NICK GLAUCH: Every consumer is a job creator, but lets be smart about it

TO THE EDITOR:

Republican strategy over the past few years has been to try and create this separate class of “job creators” – this supernatural group of people: highly educated, extremely wealthy and just smarter than the rest of us – who hold the keys to jobs for you and me. All you need to do is give up your benefits (like social security, welfare assistance, financial regulation) and lower their taxes and “voilà” jobs will come.

The reality is that any consumer (regardless of income) is a job creator. You don’t need to make more than $250,000 to be a job creator. Just buy a car or groceries, etc., and you’ll move the “demand curve” to create more jobs. In fact, since lower-income people spend more of their income on immediate consumption (not savings or investment), you get more bang-for-your buck with efforts to increase their wages, than those of higher-income earners.

The reason I say this is because we all need to acknowledge the important role our own purchasing decisions make on the wider economy. When you spend, you create jobs, and what you spend your money on drives the products and services that will be available next year and the year after.

I heard a report a few months back from a reporter in India who was carrying water something like two miles from the community well back to an Indian home, all the while having cell phone coverage. No running water, but cell phone coverage is exactly the sort of mess we can get in by going for what is cheap and easy, rather than being a “smart consumer” and buying things that are built to last, and keeping money in our communities.

Think about “smart consumption” the next time you are at the grocery store or purchasing something online. What will the company do with the money you’re giving them (PACs perhaps?), does it keep your neighbor employed?

One easy way to be a smart consumer is to check out the plastic number on the bottom. Big Rapids’ recycling center doesn’t take No. 5 plastic, so I bought stick butter in a thin cardboard box instead. Every purchase you make moves demand up for some things, down for others, and that is how markets and economies move.

We are all important consumers, all job creators and should do our part to encourage the more fair, vibrant and sustainable economy we desire.

Nick Glauch

Big Rapids

 

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