“Occupy Wall Street” is a protest against the concentration of wealth among the privileged few. This concentration has only been made possible by the flow of wealth from our communities to the centers of economic power. Whether you agree with the protests or not, the results of this net outflow of money affect us all: job losses in the local economy, local entrepreneurs suffering, the weakening of our communities.
A more positive alternative? “Occupy Main Street,” and demonstrate your support for our local businesses and financial institutions. Let’s keep jobs in our own communities, by keeping our dollars local, especially during the holiday season.
Studies consistently show that doing business with locally-owned financial institutions, retail businesses, service providers, and others, results in more local jobs, stronger community-based organizations, and even lower taxes. Out-of-state corporations pay fewer – or no – local taxes, and generally give less locally. We make up the difference from our own pockets.
Every time you do business with a corporate behemoth instead of a locally-owned business, you contribute to the concentration of wealth away from our communities – enabling the very problems they’re protesting on Wall Street. Every time you buy from a box store or a faceless online vendor instead of from your neighbors, you send jobs away from our community. Every dollar you spend is a vote, and your choices are to vote for a strong local economy, or for making Montana, once again, a “colony” to the corporations located far away.
I urge you to “occupy” Main Street businesses – and spend some money while you’re there. When the money stops flowing to Wall Street, the protesters can all go home, and our local economy will flourish.