January 24th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Real People, Real Issues: The Rebate Debate

Voters are divided over the stimulus package.

Voters are divided over the stimulus package.

ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS, CARLISLE, Arkansas (CNN) - Christine Bageant is likely smiling. Rick McKay is definitely frowning.

News of the bipartisan stimulus package reached Thursday in Washington means different things to different people. Bageant owns a Sonic tucked off of I-40 east of Little Rock. McKay is the proprietor of an auto repair collision shop in Searcy, northeast of this state’s capital city.

For Bageant, the measure likely means more hungry travelers, more burgers flipped, and more cash register rings. McKay, whose business is not necessarily dictated by short-term economic fixes, thinks the agreement reached by President Bush and congressional leaders is fruitless.

We spoke to both of these small business owners Wednesday as the CNN Election Express motored through Arkansas on a six-day cross-country tour to talk to voters about what are their most pressing concerns.

McKay said he would rather see a long-term fix to the nation’s economic woes. And he wants a tax cut.

“I don’t know that we need to throw a bunch of money, several billion dollars to prop up the economy,” he said, as political leaders were in the middle of hammering out final details of the plan. “Does it need to be propped up? Give me something that is going to help me in the long run. Reduce our taxes. I own my own business. If I had a tax break or if I knew I was going to pay less taxes then I would start looking at how I was going to use that money to grow my business.”

On the other hand, Bageant told us that her business is struggling, and this type of rebate plan is needed.

“If they are not spending money we are not making money,” she said. “I am a small business owner. We are struggling to pay bills month to month just like anyone else.”

But Bageant and McKay do agree on one thing: the lawmakers back in Washington need to work together to find solutions.

“Stop arguing,” she said. “You are acting like children.”

McKay added, “They are bickering. Nothing is happening in Washington. We just have nothing going on. I don’t know why these guys are even up there.”

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Lynn

    Since when does going further into debt promote a stronger economy? That's nonsense! I don't need $1200. Our debt needs reduced. And to give this money while slighting the money for the poor, that's unconscienable! Where has common sense gone in Washington?

    January 24, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Phil Memphis, TN

    One follow-up, it seems like a bribe to the voters saying "here, we'll send you a check, now don't crucify us all for how badly we have neglected the state of our country".

    January 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA

    President Bush seems to think that all you need is bombs and tax cuts (rebates in this case).

    We need a long time solution, FDR type stuff, New Deal stuff, not a tax rebate.

    Instead of paying people a one time rebate, how about using that 300 billion and put people to work, like fixing leeves and bridges, nobody gets anything for free and we improve our infrastructure. People have more money, hence they spend more.

    I better stop making sense, conservatives might have a cow.

    January 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Tom Lowery

    Why do the totally disabled under Social Security get only $300 in tax relief when other single americans get $800? What gives?

    January 24, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. Kerry

    I seen your bus. Not bad. Seen you sort of crossed Arkansas in hurry. Should stopped and asked few people about Mike Hucklebee. Missed opportunity.
    Economy in Arkansas ....thats funny. More eggs, dope labs, illegal aliens. Thats
    the legacy of Mike Hucklebee from Arkansas. Check this out. Mike Hucklebee
    supported the youngest Mayor in 2001 from DeQueen Arkansas. This young mayor broke the funds of this city. This young mayor also was caught using
    city credit cards in a fashion that cost him.. This is who Mike Hucklebee supports.
    Not me and certainly not the moral reason I would like to see, God, Country, Flag, and the Law. Thats Immigration Laws.

    January 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Adam

    I'd love to have $1200. The bottom line is our government can't afford it. A broke government writing checks doesn't make sense. A real economic stimulus would be to get our troops and money out of Iraq, balance our budget, enforce our borders, and promote FAIR, not free, trade. In the meantime maybe some will use the rebates tp pay off high interest credit card debt in order to better prepare for the even harder times this government giveaway will cause.

    January 24, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. josh

    arggh i can't rewrite it! it was so eloquent darn it

    January 24, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Mat

    This rebate plan is pretty divisive and short-sighted. The plan appears to punish single parents and award married couples/w children. The oher concern is where is this money coming from? Since Peter is already broke, will pull get a check that can't be cashed

    January 24, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Betsy Lyson

    Dr. Ron Paul is t he only candidate who has any chance of pulling the United States of America out of this finacial downward spiral. But does the mainstream media ever let him be heard. No. If he was given the amount of coverage that is given to Clinton, Obama, Romney, etc.... he might actually get elected. Why are you people so afraid of him?? If the mainstream media is not going to back him can you at least give an explanation why. Thank You! Betsy Lyson

    January 24, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    McCain's message to the unemplyed skilled workers in Michigan whose jobs have gone overseas. " Your jobs are not coming back!"!!! please see the Michigan primary speech of Sen McCain on the jobs lost
    in Michigan (also for that matter , jobs lost in Ohio, Indiana other States).
    Talk about pessimism and and telling the unemployed in a State needing encouragement from a candidate for President of the United states. THAT my friends is not why we elect a good and caring American President who should be for the uplifting of Americans suffering in this sagging economy, also largely responsible for our huge (humungous) budget deficit and DEBT to Foreign Countries like The ARABS and China.

