President Bush has put his signature on an economic stimulus package that will send rebate checks to most Americans Wednesday afternoon.
The checks will begin going out in May. Some economists are wondering whether the checks ranging from $300 to $1200 are being issued quickly enough to help avoid a recession.
Congressional leaders say they have more ideas if the boost is not enough. Analysts figure the overall $168 billion stimulus plan will probably keep the downturn from mushrooming into a crisis, but consumers may not be spreading the cash around as much as hoped. Fewer than two in 10 of the people surveyed for an Associated Press–IPSOS poll say they plan to spend their checks. Three in 10 plan to invest the money and nearly half plan to use it to pay bills.
The signing of the stimulus package comes as surprising positive sign for the economy is released. Retail sales figures from last month are showing a rebound after a dismal December.