Mandel: Not Much of a Pop

The tax rebates in Bush's stimulus plan would likely be used to pay off existing debt, not to fund new purchases

Let us be blunt: The fiscal stimulus plan proposed by President George W. Bush is like throwing paper on a fire. The tax rebates—the number being bandied around right now is $800 per taxpayer—do not deal with the real nature of the current downturn, and will do very little to fix the underlying problem. What's going on is simple: The 25-year consumer spending bubble is finally deflating. Not because Americans no longer want to spend, but because financial institutions increasingly no longer want to lend.

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