    January 24, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. Jimmy

    Sen McCain's worst nightmare right now is from his own party...not the Democrats.
    It is none other than Governor Huckabee's pal Chuck Norris. Chick Norris Comment about McCain's Age struck a nerve in the old man.

    January 24, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. earl illingsworth

    The Rebate has already blindsided the all seeing public. Oh yea, everyone's gonna get $600 bucks, and $1200 per household! The poor get screwed(zip), the borderline wage earners get peanuts and the unemployed get the scraps, (whatever the bean counters decide), believe me ,six(6)months from now the check will probably still be in the mail! Listen up folks, the only ones to benifit from this rebate, are manufacturing and corporate entities. Their already licking their chops, and greasing up the real "Rebate"issue. The breaks their gonna get for off-shore tax shelters, and businesses not being coupled with wage earners ,(america's hard working men, and woman) get the "LION'S SHARE". Just think of what each and every state's revenue share will have to give up, to make this, wonderful "bi-partisan package" work, as Pelosi so elegantly called it! The numbers might not be staggering now,(the srraw that broke the camels back is the best way of expressing our current situation) but approximately Five $(5)$Billion Dollors per state is alot of moolah!!! My hat goes off to the Governor's ,and to the Congress once again, but, to the President(divisor/decider) for this Gratuitous Gift???

    January 24, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  13. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    Although I'm not against getting free money, like the money most wealthy folk get, I cannot agree with our Govt's plan to flood the economy with money. If this tactic worked, we wouldn't have to do it again and again.

    Perhaps abandonment of the fractional reserve system and the return to honest money based on a real commodity would prevent the need for artificial stimulation.

    Of course the international banking community would be unhappy. Which is why my ideas are usually rejected out of hand.

    January 24, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  14. Tiffany

    I'd love the extra cash, but I don't need it for anything, really. My bills are paid. There's food on my table. My family has everything they need. I have savings. I have health insurance. To me it would just be like getting a bonus that I'd spend on some new toy for the family, but it's not necessary. I'd much prefer the government keep the money as we have a huge deficit and other more serious problems at this time.

    The enconomy isn't affecting my job security or my pay, and it's not likely to. I don't see how sending out a little extra cash to people is going to help anything. It might help them buy some food for a month or pay their heating bill or something small like that. But the people that are drowning now would require so much more than what is being offered before it would make any sort of improvement in their situations. I think the government should just keep the money instead of running up more deficits.

    January 24, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Christine

    Kerry –

    Don't be surprised. The bus came to KC one year for the Lou Dobbs town hall. They didn't talk to any of us either. The whole show was pre determined, pre-screened and the audience was "seated" to give the illusion of diversity. Even the people picked at random to ask questions were pointed out by a producer during each commercial break.

    CNN – put some real people on that bus and let them tour the country asking questions. Leave your pundits and producers at home. "Unscripted" might help with credibility.

    January 24, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. Bobby

    While the rebates looks good, they aren't in my opinion an answer to a growing dilema. Why aren't our candidates and president not addressing things like regulating big businesses (Such as gas companies that are reporting profits of billon of dollars in a quarter at the expense of the American people), department stores,drug companies, hospitals and certain utiities like the NEW AT&T THAT STRIP us of billons? Why isn't someone crying loud about the interest rates that some companies are charging on services that are sometimes so necessary and helpful to survive? These are the things that millons of Americans would to see something done. These are the things that make it a little easier so survive. Understand that businesses have to make a profit but how much is enough? Where does it stop?

    January 24, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. Big Brother 2008

    Can I take mine in Euros?A band aid on a bloody stump,how dynamic.

    January 24, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. David in KC

    I'll be happy to get my rebate check. Supporters of the war should be required to send their checks back to the government to finance the war on Iraq.

    January 24, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    why not provde health care to the people so that they can in turn pump that money back into the economy on goods. The rebate is great, but it would make much more sense to just put all those billions into public health care and let the "people" use the extra money from thier pay checks to feed and fuel the economy.

    January 25, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  20. Ruth


    No but you will soon be taking it in "Amero's".

    I am going to take my $600 dollars and give it to Ron Paul campaign. Electing him is going to be the only way to get our economy back and stop being the laughing stock of the world.

    January 25, 2008 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  21. A voter for Ron Paul

    The over taxation of the American People and overspending of the American Government has created this economic nightmare. A small "tax refund" check from the government is going to do no better for the economy than welfare has done for the poor.

    If you think the economy is bad, think for a minute what it would be like if we were not at war. Just think what will happen to the economy when the war is over.

    January 25, 2008 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  22. Sean McM

    Rebate checks???? Above ALL else, do NOT buy ANYTHING from China....

    January 25, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Jr., California

    Hmmmm, I think I'll buy a WII.

    January 25, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |