The following is from the Feb. 4, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.
When the government says it's giving out free money, strange things start to happen – especially in an election year.
Congress is rushing to get an economic stimulus package to President Bush to stave off a recession. The idea is to get more cash into consumers' hands so they can spend it and jolt the economy.
But the package has run into some roadblocks as politicians have maneuvered to make sure important constituencies are included in the giveaway – and illegal immigrants aren't.
There's also been some confusion, even among experts, about whether this is an advance on future tax cuts, or a rebate for past taxes.
Some experts are calling it a rebate, but it's neither a rebate nor an advance, said Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University.
"This is new money," he said. "It's not a rebate on some taxes that they earlier paid or might owe at a future point." . . .
"There's a great deal of concern out there in the public, particularly among the middle class and working class, that things are getting tighter," Mr. Jillson said. "Everybody wants to get on board quickly and get money into the hands of people so they can get credit for it."
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