We have a capitalist system in the US. Sure, there is plenty to bemoan, no system is perfect. But the beauty of capitalism is that every person who spends money has a voice.
Do you spend it? Every day?
Then you are actively exercising your right to vote. I am guessing you are voting every single day, but do you realize it?
Let’s break it down.
Businesses are trying to make a profit. No profit = no business.
Profit is what is left after all expenses have been paid. Expenses include Taxes (federal, state, local, school district, property, sales), Unemployment (whether it’s used or not), labor, product, business insurance, marketing, rent, utilities, office supplies, equipment, maintenance, and so on.
Profit = Sales – Expenses
As the market, we drive the price of the sale. If we purchase an item we tell the business that we 1) want the product or service and 2) are willing to pay that price for it. If we do not purchase the company knows they have a failed product or an undesirable price point.
Now that we all understand the basic (very basic, simplified) structure of our economy lets address a few of the major concerns we hear regularly.
Big bad businesses send US production/manufacturing jobs overseas
The complaint: Many people want to bring production back to the US. We hear grumbling that greedy corporations have sent our jobs overseas to save money.
The fact: Labor is cheaper overseas and therefore businesses do save money by doing this.
The why: Each year the expenses (see the incomplete list above) of running a business increase, just as the cost of living does for non-business owners. Some years there are big jumps in expenses, such as mandatory minimum wage increases. When this happens, businesses must look at ways to save money or face the possibility of failing. If you review the list of expenses, most of those are not negotiable (taxes, insurance, etc.). Companies often try to increase the price of the item to offset the increase in expenses.
This is where you get to vote. Are you willing to pay more for the same item?
If yes, great the business can continue the same as before.
If no, then the business must figure out another way to survive.
Federal minimum wage is the US is $7.25/hour and in some states as high as $15/hour. If labor is 70% less in another country moving the production operation overseas could make all the difference in staying in business.
Walmart is destroying local small business
Just like any business, Walmart is driven by the market. The market is you, you vote with your dollars.
If you choose to shop at Walmart you are voting to keep Walmart in your neighborhood. Walmart would not stay in business if no one voted for them.
If instead, you choose to shop at local small businesses, then you are voting to keep small businesses in your neighborhood.
How will you vote?
You hold the power in your billfold/purse, wield it in a way that aligns with your personal values. Make an informed, conscious vote with each dollar spent. We all have the power to make change, it just requires action. If enough of us move in the same direction we will change the landscape of our neighborhoods. How will you make a difference today?
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