Retailers are writhing from a rough year and are now hoping for their own kind of bailout. Their proposition doesn't exactly come out and ask the government for a sum of cash, but the federal government would essentially be flexing its money muscle.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has proposed three periods of sales tax-free shopping in March, July and October 2009 that would each last 10 days. The NRF estimates the arrangement would save consumers about $20 billion ($175 per family). Because states would lose out on much needed sales tax revenue, the proposal includes a catch: The federal government would reimburse the states for money lost, and even states without sales tax would receive some federal money.

The NRF believes these measures would revive consumer confidence at a time when it's the lowest it has been in decades, and therefore ignite much needed spending. What do you think? Tell us in comments.

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