Tax rebates: How big a boost?
The $107 billion stimulus is now flowing to taxpayers, to spend or save as they see fit.
SOURCE: US Congress/AP
Rebate checks have begun flowing from the US Treasury, and economists from Washington to Wall Street are now waiting with fingers crossed, eager to see if this $107 billion in government stimulus spending will jolt the US economy out of its doldrums.
Most figure the money will provide at least a modest boost. But there is no consensus on when the bump might start or how long it might last.
Much hangs on the behavior of consumers: how much of their checks they spend and what they spend them on. As retailers know, the US consumer in its shopping habitat can be a wildly unpredictable animal.
"Given the current state of the economy, it is extremely important that we did this," says Mr. Elmendorf.
At a Tuesday press conference, President Bush sidestepped a question about whether Washington should consider a second stimulus package. He counseled patience, saying the economy had yet to feel the effects of the first round of stimulus checks.
"Now you know, after a period of time, the money is beginning to arrive. We'll see what the effects are," Mr. Bush said.
Checks arriving in individual accounts
The first direct deposits of the tax- rebate checks approved by Congress and the White House in February began appearing in individual bank accounts on April 29, a few days earlier than anticipated. Paper checks will start going out on May 9, a week earlier than planned.