Get Out Your Vote!
It’s voting season again. It could be argued that this year’s vote has more significant consequences than we have seen in decades. And for the first time in decades Gen Xers and Millennials will collectively have more voting power than Baby Boomers. We are slowly inheriting this world, so let’s let’s start fixing the mess by properly voting. But does it really matter who we vote for?
Consider this, whoever won in the past, did we ever see any real economic change outside of what the marketplace was already doing? No, the majority of the economic growth that our country has realized for the past 12 years has been from Corporate America rather than small businesses. This is unprecedented. The economic lifeblood of our country from the late 1800s till the 1980s has been small business, but for the past decade small business start-ups and overall investment in small business has been at an all time low, while the S&P 500 (the largest Wall Street Corporations) have realized 35% growth, the real GDP growth has been at an all-time low of just 1.4%.
Much more important than who is in office is how we engage with the marketplace and how we “vote with our dollars”.
Let’s face it, as the previous statistics indicate, the special interests have won. The current head of the FDA is the former Chief of Monsanto and Wall Street Corporations write our laws, encourage massive amounts of red tape and restrictions, so that small businesses are prevented from entering the marketplace. Banks don’t want to lend to small businesses because they know it’s not a safe bet, due to corporations controlling the market and laws. The number of small business failures, due to lack of capital or “runway” is well over 70%.
Imagine attempting to open a deli when you are surrounded by Jimmy Johns, Subway, Burger King and Taco Bell. All of these restaurants are massive entities —traded on Wall Street—with national marketing budgets. They have triumphantly won our food-spending dollars. The local chamber of commerce has a big ribbon cutting ceremony for the new McDonald’s. Your little deli opening wasn’t even recognized in the Chamber newsletter because you aren’t paying the Chamber, and there is little promise that your deli will contribute significantly to the overall tax-revenue picture (a true story).
As hungry lunch-goers flock to the new McDonald’s drive-thru these dollars are siphoned out of the local economy and are funneled to 401(K) pensions. Pensioners might ask: “Why support local, when I could be supporting my IRA by buying McDonald’s?
Under the current laws (written by special interests) we are trading pension security for future economic opportunity. If we choose the small local deli instead of Jimmy John’s, they (let’s use CytyByrd as an example) use Salt City Pedicabs to deliver their sandwiches in a partnership deal and both companies benefit. CytyByrd also uses local farmers for their veggies when available and local farmers (rather than factory farms, which supply McDonald’s) also flourish. If CytyByrd realizes profits they are reinvested in the local marketplace perhaps with a second location and more dollars circulating locally. Examine the article on Porcupine Pub at the University of Utah. They spent a small fortune using local architects and construction companies to revitalize the old fire station for their new restaurant. The community greatly benefits as an historic gem will now stand for another 50 years rather than be torn down.
For our fifth year we are encouraging residents to use this as a voting guide to begin to change our marketplace. We are calling on you to help shift our local economies away from Wall Street special interests and back to the people. History says we can’t expect to accomplish this at the ballot box, but we can accomplish this through our spending.