Sunday, February 10, 2008

Economic Stimulus Act: How Stimulating Can We Make It?

On Feb 7, the Economic Stimulus Act finished it's rounds at the House and Senate and is on its way to the White House. The goal is "To provide economic stimulus through recovery rebates to individuals, incentives for business investment, and an increase in conforming and FHA loan limits." It's my understanding that every taxpayer is to receive a $600 rebate, meaning $1200 for married couples.

That can be a wonderful windfall for many people who need it badly. And yet, it strikes me that there are a lot more people who need it more than some recipients. More than me, for instance. Can my family use $1200? Sure. Could I improve the lifestyle of my family? Maybe...marginally... But what could this money mean to someone else? Someone not getting it because they don't pay taxes... a food insecure senior or someone who lives on the street? Could it pay for literacy classes? Could it help someone be not so hungry that they could spend their energy on something besides looking for the next meal? Some friends of mine have been thinking about these questions and decided this money can be used for a different kind of stimulus. They've decided to donate their entire rebate to the organization they feel could best stimulate the economic growth of people in need of basic necessities. It might be the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which not only feeds people but provides job training, or somewhere else. They wished me to challenge you folks through this blog and others to consider whether or not you really need it. If you do, that's great...use it in good health as the windfall it is. But if you do not, please consider putting this money in part or whole where it can help the most...where it might stimulate a part of the economy that is not discussed in this Act.

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