Monday, May 18, 2009

Bye American?

I read an interesting article at The Daily Beast today that mentioned provisions for American businesses getting bail outs, and how badly the "Buy American" concept is actually capable of hurting American businesses (read article here. The problem, of course, is that it's easy to toss out slogans and feel-good campaigns, and it's easy for politicians to think up what concepts will get them the most credit for "trying hard" in order to get elected. It's much harder to spend time thinking and researching and being intelligent... so they just don't bother a lot of the time. We all suffer from it every once in a while. We're all fools for it.

So, what's the key? Buy local.

Honestly, if you want the economy to pick up, you need to buy locally. Granted, if you're willing to go out and spend some cash, period, it makes a difference, but the local area shopping is what will make the difference. If Subway charges you five dollars for a foot long, and the local deli charges you $6.50, you are actually doing more damage to your local economy by saving the buck and a half (not to mention that your local deli will have better supplies, it will taste better, and you'll get far better service). Consider this: the local deli employs local people, and the more money that they make, the more money can be used to hire more local people. Local delis buy at least some of their supplies from local merchants - farms, bakeries and so forth; even larger distributors are more likely to be within an hour or two, as opposed to Chicago to New York.

The more money and business that a local business can make, the more local employees they can hire, the more local money that there is to spend on other local vendors - and even the big boys - which also leads to excess funds to be used for movies, plays, vacations, new cars and so forth. Spending local helps. I'm not going to cry that Wal-Mart of Home Depot are evil. They are far from it, in fact. If you live in a small town, however, consider how much savings you actually have by going off to a big box store that is a few miles away, or buying local.

Try spending local. Try helping out the neighborhood. Try helping to lift the economy. Besides, it's kind of neat to become a regular. Nothing like everybody knowing your name.

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