In 2008, President George W.
Bush's administration acted to provide the weary American consumer with tax rebates to act as a broad economic stimulus and jumpstart the faltering economy.
At this point, most "experts" will tell you that it's simply too early to tell if those measures are having a significant impact on the health of our economy.
These same pundits also are in nearly unanimous agreement that more must be done in the coming year.
Enter a new president and a new administration.
The conservative administration of George Bush is on its way out and in comes Barack Obama; a sort of political rock star in his own right.
So with the major party shift in Washington (and arguably, a shift away from conservative fiscal policies - although George Bush isn't exactly known to be a classic fiscal conservative), can we expect a stimulus package in 2009 that dwarfs the previous administration's attempt to get things going? Well, according to Barack Obama, it's going to be huge.
In fact, hearing how Obama and his entourage describe his grand plans conjures up thoughts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal era.
During the campaign, Obama pledged relief to American taxpayers to help relieve the economy.
It seems now, however, that his promises will have to be amped up significantly to dig us out of the slump we're currently facing.
Now that the election is over, there's talk of eclipsing the mammoth $700 billion financial bailout (officially known as the TARP) passed by congress earlier this year.
So, what's it going to be? Here's a rough rundown on what consumers can expect to see as a stimulus to the economy in 2009:
- The centerpiece is a plan to save or create 2.
5 million jobs through 2011 focusing on revitalizing the nation's infrastructure and the environment.
- Expect tax cuts for middle class workers earning $250,000 or less.
- Those who make $250,000 or more, and have enjoyed tax cuts under the Bush administration, can expect those cuts to remain in effect in the near-term despite Obama's campaigning to end them as soon as he took office.
- The prospects of tax rebates in 2009 have faded of late.
It seems Obama has a preference for tax cuts instead of rebates as they tend to have a more immediate effect on the economy.
Although there are still many questions to be asked, and Obama has just recently officially formed his presidential economic team, everything points to a 2009 economic stimulus package much larger than its 2008 counterpart, and proportional to the grave economic landscape where Americans currently find themselves.