I hope the Bush administration didn't expect us to say thank you. That measly amount won't begin to make a dent in most household budgets according to an article in today's Washington Post (all emphasis added):
The debt of the typical American family earning about $45,000 a year rose 33.1 percent from 2001 to 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to a study based on data compiled from the Federal Reserve Board's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. [...]What do the experts suggest people do to help their situation?
Real wages, after adjusting for inflation, have been flat since 2001, according to the study, while the cost of big-ticket items for which families pay the most rose. In the past five years, the costs of medical care, housing, food, cars and household operations rose 11.2 percent, the study said. [...]
Housing debt has climbed notably because home prices have risen and people have borrowed against the equity in their homes. From 1989 to 2004, for example, the median mortgage debt more than doubled, from $46,900 to $96,000.
Education debt, meanwhile, rose 127 percent between 1992 and 2004, from $3,427 to $7,800. Health-care costs rose, too, because insurance has become more costly and employers are shifting more of the expense to workers.
[...]families that can no longer realistically afford their single-family houses should move to condominiums, consider limiting their families to a single automobile, get second jobs to pay off debt, or move to less expensive school districts that may not have the highest test scores but where children perform acceptably well.Those are all sound suggestions to help people handle their debt, but why should the lower and middle-classes get second jobs and trade down their homes while the rich get thousands of dollars in tax breaks?
As the article pointed out, "The average American family is walking a high wire and hoping there won't be a high wind." Apparently our legislators don't care. Our Republican Congress is to the American Dream what Katrina was to New Orleans, and we know how that turned out.