February 16th, 2009
12:21 PM ET

CNN Money Summit

Program Note: Tune in to the next CNN Money Summit with Ali Velshi on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 11 p.m. ET and Friday, Feb. 20 at 11 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/06/acimage.jpg]

Ali Velshi
CNN Chief Business Correspondent

For better or for worse, the biggest economic stimulus bill in history- ringing in at a whopping $787 billion dollars- has been passed. The bill is a hodgepodge of government spending, long-term investment, and tax breaks that Congress HOPES will get the economy back on track.

Supporters say the bills' provisions will kick start the job market, push stock prices higher, and restore confidence in the housing market. 3.6 million people have already lost their jobs during this recession, consumer and business spending have just about ground to a halt, and housing prices continue to drop. The stimulus bill has its work cut out for it.

And as you might guess, the critics are many. The stimulus was passed in the Senate with only three Republicans voting in favor of it: in the House, not a single Republican voted yes. Dissenters say that the stimulus will bury the U.S. further in debt and give the government too much control of the private sector. They warn, ominously, of "nationalizing the banks."

Plus, even those who support the bill fear that redirecting so much money to the economic recovery will impede President Obama’s ability to fulfill many of his campaign promises, like reforming healthcare or launching green energy initiatives.

Nobody is arguing that the bill is perfect, but in the end it all boils down to how we, as consumers, feel. If we choose to trust the bill and get out and spend, businesses will take the hint and step up production and hiring. But, if we choose to continue scrimping and saving (because we didn't scrimp and save BEFORE this recession started), then things might continue as they are.

So what WILL you do? Hear the options on the “CNN Money Summit,” Friday, March 6, at 11 p.m. (ET)

Filed under: Ali Velshi • CNN Money Summit
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. linda conti

    BILLIONS?TRILLIONS? I"m getting $250.00? Wonder where I"ll spend it all !

    February 18, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  2. Tanya David Honolulu, HI (Hey WE are all in this too! dont forget us!)

    The stimulus plan sounds good and litterally sounds like our last option. Only option. But what happends to the people who have carefully saved their money in banks, and never used it foolishly? The plan waters down all of those savings. Isn't there a different way? Is this kind of loss suppose to be good in the future? I don't think that printing money and giving it out to stimulate the nation is going to work. We are in an extreamly deep hole, why dig even deeper?? Hopefully this plan is going to accomplish what it was ment to do but it's a long shot... is it finally time for the plan B?
    – Punahou Student

    February 18, 2009 at 2:40 am |
  3. Judie

    I think Chrysler and GM do not deserve any more money. Because they do not stand behind their products. I purchased a 2003 Chrysler P T with 178 miles on it. 2 years later it started dropping out of gear on the highway. Took it into the shop and it stayed there over a week only to be told that if it was not happening at the time there was nothing they could do. I would have to get it towed in at my expense with it happens. They also removed the roadside assistance after I used it once.

    Purchased a 2005 Buick SUV which the speedometer goes haywire and I have to use a GPS to know what speed I am going. They said it might be the instrument cluster and would cost me about 400 dollars and they really did not know if that would solve the problem.

    I would not purchase from either of them even if they were the only car dealers in the USA.

    February 18, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  4. M. Johnson

    I have no problem with the Reinvestment and Recovery Plan signed by President Obama today. The only thing I take issue with is a part of the healthcare plan. He keeps emphasizing modernizing our medical records and 'minimizing errors and creating new jobs". Well, that is NOT creating more jobs – it's diminishing jobs!

    I can say because I am a transcriptionist and have been for 18 years. There was a time we would get paid by the hour. Then, things changed to where we get paid on production – how many lines/per day to transcribe. Then, about 4-5 years ago, a lot of the transcription went overseas so they could 'pay them less'. Well that did not work out because there were too many medical errors, but what has happened is that they've decided let the US transcriptionists transcribe and/or do voice recognition (which is the modernization of EMR, electronic medical record) once again, but pay us only 3-4 cents per line? That's INSANE. There are still too many glitches/problems and still too expensive to overhaul the entire healthcare system with the EMR. That truly is not creating more jobs.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  5. Carolen Smith

    I have been watching your program tonight and I am so sick of hearing what we as people did wrong with buying a home. I have done everything to make my payment on time and can not get my home refincaned because I don't have a 700 credit score. Well I didn't have one when I purchased the house and why now must I have one. They look at what you have done wrong and not what you are doing right. Things happen and keep you from paying some bills that are not that inportan. Like credit card bill. I need a place to live more than I do a credit card, and yes when I was working and my husband was working we had them and the our world changed and we tried to work with the companies and they don't care. I was behind on the payment and couldnn't get help and now have a year of no late payments and still can't get any help. Both my husband and I are on Social Security Disability and nothing in the stimulus bill will help us. We pay our bill and due to accidents at work and not being able to sue your emplyer in NY state we have nothing but disability. We are not looking for a hand out just a far deal, and a hand up. I am not on any kind of goverment services and still have a child at home to care for. we live on very little a month and we make it and all we want is to keep our home and not pay for someone elses home by renting for $1400.00 a month with nothing included. so why not give me a mortage that I can afford in the same range. I just dont' undersand the problem. thank you for your time
    Carolen Smith

