Economists, Retailers Say Stimulus Should Help

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — Now that Congress has approved a $168 billion stimulus measure, retailers and economists are among those saying it should help what ails the economy.

The National Retail Federation, the main industry trade group, says it should provide particular benefit to lower-income consumers, who are seen as more likely to spend their tax rebates.

It provides rebates of $600 to $1,200 to most taxpayers and $300 checks to disabled veterans, the elderly and other low-income people.

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll finds that just 19 percent of the people surveyed said they plan to go out and spend the money. Forty-five percent said they’d use it to pay bills.

Global Insight economist Brian Bethune says the tax rebates, combined with the Federal Reserve’s rate cutting, should help put the U.S. economy back on track next year.

After President Bush provides his expected signature to the measure, the first rebate checks could come as early as May.