Analyzing the Economic Stimulus Package

Big families and businesses are among the winners.


President Bush this afternoon signed a $168 billion economic stimulus package that Congress has rushed to his desk. Here's what made it into the final version of the bill:

  • Tax rebates of $600 to individuals who make $75,000 or less, and $1,200 to couples who make $150,000 or less. After those income limits, recipients get 5 percent of however much their income exceeds the limit.
  • Tax rebates of $300 for individuals and $600 for couples who make at least $3,000 from income and Social Security benefits.
  • Each child in a household gets an extra $300 in the rebate.
  • The limits on the size of mortgage loans that can be insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be increased from $417,000 to up to $729,750 depending on the median price of the area.
  • The first-year depreciation of capital equipment purchased in 2008 is increased from 20 percent of the purchase price to 50 percent.
  • Small businesses get a boost in the form of bigger tax write-offs they can make on equipment purchased in 2008. The deduction will be increased from $125,000 to $250,000, and businesses with up to $800,000 in revenue are eligible, replacing the old $500,000.

Congress rejected many elements that were proposed in a Senate version of the bill, including an extension of unemployment benefits and billions in energy tax credits. But the final version does include rebates for low-income people who may pay little to no income tax, first proposed in the Senate version.