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See What People Are Saying About... Jumpstarting The Economy With Stimulus

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Economic stimulus legislation at the heart of President Barack Obama's recovery plan is on track for final votes Friday in the House and Senate after a dizzying final round of bargaining that yielded agreement on tax cuts and spending totaling $789 billion.

Here’s how the bill stands now:

The $500-per-worker credit for lower- and middle-income taxpayers that Obama outlined during his presidential campaign was scaled back to $400 during bargaining by the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House. Couples would receive $800 instead of $1,000. Over two years, that move would pump about $25 billion less into the economy than had been previously planned.

$46 billion will go to transportation projects such as highway, bridge and mass transit construction; many lawmakers wanted more.

The Obama plan offers a 60 percent subsidy to help unemployed people pay health insurance premiums under the COBRA program and divvies up $87 billion among the states to help them with their Medicaid costs for the next two years. It provides $19 billion to modernize health information technology systems, even though such funding will create few jobs right away.

To clamp down costs, several tax provisions were dropped or sharply cut back. A provision popular with Republicans and the big business lobby that would have awarded about $54 billion to money-losing businesses over the next two years was instead limited to small businesses, greatly reducing its cost.

A $15,000 tax credit for anybody buying a home over the next year was dropped; instead, first-time homebuyers could claim an $8,000 credit for homes bought by the end of August. Car buyers could deduct the sales tax they paid on a new car but not the interest on their car loans.

But nothing could shake negotiators from insisting on including $70 billion to shelter middle- to upper-income taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax, originally passed a generation ago to make sure the super-rich didn't avoid taxes.

Fast Money readers aren't terribly optimistic that this bill will lead us out of recession. Doc writes, "The bill overall looks like it was written by a bunch of inebriates who were just given a trillion dollars and told to spend it. Be afraid."

And that leads to our Fast Money Reader Poll: Do you think this stimulus package will jump start the economy?



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