The check is in the mail.

Or, rather, it will be soon. From the Washington Post:

House leaders and the administration reached agreement today on a roughly $145 billion economic stimulus package that would quickly send payments to poor and middle-class workers while offering businesses one-time incentives to invest in new equipment and write off tax losses.
Under the plan, as many as 117 million people would get rebate checks. Individual income tax filers would receive up to $600, working couples would get up to $1,200, and those with children would get an additional $300 per child.
(Treasury Secretary Henry M.) Paulson said later that “if all works well,” he expects the rebates to begin flowing in May. He said the aim is to start sending the checks within 60 days of enactment of the stimulus package, with most recipients receiving their checks in less than 10 weeks.

The idea is that taxpayers receiving this manna from Washington will quickly turn around and spend it, goosing the moribund economy. But I’ve heard a lot of analysts say the rebates are unlikely to have much impact, as most people will either stow the money away in their savings accounts or use it to pay down existing debts.

As for me, I’m proud to be an American and all, but my rebate probably will go toward my Visa bill — I’ve already been doing PLENTY to support the economy, perhaps too much.

What about you: spend or save?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.