Yesterday, when President Bush made a visit to ColorCraft, Va. to tout the benefits of the economic stimulus package for small-business owners, he should’ve stuck around longer to talk to the workers–who were forced this week out of rising gas prices to switch to a three-day workweek in an attempt to save fuel.

Back in January, the watchword was “targeted and timely–to get money back into the economy.” This week, a new CNN poll finds that fully 73% of Americans will use the rebate to pay off debt, or will save the money. Only 21% of those polled intend to actually make new purchases. At this rate, if the White House ever bends on their unwillingness to support extension of unemployment insurance or low-income heating subsidies, it’ll be well into spring, and the rebate checks will be arriving. By then, they won’t be a stimulus, but a lifeline.