Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bush Administration Proposes Fiscal Stimulus

On Friday, Bernanke and the Bush administration proposed a “fiscal stimulus package” of $150 billion to help prop up the economy by encouraging consumer spending. No details were available, because the Congress has yet to approve it, but the administration is considering one-time tax rebates of approx. $800 for all consumers. An agreement will probably be reached in 30 to 45 days, just in time for tax-filing season. The plan is costly, and there’s some doubt that it won’t help the economy in the long term. Although it actually provides consumers with free cash, no one knows how they may react: in the current crisis, people are unlikely to start spending more. They may have to pay down credit card debt, buy insurance, or choose to invest the money. It may offer some relief, but it will not solve all the problems in the U.S. economy. Stock markets were closed on Monday, but Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures prices dropped more than 4% in a day. Markets all over Europe, South America, and Asia plunged on worries over bank losses, the U.S. Real Estate market and an imminent recession. Now this is getting scary.

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