Feb. 12, 2009 -- The first effects of the record-setting economic stimulus bill will be seen almost immediately when $54 billion is allocated for cash-strapped states.
Though it will take a while for the federal largesse to reach the states, governors and mayors struggling with billion-dollar deficits -- and laws requiring them to have balanced budgets -- will be able to avoid laying off teachers, cops and other employees knowing that the federal money is in the pipeline.
By June, an additional $150 billion earmarked for public works projects like roads, bridges and schools should be pumping through the financial pipeline, this time creating construction and design jobs.
On a smaller scale, a middle class couple can expect to find an additional $26 in their weekly paychecks starting June 1, thanks to a tax cut in the gigantic bill. A single person will see an extra $13 in the paycheck.
The economic stimulus bill appears to be headed for passage, although without the support of a significant number of Republicans that President Obama had been hoping for.
The measure was trimmed from a high of $838 billion to $789 billion in a conference of House and Senate leaders. That trimming, however, failed to attract more GOP support and also angered liberal Democrats because the size of the tax cut was slashed and some education projects were eliminated.
A final vote on the revised stimulus is expected later this week and Obama hopes to sign it into law Monday.
The bill is a mix of tax cuts and public works spending intended to jolt the economy back to life by saving or creating up to 3.5 million jobs and increasing lending. In conjunction with the White House's emerging $2 trillion bailout plan for financial institutions, nearly $3 trillion is being prepped to revive the economy during the next few years.
What's in it for you?
If there are no congressional surprises and Obama signs the measure into law on Presidents Day, Americans on Social Security and veterans receiving disability and pensions can expect a one-time extra payment of $250 this spring.
Credit should also ease up by midsummer if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's plan works, making it easier to get loans for mortgages, new cars and college tuition, as well as making it easier for businesses to get loans, according to architects of the bill.
Change in Alternative Minimum Tax Could Save You $2,300
One of the biggest breaks will come from changes in the alternative minimum tax, which could mean a $2,300 savings for a family of four. The AMT was originally meant to ensure that the rich paid some taxes, but in time it has come to hit families making as little as $45,000.
There would be an extra $25 a week in unemployment checks for more than 5 million out-of-work Americans and those checks would keep coming through the end of the year. Food stamps would also be increased along with welfare payments.
College students whose families earn less than $160,000 would be eligible for $2,500 tax credit.
Buy a new car and the sales tax on that car will be tax deductible under the bill.
First-time home buyers can put in for an $8,000 tax credit. And business owners can speed up depreciation for equipment, like computers.
With the battle over the economic stimulus bill nearly over, the Obama administration will move on to its $2 trillion bailout plan for the country's financial institutions.
Congress and the American taxpayer are becoming increasingly wary and weary of the massive bailout plans, especially after reports Wednesday of widespread fraud among corporations and multimillion-dollar bonuses to top-level employees of banks that needed to be rescued by taxpayers.
"Boy, it landed with a thud in the markets and was not well received on Capitol Hill," ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos told "Good Morning America."
"If the administration were to come forward today and ask for new money for banks... there is no way it would pass," Stephanopoulos said. "What they're hoping is that over time for the next several weeks and months, what they announced this week will start to work and that will ease public opposition and congressional opposition to what they want to do."