Update: The Senate passed the bill.
Seniors and disabled veterans have joined the unemployed on the list of people who won’t receive help from Congress under the developing economic stimulus plan. The Senate yesterday rejected an expanded stimulus package by a single vote, meaning that they will most likely approve the House’s $146 billion plan that will send a $600 rebate check to most taxpayers. Congress will continue tweaking the package ahead of a self-imposed February 15 deadline. [U.S. Senate]

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  1. sickofthis says:

    Know who that one missing vote was? Presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain. He skipped it.

  2. darkened says:

    If it passed, Bush would have veteo’d it anyway.

  3. rickspeaks says:

    @darkened:
    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. If he knows that his veto would get over-ridden in the Democratic House, he would save himself the embarrassment and pass it.

  4. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    You know, seniors get Social Security, which I pay into and will never see a dime of, and if they’re not working, the they shouldn’t get a TAX REBATE! The purpose of the incentive plan is ultimately to create jobs through increased spending by consumers leading to more hiring by employers (buoyed by business tax incentives).

    I’m glad Harry Reid isn’t getting his pork today…

  5. friendlynerd says:

    Just pass something already, I want my free money dammit

  6. boandmichele says:

    @friendlynerd: well, thats a point of debate. either its free money, or its a ‘tax refund advance’ that will come off next years taxes. which sucks.

  7. Whitey Fisk says:

    Hey, I also want a “rebate” for something I didn’t pay for in the first place. I’m going to try it at Best Buy too.

  8. jbalsle says:

    WhiteTrashLegend is appropriately named…

    Anyway, yes. McCain ‘had other more important things to do’. Whoever the Democratic nominee is should crow this to the four corners and from sea to shining sea, all across the US…

    …loudly…

    …repeatedly…

    …relentlessly.

    Good job, McCain. So much for being the ‘maverick’….you two-faced GOP lapdog you.

  9. friendlynerd says:

    @boandmichele:

    Amurka will BURN if the general public finds that the check they received this spring means they won’t get one next year. I really, really can’t see them doing that.

  10. Buran says:

    @tmccartney: And thus proving that YOUR VOTE DOES MATTER, don’t skip it!

  11. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    @jbalsle:

    Let me tell you something. What’s wrong with this nation is the notion of entitlement. People who are a burden upon the rest of us constantly wanting to get a bigger cut of what isn’t theirs, in this case a tax refund that they didn’t pay into.

    I’m all for helping the truly needy through limited government involvement (keyword limited), but there’s a reason that this bill in the form that it left the House was approved overwhelmingly: compromise. Senate Democrats should learn from their House counterparts. There’s a reason why Congressional approval is sitting at around 25%.

    Harry Reid can sit on his thumb and twirl if he won’t play ball.

  12. RandoX says:

    I’m paying an enormous pile of taxes this year. As long as I get mine I don’t care. If I could cut out everyone but me I’d be fine with that.

    Sorry.

    No I’m not…

  13. mobbo says:

    How do we taxpayers get the $600 check if we’ve moved in the past few months? Is my new address in a database somewhere or do I need to update it?

  14. WhaDa says:

    Selfish B-Tards that expect a hand out. Thats what anybody that wants this to pass is.@RandoX: That includes you.

  15. friendlynerd says:

    @WhaDa:

    It’s only a handout if you don’t pay taxes. I do, a lot, and so do many others.

    I suppose you’ll be sending yours back? Right.

  16. Mr. Gunn says:

    So if we somehow end up with a republican administration next year, what will they do with their cunning plan to blame the problems this will cause on the next guys?

  17. Photogdc says:

    @WhiteTrashLegend: Young workers today may not get their full promised Social Security benefit but we will get something, and it will be much more than a dime.

  18. Superborty says:

    @PhotoGDC: Actually, the way we are headed, the whole thing will be bankrupt before most COnsumerist readers retire so don’t count on your money. WhiteTrashLegend is 100% right on all counts. Absurd that people who don’t pay taxes would get free money! I think the whole stimulus plan is dumb to start, just cut tax rates. We are becoming completely uncompetitive with the rest of the world given our absurd rates.

  19. RandoX says:

    @WhaDa: Wanting to keep more of the money I work for every day is expecting a handout?

    Puff, puff, pass, stoner.

    You might have a point in calling me selfish if you’d focused on the fact that I don’t care if anyone else gets it or not. You fail.

  20. ancientsociety says:

    Awesome! I love how this “tax rebate” has become a thinly-disguised welfare package.

