What The Stimulus Bill Has For Everyday Americans

In case you haven’t had a chance to read the 1000+ page stimulus bill that was passed on Friday, Ron Lieber at the New York Times has highlighted some of the provisions that will directly affect the average American.

Here’s our summary of what Lieber has put together, supplemented with more details from the Associated Press:

  • Tax credit of up to $400 for individuals, $800 for couples for 2009 and 2010. Figure your individual credit by taking 6.2% of your earned income. Note that your employer can adjust your withholdings so that the credit is returned to you over the year instead of all at once. The Associated Press says most people will see this in the form of a $13 bump in weekly paychecks starting in June, and dropping to about $7.70 a week for the duration of 2010.
  • The $1000 child tax credit will be extended to more families, and if you’re a poor family with three or more kids, you’ll get an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • No tax on the first $2400 of unemployment you receive in 2009.
  • The government will subsidize up to 65% of your premium for Cobra coverage if you lost your job after Sep 1st, 2008. If you declined Cobra, you’ll have 60 days to reconsider.
  • $87 billion is going to help states administer Medicaid, which the AP notes “could slow or reverse some of the steps states have taken to cut the program.”
  • If you get food stamps, you’ll get more.
  • If you’re drawing unemployment, expect to see $25 more per check, and the duration of the benefits has been extended.
  • If you receive Social Security payments, you’ll see a one-time extra payment of $250.
  • If you buy a new car, light truck, recreational vehicle or motorcycle in 2009, you’ll be able to deduct the state and local taxes you paid on it.
  • If you add energy-efficient doodads to your home this year, you can get a tax credit to cover 30% of the costs, up to $1500.
  • Pell Grants will increase slightly.
  • The “Higher Education Tax Credit” will refund “up to $2,500 of the cost of college tuition and other related expenses in 2009 and 2010. You’ll need to spend at least $4,000 in a single year to get the full credit.”
  • You can use withdrawals from a 529 college savings plan to cover computers and related technology and services for the first time in 2009 and 2010.
  • First time home buyers who buy between January 1-December 1 2009 will receive a refundable tax credit of up to $8000, figured by taking 10% of the purchase price of your home. The credit doesn’t have to be repaid, but you do have to keep the home for at least 3 years.
  • The amount of pre-tax income you can set aside through your employer for public transit will increase to $230 a month (equivalent to what you can set aside if you drive).
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax has been set aside for another year.
  • $3.7 billion will go to local police programs, mostly for hiring new officers.

Many of these tax credits fade out if you make over $75,000 annually, or $150,000 as a couple.

“What’s in the Bill for You” [New York Times]
“How the economic stimulus plan could affect you” [Associated Press]

RELATED
Read the stimulus bill and leave your comments on it at whitehouse.gov
(Photo: Jeff Sandquist)

Comments

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  1. balthisar says:

    So, I guess the only thing that applies to me is a small tax credit. (Knock on wood that the unemployment stuff won’t apply to me.)

    I wonder what “energy-efficient doodads” are?

    • rtmccormick says:

      @balthisar:
      I’d imagine pretty much any appliance with an energy star certification would qualify.

      • feckingmorons says:

        @rtmccormick: Nope. Some water heaters, some heat pumps, some whole house fans. Big built in things, not stoves and refrigerators.

        At least as far as it said five days ago.

        • floraposte says:

          @feckingmorons: There’s also currently a tax break for 2009 energy-efficent home improvements (see [www.energystar.gov]); this applies to HVAC, windows, water heaters, and heating stoves, and there’s very particular qualifications even within Energy Star.

          I don’t know how the two deductions operate together–I would imagine that you can get one but not both, but who knows?

      • Project_J187 says:

        @rtmccormick: lol my 42 inch HDTV has an energy star sticker. Does that apply?

    • madanthony says:

      @balthisar:

      According to the AP article, it’s for Homeowners who add energy-efficient windows, furnaces and air conditioners.

      Figures. My house has fairly new windows, and I just bought a new heat pump 2 years ago. I was hoping it might include low-flow toilets, since I’ve been pondering redoing a bathroom.

    • balthisar says:

      Well, then that’s kind of disappointing. I already got the credit for the geothermal HVAC, but I took “energy-efficient doodads” to mean something that I would call a “doodad”; not huge capital-scale stuff, but CFL bulbs or something, or as rt said above, energy star rated electronics goodies.

  2. Skipjim says:

    Shoot.

    I bought a home in November of last year (and didn’t qualify for the tax credit then, bet I won’t qualify for this one either).

    • catskyfire says:

      @Skipjim: If you bought a home in November 2008, you should qualify for the tax credit. It counted from like July 1, 2008 into 2009.

      My question is whether they modified the 2008 credit so it doesn’t have to be repaid. I bought mine last July so got the credit, but it would suck to have to repay mine if this year’s buyers don’t. “I’m sorry, you stimulated the economy in the wrong year…give us back the dough.”

    • Dani0209 says:

      @Skipjim: At least you didn’t purchase your home like we did on March 31, 2008, closing moved up by the seller’s request.

  3. rtmccormick says:

    Woot on the tax credit for first time homebuyers.. I’ve been holding out for that one. The 7500 that had to be paid back wasn’t getting me too excited, but 8k of free money from uncle sam for a down payment would definitely entice me to buy soon.

  4. katieoh says:

    i think i’m at a shade under the $4k on college costs. is that out of pocket, or including loans?

    also, does that start applying to this year’s tax return, or will this all be next year? hmm. do want stimulus.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @katieoh: Out of pocket-not including loans, sadly. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t start until next year, but there are other smaller credits you may qualify for now (HOPE credit et. al.)

      Note: I am not a CPA.

    • feckingmorons says:

      @katieoh: It includes loans since loans are ‘out of pocket’. It does not include grants or scholarships.

      You have to pay the loans back so you technically it is your money.

  5. ceez says:

    WOO-FREAKING-HOO!!!

    An entire 13 bucks EXTRA per paycheck…well slap me silly and call me susan….I just cant wait for that to start making a difference in my life….imagine…26 bucks extra in just one month! That’s about 1 fill up of 87 grade gas if the cost of gas doesnt keep on climbing.

    Geeeee! Thanks a lot uncle sam!!!

    *insert sarcasm*

    • TheUncleBob says:

      @ceez: $13/paycheck and debt for our grandchildren’s children to pay off. Whooo!

    • rlee says:

      @ceez: That’s $13 per “weekly paycheck”, meaning over $52 per month. Still not all that thrilling…

    • Anonymous says:

      @ceez: It says: “The Associated Press says most people will see this in the form of a $13 bump in weekly paychecks starting in June…” That would mean $13 per week or $52 per month or $676 per year. I would think if you are paid bi-weekly you would see a $26 savings. It may not sound like much but it can add up.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @ceez: Thank the republicans for this one. They HAD to have their tax cuts. Most just ask what are tax cuts going to do for those that don’t have a job? Nothing.

      • feckingmorons says:

        @Corporate_guy: Tax cuts shouldn’t do anything for the person that is out of work – directly. If you have no income what tax is there to cut?

        However if a small business gets a few hundred thousand a year back on its three million dollar tax bill that is a couple more people the businessman can hire, or more supplies which are of course made by people who were at one time unemployed.

        If we increase productivity we create jobs permanantly. If we give the unemployed money and raise taxes we keep people fed for a few weeks.

        Sort of teach a mant to fish, give a man a fish analogy. If we create jobs they are there, if we give money away it runs out quickly.

        • B says:

          @feckingmorons: Increasing productivity doesn’t make jobs, as it means businesses can produce more stuff with fewer employees.

        • OwenKlient says:

          @feckingmorons: See *B’s* comment. Also, businesses don’t hire people just because they have extra money laying around. They hire them when there is sufficient demand for their product that they require additional hands to meet it. Getting money to unemployed and low income people creates demand since these people are most likely to spend their money.

      • Collie says:

        @Corporate_guy: This was actually the corner stone of the Great Obama, but the Democrats reduced his desire for $500 to $400 per person. And it is a tax credit not a tax cut, which means it is a one time payment and applies to anyone who collects a pay check. So if you are here illegally you get it.

    • East_Coast_Midwesterner says:

      @ceez:

      I agree not really all that much but, 13*52=$676 over a year.

      For most people that is a decent chunk of change, more than the Bush stim checks.

    • vermontwriter says:

      @ceez: I still want to know how I can opt out. I’ve read it equates to $7ish a week for those who are paid weekly and being self-employed, I’ve also been told to keep making estimated tax payments as if there was no change cause it really won’t change anything for me.

      So much for the “HUGE” change middle income families would see. Between my husband and I, we qualify as low-middle income, just enough to not qualify for aid, but barely enough to keep up with rising heating costs, electricity costs and household expenses. All this extra tax break will do is ensure our kids pay through the nose for most of their lives.

