Go into any one of the 2,600 Wal-Mart stores and 485 Sam's Clubs, and you'll see banners inviting you to cash your tax rebate check for free, exchange your rebate check for a "shopping card" for future purchases or present your rebate check at the cashier to cover your purchases.

It's the American way. But despite a wrenching decline in new investment cash moving into mutual funds this year, the nation's investment industry has been strangely silent about reaching for the $38 billion in checks of up to $600 that taxpayers are receiving from the government.

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