    It’s almost exactly what is happening with the CTA. First, no money to run trains/buses. Then just barely enough in the budget. At the last minute, our governor wants seniors to be able to ride for free. So, we squeeze that into the budget. Now the CTA wants veterans and the disabled to ride for free.

    Let’s just have the middle class pay everyone else’s way!

  21. tmed says:

    this is the way to compromise, not to lay down like Pelosi. Including people who didn’t pay taxes is ludicrous. Not including the extension of unemployment is worse, that is money that can get to the people who need it faster than the rebates and offer more targeted relief.

  22. sven.kirk says:

    WhiteTrashLegend and SuperBorty, If you actually read the bill, it is “for taxpayers with earned income of at least $3,000.” [www.congress.org]

    What is killing the deal is all the ridiculous amendments. One, is increased funding for “highway trust fund”

  23. jbalsle says:

    WhiteTrashLegend got it all wrong. What’s wrong with this nation is the ‘everyone for himself’ attitude the Conservatives push. ‘Lower my taxes!’ ‘Screw my neighbors!’ ‘ME! MEEE! *MEEEEEE!*’ I do agree, though, that a sense of entitlement and an expectation that government is the solution to all problems is flawed, but I disagree that giving the rebate to people on Social Security and extending unemployment (you know, to help those who are being squeezed by the Bush Economy — the elderly whose SS and pension income do not keep up with the ever-rising cost of energy and the unemployed whose jobs have been shipped overseas and taken by illegals, or just plain destroyed…again by the Bush Economy) is a bad thing.

  24. CaptainSemantics says:

    It’s back on track:

    [politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com]

  25. cef21 says:

    What a one-sided post. The reality is that many unemployed people, seniors and disabled veterans will receive a portion of the tax rebate. The only requirement is that they paid taxes in 2007. And, if you look at that group of people, many of them did.

    A tax rebate should go to people who, oh, PAID TAXES. Otherwise, it’s just taking money from people who do pay taxes to give to people who don’t. [I suppose you could rebate Social Security taxes, too, as long as you reduced future benefits accordingly. But, many people who don’t pay federal income tax already get all their SS refunded back in the EITC.]

  26. JonnaM25 says:

    @WhiteTrashLegend: Well hate to burst your bubble but people who live on SSDI, SSI, VA Com, and SSRI do have to pay taxes on their government checks. Now not all of them have to pay but a good potion of them have too. Also this rebate actually has nothing to do really with a tax break. This really is just a check being handed out to the banks; since that is where a majority of the money well go to(how many people do you think will actually save this money.) Also this does not stimulate the economy on a long term scale. If anything it hurts it thrue inflation and the devaluing of the USA dollar. Also everyone would get their SS checks if you stop letting your congressmen dip into the the SS fund that was actually set-up separately from the general fund and was ear mark only to be used for SS. Also these people don’t have a real a unjust entitlement. Most drawing form these funds payed into these funds. They have every right to use them and accept them. Also do you not think these people well not also use these checks to buy stuff just like everyone else. Also this rebate has nothing to do with creating jobs. Putting more money into an already inflated money market doesn’t create jobs. If they wanted to create jobs they would lower the barrier of enter into job markets by lower tax rate, providing sound money to trade and by stopping entanglements of the government in the market place.

  27. cef21 says:

    @jbalsle: Untrue.

    In the past year, the economy has lost 655,000 jobs paying an average of $18.99 per hour, but gained 1,450,000 jobs, a million of which pay better than the 655K jobs that were lost. (Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics if you disagree.) If this is the Bush economy, let’s keep him for another 4 years.

    Social Security goes up every year by *more* that the rate of inflation. (It’s tied to the wage rate, not CPI.) Sure, energy is also going up more than inflation, but plenty of things are going up less or even going down — the inflation rate captures all that into an average, and SS payments are more than keeping up. SS recipients got a 2.3% raise this year, which is more than what I got.

  28. jimconsumer says:

    Hey, consumerist: “people who won’t receive help from Congress” ?! Are you kidding me? This bill is not intended to help people who can’t or won’t work for themselves. It is not a fucking welfare program. It’s a refund of taxes paid by people like me. You can’t give a refund to people who don’t pay taxes. How difficult is this to understand?

    @jbalsle: ‘Lower my taxes!’ ‘Screw my neighbors!’ — The former does not cause the latter, unless you’re a filthy socialist. Are you a filthy socialist, jbalsle? Do you want to join forces with Hillary, dress up in tights and play real life Robin Hood where you continue to steal more and more money out of my paycheck every year so you can give it away to those who didn’t earn it?

