Poll results suggest tax cuts won't help stimulate economy

WASHINGTON — The idea sounds great — cut taxes, people will spend the extra cash going out to eat or buying a TV and stimulate the economy.

But a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll out Monday shows that only a tiny sliver of people would spend the windfall that way. The vast majority would not.

Asked how they'd spend the extra $20 a week per family that the tax cut would provide:

-- 49 percent said they'd pay existing bills;

-- 29 percent said they'd add to their savings;

-- 10 percent said they'd spend it on something they otherwise wouldn't spend money on, such as going out to a restaurant;

-- 8 percent said they'd spend it on an already planned purchase.

President-elect Barack Obama has proposed an $850 billion stimulus package that includes $300 billion in tax cuts. The tax cuts are intended to win Republican support for the bill. Economists have argued, however, that the tax cuts will do little to stimulate the economy.

The poll was conducted Jan. 15-18, and included responses from a randomly selected sample of 979 adults. The margin of error is 3.1 percent.