Stimulus checks go out on Monday

April 28, 2008 9:45:13 AM PDT
The slowing economy could get a bit of a boost this week, as many taxpayers begin receiving their share of the economic stimulus plan.

The rebates will be as much as $600 for individuals. Couples will receive checks for up to $1,200, plus an additional $300 for each child.

More than 130 million people qualify for and will receive the stimulus checks starting Monday. Many of them already have plans for that money, but many retailers we spoke to don't think a lot of that money will reach their cash registers any time soon.

Maxine and Malik Boyker are an example of the consumers which retailers like Best Buy are hoping will spend money in their stores. Many retailers are offering incentives and sales to coincide with the checks that will start arriving Monday from the stimulus package, but other consumers say their money will be spent elsewhere.

"I'm going to save it or pay off some credit card purchases," says shopper Killian Escobedo.

"I plan to pay off a student loan. That's it," says shopper Ann Campbell.

Small stores in San Francisco's Noe Valley depend on the local neighborhood for their sales. Retailers there think very little, if any, of that rebate money will help out a season of slowing sales. Robert Ramsey owns Just For Fun Gifts on 24th Street. He says few people are having fun lately or spending money in his store.

"The people in this neighborhood are little depressed because of the state of the economy, the state the war," says Ramsey.

Economists like San Francisco University economics professor Michael Lehman say that the stimulus package is only a short term solution, even if people do what the government hopes they will.

"Myself, I'm pessimistic. I don't think it'll be enough, but I hope I'm wrong. If they want to help the economy, they should go out and spend the money, but who makes their decision on that basis? People are individuals and they make decisions on the basis on what's good best for themselves," says Lehman.

Lehman says the problem is that the money 130 million Americans will get will just deepen the debt the country is already in.

"Since the government is not cutting back, and since it's cutting taxes by giving out a rebate, it's got to borrow. So, the deficit is going up. That's what's financing it," says Lehman.

President Bush and the lawmakers who put this rebate into effect say this money will help Americans offset the high prices at the gas pump and give the economy a needed boost to get it out of this slowdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that another stimulus package may be necessary in the future.


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