Just this once: why not try American?

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From all indications, Congress and the President are of one mind (at most) about goosing the economy with a cash rebate to all us taxpayers. It hopes by this largesse to stem the slide toward recession, or, failing that, keep us too sated to call them to account in November.

If this comes through, I'd like to make a suggestion: let's all spend our bonus on American-made goods and services.

No, I'm not an anti-trade isolationist. I believe in the world economy. However, I'm also aware that our unemployment is growing, and our neighbors could use a job more than a handout. Money spent locally turns over many times, with cascading benefit to the community.

After all, our economic wounds are largely self-inflicted. WalMart is stocked with Chinese-made goods because we chose them at a low price over domestic goods made at a price that would afford American workers a living wage. Perhaps, just this once, we should demonstrate that we are able to look beyond our immediate gratification to the well-being of the wider community.

The sad reality is that, to find the money to fund this gift, the government will have to go hat in hand to the Chinese, the Japanese, the Saudis, who continue to bankroll our growing debt. Our economies are too intimately intertwined to entertain the notion of tariffs or other government-imposed self-discipline without opening a WTO free-for-all.

Let's not sit back and complain that Washington should do something about our trade imbalance, because the trade imbalance begins and ends with our individual choices. Let's see what happens when we choose to buy from one another. Just this once.

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