Feel-good stimulus

It’s free-money time. That’s right, those “economic stimulus” checks have started arriving, and with them a surge of incentives to lure them out of our hands.

Wal-Mart is offering to cash the checks for free (no purchase necessary), but also is marking various items, including food, at discounted prices. Sears and Kmart have gone a step further—if you hand over your check, they’ll give you a store card for your money plus 10 percent. Neato!

Not really, though. The original plan behind these economic stimulus checks was to, well, stimulate the economy. If you truly want to do that, there are a few things to think about before spending that $300 or $600 or however much you’re due.

For starters, think local. Chico is a local-minded community. We care about our neighbors and the businesses we’ve grown to love over the years. Many of them are CN&R advertisers, and without them we’d be unable to provide this newspaper every week. By giving them your business, you show that their confidence in our ability to convey their messages to you isn’t misplaced.

Besides, the money spent here that stays here has a multiplier effect that benefits everybody. So, let’s think about the local business owners, who truly need the stimulation, and the larger community interest before we sign over our government bonuses for a few extra bucks at a big-box store.