One thing that kills me is when people get mad and decide to take away their business from something. Generally, it only comes to my attention when it goes to a ridiculous extreme.
This time, however, I saw it in Dan Beard’s commentary in last Thursday’s newspaper. Because he’s unhappy with the election results and because he doesn’t think the next four years will go over well, he said he’ll hunker down and not spend any more money than what is absolutely necessary.
I don’t quite follow the reasoning — to protest the federal government, he’s not going to put any of his money into the local economy. My issue with this is that locally spent money mostly stays local.
By buying local goods and services, you do, in most instances, pay a state sales tax. While 6.25% goes to the state, the remaining 2% gets cycled back into the community — the federal government doesn’t collect money on the transaction between consumer and business. The federal government is in the background, taxing a business’s income, taxing payrolls and so forth, but to take a swing at the federal government through the economy, it’s the local businesses and people who will suffer first.
Most money spent locally stays local. When you buy a gift basket at Wicked Apple, you help keep people employed and you are helping your fellow community members stay afloat. Not only that, but the cycle perpetuates. If a local business does well, then they can afford to spend their money locally. Buying soap or veggies or art at the Downtown Farmer’s Market means that person can afford to buy dance lessons for their daughter at a local studio, which in turn helps that businessperson afford to re-do their floors using a local contractor who can get his teeth fixed at a local dentist.
I suppose an economic swing can be taken at the federal government by not paying income taxes, but that runs the risk of serving time in a federal prison.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of local families are hurting. People who are working reduced hours or who have been let go will have a lean Christmas. I talked a couple of weeks ago with Major Frankco Higdon of The Salvation Army, and he expects a large rise in the number of people asking for help this holiday season. Buying locally helps everyone in the community. Donations to local organizations go a long way as well.
Protests should be meaningful and direct with little to no collateral damage. The suggestion that local spending will or should dry up because voters in other parts of the country chose a different candidate for federal office will only have collateral damage. It’ll actually hurt local people more — your neighbors, friends, church family and anyone working to build this community.