Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Breakin' It Down

I could warm to the current version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bill has 6 primary goals:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - Calls for the enactment of legislation to create jobs, restore economic growth, and strengthen America's middle class through measures that:
(1) modernize the nation's infrastructure;
(2) enhance America's energy independence;
(3) expand educational opportunities;
(4) preserve and improve affordable health care;
(5) provide tax relief; and
(6) protect those in greatest need.
So it is more than stimulus, and unlike prior administrations that attempted to mask what they were trying do to, behind fancy glossary terms, the intent of this legislation has always been more then just stimulus. That allows me to disagree with major portions, since, well, the current folks on the Hill are actually being honest with me. Interesting concept, ya think!

We have heard all the belly aching, from me included, about the pork. But we we aren't hearing enough about, is that over half this bill is direct tax relief and lifeline assistance to individuals and families.

139.4 billion
Make Work Pay Credit: The bill provides a $500 credit per worker and a $1,000 credit per dual-earner couple. Maximum benefit avaialble for those under $70,000 ($140,000 for couples)

17 billion
One-time payments to those who don't work: For seniors who don't work, as well as disabled veterans and retired railroad workers. It's $300m but $300 mora than they have right now.

70 billion
Break for higher income families:: ALternative Minimum Tax relief

11 billion
Temporary credit for car buyers:Interest and sales tax deductions. Too bad it isn;t retroactive to my 2008 Equinox purchase last Fall.

39 billion
Temporary credit for home buyers:A doubling of the home buyer tax credit and dropping the 'first time' clause. Maybe it is time for me to go shopping for some real estate bargains . . . .

10.3 billion
New college credit:Tax credit for Higher Education expenses

14 billion
Pell Grants:increase in Pell Grant benefits

7.2 billion
Child Care Credit:Adjustment of the income threshold to make more benefits available, encouraging single parents back to work. I know what a money vacuum day care was when I was going it alone. It was one of the hardest financial periods of my life.

4.6 billion
Earned Income Credit:An increase in the earnings qualifications and a marriage penalty adjustment.

That's 312.5 billion in direct tax relief. But we also have lifeline assistance to help those who are struggling most and desperately trying to get back on their feet. Unless you have ever been in dire straits, like I have, a helping hand is all most of us need to keep our dignity, and get back on track.

107 billion
Health insurance help for the jobless: Two programs that assist in subsidizing COBRA payments and providing coverage for those not eligible for COBRA.

43.1 billion
Unemployment benefits: Extending benefits, increasing benefit amount, and waving taxes on the first $2400

16.5 billion
Food stamp payments: 'increase food stamp payments by 12%, so a family of four would see an additional $71 on top of the $588 per month they receive currently.'

2.3 billion
Help for needy families:A fund for temporary assistance to needy families.

So that's 481.4 Billion dollars of direct tax relief or lifeline assistance that is putting money directly int he hands of those how need it, and will spend it. This is the area of the bill I have become quite content with.

Now I am going to spend some time digging around for the spending provisions. Those will face much more scrutiny.


No comments: