I thought perhaps that this stimulus package would die. But:

WASHINGTON — In a rare bipartisan compromise, Congress approved a two-year, $168-billion economic stimulus package Thursday that will send rebate checks to millions of low- and middle-income Americans, including senior citizens and disabled veterans.

The measure, which came after a concession by Senate Democrats who had demanded substantially more aid, could become law as soon as next week.

Our family should receive about $1,800 — which would be great except that it’ll cost the federal government $168 billion. Where’s that money coming from? My kids will be paying it back.

I’m really tired of politicians from both parties pretending like a $9 trillion debt is no big deal. And that yearly deficits of $400 billion a year can continue forever.

And the news media are to blame as well. When was the last time a reporter grilled a lawmaker on the deficit? They’ve helped to set this agenda — and the deficit is officially a non-story.

A third-party candidate who runs on a balanced-budget platform would likely get my vote.