  29. jbalsle says:

    CEF21, source your information. Specifically, the 1,450,000 jobs gained versus the 655,000 jobs lost (implying a job creation rate of 1,450,000 – 655,000 = 795,000), and especially of a million of those new created jobs having an hourly wage eqivilent of more than $18.99.

    And what things are going down? Technology is the only thing I can think of that touches my life that’s going down. Electric: Up significantly. Groceries: Up significantly. Heating gas: Up significantly, damn near crippling levels of rise. Gasoline: I don’t drive with gas prices over $1.50/gal, I’ve been priced out of the market. Phone: Up slightly. Internet: Up slightly. Rent: Stable, but could raise this summer.

    Three biggest consumers of my dollars: Heating, Electric, and Groceries. Food costs have gone up almost double in Bush’s 7 years. I ate for $20 a week for decent food in 2000 (remember that year fondly). Now it’s almost $40 a week. Gas prices were around $1.00 a gallon in Clinton’s last year. Now they’re near $3.00 a gallon. My winter electric bill in 2000 was around $40 a month in Louisiana — the cheapest season for electric back then — and summer was around $100 to $150 max. Now I’m in Colorado, and I’ve had two massive $300 bills in January and February, and look forward to the $200 bills in July and August. Our cheapest bills were just north of $100 in May and September. x1.5 cheapest rate, x2.0 most expensive rate. That’s +150% to +200%. And you’re complaining about a +2.3% raise?

    Sorry, I don’t believe that the economy is as strong as you make it out to be.

  30. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    @jbalsle:

    It has nothing to do with a “me only” attitude. It is about earning your way in life by the sweat of your brow. There are those who badly need help, and I believe in doing what we have to in order to get our fellow countrymen and women back on their feet.

    But because of many American’s ridiculous sense of entitlement, they feel that they are “owed” something for which they are neither owed nor have earned. I don’t want to screw my neighbors, but I do want people to be accountable for their own actions. It’s not the government’s job to forever prop up people with unemployment benefits, many of whom don’t truly want jobs, but just milk the system.

    We need to ween people off the tete of government support so that they may be self-sustaining. Call it the “teach a man to fish” train of thought. I’m sorry, but as a self-employed person, I pay 15.3% Social Security, on top of my thousands in taxes. The ROI that I’d like for that money is for the recipients of government programs to learn to care for themselves, and not to expect the government to do it for them.

  31. jbalsle says:

    Eh, right. If I disagree that rediculously low taxes might be caused by the ‘I’m important, screw my neighbors, it’s all about me’ means I’m a ‘filthy socialist’.

    This entire package was supposed to be designed to help people through lean times so we could avoid a recession. Asside from the fact that I think this is like using a thimble to bail out the Titanic, this package should be designed to help the most people through the bad policies of this President. The Democratic Senators (those ‘filthy socialists’, all of ‘em) and eight Republican Senators agreed with them. Would one more Republican had actually voted for this, we’d not be having this discussion right now. Hell, were the Republicans to have played by their own rules, where the Minority can’t get in the way of an “Up or Down Vote”, this measure would have passed 59 to 39, and again, we’d not have had this discussion.

    But a desire to try to blunt the results of an out-of-control market is ‘filthy socialism’. Since many european nations are moderate socialist in nature, and are doing OK (not great, like our country in the 90’s, mind you, but their woes are all on how poorly we’re doing today and they seem to be doing just fine regardless), I don’t exactly see socialism as being filthy. All extremes are bad…the extreme left-wing authoritarian nation of Soviet Russia are just as bad as the extreme right-wing authoritarian nation of Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

  32. asphix20 says:

    @WhiteTrashLegend:

    Well said. I’m all for programs to help people.. but they should have an end in sight.

    My co-worker has a grocery store in a nearby city. It’s a small corner-mart type place. He owns the building which holds the business as well as the two section 8 apartments which are housed above it.

    My heart really goes out for the people who live in the above apartments. That is not the type of life I would want for myself and I cant imagine they’re happy to be in it.

    However, they milk the system like pro’s. Their rent is fully paid for by the state and my co-worker tells me how the tennents kids come in with tragic stories about how their mom was fired last week because she didn’t want to go to work.

    These kids dont even go to school all the time. I dont know about these people or their situation so I wont pass judgement. I do know they’ve been in that position for the past couple years with no sign of improvement. Again, I dont know what the hold-up is or what the root of the problem is… but it doesnt change the fact that I see these people who do nothing getting rent paid for by the state while I work hard to pay my own.

