What They’ll Do With Their Stimuli

Now that Congress and the president have settled on a stimulus package that funnels money into the pockets of many consumers, will people use it for a spending spree that perks up the economy? Not necessarily. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, just 22 percent of respondents said they’ll spend the money from a stimulus-package check, while 30 percent said they’ll save it. Thirty-one percent said they’ll apply it to their bills (which, of course, means they’ve already spent it).

In a similar Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs poll, 45 percent said they’ll use the money to pay off bills, 32 percent to save or invest and 19 percent to spend. And a Fox News/
Opinion Dynamics poll found a bare majority, 51 percent, saying they’ll spend such a windfall, while 36 percent said they’ll save it and 10 percent said they’ll save some and spend some. (The rest were unsure.)

The obvious caveat is that people aren’t always telling the truth — or, more benignly, aren’t always correctly predicting their future behavior — when they say they’ll save money rather than spend it.