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Tax Rebates Not A Quick Fix For The Economy

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Executive Summary

Using the U-M/Reuters Survey of Consumers, Slemrod and colleague Matthew Shapiro asked more than 2,500 Americans what they did with their 2008 federal income tax rebates, which accounted for more than two-thirds of the $152 billion Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. For the most part, those who filed taxes as single individuals received between $300 and $600, while those who filed jointly got between $600 and $1,200. In addition, parents with children under 17 received an extra $300 per child. The U-M economists found that only 20 percent of U.S. households mostly spent their tax rebates, while about 48 percent used their rebate mostly to pay debt and roughly 32 percent mostly saved their rebate checks.

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