I sat down this evening to watch a 20/20 anchoress grill the new CEO of GE on corporate responsibility, evading taxes and job creation. It was a fascinating interview, ending with the face of GE asking why Americans didn’t route for him/them as “Germany roots for Siemens and Japan roots for Toshiba.” He believes that if given a tax vacation, American companies would create jobs, even though a previous, similar experiment failed to produce those results.
Then, as I attempted to catch up on my bloggy news (all 172 unread posts), I came across Late Enough’s public service announcement: Someone Needs To Tell The American People: Corporations Don’t Care. I’m generally unfamiliar with this march on Wall Street (though I’ve seen some pictures and am beginning to connect the dots), and I don’t necessarily share all of her views, her post – complete with fantastic graphic – is worth a gander. It might not leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling toward American corporations, so when you leave there, do a little google search on “Starbucks and stateside microeconomics”. Time reported that Starbucks is now putting out tip jars to invite customers to join with it in helping cure the American economy by an attempt at micro-economic loans for stateside small businesses.
All this caught my attention ever since I posted about my connection between parenting and politics. I said, and I quote (whoa… what is the protocol around self-quoting?): Change begins with you, my friend. I didn’t think much about it until my cousin quoted that line and shared it on facebook (see? I was actually quoting a quoter. Totally legit). I hadn’t intended on making some brilliant political insinuation, but upon reflection, I had. And I believe it more now than when I, albeit accidently, wrote it.
On the eve of a big – if you ask me, potentially game changing – election, I think We the People need to engage in some healthy self-reflection on the topic of change. What have we asked of our leaders? And how have we gone about being, as my smarter-than-me friend puts it, “part of the solution rather than part of the problem”?
We want jobs. We want economic relief. We want change. But what are we wiling to do – to change – to get there? On a macro- and micro- level our country has asked our elected representatives to do something that we ourselves are not willing to live. We’re asking them to fill the pool without offering a foot of hose; in essence leaving them at the mercy of the rain gods. We’re too smart – too innovative – of a country to believe that’s where solutions come from.
My list of excuses centers around: but what can I do? I’m just one person. I can’t create a job. I can’t hire someone. I can barely afford to purchase locally grown food to support the farmer down the road, let alone offer a loan to a start-up business.
But I can put a dollar in the tip jar to partner with a huge corporation in an endeavor to make change. I can, as a shareholder in any publicly traded company, give some voice that perhaps bottom line isn’t the only consideration – if we want to see long term gains, the company should be investing in people. And, as previously mentioned, there’s power in the dollar. Until GE wants to jump in with us to try to make change in the landscape of American jobs, perhaps I’ll look elsewhere for my major household appliances. We can “buy American” all we want, but before patting ourselves on the back perhaps we should ask if that company is hiring Americans. In this vein, I could write a separate but similar post about why I buy Honda.
So here’s to stepping up to the plate. With much hope, these gains in the world of small businesses will set afire a new collaboration of local businesses, all investing in one another, to create a new economy.