Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We are not islands

Time and again we are told that we have to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, by ourselves, for ourselves, yet that is the exact same system that has been in place for decades and is in fact not working. The ideas put forth by the Republican Party are based on feeling no loyalty to anyone or anything; do only for yourself in everything all the time and let everyone else fall by the wayside. Within this “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” belief system, the person who fails is considered lazy – therefore it is okay if he starves to death or dies from disease if he cannot afford healthcare.

That is a grim picture of the world – a dog eat dog viewpoint – one that is full of suffering and strife for millions of our citizens.

Middle class spending is the engine of our economy. But the middle class is losing ground with the typical family's take-home pay now at 1996 levels. Businesses are tied to the middle class, whether through direct sales and services or indirectly through government contracts paid for with our tax money. If the middle class is squeezed and refuses to spend what little resources they have left, then business profits will fall. It becomes a non-ending downward cycle.

Instead of trying to reach your business goals using people as stepping stones within a mountain of suffering humanity, what would it be like to realize how connected to one another we truly are – and how connected businesses are to the general welfare of the public. It is time for small businesses to hire people in a concerted effort to bring down the unemployment numbers so the middle class will feel secure enough to start spending again. No matter which party is in power, government can only do so much with tax cuts, small stimulus packages, etc.

It is businesses, both big and small, that will pull this economy out of the doldrums by their willingness to stop sitting on trillions of dollars of cash and, instead, investing it in American workers.

We are not islands within our own nation; nor is our nation an island within the world. We are all tied together and integral to each other’s survival. Only when we act in a manner where we acknowledge, strengthen, and participate in that connection will we fix the "middle class squeeze."