    February 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  6. Milissa

    This is so ridiculous to me. I am not in foreclosure but every month I am anxious about the house payment. We have a locked in rate and we both had great jobs when we built our house in 2004. Now my job was moved to another city and my husband is about 3 months away from his company folding. Why isn't the government giving everyone home owner the opportunity of a 3% or 4% mortgage for 40 years. Not everyone has to take the deal but in most cases it would lower peoples payments so that if they have only one income they may be able to continue to make payments. This means the mortgage company gets their money, and now there is more money for us to go shopping for food and necessities and possibly start putting more money into the economy. Really this is just elementary to me people can afford the $1,000.00 a month payment they just can't make the $1500.00 a month payments in this economy.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  7. Jack Smith

    Government has Failed, The War on Poverty has failed, The War on Drugs has failed, WMD weren't found, FED's policies have failed, Medicare has failed, Social Security has failed, energy independence has failed, GM/Chryler bailouts failed, attempts to control agricultural production have failed, moral hazard failed, the infrastructure of the country is deteriorating and evidences government failure, and immigration control / border has failed. TARP 1 failed, but we needed a "STIMULUS" so fast that congressman didn't have time to read it, although the president can burn 20,000 gallons of jet fuel to sign it 3 days later?

    Why do they think they can fix anything? Government has failed and all they can do is throw more paper on a fire. What happens when China quits buying monopoly money?


    February 17, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  8. Nkiru, Michigan

    It's a bit difficult to start spending now since I just lost my job. I would love to help the economy by going out and shopping but I have to manage the meager funds I still have to last me till I find another job.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  9. Stuart Grant

    When the bridge in Missouri collapsed killing 13 people, the experts said that our infrastrtucture was grossly antiquated and couyld take a trillion dollars to make safe. Missouri came up with a plan that would require the winning contractor to fix or replace all 802 bridges within five years — a task that otherwise would take two decades at Missouri's current pace.

    The state would start paying the contractor only after all the repairs were completed, and the contractor would have to maintain the bridges in satisfactory condition for the next 25 years.

    Sound impossible? After the Northridge quake, the most heavility travelled overpass in Los Angeles crumbled. When incentives were offered for every day it was completed earlier that the experts expected, that overpass was miraculously rebuilt in record time. From the planning statge to the 1st shovel of dirt, this huge project was completed in a matter of weeks.

    Apply this concept to the other unusafe bridges and roadways on the governments list and I would bet that hiring woul start yesterday!

    February 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Bruce, Snohomish, WA

    I think that it is time to start reporting "good news" with the stimulus to begin the process of building confidence with the people. There is far too much negative press and commentary that is building a sense of defeat.

    Today, Bank of America reported its first payment to us, "the people" against the portion of the "bailout" money they received last year . They paid us $409 Million. It is the first of what they intend to pay this year totaling $2.8 Bilion dollars. They also summarized how much money they have loaned out in the form of "credit" to all aspects of the economy; businesses, small and large, real estate; residential and commercial. This news is worth reporting.

    Please report this to our public tonight in your summit. In my mind it is very worth while. Thank you.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  11. Lisa From Rhode Island

    We remain in our home to date, the bank did foreclose in Oct. They

    refused to give us any modifications or work with us. However they

    have not transferred the deed yet. So it shows that we still have ownership.

    My ? the plan that President Obama will announce will it apply to people that are in this type of situation? Or just homeowners who will be foreclosed on.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  12. Becky

    Rose, I am sorry for your situation, but you have access to food stamps and insurance benifits with this program, where as my husband and I who are working, only making about 200 more a week than your unemployement checks, do not. We are all struggling.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  13. Rose soon to be homeless in Phoenix

    In Arizona you get about $240.00 per week for unemployment.
    Add the whopping $25.00 extra!
    How am I suppose to live after losing my job through no fault of my own?
    The President can fly around in his big plane to do things he can do in DC!
    We bailout car companies that cannot sell cars because people cannot afford them!
    We give banks money to have superbowl parties with!
    Give me the money and I will spend it on food and housing!
    I had my kidney removed in 2007 because of Cancer and soon will have zero health insurance.
    America has forgotten people like me!

    February 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  14. Virginia - Hermosa Beach, CA


    Since America is headed towards a Recession-Depression, as I like to call it..... lets reflect as to what helped us recover after our first and only depression: MANUFACTURING!!

    We should be focusing on keeping the taxpayers money in the United States!!! Let's fix the roads, bridges, and buildings that we so desperately need updating!!!!

    February 17, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  15. Mike Shaw

    Here is a great plan...
    I am so tired of this economy .... I know we can help.
    Ok start a movement by us than can pay an extra mortgage payment and send it in. Think out loud... what if 50 million made an extra payment?
    We got got to water the tree from the bottom up and invest in our homes and property to get out of this mess..

    February 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
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