By Ian Swanson - 10/21/09 10:44 AM EDT
Officials have taken
pains not to use the term, partly because moving a second stimulus
suggests the first $787 billion package wasn’t successful.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel avoided the word stimulus last week in an interview on PBS with Judy Woodruff.
hard to find somebody who wants to call whatever this is that you’re
likely to do, may do, a stimulus,” Woodruff said. “But, in effect, it
would be kind of a stealth stimulus, wouldn’t it?”
Most of the spending under
consideration looks like a stimulus, partly because most of the ideas
in play were in the earlier stimulus bill.
To help those
out of work, Congress may extend unemployment benefits (cost: $2.4
billion) and health subsidies provided through the COBRA program ($25
A Senate bill to extend the tax credit for
first-time homebuyers may be expanded so that most others in the market
would qualify ($16 billion).
Business groups want several
tax breaks extended, adding tens of billions in provisions intended to
spark growth. These include measures allowing companies to carry back
losses on their tax returns to get refunds on taxes paid. A similar
provision costing about $20 billion was dropped from the earlier
Another provision from
the first stimulus called “bonus depreciation” allows companies to
deduct a portion of their new capital expenditures from their tax
There’s talk about extending that provision as well.
A few other items weren’t included in the $787 billion stimulus but are being talked about now.
include President Barack Obama’s proposal last week to send $250 checks
to senior citizens who will not see a cost-of-living increase in this
year’s Social Security checks ($13 billion).
Then there are
the proposals to give tax incentives to businesses that create jobs.
It’s unclear how much that would cost, though Clint Stretch of Deloitte
Tax reckons it would be expensive. “It’s very difficult to estimate,”
Add the provisions up, and you get at least $76
billion in expenses. That’s a little less than half the cost of the
$168 billion stimulus package signed by President George W. Bush in