I have come up with a fool-proof plan to re-invigorate the American economy and thus save the international financial system. It is so simple, so obvious, and so perfect.
The key is to target a tiny, but critical segment of the economy that leads to a ripple effect that extends to other critical sectors.
No government outlays are necessary, the key is very simple. Congress should immediately mandate daily (or more) show and tell sessions for all school children: preschool through college - graduate school will be exempted.*
What will that do?
Typical households will quickly run out of things to show, necessitating continual purchases of toys, stuffed animals, souvenirs, knick-knacks, collectibles, baubles and other somewhat interesting items to be discussed at circle-time.
Thanks to the explosion of China as a manufacturing power, tchotchkes are less expensive then ever before in human history - so this would cause undue fiscal hardship on only a small percentage of families. For those families that had trouble purchasing a steady stream of doo-dads a modest financial aid program, perhaps modeled on food stamps could be initiated.
Again, what will that do?
The point of the program is not to stimulate small manufacturing (in China) although that would be a useful by-product. As families found their homes flooded with a never ending flow of objets d'show'n tell they would need larger and larger homes. They would begin looking into expanding their living quarters, taking advantage of the depressed housing market. Soon, home sales and new home starts would begin to rise. This is the crucial element of the economy that needs a jump start.
What if people just ignore the "Show & Tell Act of 2008"?
No law is effective without enforcement, and the most effective enforcement in this case is that students who fail to bring something in for show & tell will be dismissed from school for the day. This guarantees that parents will make sure their children bring something to show.
This plan is too late to help either candidate win the election. But whoever wins should build a bi-partisan coalition to enact this low-cost policy, with almost no downside.
A highly skilled visionary will be needed to oversee this complex, revolutionary, and essential program - and I know just the graduate student in public policy to run it.
*I'm in graduate school. Isn't my macro-economics class serving me well?