Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Signs Stimulus Bill

Denver, Colorado - President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package in Denver today after the Senate passed its version of the bill late Friday. We have been waiting, what seems like ages, for news of the plan passing meanwhile each day brought news of further job cuts and business failures.

In his weekly radio and Internet broadcast, Obama said, "I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done."

He reminded us that, "The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread, and our response must be equal to the task."

The struggle in the Senate lasted weeks, with lawmakers on both Democrat and Republican sides desiring to warm up the frozen credit markets and get lending going again. There are those who have begun to call some of the failing banks “zombies” because they seem lifeless and unable to get back to lending. It is everyone’s hope that this stimulus money will get the banks’ lending again.

The question is, what will it really take to get people spending? Opinions differ widely. However, this bill's tax cuts will come in the form of relief for 95% of Americans. The amount of $400 for individuals and $800 for couples will come in the form of diminishing payroll taxes by a small amount over time. Lawmakers believe that people will be more willing to spend the small addition to their paychecks rather than hold onto such small sums.

Also included in the stimulus was $70 billion to shelter upper middle-class and wealthier taxpayers from an income tax increase and two of Obama's initiatives; the expansion of computerized information technology in the health care industry and billions to create green jobs that will hopefully, begin to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The nonprofit sector will see billions infused into schools and local governments to help prop up jobs. Will this stimulus package restore our faith in the financial system? We wait with expectation to see if this new administration can begin to defrost the frozen economy. What are your thoughts?