Who says prison inmates have it tough? First came the report that a handful of cons had scored $9 million in home buyer tax credit, now we read that millions more in stimulus money was sent to our nation’s incarcerated.
Remember the Downtown Dollars that Ardmore, PA sold to its citizens this year? Sara Lepro at American Banker looked at that and other “homegrown currency” experiments happening across the country, which are intended to stimulate the local economy and take advantage of “a growing ‘localism’ movement.”
Online news site The Daily Beast is apparently tired of this whole “floundering economy” thing, so it got more than a dozen economists and historians to come together and issue a manifesto yesterday calling on the U.S. government to “reboot America.” By the end of the day, the number of experts supporting the manifesto increased to more than 40. They argue that the government has to help return lost purchasing power to the unemployed and must use tax cuts and stimulus to boost overall demand, or we’ll never make it out of this slump.
USAToday says some states, like Iowa and Minnesota, offered nice big rebates ($100 to $250 or more) in the cash for appliances stimulus program. Consequently, those states gave away the money and had a successful program. Meanwhile, New York, which offered only a $75 rebate on a new fridge or clothes washer, set a 10-day window in February for its $16.8 million in rebates, has $7 million left a month a month later.
Kiplinger lists four ways you can still get some cash back from the government, although you’d better get a move on if you want to qualify. Included are a first-time home buyer’s credit that goes away November 30th, a new car tax credit, a COBRA premium subsidy for people laid off, and a slight unemployment payment benefit.
The Federal Reserve tried to hide the identities of companies that received emergency funding as the world economy went to hell, but a federal judge stepped in with a backhand Monday and stopped the practice, saying the Fed had failed to show that naming the businesses would cause “imminent competitive harm.”
The economic recovery plan includes a nice little $25 a week bump for unemployed folks — but for some it comes with a catch — they no longer qualify for hundreds of dollars a month in food stamp benefits. Whoopsies!
The Chicago-based community organizer group the National Training and Information Center received more than $200,000 to train employees of other community organizations, but instead used the money to send its own employees to Washington D.C. to lobby for more funds. The misappropriated cash was part of more than $3.1 million in total government funds the NTIC received between 2000 and 2002.
BusinessWeek has an interesting article about a little known program that will allow first-time home buyers (technically, those who have not owned a home in three years) to use the 8k tax credit to offset down payments or closing costs.
Governor David Paterson of New York signed into law a bill extending unemployment benefits for thirteen more weeks. Around 56,000 people are on their last week of benefits right now, and the extension takes effect immediately.
President Obama has signed the stimulus package. “Today does not mark the end of our economic troubles,” Obama said before signing the bill at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “But it does mark the beginning of the end — the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs; to provide relief for families worried they won’t be able to pay next month’s bills; and to set our economy on a firmer foundation.” [CNN]
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has announced a new website, financialstability.gov, to increase transparency in the financial stability program.
Senate approves $838 billion economic stimulus bill 61 to 37. C-Span says three Republicans broke ranks to vote for it: Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter.
Want to know what the latest version of the stimulus package looks like? “We’ve trimmed the fat, fried the bacon, and milked the sacred cows,” Sen. Ben Nelson said in a statement. [Consumer Reports]
What do you do when your industry starts to go belly up and you can’t make enough revenue to stay afloat? If you’re a short-sighted U.S. auto maker, you beg the government for $25-50 billion in immediate, low-interest loans in order to retool your plants, so you can start producing the hybrid cars you should have been planning years ago.
Kroger is getting into the stimulus bonus action! Unwilling to be outdone by Sears, Kroger is offering a bonus if you put your stimulus check on a Kroger gift card. They have Kroger gift cards? My what a sexy gift. Honey, you shouldn’t have.
Sears is pretty desperate for that stimulus check money. They’re offering a 10% bonus to anyone who converts their stimulus check into a Sears Gift Card.