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

    Wow, what are YOU going to do with your extra $13 a week? That’s about the price of a 12 pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade or a 750ml bottle of Vodka. I guess I’ll drink my way through the recession.

    There’s absolutely nothing else that applies to me personally. I’m looking at buying a car at the end of 2009, but I already live in a state with no sales tax.

    Thanks for nothing. It doesn’t look like I’m going to be doing much economy stimulating of the economy.

    • Chris Yantis says:

      @ceez:
      “$13 bump in weekly paychecks starting in June”
      Multiply that by 4, you get 52 dollars a month =D

      To some that isn’t worth jack, but if you’re a full time student, and a full time employee it makes a significant difference in how much you’re am able to spend each month.

      • Illusio26 says:

        @Chris Yantis: Are those students and people the ones who will be getting the economy back running again with their $13 a check?

        Unless your pay is under a few hundred a check, I doubt you will even be noticing that money.

        • lihtox says:

          @darkjedi26: Yes they will: poor people are the best people to stimulate the economy, because whatever money they get, they spend immediately (and locally).

          Even more direct would be to have the government spend the money directly, but the Republicans insisted on tax cuts, so here they are.

          • Cicada says:

            @lihtox: You mean poor people actually play a role in our economy? Who woulda thunk it? Certainly not the GOP, who tastefully called the unemployment tax credit a “welfare increase”.

            • feckingmorons says:

              @Cicada: It is a welfare (as one defines welfare as any social program) increase.

              Getting money for not working is welfare.

              I have been unemployed, I would rather work and pay my way. Taxing people and businesses more to pay people to not work is not the answer. Letting people – and more importantly businesses – keep their money and use it to be productive and through increased productivity hire more employees is the answer.

              Sure some people are going to prefer to stay home and not work -two or three percent unemployment is usually as low as it will get. However ask those who want to work if they want a handout or a job and I bet most will take a job.

              Do you want welfare, or would you rather work – with its opportunities for raises, or overtime, and bonuses, and insurance, and a sense of pride in your own work.

              • Cicada says:

                @feckingmorons: Ummm…have you been completely unaware off the millions of jobs being lost? Do you have such a low regard for your fellow man that you would assume that people would prefer to live off of the paltry amount given them to by unemployment (or this tax credit), than work? I would love to live in a universe where unemployment paid my bills but getting 50% of my former wage just doesn’t cut it. Have you ever lived on unemployment or *gasp* general assistance? I doubt it. Anyone who has can tell you how difficult it is to make ends meet. Frankly, all of these conservative arguments about “preferring to stay home and work” have become offensive in light of millions of Americans losing their jobs.

              • SonicPhoenix says:

                @feckingmorons: “Letting people – and more importantly businesses – keep their money and use it to be productive and through increased productivity hire more employees is the answer.”

                This is based on the assumption that businesses would use that money in the most efficient manner possible to offer employment to more people. This is a _bad_ assumption as the recent antics of the financial companies should amply demonstrate. *cough* John Thain’s office *cough*

    • Daveinva says:

      @☠Grяrяrяrяrяrяrя’s double-fried chocolate Moon Pie and rabi…: At least you’ll get it.

      I make too much money to even see those $13 come to me. Because I’m “rich”– although I live in Washington, one of the most expensive cities in the country, own half of a fifty-year-old duplex, and drive a seven-year-old Mazda.

      Yeah, *rich*, I tell ya!

      • Syrenia says:

        @Daveinva: Silicon Valley, still can’t reasonably afford to buy anything that I’d want to live in, and my Mazda is 9 years old.

        I’m pretty much your west coast twin.

        • B says:

          @Syrenia: @Daveinva: The Alternative Minimum Tax being set aside for a year is a big deal for people in your situation (high salary, but living in a place with very high cost of living). It’ll most likely save you a bunch on your taxes, for a year at least. You’ll be screwed next year, though, unless it gets set aside again.

      • trujunglist says:

        @Daveinva:

        At least you own a place…

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @☠Grяrяrяrяrяrяrя’s double-fried chocolate Moon Pie and rabi…: The stimulus bill is different than what we’ve seen the past decade since the vast majority of the benefits are not targeted to high-income earners. Shocking, I know!
      If you’re doing OK, you’ll see less of a tax bite (95% of us, that is). If you’re out of a job, these measures will help alleviate the pain. The bulk of the spending will indirectly help.
      But it’s unlike the previous, unproductive give-aways to Wall Street tycoons or celebutards, since it’s not primarily tax-cuts. It’s spending for things we should be doing anyway (infrastucture, personal capital, local programs), which in total should counteract some (I stress some) of the ravages that unfettered Conservative rule has inflicted on the economy. But we’re in a direly deep hole, one that will take quite a while to get out of.

      I’m curious how those complaining about the size of this modest (compared to the hole we’re in) program felt about the two rounds of Bush tax cuts (cost: $2 Trillion) and the Iraq Quagmire (cost: $3 Trillion) at the time they were being debated. Were they supportive or not. If the former, haven’t you pretty much kissed off any credibility to complain about a $800 Billion pump-priming effort now? Or, do programs only count if people that don’t need the benefits receive them?

    • grumpygirl says:

      @☠Grяrяrяrяrяrяrя’s double-fried chocolate Moon Pie and rabi…: It’s going directly into my savings account. I’m not touching a dime of it – or any of the meager interest I’ll make off of it. I’ve got a lot of money to save to make up for the losses in my 403(b) and IRA.

      Obama and CONgress are responsible for TARP and the fact that the capital markets are gobbling up our retirement money. They can go stimulate themselves – without lubricant.

  7. zarex42 says:

    You forgot the massive inflation and extension of the depression for years to come.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @zarex42: thats if you believe revisionist history about the New Deal, which is exactly that, revisionist to make what was a good thing look like its a bad thing by conservatives.

      Besides considering we are in a major DEFLATION thanks to Bush, inflation is not a bad thing at all.

    • bohemian says:

      @zarex42: Ugh. The really loud whining from a small group of people constantly about how awful this supposedly is has become very tired. Please find a new hobby.

      Putting money into the hands of people who actually spend it or for public works projects is a good thing. Handing it over to corrupt failed CEOs for their hooker and blow accounts, not so much.

      We have many WPA projects that are still standing and would be cost prohibitive to try to replace them today. Those were clearly good investments. The new deal was not the bad thing some people try to present it as for political reasons.

      • hi says:

        Funny thing about this stimulus money is that most of it (billions.. to trillions) is/will be going to off-shore bank accounts. And obama said it had to get passed that day (just like good ole gwb said)to avoid the so-called depression yet he’s not signing it yet because he went on vacation.

        • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

          @hi: It’s President’s Day today. I think he deserves a day off especially considering he has been working non-stop since he was sworn in. And keep in mind that W took the most vacations days off any President in all of our nation’s history. I’m not going to begrudge President Obama a day off on President’s day. W was sworn in and before anything was accomplished he took off 30 days.

          Secondly, exactly how is the money heading offshore? It’s going to our states and to work projects and every penny of it is going to be online for people to track unlike W’s first round of TARP money–350 billion–that nobody, not even the banks, can explain where it all went just like 25 billion in missing money that vanished in Iraq under his watch.

          And what would you call almost two million people losing their jobs in just 3 months? I think depression is exactly the right word for that. Or how about all the money people have lost as their homes and 401k accounts shrunk by 20-50% or even more?

          • crashfrog says:

            @brentbent: And keep in mind that W took the most vacations days off any President in all of our nation’s history.

            More than two years, in total. (Of course, he was paid for eight – wingnut welfare.)

        • trujunglist says:

          @hi:

          You’d want a day off too if you worked for 3 weeks straight (almost literally) with no days off. You do realize the guy gets, at most, like 3 hours of sleep a night.
          Sorry, but he’s not our slave and deserves to have some vacation time every once in a while. He does have a family, you know?

    • crashfrog says:

      @zarex42: Inflation is a very good thing if your society is pretty heavily leveraged into debt – as ours is.

      Debts, after all, only increase as a function of their interest, unlike the value of goods which increase as a function of the inflation rate. Inflation therefore means that the dollars you’re using to pay off debt would buy significantly less goods instead, which makes debt service hurt less.

  8. krispykrink says:

    I spent most of yesterday reading through it. In it is also extra funding for states vocational training programs. I guess that’s going to be needed for all those office dwellers getting laid off that will now have to put on a hard hat and build roads.

  9. Illusio26 says:

    Yeah, the only thing I think I’m going to see out of the bill is an extra $13 per check. Whup-de-do.

    So if you divide the cost of the package by the population of the us, it’s essentially $2,590 per person. Not a good return on my investment.

    • Cicada says:

      @darkjedi26: It sucks to be part of a society, doesn’t it? Too bad we can’t all live on little islands.