    Call me selfish if you will but that doesnt change the fact. And FYI I volunteer, donate to charity through various road races, events, united way, etc and more often than not go out of my way to help people who I see are in need.

    It’s not that I dont want to help people.. its that I dont want to help people who dont want to help themselves!

  33. jbalsle says:

    On the surface, I could agree with WhiteTrashLegend’s post. However, scratch down a bit and I don’t think WTL is as ‘moderate’ as he’s trying to push himself off to be.

    Very few Americans have a sense of entitlement, and the ones that do have been blown way out of proportion. The Welfare Queen does exist, but there are ten honestly out-of-work people for every happy-to-be-on-welfare lout who is sucking at Government’s teat. The Conservative Mentality is to paint all 11 people as lazy louts. Again, I don’t buy it.

    WTL also points out his thousands in taxes, while conveniently leaving out how much he earns. He too uses a business term that is all about ‘ME!!!’. ROI, or Return on Investment. He wants something back from his money. Protection from threats, foreign and domestic, must not appease him. I don’t see him complaining about Iraq, so he must be happy with the funds spent there, even though those funds are extensive. He must be happy with the interstate system and the various government agencies that do the People’s work, as he’s not complaining about them. He’s only complaining about the less than 20% and shrinking share that goes into ‘welfare’. On top of that, he brings up his 17.5% in Social Security taxes as part of what he wants a return on. Eh, they’re old, and will likely never work again. “Get back to work, you old gieser” is exactly what WTL is saying. How compassionate of him…

    Well, WTL is entitled to his opinion. I doubt I can change it. Let him believe what he wishes to. History will record what comes out of McCain’s desire to sustain a filibuster against people who can’t find work or are too old to work.

  34. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    @jbalsle:

    Boy, where to begin with this…

    First of all, I don’t know anyone that would think that $600 is enough to get them through the “lean times” when most experts encourage people to have 3-6 months of expenses in reserve at all times. The refund is designed to be spent to inject immediate liquidity into the economy and hopefully create jobs (see my earlier post).

    Secondly, some of those Republican Senators are up for re-election in the fall, and don’t want their opponents to be able to say “He voted against the tax rebate”. Sadly, it’s a political game.

    Thirdly, you can blame it on that one phantom Republican not voting, or you can blame it on the Democrats for adding a bunch of earmarks to a bill that had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House.

    And fourthly, why don’t you drop the whole “Bush is responsible for everything wrong in my life” crap. The economy is faltering right now primarily due to the mortgage mess. Last time I checked, the President wasn’t the CEO of any mortgage company. We’d be in this mess no matter who was our president. You clearly don’t understand the President’s role in the economy.

  35. asphix20 says:

    @jbalsle: This isnt in response to your discussion with WTL, but I do want to point out that just because some people arent for increasing unemployment benefits et al in this bill doesnt mean we are against it all together.

  36. WhiteTrashLegend says:

    @jbalsle:

    Thanks for putting words into my mouth. I said nothing about old people going back to work.

    This consumerist post is about the ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE being held up. Don’t try to pull the war, the highway system or whatever into this discussion. It is beyond this scope, as is my income, which frankly is none of your business.

    However, talking about the people that should and should not get rebates IS within the scope of the debate. Going back to the ISSUE, people who paid taxes should be eligible, and those who didn’t, should not be. End of story.

    And to address the McCain thing. First you blame him for being busy “doing other things”, then you say he was responsible for a filibuster. Which is it? Unless he has some magical power, he can’t not be there and be there at the same time.

  37. cef21 says:

    @jbalsle: Sure thing. It comes from the bureau of labor statistics. There’s a summary at [www.optimist123.com] . The core numbers are at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You have to look in Table B-1 — [www.bls.gov] — for the number of people employed in different industries and in table B-3 — [www.bls.gov] — for the salary figures.

    As for inflation, look at page 2 here: [www.bls.gov] . Since 2001, when Bush took office, food prices are up about 20%, not the 2x you claim. Gas is way up, but I don’t know how you blame that on Bush. Clothes are down about 9%.

    As far as your electric bill, has it occurred to you that you are comparing apples to oranges? When you moved to Colorado, you may have gotten a less efficient furnace, or maybe you’re heating with electricity instead of gas, maybe you just have a larger place, or maybe you have more extreme temperatures. I’ve lived in the same house since 1999 and while my gas bill is up around 20%, my electric has stayed pretty flat.

