Monday, December 14, 2015

The Gift of Opportunity

Each Christmas I see more appeals for donations to the needy than the year before.  As the US economy is slowly hollowed out by globalization it makes sense that more and more people find themselves in need.   I applaud the generosity of all those who still have extra to give.  The problem is that if current trends continue next year there will be more people who need donations and fewer with extra to give.   The cause is simple - people don't have enough money because there is a shortage of jobs and an even greater shortage of jobs that pay well.

 Let's say Stan works in Milwaukee, WI making hand tools.  If enough of the wrenches and hammers and tape measures Stan helps make wind up under Christmas trees this year his factory stays open, he keeps getting paid and can afford to put presents under the tree next year.   If enough of those tools are made by Jianguo in Shanghai instead Stans's factory closes and Christmas next year looks a lot less cheerful.  Maybe there will still be Christmas dinner with the help of the local food bank.  Maybe there will be a few presents thanks to Toys-for-Tots.   However, like most Americans Stan would prefer to earn those things himself - all he really needs is an opportunity. 

As we shop for gifts for our loved ones this year we have the chance to give another at the same time – the gift of opportunity to the millions of Americans like Jim who are eager for the chance to make an honest, secure living.  We get the economy we choose and the choice is in your hands and mine.  This time of year is the most important to buy American made products because of the oversized impact the holiday shopping season has on the economy and retailers.  Businesses cannot afford to flop on holiday sales.  You don’t have to look any further than all the news reports, the commercials, the Sunday paper that’s thicker than a phonebook with ads, the sales, the promotions, the encroachment of Black Friday in Thanksgiving.   Everybody selling something is crazy to get your money right now.   What a perfect time to make a statement that says, “You can have it, but only if it was made by someone in this country.” 

The more of us there are insisting that what we buy should come from where we live the louder our message will be.


  1. Hi Michael

    I like the stuff you're writing here. I think the first step in getting people to buy American products is to find a way to get Americans to MAKE the products.

    We have been raised and taught with a very 'corporate' mindset, where a few at the top control the production at the bottom, with little say given to the bottom about what to produce, where to produce, how to produce and what to do with the profits.

    If workers owned the companies it's doubtful they'd make the decisions that the capitalists make. They're not going to outsource their jobs to Asia, pollute the environment in which they live, nor are they going to give a handful of people huge salaries and bonuses while others struggle to make ends meet.

    When a company threatens to move away if not given tax breaks and subsidies by the gov't, I say "let them go". THe gov't can use the money saved in tax breaks and subsidies to help the workers buy the company and run it themselves as their own, with an equal 1 person-1 vote democracy.

    Once enough people are a part of these large worker-directed enterprises, you'll see more people buying American products because they know the value of helping their fellow statesmen and countrymen. This would be one of many benefits of letting do of the mega-corps.

    People fear the only alternative to capitalism is a government-owned socialism. This requires little government involvement, other than the facilitation of getting started.

  2. Hello Unknown,

    I agree with your points completely. Employee ownership would go a long way towards correcting many of the economic ills in this country. I've been planning to write about it but the subject is so important that I want to build up my writing chops again, do some deep research and put out a piece of writing that anyone who reads this blog will be proud to share. Thanks for your comment. I hope to hear from you again!