      • Illusio26 says:

        @Cicada: Sucks to be part of a non-functioning society. I would be more about this stimulus bill if I actually thought it was about stimulus and not about the new legislators getting all their pet projects passed under the guise of picking up the economy.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @darkjedi26: Mr Apple, meet Mr Orange.

      • Illusio26 says:

        @Trai_Dep: I am aware that it is not a super comparison, but $13 a month to stimulate the economy is just retarded.

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @darkjedi26: Read my comment in the previous thread: you can’t look at this stimulus bill based only on its tax rebates. It’s not designed that way, nor is that approach useful ($2 trillions’ worth of this ilk was tried before by Conservatives, no little avail).

    • feckingmorons says:

      @darkjedi26: @Trai_Dep: @Jim Topoleski: Since my brokerage account is down ~425K since this time last year.

      What is in this for me. Nothing but increased taxes.

      Why should people who worked, and saved for their retirement have to pay for those who bought houses they can’t afford, people who won’t work, and those who just pissed their money away. I have been saving for my retirement since my last year of high school, much of the gains I have made have been wiped out.

      I should have just spent the money as I earned it on wine, women, and song and then latched onto the public teat. After all who cares about the people who are frugal, make a decent living, and save, we want ours now!

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @feckingmorons: So the Free Market Fundamentalists cost you $425,000 this year. Be sure to remember the Conservatives that raped you and yours in the coming years, okay?
        Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @feckingmorons: dont go putting retirement money into stocks thinking that its a valid savings plan. Certainly when YOU yourself are not knowledgeable enough to manage it so you let some chump at a bank do it for you.

        And take another look at this bill. Little in it is meant to help the people who lost their homes. This is all to help the people who lost their jobs thanks to said bank chumps. People just like you who worked their life away only to lose their job because others lost theirs creating a massive chain reaction.

      • trujunglist says:

        @feckingmorons:

        That’s what you get when you let your heart win as Paramore might say. You should’ve voted with your brain and not who pulled your heart strings the most aka “the guy you’d want to have a beer with.” You do realize that wasting money on hookers and blow (tax cuts for the rich and Iraq, among other vices) didn’t do a whole lot of good. Right? At least fucking admit that those two things are at the top of the list for the ruin of our country. Fine, don’t admit it, but YOU’RE the one that ends up looking foolish. So when that tax cut by Bush II was helping you and fucking me over, did you come out and say hey wait a minute, what about everyone else that pays a shitload of taxes but doesn’t make as much as me? I’m getting off easy this time! No, you said fuck all of them give me my goddamn money. Hear that? It’s a million widows crying just for you.
        I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have voted, just that you shouldn’t have voted for Bush (wild ass guess that you support conservatives……).

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @trujunglist: Or that feckingmorans should say, “Y’know, I like George Bush so much, I’m going to take $425,000 of my hard-earned cash, and burn it. Because he’s that great of a guy to share a beer with.”
          …Geez, for $425K torched, I hope that it was at least an imported beer.

  10. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    “If you add energy-efficient doodads to your home this year, you can get a tax credit to cover 30% of the costs, up to $1500.”

    WOOT! I just bought a new washer & dryer and opted for the super energy efficient models. YAAAY!! 30% of what I paid for them isn’t much though, but it helps!

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: I don’t think those count. I think it means stuff like heat pumps, water heaters, etc. “Installed” stuff. I’m not sure though.

      • bohemian says:

        @Coles_Law: If our water heater dies that incentive is enough to make putting in a more expensive flash style heater the more logical option.

      • floraposte says:

        @Coles_Law: From what I can see, that’s right–it’s stuff that affects basic heating and cooling, including insulation and windows as well as HVAC. But I suspect it will also have more stringent requirements than simply Energy Star compliant, too.

  11. FlyersFan says:

    Funny how they can hand $700 Billion over to banks within a few short days, without any oversight, but it took 2 weeks or so and many revisions to pass this gem.

    I dont think my extra $13/wk is going to stimulate anything except big oil’s bottom line.

    Wouldnt it make more sense to offer a 1x refi opportunity at a low fixed rate..4-4.5% for people who already own and extend it to people who want to buy. If someone has a $200k loan at 7% it cost a little over $1300/mo….drop that rate to 4.5% and the payment drops to a little over $1000/mo…that’s an extra $300 a month each household could spend to get the economy moving again.
    It wouldnt cost taxpayers anything! It would cost the banks who started this mess some money in interest earned over the life of the loan but believe me they are still making a ton in interest off the loan anyway.

  12. SomeoneGNU says:

    I am trying to understand this.

    The person who buys a house 1/1/2009 gets an option of a $7500 interest-free loan or a $8000 tax credit or possibly both?

    The person who bought before that get a $7500 interest-free loan?

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      @SomeoneGNU: I’m curious about that too. My wife and I bought a house in December.

    • JediJohn82 says:

      @SomeoneGNU:

      Unless the amend the bill, it sounds like anyone who took the credit in for buying a house in 2008 gets screwed and has to pay it back over the next 15 years as originally specified. Not complaining about an interest free loan, but I’d rather not have to pay it back if I don’t have to!

  13. Closed captioning provided by Homerjay says:

    This is a nice write-up. Thanks for posting it, Walt.

  14. joellevand says:

    $13 per pay and a mortgage on my future childrens’ future! W00T!!!

  15. KingPsyz says:

    Thanks for presenting the facts instead of the runaround and talking points being force fed over the last few weeks.

  16. Davan says:

    I really want to buy my first home in this bad economy, I cant imagine a better time as my fiancee and I are both starting to work full time for decent pay. I just dont have a downpayment ready and dont know a way to do it.. hope we can figure something out before the market starts heading back up again

    • bohemian says:

      @Davan: Look at your state’s housing authority. They administer some of the various federal home loan programs. Frequently there is down payment money available or loans that don’t require a big down payment.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Davan: Go talk to a local bank about mortgages. There ARE still low-down-payment mortgages available that AREN’T ARMs. Try dealing with a local bank that stuck to traditional lending standards (many of the small guys did), so they aren’t hurting so bad, and are probably STILL using their traditional standards to decide if you qualify for a low-down-payment mortgage.

      The two of you both just starting to work at good jobs with good money is a very different reason to have little to put down than a family that just has no savings. :) When we were approved (four years ago, so very different economy, I know), the local bank took that into consideration and we got very favorable terms on a 30-year fixed-rate. I think we put about 7% down? All we ended up with that was different from a 20% down mortgage was the PMI; we were able to get the 20% terms with 7% down because we bought well within our means (i.e., not a lot of house) and we were recent grads with jobs. A local bank was able to make that determination that we were therefore a good risk; national banks were quoting us much worse rates or pushing ARMs.

      My brother is looking now, in a similar situation to yours. The terms he’s finding aren’t quite as favorable as when we hunted, but there ARE still banks using pretty traditional standards and writing pretty favorable mortgages for first-time buyers who are good risks.

      • SybilDisobedience says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: McGee’s right. And actually, my boyfriend and I bought a house almost 2 years ago. We didn’t have money for a down payment – so we found a house being sold by a broker, who helped us work out a way to buy it without down. The loan is still fixed and a good percentage. The key was that the home had been on the market for several months, and they were ready to get it off their hands, so the broker was very willing to work with us.

    • Casey Hearlihy says:

      @Davan: You should check out the FHA program. It’s a federal insured mortgage program that only requires you to have 3 1/2% down. There are some restrictions, such as an extra appraisal, but you probably wouldn’t want to live in any home that didn’t pass appraisal.

    • Scott Lepsch says:

      @Davan: You can get an FHA loan that only require 3% down, and then find a home seller that can “gift” you that 3% as part of the sale. Basically, instead of offering them 3% less on the asking price, you offer the whole asking price with the condition that they gift you 3% in down payment. All you’ll need is a check for earnest money (probably $1000) that will be refunded to you after the sale is complete.

      • TreyWaters says:

        @Davan: My 2 bits of advice:

        1. Don’t waste too much time with your state’s incentive programs. when I looked into it when buying my first house, the only programs available were for a low interest rate. 6.5%-7.5%, and this was when loans were going for around 5.5%! (early 2003)

        2. I second the FHA route. I got a 5% down FHA loan, paid (I think) around 1 point, and got a fixed 5.5%. FHAs are a tad more expensive (meaning, slightly higher rate) than conventional, though. Also, one thing to keep in mind with an FHA is PMI. On a conventional loan, PMI is an extra payment per month. With an FHA loan, half of your PMI is an upfront payment, and the other half is monthly. This can usually be rolled into your loan, though.

        The up-front payment is not completely lost money, though. If you hit 80% LTV earlier than calculated, the up-front portion is pro-rated back to you.