    Inflation between January 2001 and December 2007 averaged around 2.6% — prices have risen around 20% over the 7-year period. Historically, that’s fairly low.

    I don’t suggest that the economy is doing particularly well right now. But, the idea that we’re replacing high-paying jobs with low-paying ones is just plain wrong.

  38. RenardRouge says:

    Actually, according to this article, veterans and the elderly ARE getting money back. I don’t know why this article specifically says otherwise.

    [biz.yahoo.com]

  39. jimconsumer says:

    @jbalsle: The Conservative Mentality is to paint all 11 people as lazy louts. Again, I don’t buy it. – Lazy, unprepared, ignorant, there are many terms that apply. It’s hard to feel bad for a guy who buys so much crap his net worth is negative, then loses his job and wonders how he will eat. It’s easy to get pissed off when said guy is taking money out of my paycheck in the form of over-reaching socialist programs to get by while he job hunts.

    If people blow all of their money on plasma TVs and new cars and eating out instead of saving, how is it the taxpayer’s responsibility to bail them out when the rainy day comes? It isn’t, and this socialist mentality has to stop. History has shown when people don’t have access to a free safety net, they tend to behave more responsibly.

    I’m not saying we let people starve on the streets, but how about some common sense? If you own a home and drive a car worth more than a grand and have a flat panel TV on the wall, you don’t get to dip into my paycheck until you’ve sold your luxuries and exhausted the money.

  40. Dr_awesome says:

    lol @ poor people being poor because they spend all their money on plasma screen tv’s and eating out. i have a crappy 20 inch tv that’s probably 7 years old and i haven’t eaten out since last summer. i work 40+ hours a week and i barely manage to get by, so i will gladly “take money out of your paycheck” and laugh about it all the way to the bank.

    p.s. @ Jimconsumer: thanks for helping me out with this month’s rent, buddy. i really appreciate it :)

  41. jimconsumer says:

    @Dr_awesome: I wasn’t talking about poor people. I was talking about the middle class dumbass who had a nice job but didn’t save for the future and suddenly finds himself unemployed.

    That being said you are exactly the type of person who doesn’t deserve government handouts (point of clarification: This rebate is not a government handout and that’s not what I am talking about). You work and you manage to get by, so you’re clearly intelligent enough to hold down a job and make ends meet. So, you deserve money from the rest of us why? You obviously have enough time to sit around and post here; you could be working a second job instead of taking money from me if you can’t quite scrape by. I work 60+ hours a week. More if you count side projects that occasionally bear financial fruit. So, boo hoo, I don’t feel sorry for you, I think you’re needlessly suckling the government teat so you can have more free time on your hands instead of spending that time making enough money to support yourself.

    The people who truly deserve government handouts are those who are in real danger of being homeless through no fault of their own. People with disabilities or injuries. Single mothers with little work experience whose jerk husband up and left her and the kids alone. People who aren’t intelligent enough to hold down a job because they were never taught proper work skills. These are the people who need a helping hand, both financially, educationally and otherwise.

    All this being said I think YOU DO deserve this tax refund because if you have a 40 hour a week job, I damn well know you’re putting money into the system. Since this is a rebate to those people, I fully support your getting one.

  42. destep1 says:

    To everyone that thinks that $657.00 a month is enough to live on. Get real and the ones who think that the ones on ssdi and ssi didn’t pay into the ss reserves need to take a long hard look at the economy again. I know several people who worked for alot of years and only get ssi because the taxes they paid only went toward retirement and not disability so as a result they are forced to live only on ssi which is only $20.00 less than ssdi which is $657.00 in the state of VA. The SSA tells people that the benefits is based on miner’s pay. Tell me one thing, “how many miner’s do you know can make it on even a fourth of their pay a month”. Most miner’s I know (and I know alot since I am from the mining area of VA) get at least $3500.00 every two weeks. I for one think that the government needs to do like John F. Kennedy did in the early 60’s and freeze the prices and raise the wages if they want us to get out of the rut and start spending more. And as for the rest of you who think people on disability should go back to work tell that to the people who are hiring cause I know alot of people who would love to go back to work, I am one of these who would love to go to work again. Every time I go for an interveiw they laugh me out of their office because I am on Disability and say I don’t need the job. I have disability and should just sit back and enjoy. If they knew how hard it was to make ends meet each month and raise a family they would be telling a different story theirself. I know this is a long comment but I think most of you need to hear from someone who is disabled and think to yourself, what would I be getting if I was disabled tomorrow.