President Bush signed into law a $152 billion economic stimulus package, which primarily consists of individual tax rebates and business tax incentives. The package provides working individuals with up to $600 in rebates, married couples up to $1,200, and $300 for each child. In addition, those who earn at least $3,000 (but who do not pay income taxes) receive a $300 rebate. It also provides $300 rebates to seniors, veterans and veterans' widows who can show $3,000 in Social Security or veterans' disability benefits in 2007. Eligibility for these rebates is phased out for individuals earning over $75,000 and couples earning over $150,000.
While I am pleased that the stimulus package extends relief to low-income seniors and disabled veterans, I did not support it because rebates alone are not a strong, long-term plan to strengthen our economy. With our national debt in excess of $9.2 trillion, I do not believe that deficit spending on short-term fixes will have any long-term impact on our economy.
We must approach our economic problem with a broader outlook. Our economy is driven by job growth and spending. Too much taxation can stymie growth and reduce spending. Considering the historic low lending rates which also stimulate the economy, I would support a tax-based stimulus package that provides long-term relief for individuals and incentives for businesses, particularly for industries that are bearing the brunt of our ballooning trade deficit - another area of enormous concern.
For those wanting more information about the rebates, please visit the Internal Revenue Service web site at www.irs.gov .