        Also, FHAs may be transferable (at least mine is). Meaning, it’s a perquisite you can use for leverage when you go to sell down the road (assuming interest rates are higher then.)

  17. WorldHarmony says:

    I have no health insurance, and because I lost my job 1 day before Sep 1st, I still can’t afford it.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    I’d like a show of hands of the number of Americans positively impacted by these measures, versus the Republican version*. At 1/2 or 1/3 the cost of the Bush tax cuts. C’mon, America, raise those hands!

    * Although, I was able to take advantage of the Throw Grandma From the Train Act, rescinding Estate Taxes for one year. But like most of these GOP tax dodges, I’d have ended up throwing her from the train anyway. Goodbye, lousy-cookie-maker, goodbye!**

    ** Don’t worry: Grams don’t read Consumerist. I hope. (gulp)

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Trai_Dep: I’m pondering whether it’s worth upgrading my furnace or A/C. (My windows are newish and my water heater is BRAND new, worst plumbing year EVER last year.) I’ll ask my HVAC dude when he’s in for my spring tuneup.

      My whole house fan is actually in dire need of replacement, and it looks like that’s covered, but I think I’d curl up in a fetal ball and sob if I had to deal with that POS this summer.

    • hi says:

      @Trai_Dep: come on.. don’t be fooled by the left/right bs. Obama is no different than Bush. Wakey wakey.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @hi: Children who were previously without health insurance, women facing lifetimes of pay discrimination and those hard-working Americans forced into unemployment for no fault of their own would beg to differ. And this is only, what, a couple weeks in?

      • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

        @hi: That’s the silly logic that led to W being elected because too many liberals voted for Nader instead of Gore because Gore and W were no different from one another. I’m sure Gore would’ve attacked Iraq just as he would’ve given a few trillion in tax cuts to the uber-wealthy just like W. Yes, all Presidents are beholden to the corporations, that’s what happens when corporate entities have as much money as nations (Of the richest 150 nations/corporations almost 2/3 of them are corporations) but they decide what to emphasize and what to ignore. Bush never fought for health care for all, he vetoed SCHIP that Obama signed, and W’s energy policy was give even more money to my daddy’s buddies while Obama’s is centered around green technology. Plus, Obama agrees global warming exists while W denied it until the very end and even then he wasn’t convinced humanity was the cause. The differences are so many several books could be written about them.

        • trujunglist says:

          @brentbent:

          The proof? Cuba detention center closed within like 2 days of being president.
          You don’t really need to convince anyone, they just have their fingers jammed so far in their ears that they’ve actually hit brain and are squirreling up the circuitry in there.

  19. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Does anyone know more specifics on “energy-efficient doodads?” Can I write off CF bulbs or does it need to be more substantial?

  20. lars2112 says:

    So I need to get fired, take a pay cut, have kids and the more the better……

    How is this plan going to help?

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @lars2112: not meant to help people actually making money but the millions who lost theirs in the last year.

    • Mari Walker says:

      @lars2112: As if there isn’t enough crap being thrown at people with kids. Ugh. I’d qualify for the earned income thingy if I’d been “smart” enough to shit out a child by now… but no, I have to wait until I’m 25!

      I guess that octuplet mom is gonna make out like a bandit.

      • Davan says:

        @Mari Walker: Yeah why is it if Im polluting the planet with little versions of myself everyone treats me like some kind of superhero, but if I wear a condom everyone is like “eh who cares..”

      • blash says:

        @Mari Walker: The reason why she’s been in the news is that she’s already been making out like a bandit, running up Medicare costs in millions of taxpayer money and there’s a lot of people who don’t think that’s fair, especially when it appears to have occurred because of fertility drugs and not an act of God.

        But other than that, yeah it seems to me like tax cuts and forced-higher-paying jobs really aren’t enough to fix an economy since it’s too much money divided among too few people. Create incentives to create jobs, where employers will start injecting money into the system instead of just the government – and as demand for workers increases, so will the incentives for signing employment contracts; again, at the expense of employers rather than the government.

        • Cicada says:

          @blash: What types of jobs are you envisioning being created by these incentives? Not in the manufacturing sector, since noone is buying anything. Not in construction, since the housing market is kablooey. What are these mythical industries just dying to expand their businesses during the recession? Please enlighten me.

        • drb023 says:

          Just giving people money doesn’t help anyone, but for a very short period of time. If someone is about to lose his or her home, giving them a few hundred bucks isn’t going to save the home. And Bush did this twice, it didn’t help, it created inflation as many people predicted. People, Obama is not going to save you, he’s only going to take your money and make the poor people think they’re going to be saved. While the educated realize that you still have to work hard to make it. He’s controlling the mob.

          @blash: We need to create demand for products, and only then will there be a demand for creating more jobs. Example, we can throw all the money in the world at the auto industry, but unless people actually go and buy cars, they will still go under.

          • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

            @drb023: A stimulus bill by definition is meant to work for a short amount of time. The bill is also not designed to address the housing crisis so it doesn’t make sense to say that since it doesn’t save people from being evicted it’s useless. Also, the economy is just as influenced by real market forces as it is by psychological forces; if people believe there’s no hope then the economy will suffer even if the fundamentals are fine just as if people think things are going to be fixed it will help in the recovery because people will behave like it is being fixed and will then spend more instead of save more.

        • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

          @blash: 90% of the jobs created by the stimulus bill will be created in the private sector and there are indeed incentives to create jobs. Under W’s watch companies earned extra benefits for shipping jobs overseas and those rules have been altered so that is no longer the case.

      • Cicada says:

        @Mari Walker: Ha ha, you’ve obviously never tried to shop for a family or *gulp* paid for childcare.

        I may not agree with people breeding like rabbits, but “making out like a bandit” is a bit over the top.

        • feckingmorons says:

          @Cicada: I took the bus from the car dealership to my office two weeks ago when I dropped the car off for repairs.

          I actually overheard two Obama voters talking and I learned that if you only have two babies you can’t get financed for a car, but if you have three your check is big enough that you can get a car.

          I am so glad I can support that with my taxes.

          I took a cab to pick up my car, I can’t ride the bus again.

        • the_wiggle says:

          @Cicada: to say the very least. the parent bashing gets real old, real quick.

          we have only 1 full time & 3 part time – we’re getting killed on expenses. it’s not like you can stop feeding, sheltering, educating them!

          we’ll take the piddly $13 or $52 or whatever else comes my way thank you very much.

      • Shrew2u says:

        @Mari Walker: The beauty of the EARNED INCOME Tax Credit is that OctoMom would need actual EARNED INCOME in order to qualify for it.

        If that rumored $300k she received for her first interview is real, she’ll probably be issued a 1099-MISC for that reportable income. No EITC for that – the amount exceeds the maximum reportable income that makes one eligible for the EITC.

        That $300k would qualify her for a Child Tax Credit for her brood…none of which would be refundable, of course, because the refundable portion requires (dun dun DUN) EARNED INCOME. But it will help offset the tax bill that $300k in reportable income generates, so she’s got that going for her.

        Ultimately, if she “makes out like a bandit”, it will not be through tax credits – the amounts that can be refunded through the EITC and CTC are chump change compared to the amount for which her agent must be shopping her TV and book rights.

    • CumaeanSibyl says:

      @lars2112: So… you’re too well-off to receive aid from the stimulus, and you’re complaining?

  21. cmdrsass says:

    I find it interesting that most people are concerned with what’s in it for them rather than how this alleged stimulus is supposed to work.

    • SomeoneGNU says:

      @cmdrsass:

      I have the “what’s in it for me” attitude for reasons:

      1st – I did everything right, I worked hard, I saved up, and I watch my property decline in value every minute. I had no intention of flipping this house and I planned to live here for 5-10 years but it is going to suck when I spend 5-10 years just to break even.

      As I continue to pay my mortgage I only “crawl” my way out of debt. No one is helping me out from being underwater. No one is helping get me a lower rate. Now, had I missed three payments that’d be different.

      2nd – I don’t know if this bill will be enough or even the right actions to really jump start the economy. At this point they’re firing a shotgun blindly hoping to get something that sticks. If they’re gonna do that, I sure hope that I at least get something from it.

      So yes, I ask, where’s mine? I play the game, I work hard, I pay my taxes, I save. I’m tired of seeing the bum up the street with his eight kids get the money cause he makes bad choices. I think there’s a time when the prodigal son gets cut off.

      • madanthony says:

        @SomeoneGNU:

        well said – I’m in a similar position. It’s kind of frustrating to see people who are first-time homebuyers now getting a tax credit AND being able to take advantage of lower prices.

        My income last year just exceeded the cap (thanks to working a ton of overtime), so if it does again next year I won’t get that.

        While breaks for the unemployed are probably not a bad thing, it’s hard to imagine that they are going to make a huge difference in stimulating the economy.

