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Kids: Fixing the U.S. economy one Lego at a time

Give them the tax rebate and watch sales in the toy aisle boom.

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Here's my idea for fixing the US economy: Send tax rebate checks to kids.

No, I'm not talking about government cash sent in care of their parents. These rebates should go directly to elementary school-age children themselves.

Why? Because they'd spend it, that's why. I'd say my two sons (fourth and third grade) are fairly typical in this regard. Money doesn't just burn a hole in their pocket. It opens a howling vortex in space itself, sucking them irresistibly toward Shananigan's Toy Store.

Buying stuff makes their synapses dance a happy rumba. Planning to buy stuff is almost as good. They'll spend hours debating such questions as: Which is better, the Mission to Mercury Omnicruise Space Borer, or the Knights of the Hexagaon Battle Bow Tower Set?

By contrast, some of the tax rebate checks now flowing to US adults will get saved, lessening the stimulus effect on the economy. Some will just be forgotten. One of my friends told me he'd received his rebate and that it totaled $11.61.

I asked him what he was going to use the check for. "Scratch paper," he said.

Other arguments for Kid Cash include:

1. It would spread happiness. True, for the average third-grader, the glow from a new Bionocle lasts only about seven minutes. But when was the last time a letter from the IRS made you feel good for longer than that?

2. It would be cheap. Eleven bucks may not seem like a lot to an adult with a mortgage, but to kids – my kids anyway – it would rate as a treasure of rare value. They'd see no irony in a movie titled "Indiana Jones and Next Week's Allowance."

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