The House yesterday passed H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, by a vote of 385-35. The $146 billion economic stimulus plan funds $600 rebates for most taxpayers making less than $75,000. The Senate is preparing a competing $161 billion package that would extend unemployment insurance and give most Americans, including billionaires, a $500 rebate check. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi begged the Senate to shut up and play nice, saying: “I hope the Senate will take heed. It’s not unprecedented that one chamber has yielded to another.” [THOMAS]

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  1. namenomore says:

    Ted Koppel was on NPR yesterday talking about how the root problem to our economy is the whole idea of spending more than we make and that this is whole giving everyone a bunch of money only to allow the future to foot the bill is yet another symptom of our problem.

    All that to say that Ted Koppel thinks that our economy is a “glorified Ponzi scheme”.

  2. choinski says:

    Is that $75,000 gross or net after deductions?

  3. laserjobs says:

    Just send the check already, I have mojitos in Cuba waiting for me.

  4. B says:

    @choinski: Gross income.

  5. ancientsociety says:

    It seems that at least 35 reps have an IQ over 70

  6. BlondeGrlz says:

    Do the marrieds still get money?
    I bet those billionaires are just waiting by the mailbox for their $500.

  7. boandmichele says:

    OKAY… has anyone definitively figured out if this is a tax refund ADVANCE or really free money?

    if its going to come out of my taxes next year, then to hell with it. but i want to know beforehand.

  8. jaydez says:

    Would a billionare getting a check for $500 work line the Bill Engval Skit in his stand up where he talks about his wife who makes him go to the bank to deposit a rebate check for $1?

    Just think of the hillarity and the embarassment for these poor billionares.

  9. bobpence says:

    Based on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), e.g. before exemptions and standard or itemized deductions, but after all those expenses you can list on the first page of a 1040, including moving expenses, alimony, IRA deduction, student loan interest, and tuition and fees.

  10. Anks329 says:

    @boandmichele: Based on what I understand from the text of the House bill, it is an advanced credit on your taxes that you would pay for 2008. But that could be me not understanding the text correctly.

    Here’s the text if anyone is interested: “In the case of an eligible individual, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by subtitle A for the first taxable year beginning in 2008 an amount equal to…”

  11. MeOhMy says:

    @onetakedizzle: I don’t know about the entire economy being a Ponzi scheme, but I agree with Ted Koppel.

    As I said in the thread about Walmart cutting prices to stimulate spending: Spending will not help our economy in the long run because spending is a big part of how we got here in the first place. Lots of people can’t spend responsibly. Handing them a check for $600 means they will buy something for $1000, charge the difference and simply exascerbate the problem in the long term.

  12. RandoX says:

    Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m a little government deficient. It’s been approved by the President, House, and Senate now, so it’s done, right? It’s a guaranteed $600 now? (Assuming I meet the financial criteria)

    And the Senate is starting a completely separate one for $500 that still has to go through the House and President, right?

    Did I miss anything?

  13. silencedotcom says:

    @RandoX: No, I think you’re just as confused as the rest of us are.

  14. RandoX says:

    @boandmichele: What’s the difference between a tax refund advance and free money? If I cash this check my taxes go up $600 next year? Is that’s what’s happening here? Or just that my gross income goes up $600 next year?

  15. callheralaska says:

    @RandoX: It didn’t pass the Senate, and it hasn’t been sent to Bush. Bush thinks it’s a good plan, but can’t sign it yet. The Senate thinks it’s a bit crappy, and wants to do its own.

  16. costanza007 says:

    the senate will pass its own bill and the differences will be reconciled in committee before it gets sent to the president. dont forget that since this bill will get passed, there is a 100% guarantee that its also going to contain more pork and earmarks than you could ever imagine.

  17. RandoX says:

    Ok, thanks. What a big pile of… um. Mess. What a big mess.

  18. mac-phisto says:

    @RandoX: no. the idea is there are two competing bills here…one has already passed the house (& needs to be passed by the senate & signed by the president). the other is being worked on in the senate. if that passes the senate, it will be sent to the house for a vote & then needs to be signed by the president.

    only one bill will survive (if any). the other will be voted down.

    & if this program is like the last one, it won’t be a refund advance…but it will count towards your taxable income for next year (meaning your refund will be slightly smaller).

  19. FLConsumer says:

    @blondegrlz: I certainly won’t mind the free dinner afforded by the check.

  20. apeguero says:

    So our brave Politicians decide to fool us into thinking we get a $600.00+ handout when it’s in fact the money we would be sending them for this tax year. It’s an advance in whatever tax refund we would get next year, right? What if we don’t get a tax refund next year, do we then owe the IRS that money back when we file next tax year?

    Why not just come up with a flat tax or re-write the whole damn tax code? Sometimes I wish our politicians would think a little bit like Chavez and add a special “CEO yearly bonus over $1,000,000.00″ or “CEO bail out package over $1,000,000.00″ tax of like 60% to the tax code.

    Or how about changing all of these Government handout programs to only go to US Citizens or Resident Aliens with absolute proof of their identity? Hell, I bet if they changed Government Housing where they charged the tenants for utilities, they would save a ton of our tax money per year. Then they could take some real economy saving steps like using some of that saved money on infrastructure modernization programs throughout our country like improving our roads and highways, bridges, electricity distribution systems, government refineries, etc. This would create more jobs. Pay people for working and not for sitting on their asses…Meh, why are my wasting my time going over this again. Just read a little history and see what FDR did to recover from the Depression and use that as a starting point.

    This extra money will come in handy for me. I’ll use it to pay down on my credit cards. That’s about it. But if I’m going to be charged back for that money next year then I might as well put it aside in the bank in case I have to give it back to them next year.

  21. thatblackgirl says:

    My whole being is screaming: “HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR THIS???” And I know the answer is, “We won’t; it’ll just be added to the bill we’ll pay later.”

  22. Thorny says:

    @thatblackgirl:
    I feel the same way. I was in the bank yesterday making a deposit and the little FDIC sign said, “Deposits guaranteed up to $100,000 by the faith and credit of the United States government.”

    That sounds nice. But I wonder what the FICO score would be for the U.S. government?

  23. floydianslip6 says:

    ^ good enough to get a sweet sweet subprime loan

  24. Photogdc says:

    The US Government would have an amazing credit score. This is why they are able to borrow at the lowest rates around. T Bills have very low rates that are set by the market. If the market lost faith in the “credit” of the government the rate the government has to pay would jump.

  25. deadlizard says:

    The Bush economy: Let’s do a quick-fix tax cut or rebate or whatever, but it in the tab, keep the boat floating a few months and let it become someone else’s problem Jan 20, 2009.