        • B says:

          @madanthony: Hey, it’s not my fault you bought a house in the middle of a housing bubble. I was in the position to buy a few years ago, but I saw the prices and figured I could wait until they came back down to a reasonable level.

          • madanthony says:

            @B:

            Good for you. But I fail to see why my taxes should have to subsidize your good decision.

            • B says:

              @madanthony: Cause if a lot of people decide to buy houses, it’ll help stabilize home prices, and it’ll help out the banks by giving them good mortgages to balance out the bad ones. That’s kind of the whole point of a stimulus package, to help stimulate the economy.

      • crashfrog says:

        @SomeoneGNU: I think there’s a time when the prodigal son gets cut off.

        Um, I would suggest you have completely missed the point of that story – in addition to not having correctly apprehended which of the sons is referred to by the term “prodigal.”

      • floraposte says:

        @SomeoneGNU: The problem is, though, that what’s morally satisfying isn’t necessarily what helps the economy. Gratifying as it might be to have a Santa Claus approach that rewards us nice kids and punishes the naughty, it’s not likely to move us out of recession.

        • SomeoneGNU says:

          @floraposte:

          Last time I check the last wave of mortgage modifications didn’t help much either. I would hope someone could prove me wrong but didn’t the first round of people with mortgage modifications begin defaulting again?

          • the_wiggle says:

            @SomeoneGNU: yes, the mortgage mods were a pathetic joke. the only lasting solution for that mess is a mass re-appraisal & write down which just isn’t likely.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @cmdrsass: When I have more time, I’d like to introduce you to the concept of Economics…

      • floraposte says:

        @Trai_Dep: It will encourage me to do my bit for the economy by installing new credit-eligible AC this year and, if they do continue credits to next year, credit-eligible windows in 2010. I was toying with the first anyway (pre-emptive strike against wheezing machinery), but the second I wouldn’t have done without the bigger credit on the first and the extension to 2010.

    • Mari Walker says:

      @cmdrsass: Well, people are selfish. This isn’t about you.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @cmdrsass: Many of us ARE able to worry about both at the same time. :)

    • azgirl says:

      @cmdrsass:

      Well actually it is about us.. I assume we are all fairly educated, employed moderately intelligent people. We read a publication that isnt for morons- we probably planned better in this economy- paid our bills, acted reasonably responsibly and will end up paying for the stupidity of others for the rest of our lives…

      I will pay taxes to support others poor choices. I want to know when I get my stimulus? I just get a job that is laying off everyone in sight, and I get to do their jobs and Mine now.. and yes- happy to still have it- but it still sucks to be in this situation.

      When do I get to go off, have kids I cant afford, and/or overspend and have someone else pick up the tab?
      I am waiting?

      • Cicada says:

        @azgirl: As someone pointed out upthread, poor people are more likely to spend stimulus money than middle class or rich folks. This is because they HAVE to spend it to make ends meet. Giving money to poor folks, even those who have made life decisions you don’t like, makes sense if you want money to get out into the economy fast.

      • ZukeZuke says:

        @azgirl: You perfectly stated all my problems with this whole trillion $ stimulus package!

        I didn’t take out a mortgage or have kids I couldn’t afford, I bought $5,000 worth of energy star appliances in 2008 to remodel my house, and I make enough over the cap that I didn’t get either Bush stimulus checks and won’t get anything but a goose-egg from the Obama plan either.

        If you believe in this stimulus plan, then you don’t believe in Capitalism IMO. Rewarding morally bankrupt companies that made GOD AWFUL decisions for which they were heading down the toilet, is the exact opposite of what we used to call Capitalism.

        • Shrew2u says:

          @ZukeZuke: Yeah, same boat here – nothing in the stimulus package for us.

          Our mortgage is 14% of our *gross* income. We can afford all of our kids, despite making (waaaaaay) too much to qualify for the CTC and EITC. We installed a $24k solar system in 2007 because we installed energy-hogging, spendy appliances (Aga, Viking, Fisher-Paykel) and a top-of-the-line HVAC system in 2006 (dropping our monthly electric bill from $300 to $50/mo was nice, though).

          We don’t need new cars (we both drive 2006 models, and will pay them both off this year). We are both lucratively employed in 90%-recession-proof and 100%-foreign-outsourcing-proof occupations. Our children are not college age, so we pay for the private schools they attend with nary a tax credit to reduce the tuition. When they *are* old enough to attend college, we still won’t qualify for any credits or deductions because we earn too darn much!

          (Oh, wait. What the heck am I complaining about – I should be down on my knees thanking Jesus I can’t benefit from this stimulus package!)

          Errr…never mind.

    • feckingmorons says:

      @cmdrsass: Not what is in it for me, but what of mine can I keep? Who do you think is paying for this.

      I thought ~32K in federal taxes this year was a bit much, it certainly won’t get any better next year.

      I want to keep as much of what I earn as possible, is there something wrong with that? After all I get up every morning and go to work for it.

  22. evilhapposai says:

    Huge debt that our children will have to pay off. Huge special interest spending (payoff) to Obama supporters like Acorn. Over $500,000 per created job, mostly minimum wage. Tons of pork barrel spending on projects not really needed at this time or have NOTHING to do with the economy. Yeah, great job there prez.

    Here is a little factoid for you MR. Obama. The New Deal did NOT get us out of the Great Depression. It just prolonged it and made it worse. WWII ended it.

    Kinda like a dumb kid’s first credit card. Spend up the wazoo money not yet earned on crap. Then when it comes time to pay the bill……whoops, its ok we can just put it on another credit card, right?

    Can a country file for bankruptcy? If not can we just impeach him now and get it over with before he screws things up worse (AKA the upcoming “fairness” act that silences free speech.)

    • Tightlines says:

      @evilhapposai: Is this satire? If so, it’s pretty good. You’ve mentioned just about every single Republican talking point, and I swear, it’s almost like you actually believe them.

      Less than a month into the presidency and already calling for impeachment! Is that a record?

    • cromartie says:

      @evilhapposai: And this, children, is what happens when you outsource your thought process to Rush Limbaugh.

    • LissaKay says:

      @evilhapposai: Well said!

      And now that Obama has his chunk of pork, to the tune almost $800 billion dollars (to start), he’s sitting there going “WTF am I gonna do with a $2 TRILLION deficit? OMGzWTFBBQ!!!111eleven!!!” [bit.ly]

      The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money to spend.

      This is a much better idea: eliminate payroll taxes for the rest of the year. It would cost less than the $800 billion and would actually put the money directly into the hands of the people, you know … the ones that actually go out, spend it and stimulate the economy.

      • orlo says:

        @LissaKay: Socialism seems to be working quite well for China. We should try it, because almost none of this money is being spent for public programs (my community is planning to use its share to put a six-figure surveillance camera system… in a charter school). Printing up a bunch of money and handing it out as you suggest is even more far fetched.

        • Plates says:

          @orlo: Yes, socialism works well in totalitarian states like China. You disagree with the government, you wind up in prison or dead.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @evilhapposai: Considering what a deficit dragon-slayer you are today, I take it that you were one during the 2 rounds of the ineffectual Bush tax cuts (cost: $2 trillion) and the Iraq quagmire (cost: $3 trillion)? Or, were you a damsel-in-distress?

    • veronykah says:

      @evilhapposai: Just curious, were you this up in arms when the Bush team passed the FIRST stimulus that did nothing for the average person and bailed out CORPORATE America?
      That was a 700 billion dollar bailout, why has everyone already forgotten about it?

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @evilhapposai: hate to break it to you but your little factoid about the New Deal not getting us out of trouble is wrong.

      Please dont bring up conservitive revisionist history as fact, because your just going to get laughed at by anyone who actually studied it. The war had a lot more to do with dragging things out than the new deal did. The government paid massive sums of money to spool up for war that needed to be paid back, more than was ever spent on the New Deal.

      • Yossarian says:

        @Jim Topoleski: You can keep repeating that all you want, but that doesn’t make it true. What was the unemployment rate in 1940, the year before Peal Harbor? What was it in 1943. Coincidence?

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @evilhapposai: Great thinking — let’s disband the government now that it’s not Republican anymore, and start a war, because killing innocent people is the BEST way to solve our economic problems!

      What the crap are you high on?!

    • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

      @evilhapposai: If war spending is so great at stimulating the economy, second only to tax cuts, we should all be rolling in the cash because W slashed taxes and spent trillions on a fairly useless war. Also, ACORN is not getting a penny of this money nor is Pelosi’s mouse habitat reconstrcution, the latter coming from a Republican House staffer who admitted later he just made it up to create controversy. And the New Deal did indeed stop the Depression any economist who isn’t a right wing shill agrees with that. There’s plenty of data proving that point beyond reproach.

      • Cattivella says:

        @brentbent: You can call the economists and people who argue that the New Deal prolonged the depression right wing shills all you want. It doesn’t mean it’s true.

