I find it ironic that a Republican administration's response to too little regulation/oversite over loan company lending practices is to take tax money, overwhelmingly paid by high income earners, as they like to remind me, and give some of that money to me.
I think of it as less of a stimulus and more of an "Oops sorry. This should make you feel better."
It may very well be that reduced regulation and high enough tax revenue (thus the irony at the Republicans doing this) to send out the occasional 'apology check' when unregulated business schemes collapse IS the most efficient way for the economy to chug along...
But does that make it the best choice for a Democratic/free market society?
Actually the apology checks are the least interesting regulation getting rushed through the door these days. (Interesting pattern of 'spin a situation as a crisis so government has to rush changes into law.')
Businesses are getting nice perks out of this. Businesses that have nothing to do with sub-prime lending (no WMDs) or are in no way associated with mortgage debt (did not associate with Osama) need these changes passed NOW as a response to this economic CRISIS.
And wealthy home owners will be able to refinance large mortgages at lower rates, generally saving far more than $600. Actually, I wonder how much top tax payers will be able to save after refinancing their loans and how that compares to how much tax they had to pay to give the rest of us apology checks...
Those losing their jobs as a result of the recent turmoil and those struggling with payments for things like heating oil, will have to be content with their $600.
"Republicans yesterday blocked consideration of the stimulus measure approved by the Senate Finance Committee because they opposed Democrats' plans to add extended unemployment benefits, home heating assistance and alternative energy tax credits to the measure passed by the House."
Anyway, I assume that a scientific assessment of the loan changes and business perks proved that they would offer far more financial stimulus than extended unemployment benefits and home heating assistance and that is why that decision was made... so much research and assessment has gone into the other hasty government action taken in similar 'spin crisis, act now' campaigns and that have worked out well (WMDs, war planning, post war planning, etc.) so I feel good about things this time too.