You’re the winner! What will you do?

Published 12:41 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quick, you’ve just won a $10 million sweepstakes. What will you buy first?

The possibilities are almost endless, aren’t they? But, unfortunately, such decisions are only truly offered to a handful of the select few — we’ll just call them lucky.

For millions of the rest of us, we mostly live paycheck to paycheck. Every penny counts. When the price of milk and bread goes up at the grocery store, we feel it. When the cost of a gallon of gas topped $3 per gallon, we swallowed hard and did the numbers on how it would affect our pocketbooks.

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Well, your friendly federal government has stepped up to the plate to offer some assistance.

Many Americans will begin getting a mini-sweepstakes in the mail this week as the federal government’s “economic stimulus plan” begins to take effect.

Millions of Americans will receive what are, in effect, tax kickbacks in the amount of up to $600 for individuals and up to $1,200 for couples.

We’ll ignore for a moment that the stimulus plan — on the national level — is only adding to the ever-growing federal debt. On Monday, the total outstanding public debt amassed a staggering $9.3 trillion. For those of you with an interest, dividing the debt by the population shows that each citizen’s share is approximately $30,000.

But we digress.

Many of you are about to receive “free” money from the government. We hope you’ll do one of three things with the money. Either pay down your own personal debt, save the money or buy something locally.

If enough of us do the latter, the stimulus plan might actually work. Money spent here in our community will roll over several times and truly make a difference in our local economy.

It may not be the $10 million sweepstakes win, but it’ll be equally powerful for our local businesses.