        I would argue that two economists from a highly ranked and respected school like UCLA could hardly be called in the republican pocket, yet they found that New Deal policies extended the depression: [newsroom.ucla.edu]

        Now where’s your cite (from a respectable source, please)?

  23. rlee says:

    6.2% capped at $400 does not sound right. That means you already hit the cap earning less than $6500, not $65000. Someone’s slipped a decimal, I suspect; I can find plenty of confirmation on the $400, but the NYT is the only source I can find for the 6.2%, so that’s probably incorrect…

  24. HiPwr says:

    I’m spending my extra $13 on lottery tickets. I’m bound to hit a winner over the next 12 months. Of course by then, the dollar will be worth about eight pesos, but I’ll have millions of them!

  25. Plates says:

    So basically bupkes. It would be more stimulating and more kosher (i.e. no pork) if they just cut everyone a check for a couple of grand. That would really stimulate things unlike this massive piece of pork.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Plates: Because that worked so well when the Republicans tried that before. Twice.

      • Plates says:

        @Trai_Dep: Well it is a less worse solution than this massive bit of pork.

        • Jim Topoleski says:

          @Plates: what you think is pork will get hundreds of thousands of people working again for them to make money to spend money to enable companies to need to make more product and thus hire more people.

          THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF STIMULUS.

          The republican idea of stimulus cuts out the first part yes, BUT does absolutely nothing to get people to work again, and when given a chuck of cash with no job, vs making cash WITH a job, the people without a job are going to try to live off of what was supposed to stimulate the economy and not spend it on products.

          Thus it DOESNT work.

          And Im sorry improving schools, fixing our third world IT infrastructure (yes it really IS third world, we have one of the worst IT infrastructures in the industrialized worlds) and actually funding money for much needed repairs is hardly pork in my eyes. This was money the states should have gotten 8 years ago, but someone’s little war for daddy and his cronies has set this country back decades.

          • Plates says:

            @Jim Topoleski: Apparently we are talking about two different bills here.

            • Jim Topoleski says:

              @Plates: nope same bill. your “pork” is money being spent on massive national and state projects.

              @madanthony: We we are not talking about local level projects here. Some of the stuff is earmarked for national level stuff much like how we built our interstate highway system, where no one state benefits from it but it connects all the states.

              There is some stuff being given to states exclusively, but the states lost a ton of money they where owed for years now, so its gladly wanted.

              Just in terms of education despite supposedly funding the program, the fed government never once paid out for no child left behind. The states where left footing a federal program.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @Jim Topoleski: You must understand, for Dittoheads, if it doesn’t directly benefit themselves or major Republican political donors, then ANY spending = “pork”.
            And, of course, since they don’t believe in paying for anything, then it all has to be charged on tomorrow’s children’s backs. Something about “building character”.

          • madanthony says:

            @Jim Topoleski:

            he people without a job are going to try to live off of what was supposed to stimulate the economy and not spend it on products.

            Huh? How do you differentiate between money that’s used to “live off of” vs money that’s spent on “products”? Doesn’t living off of mean buying things like food and clothing, which are products?

            This was money the states should have gotten 8 years ago

            I’ve never quite understood the logic of taxing money at a Federal level just to redistribute it to states. If states want to spend money on stuff, they should tax their own citizens and cut out the middleman. And then voters in the states would have more of a say in how it’s spent.

            • Trai_Dep says:

              @madanthony: You’re decrying a practice that’s been an intregal part of how the US economy is run since the freaken’ end of the Civil War?!
              You’ve GOT to catch up with the rest of the class.

              Not that you don’t have a good point. The Blue States pay more – by far – than the welfare – I mean Red – States. I agree with your sense of fairness that this splurging on the socialist tit must STOP! (Any Red Staters want to volunteer? Any? ANY?!)

              • Trai_Dep says:

                @Trai_Dep: Oh, BTW, still waiting for any Red Staters to volunteer to live within their means instead of leeching monies from Blue States and being welfare queens… Anyone? ANYone?!

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @Plates: Not so much, actually. There’s a little natural experiment that occurred here from the ’30s-’40s that disproves your richly specious hypothesis.

          • Plates says:

            @Trai_Dep: Lest we forget that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression. The New Deal Policies really didn’t fix anything. Sure we got some great public buildings out of it, but FDR didn’t end the depression it was Hitler and Tojo.

            • Trai_Dep says:

              @Plates: No, actually it did, my dittoheaded friend. Then FDR cut back the New Deal out of misplaced concerns of deficit spending (Keynes was still figuring out that in these rare situations, it doesn’t matter). That’s why the drop in employment and growth.
              Then FDR began the largest public works stimulus package evah, which we call World War II.
              From an economic perspective, there’s no difference btn war spending and public works project spending. What difference there is lies in what’s left afterwards to power the economy. Our military’s fine (by a factor of 30), but our infrastructure’s in dire need, hence today’s approach is different than that of the ’40s.
              But Keynsian economics work in limited situations: your ideological masters are creating a distinction where none exist.

              • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

                @Trai_Dep: Actually there is a huge difference between war spending of infrastructure spending in that you get more jobs for our money with infrastructure spending. In fact, dollar per dollar defense spending creates the least amount of jobs in return for the amount spent.

            • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

              @Plates: Funny how that revelation on the New Deal didn’t happen until New Deal 2 was in the talks and suddenly history is being rewritten by Republicans to suit their agenda. The facts are clear for anybody who wants to investigate them and that is the New Deal saved the economy. If war spending was the panacea you claim we should be rolling in the money because W spent over three trillion on Iraq and yet our economy wasn’t magically healed by that useless spending any more than it was stimulated by giving tax cuts to millionaires.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget that this is only one part of the program. The other, more substantial part, puts money into programs and industries so they will have business, and can subsequently hire people. That’s the big difference between this plan and the Republican plan – the Republican plan was intended to be a one-time shot in the arm, so to speak, and this one is more complex. Who knows, honestly, which would have worked better, or if either will work… but I think it’s an honest effort with a lot of good forethought, and I’m a little tired of everyone complaining about it.

  27. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    Where are these $80K homes and can I get 5 of them?

  28. Ragman says:

    Funny how some people talk about a $52/month pay boost as being practically worthless.

    Take $52 a month more in taxes, and those same people will start screaming for impeachment and revolt.

    • lars2112 says:

      @Ragman: Well take that $52 now, and have to pay it back in future taxes with interest.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Ragman: And also that their worldview is so stunted that the only terms on which they evaluate a program is how much their taxes are cut (and only taxcuts count as productive economic activity).
      Going out on a limb here, but isn’t Greed one of the original Deadly Sins?

    • feckingmorons says:

      @Ragman: They are taking that $52 in taxes… from me to give to someone else.

      Why is that fair? Because I paid more attention in school and got a good job that pays well I have to support the rest of the country that chose to be lazy?

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @feckingmorons: Who said they where lazy? Im sure mommy and daddy had LOTS of money to support you through college. Many of the lower middle to lower class dont even HAVE parents.

        You dont know a 1/8th about what its like to not have money and have absolutely no way even WITH scholarships and the like to get into college. I know kids who have been working since they where 16 and dropped out of high school because they where the ONLY breadwinner. I know a girl who was thrown on her ass at 18 with absolutely no support and no way to go to college despite being accepted into a few schools.

        But then we live in a country where even a data entry job requires a pointless 4 year degree.

        But to belittle the poor because you had advantages you dont even realize just shows WHY this country is ready to hang its rich right now. If you had even a ounce of decency in you, you would come to know the other side before you generalize them.

        But then I for one have no issues paying for my fellow Americans. But I have also seen what its like to live in a third world country and how close our poor really are to living in it here.

      • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

        @feckingmorons: I hate to tell you but most people who work at minimum wage jobs work their asses off.

        Yes it is fair. Why don’t you live a few years in a truly socialist country like Sweden or Denmark where they still have 90% tax rates for the wealthy and then complain about the injustice of 52$ a month. We have the LOWEST tax rates in the industrialized world and we also have the world’s most expensive military whose budget has nearly doubled in the last eight years going 350 billion to 650 billion–we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined. And you’re bitching about 52$? Please, pack your bags and head to a country you think you’ll be better off in, you’ll be doing all of us a huge favor.

  29. krispykrink says:

    I forgot to add this in my previous post. If anyone is up for the challenge, as I’ve been doing and will continue well into the week, here is the link for your reading pleasure.

    Summary and full on 1,000+ pages of the bill: [appropriations.house.gov]

  30. sideffects says:

    I still don’t understand why the government thinks we have money for this.

