food stamps it sounds like they’d use it to buy more fast food–which would defeat the whole purpose.

    I have lived in a major city without a car and used to take the bus to go grocery shopping–there was no major grocery store in my village. I was able to carry all my groceries for the week by myself. I recently visited a major city (taking the bus to get around town as I didn’t want to drive) and saw numerous elderly people schlepping bags filled with groceries. If the elderly can do it, I’m not sure why younger people can’t.

  78. kbarrett says:

    Cool.

    The Dems in the Senate are stumbling over themselves to completely screw the pooch. The Republicans will try to get the original bill passed, and Baucus will keep trying to pee in the soup until nothing happens.

    No more money will get spent ( a good thing ), but the Democrats will get ALL of the blame for the checks not going out. Fail!

    The Republicans will get credit for trying to give everyone free money, without having to actually do it. Win!

  79. barty says:

    Well just damn, someone actually does have some sense in Congress and has decided that people should only be getting TAX rebate checks if they actually had an income to TAX to begin with. Of course leave it to a Democrat to think that this is a bad thing. They are the party of income redistribution (ie., vote buying) and can’t resist de-railing any kind of legislation that doesn’t include giving money away to people who have no real income or don’t pay any INCOME taxes in the first place.

    However, I (and I imagine the financial markets) would have been much happier with a plan that would have made the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent.

  80. Bush rides to the rescue of the speculators who drove up the cost of housing and listened to those silly infomercials about earning money by buying houses with no money down.

  81. 1N0X1 says:

    I knew this was too good to be true when I first read about it. Yet I still told the logic part of my brain to shut-up and subsequently decided what I would spend my rebate check on.

  82. Rusted says:

    @ShortBus: They have to borrow money from us (or possibly the People’s Republic of China) to give us our stimulus checks. I’m glad it’s dying.

    @kbarrett: It doesn’t matter which party. No such thing as free money. It came from someone.

  83. trujunglist says:

    It’s funny how Republicans constantly talk about how Democrats are big government and spend crazy and that Republicans are small government and thrifty. I guess it depends on what your definition of “big government” and “spend crazy” are, because as far as I can tell, Democrats are big government in that they spend money on programs that actually help people better their lives and become more productive members of society. Republicans are big government in that they will spend a lot of money on the controlling aspects of society, such as more police, more security, more prisons, more lockdowns, and war. The Republican government projects end up being bigger and costlier, with little or no benefit to the average American. Democrats version of big brother is like your older brother; he’ll steal your money, but he’ll also get you drunk and laid when you’re 16. Republicans are like big brother from 1984; he’ll steal your money, beat the shit out of you, and then jail you when you complain.

  84. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @snarkysnake:
    No, actually the poor don’t know what the crap is doing to them!
    And many of them can’t read!
    Their lives are a mess! They spend their money on all sorts of useless shit.
    Do you know where the most billboard spending by the Illinois State Lottery is?
    It’s in poor areas, they spend the most on the lottery!

    Do you know where the most billboard spending on tobacco & liquor is?
    Same answer!

    The poor are fucked up & big business is a big part of it.

    As for Wal-Mart’s attempts to open stores in Chicago, it’s a lot more complicated than you put it. Most of it revolves around tribal politics in Chicago, which the thieves from Arkansas don’t know how to play.

    @gingerCE:
    What major city did you live in?
    You try to carry food for an entire family on an overcrowded Chicago bus.
    You need to live in the real world.
    No, fast food places don’t take food stamps, but the minimarts & liquor stores that carry a few food items do.
    And those places charge a huge amount for small amounts of crappy food!
    Most closures of food stores in Chicago are of this type!

  85. Mr. Gunn says:

    “Timely?” My ass it’s timely!

    It’s time to stop running up our balances on our Chinese debt, which giving everybody hundred of dollars to spend on cheap crap made in China will not do.

    It doesn’t list Hamburgers or Liquor on this list, so it sounds like food stamps probably do the job they’re supposed to, although they should make a point to include more real food, as opposed to packaged and processed shite.

  86. disavow says:

    @barty: wtf? Medicare part D (the prescription-drug benefit) was vote-buying at its finest, and that was a REPUBLICAN initiative. And guess what, most elderly people who rely on Medicare probably don’t have much taxable income, either. Both parties try to buy votes; the GOP just happens to pay more attention to which demographics actually do vote.

  87. regisgoat says:

    @Greasy Thumb’s excellent thread.
    Absolutely. I’m glad that the first thing a poor person does when they graduate from a ghetto is explain that since they did it, everyone can do it. When, if they’d spend any time thinking about what goes on in a ghetto, they’d see that not everyone is going to make it out.
    Ghettos, like the one I live right near in Richmond, California, have either Mom and Pop convenience stores or second-tier grocery outlets. The people who shop there are a lot of single parents who are rather busier than even the soccer-moms, who use loads of convenience foods already because they’re so busy riding herd on their children. Or else they’re doing underpaid, underclass jobs that last 10 or 12 hours a day and have just enough time to pick up something fast on the way home.
    You can live on $30 a week or whatever it is, but you’ll need some time to prepare that food, and between hard work, commuting (oops, they cut another bus line because of the budget shortfall) and picking up your kids
    because it’s not safe for them to walk home…well, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for food preparation. And did I miss a detail here, or was someone implying that the poor spend their food stamps at McDonald’s? Try that and see what happens.
    And people wonder why Obama is trouncing Hillary. At least the man knows what goes on inside a ghetto.

  88. Saboth says:

    Figures…trying to give money back to taxpayers, then you get Senators wanting it to go to people on welfare and disability rather than hard working people actually paying taxes. Then the rest feel like sticking their pork projects into the bill….

  89. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Saboth:
    Everyone pays taxes!
    It’s inescapable!
    Even those on welfare & food stamps pay taxes when they buy stuff.
    Either they are directly paying sales taxes or they’re paying indirectly by the taxes paid by the companies & their employees when that product is purchased.

  90. 3drage says:

    Printing more money will not solve the over-inflated economy issue we are experiencing.

  91. Joafu says:

    More rebates to families that earned less than $3k? What the hell?!? Getting welfare month after month is not a job, it’s taking my tax dollars and feeding too many lazy Americans. Not that welfare started off bad, and the intention as being a safety net is commendable, but WAY too many millions of people take gross advantage of the system. I’m still in college, in debt up to my ears and live on my own, yet I have made in this first month of 2008 more than $3k.

    Senators are going to ruin this bill “by adding funds for other initiatives that can boost the economy immediately, such as unemployment benefits, nutrition assistance, state relief and infrastructure investment”, but this not stimulate the economy, it will just dump more money into programs that waste American Taxpayer’s hard-earned cash.

    If the government wants to stimulate the economy, give taxpayers back their money and they’ll find something to spend it on, don’t try to spend it for them!

  92. beetlecake says:

    To the person…Jedi guy… who commented on those who do not pay taxes should not get a rebate…most of those individuals/20 million seniors have paid almost 50 years of taxes and are over 65 years old. The government does not give a whopping sum each month to these individuals in the form of Social Security checks. According to the government, they do not HAVE to pay taxes (why? because they don’t have even enough to live on)…and YES I think they should get a rebate. Why should they be penalized for working all those years (for you)and living off of nothing in their senior years. Wait until it is your turn Jedi guy.

  93. camille_javal says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: If you lived in New York, I would buy you a drink/coffee.