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Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2002 / 24 Shevat, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere -- A $2.13 trillion dollar budget? Totally loco. You want to beat the recession? Two words...Green Stamps.

When I was a kid, whenever we needed anything, we'd just reach for that load of Green Stamps stuffed in some non-plastic bag or drawer and start pasting them into their books, and voile...a new refrigerator. Or at least a new baseball mitt.

For those who may have been born a wee bit too late to enjoy those S&H (Sperry & Hutchinson) Green Stamp pasting evenings, when the family would get together to stick the stamps into their books, Green Stamps were what many stores offered based on how much money you spent. You would then place them into the books supplied and when you accumulated enough books, you went through the Green Stamp catalog to find some wonderful piece of merchandise. Sometimes you would get a sheet of stamps that would fill a whole page. Remember, this was pre pre-stick, Saliva Days. After fighting over who in the family would get their wish you took the pile of books down to the Green Stamp Store to trade them in for goods. Kind of like Raleigh coupons or Marlboro miles, but without the increased cancer risk Like what your kids do at Chucky Cheese with the tickets they get from the games. The return was a bit better. You didn't need ten million stamps to get a valuable dangling rubber spider.

Here's my plan. When we pay our taxes, we'd get Green Stamps back based on how much we paid in. With those stamps we get to buy things we want, from children toys to adult toys, from jelly jars to Lexus cars, from household items to houses. It would be better than cash for the economy. Putting them into our banks or under the mattress would do us no good. They'd not garner interest. We'd HAVE to spend them or they wouldn't be worth the price of a....stamp.

The stores would take their trailer loads books of stamps and use them to purchase inventory from their manufacturers. They would use them to buy equipment, parts and supplies to make their product. The suppliers would use them to buy food and other needs for their families. It's the Circle Of Life without getting Disney involved, so even Baptists could participate.

And we wouldn't have to cut taxes. Decreases in taxes would mean less stamps to the public. I wouldn't try it. Believe me, once you start giving them out, the only way to change the Green Stamp Commerce System would be to pry them from our cold, dead hands. Charleton Heston could run the whole thing.

But it wouldn't end there. Green Stamps would then be used to pay taxes. The Federal Government would use the stamps to buy tanks, planes, missile defense shields. Senators and Congressmen would be paid in Green Stamps. States would use Green Stamps to pay for roads and graft. Food stamps would be replaced by Green Stamps. Then poor people wouldn't have to be embarrassed by using them because rich people would be forced to use them too.

And just think of all the employment there would be at the tens of thousands of Green Stamp stores that would open across the country and Guam. There would probably be as many stores as Kmart or W.T. Grants or some other stores that can't exist in today's economy

I understand that S&H is still in business, but instead of stamps they give out points. That just doesn't work. You can't hold a point. You can't paste a point. You can't lick a point And a fringe benefit of the whole pasting-them-into-a-book-thing feeds right into the family value thing that political parties adore. The entire family pasting evenings would be legislated. No TV. No Nintendo. Green stamp paste would act as family glue.

As the program grows, I suggest that there be other color stamps as there were yellow, gold and blue chip stamps in the past. Competition could only enhance the stamp biz and offer the consumer choices as well as the inevitable "Make America Yellow," "America's Got The Blues" and "We Give Double And Triple Stamps Of Every Color" sales that will benefit the consumer as well as bring all peoples together. .

Now I know there will always be naysayers. Those who are going to try and find something wrong with the plan. That it's fraud or some kind of a pyramid scheme that will one day collapse like a house of Enron. Well, what if it does? As soon as it collapses, we start up another one. And when that collapses, another. We could do it forever, or at least until I'm too dead to care or able to testify.

Now how do I reach Dubya?

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002 Comment by clicking here.

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© 2001, Steve Young