  31. Imaginary says:

    You know $13 a week is neither going to buy me a car, a house, help me pay my rent or significantly help with groceries. Neither is the $800 that I will be taxed on next year. This has to be the dumbest thing to come out of Washington this year. Normally I support Obama all the way but this is just dumb.
    I see Exec’s getting giant bonuses and their pay cap gone under the excuse that then the government would miss out on their taxes paid on giant salaries. Way to rationalize greed. You can have all the money you want because the government needs your taxes. Wouldn’t those taxes come out of somewhere else? So while they’re getting bonuses the company has to pay back their bailout money (eventually), not the people responsible for making the company need a bailout in the first place. So when the company has to pay it back they’ll start cutting costs, starting with your job and lower pay for new hires.

    • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

      @Imaginary: Actually the pay caps are in the stimulus and they are more stringent than the ones President Obama had proposed. Under the former proposal only the banks who took huge amounts of TARP money would be affected whereas with the passed bill ALL banks will be affected.

  32. azgirl says:

    So I bought a Prius in October. I got nada. Dang it all to hades.. As for the $13.. can I reject it? doesnt do much to change my life. As long as I am working that is.. and if I am unemployed, I wont get it anyway…

  33. Ameer Hashw says:

    So basically it doesn’t do shit for the everyday person?

    • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

      @Ameer Hashw: If you are childless and have a job, probably not. But if you don’t have kids and do have a job why are you complaining?

  34. HogwartsAlum says:

    $52 a month would just about pay for my cigarettes, if I hadn’t quit smoking.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Hope it does stimulate the economy. As a retired teacher on a very small pension (no SS or Medicare), with my savings in the tank, and unable to work, there is little if nothing listed here that will ease things for me directly so I am counting on the rest of you to use whatever this provides to improve things all around.

  36. JimK says:

    So the bill has NOTHING to stimulate the economy for anyone who…you know…might spend actual money in the economy. It’s a giant welfare bill designed to get a large number of poorer folks beholden to the government first and the Democrats second.

    Great. Just great.

    • TorrentFreak says:

      @JimK: You hit the nail right on the head with that one.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @JimK: The thing about working people in temporary stress is that they’ll actually spend the money, versus the super-rich, who’ll save the difference. Kind of the point of a stimulus package, no?

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @JimK & @TorrentFreak: The rich dont spend, the poor and middle class do.

      And there are not enough rich in the US to EVER counteract the numbers of poor and middle class.

      In fact you dont know enough about our countered makeup or even BASIC economic principles to even comment.

      I mean really if what you said was true, then where were you 8 years ago. The rich have gotten money hand over foot for 8 years while the middle class and poor lost it. Going by your logic, your spending should have counteracted all the money everyone else lose.

      See you dont know shit.@TorrentFreak:

  37. hamsangwich says:

    Great, glad to have a combined income of $153k this year….All of this spending for what will be very little in return anyway. I love how Washington continues to ignore cost of living in any of these equations. $150k in NYC is barely surviving if you’re married.

  38. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I could use some replacement windows…

  39. TxJosh16 says:

    Hope it does stimulate the economy. As a retired teacher on a very small pension (no SS or Medicare), myh savings in the tank, and unable to work, there is little if anything listed here that will ease things for me directly and I evidently won’t be able to make a major contribution in its success. I am counting on the rest of you to use whatever this provides to improve things all around.

  40. TorrentFreak says:

    What’s sad is most people are to stupid or ignorant to understand that there is no easy fixes. About the only thing in that bill that helps long term is educational funding.

    We should be working to strengthen the US dollar so it is worth more and cutting corporate taxes so they can operate easier and stop laying people off and cutting hours.

    That is how you will get out of this mess. Getting people hooked on government hands outs and making people dependent of government money does nothing but create dependency on those programs. No wonder democrats get/stay in power) We should help people help themselves.

    O yeah PS, it is no revisionist history to say the New Deal was a total waste and failure. It indeed depended the Depression. WWII got us out of that. Read a history book.

    • Shrew2u says:

      @TorrentFreak: Torrent, you do realize that most employers in this country are small business owners who are not filing corporate tax returns? About 5.4 million businesses have fewer than 20 employees (4 employees per business, on average), versus about 650,000 businesses that have more than 20 employees (535,000 having 20-99 employees; 90,000 having 100-499 employees; 18,000 having more than 500 employees).

      [McCain focused on the plight of Joe the Plumber during his campaign and not Chrysler the Largely Insolvent Car Manufacturer for precisely that reason.]

      Small business owners are the ones who are in the worst position to ride out market fluctuations during economic recessions. Allowing millions of small business owners to retain employees through stable access to credit and incentives to maintain their present employee rolls would probably do far more good than bailing out another Mega-Corp. Remember, the Merrill Lynch Board allowed Thain to spend $1.2 million to redecorate his effing office *not* while ML was doing well, but while ML was heading the way of Lehman Bros.

    • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

      @TorrentFreak: This is a stimulus bill, which by definition is meant for the short term. Restructuring the finance industry, raising the value of the dollar, etc. are completely different issues and if they had been in this bill it would have taken all the longer to pass.

      As far as the New Deal not ending the Depression that is indeed revisionist history that wasn’t in the books and still isn’t in any economics books except one that has been soundly discredited. And the way you know it’s revisionism? Because it had absolutely no scholarly backing until recent talks of New Deal 2, which had Republicans scrambling for talking points to shoot it down because if it gets passed it will lead to the Democrats being in charge of Congress for over 40 years again, which is exactly what happened after the last New Deal. There was a point when the Republicans actually had all of 16 senators because their party was so thoroughly bankrupt for ideas like it is now.

  41. mcmunchkin says:

    This totally helps me out in tuition. That’s awesome. It would be more awesome if I could actually get into classes at schools in the state of California and pay reasonable tuition. I’m going to have to pay out of state tuition or go private.

    • veronykah says:

      @mcmunchkin: Move to another state and become a resident if its too hard to get into schools in California. In-state tuition and you can start saving a year earlier…
      I know quite a few people in college here in SoCal, are you only aiming for Berkeley or something?

  42. ryaninc says:

    So I’ve already received a few unemployment checks this year and they had tax withheld. Does that mean that when I file for 2009 taxes, I’ll just get that as part of the refund?

  43. Brazell says:

    The “$87 billion is going to help states administer Medicaid, which the AP notes “could slow or reverse some of the steps states have taken to cut the program.” is a bit of a misrepresentation. It’s $87billion in discretionary spending to states that pay out over a certain amount of medicaid a year.

  44. MooseOfReason says:

    My comment isn’t posting.

    I apologize if they show up – I sent it twice.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get all the backlash against this bill. There’s parts we can take advantage of and parts we can’t – definitely energy efficient upgrades and maybe tuition for my family, but we bought our 2nd home last year, so no perks for us on THAT front. Why aren’t more people looking at this bill in this way? Use what you can and leave the rest for someone else, already!

    Our first home is in SE Louisiana and I’d be happy to unload it for $80K…for those interested. Actually, there’s LOTS of homes to choose from in our old hometown for $80K and below. That perk might actually help move things along real estate-wise in New Orleans…

  46. Julia789 says:

    Gosh, I hope TurboTax puts all this in the software for next year. I’m never going to be able to keep track of all of it! ; )

  47. radiochief says:

    I’ll take the extra money. But I am disappointed at it being a withholding deduction. How can it be a stimulus if it’s too small to notice?

    At least when Bush was handing out tax credits, you got a lump sum at least. I’d notice a gov’t issued check for $800. I could use that to stock up stuff for my new child coming in May, or the Wii my kiddo wants now… $13/wk will just get pissed away on something meaningless. Or get saved.

    But most likely it’ll just go for gas when the prices rise.

  48. ShirtMac says:

    Only the small tax credit applies….damn Obama, I though you were the saviour almighty and going to save us all?? It seems to be a worthless package…just like Obama.

  49. savdavid says:

    CMDRASS, because as GOPers love to point out: the free market works because it is based on people working for their own self-interest, GOPers should be thrilled to see what is in it for themselves. Right?

    The rest of us are desperate after Bush destroyed the economy and need any lifeline we can get.

  50. feckingmorons says:

    Just get appointed to a Cabinet post, you will be allowed to ignore your taxes if a decade or so.

  51. Leiterfluid says:

    Stimulus package? It sounds more like a severance package.

  52. hipersons says:

    looks like there’s still very little in there for single childless people who don’t own a home or want to make a large purchase this year and next year. Figures…

    • wallspray says:

      @hipersons: the person you described contributes much less to the economy than a married person with kids who own a home or plan to buy one in the next year. It only makes since to encourage those people to “stimulate” the econ, by buying things.

    • madanthony says:

      @hipersons:

      There’s very little in it for single childless people who already own a home and don’t want to make a large purchase this year or next year anyway, either.

  53. Illiterati says:

    How does the gubmint address self-employed or unemployed people for the tax credit (bullet point #1)? I’m an independent contractor, so no withholding. Does that mean no $400 for me, or will I claim in on my 2009 and 2010 returns? The spouse has been unemployed for two months now with no end in sight. Wondering how the tax credit will work for him. Will def be happy with the extra $$ in his weekly checks. Unemployment’s over 10% in our county now–every little bit helps!

  54. twophrasebark says:

    Thanks, Chris. Very nice summary!

  55. Skiffer says:

    The post does not mention AGI limits for the benefits.

    To summarize – If you’re a productive member of society who worked hard to make something of yourself…then you get nothing…except the opportunity to have your taxes raised in a couple years and all your savings eroded by inflation.

    Hooray for Change!!!

  56. MikeWas says:

    I just spent billions on a bunch of worthless mortgages. What do I get?

  57. nevets68 says:

    None of this applies to me.
    I was receiving U.E. benefits but that ran out about a month ago (from out of state..good luck trying to get a hold of them either online of by telephone).

    I have literally no income (other than the little bit of $ the parental units throw my way).

    Sigh.

  58. hectordejesus says:

    Some of the comments being posted are really insensitive. Trust me… I was one of you guys until about 6 months ago. My daycare provider lost her home to foreclosure forcing me to pay an extra $800 a month for daycare… thus forcing ME into foreclosure. Then to make matters worse I moved down to South Carolina in September to take a higher paying job only to be laid off in January. For the first time in 15 years, I’m without work.

    I’m an IT Specialist and the only jobs that are being offered for my experience level are working as a CNA or a peach picker… literally… that’s what I was offered by the state of South Carolina. I have a B.S. degree in Marketing and still can’t find work that pays over $$9.50 an hour! The tax credit for higher education would be a life-saver.

    $15 a paycheck is an extra bill being paid. BTW… is that weekly? $800 divided by 52 weeks is roughly about $15 minus the taxes.

    No tax on the first $2400 of unemployment you receive in 2009? Wonderful for the millions of the recently unemployed people like myself. $25 more a paycheck from unemployment is a god-send for us! Since it’s weekly that adds up to an extra $100 a month! That’s groceries for a month for a three people home!

    I thought that the stimulus plan was a bunch of garbage also until I realized what it has the potential to do. It gets people to start buying houses again, supports environmental consciousness, subsidizes COBRA coverage for people who lost their insurance, and greatly assists recently unemployed people such as myself until we can get back on our feet.

    What did Bush do to stimulate the economy? Everyone with a pulse got a new HDTV or saved it. Yeah… the 120Hz HDTV stimulated a lot of people. LOL.

    People have such cynical views on things until it happens to them… Yeah… knock on wood because your job might be next.

  59. hectordejesus says:

    BTW… I see that we have a lot of talking heads from FOX News posting on the topic. I guess I should mention that the title of the article was “What the Stimulus Bill Has For Everyday Americans”… not “What the Stimulus Bill Has For You”.

    Judging from the ever increasing unemployment rate and more pending lay-offs around the corner, I’ hold my tongue until we get out of this mess.

    Oh and BTW… I voted for Obama and I also have a pessimistic view on if anything is going to work at this point in time. But, it’s better to spend massive amounts of money to try to get out of the mess than to just follow the same course of inaction and fail miserably… oh wait… was I talking about the economy or the war in Iraq?

  60. ahow628 says:

    Wait, so I give the government money so they can give it back? But I don’t get as much back as I give? Where is this a good idea and where does it stimulate the economy? It sounds like a federal worker stimulus package to me.

    • brentbent: C.O.C.K.R.O.A.C.H. )for all the queer super villians out there( says:

      @ahow628: 90% of the jobs created by the stimulus is going to be in the private sector. 3.5 million jobs created will indeed stimulate the economy.

  61. andyfvp says:

    The above still needs to be worked through in the case of special circumstances (eg living jointly where only one person is eligible) etc and for SSA recepients. This article has more details on the home buyer credit: [www.savingtoinvest.com] , but until the IRS makes detailed rulings there will still be many open questions.

  62. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Trying to understand the first item…Is this $13 a reduction in the amount of Federal taxes taken out of my paycheck, and if so, do I have to take it every paycheck? What I’d rather do is continue to have it withheld and collect an extra $650 or so at tax-time. (I think the gov’t would rather have me do that too, since it will actually get spent on something that way, rather than put in the gas tank or tacked onto the grocery bill.)

    Thankfully the IRS has just about the BEST website and telephone customer-service you’re ever likely to see. (Strange fact I discovered when I had to deal with them over a big issue recently. But it’s true! They’re *astonishingly* organized, and quite friendly too, as long as you don’t owe them $$.) Think I’ll wait until after things settle down a little bit and give them a call.

    Thanks for the useful list. I’m excited about the energy upgrades for government buildings, and some of the public transportation projects (though I wish there were a lot more of those…NATIONWIDE LIGHT RAIL, dammit!) …but we’ll see. Stuff like this is always touch-and-go.

    • Shrew2u says:

      @Mary Marsala with Fries: You can always submit a new W-4 to whomever processes your payroll, doing one of two things:

      a) Claim fewer allowances and/or (if applicable) change the status from Married to Single;

      b) Claim the same status and allowances, BUT also specify a specific additional amount of Federal Income Tax to be withheld (Box 6 of the W-4)

      Once the final language of the stimulus package is set and signed into law, the tax withholding calculations will be updated by the IRS. At that point, you’ll be able to go to a website like http://www.paycheckcity.com to play with different W-4 scenarios, and see what you can submit on your W-4 to have the same amount withheld from each paycheck as before.

  63. valleygirl_18002 says:

    So if you’re already living high off the government horse (i.e. food stamps, welfare, etc.), you’ll further be “compensated”.

    If you’re a hard-working American, you’ll get $13 extra per week and increased college credit for an institution dramatically raising their tuition rates.

    I took the $7500 credit last year and have to pay it back. I think I’ll pull a Timothy Geith (Geithner?) and say I didn’t know I had to pay it back…

  64. Anonymous says:

    looks like you can’t give people free stuff without criticism, get over it, a lot of stuff on this list will create new jobs and put more money in your pocket. Not the bastards who make 200K/yr.

    TAX BREAKS AREN’T WORKING.

    let’s move on…

    also stop saying the word recession, you’re just making it worse.

    Pick up and move on…

  65. Anonymous says:

    I say screw the banks and get all that money they got given back and take even more from them, then give every single taxpayer/social services user/homeless person you name it about 25,000$ apiece. tell me thats not gonna stimulate the economy a little instead of the idiot fat cats who are hoarding the 800 billion they got last year…….a long time ago someone said “kill the Rich, I say we amend it to Kill the bankers and the politicians, (who are really the rich i guess after all….)

  66. Anthony Rinaldi says:

    This is awesome! 400.00 for a single tax deduction and all I have to do is put future generations in a mountain of debt or otherwise destroy their finacial future! Gooooooooo Porkulus!

  67. chemrebel says:

    Seems like more of an infrastructure stimulus rather than an economic stimulus to me. Maybe it’s because I’m only seeing the $800 tax cut. My elderly MIL however is dependent on Medicaid to pay her nursing home bill (and yes she needs to be there, it’s not just us dumping her there), so that part of the package is something I am grateful for.

  68. Anonymous says:

    In other words, if you are a regular 2-income household with one or more kids, living paycheck to paycheck, and make sacrifices to pay what bills you do have on time, you get nothing. In fact, you will have MORE money taken from you to bail out others who made bad decisions, potentially leaving you unable to meet obligations that you were just scraping by to meet.

    Thanks for nothing. How about we stopping rewarding people for failing and start helping people who actually live responsibly and help themselves??

  69. darkryd says:

    $13 bump in weekly pay?

    Way to boost the economy, Congress.

  70. darkryd says:

    …so basically for the average american – none of these stimulus items is going to do us squat.

  71. RogueWarrior says:

    All of this means diddly-squat to individuals. We were sold a bill of goods with the promise that it’s going to help ordinary Americans. Bulldinkey. The whole purpose of this is to balloon things the government will need to spend money on now and in the future. Infrastructure, you say? Crock of beans. Most of those projects will never come in under budget so we’ll have to come up with more money to finish them and then we’ll have to come up with even MORE money to maintain them once they are finished.

  72. Anonymous says:

    This stimulus package is NOT about individual people, it’s for the good of this entire country. If it doesn’t apply to you now, know it will be helping someone who actually needs these things.
    I hope it helps some people who actually need help during this really really bad economic climate.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Oh, so once again being a responsible single adult I am screwed over once again for not spreading my legs and popping out 2352352 kids I can’t afford, buying a house that is irresponsible for me to buy and keeping a steady job despite my absolute distaste for it. Way to, once again, reward idiocy, America. Will octo-mom be given a nice chunk of change for her ability to super breed?