Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Bonuses - for Some of Us

I saw a report on NBC Nightly News that said Wall St. Christmas bonuses would be quite generous this year. Hmmm. It also said that (if I remember correctly) 66% of workers don't receive such bonuses. There was also a report in the Phila. Inquirer recently that said the South Jersey food bank was hurting because there is such a demand for food to help families make ends meet; increasingly these families are the "working poor". And I found out today that the one local "strip mall" raised the rent on the Dollar store (a Mom-and-Pop store, not a chain) so it will be going out of business. Word is that a Dollar store chain will take its place.

Why isn't it clear to everyone that our priorities are out of whack? We give lavish bonuses (and tax breaks) to the wealthy; to everyone else - just crumbs. It just keeps getting harder and harder for anyone to own their own store or small business. We're being overrun it seems with franchises and big corporations. One major concern about that is that decisions are too often made at the corporate level without knowledge of local trends. Another is that our choices are too often swallowed up as "little guys" cannot compete with the big retailers. If your favorite brand isn't one of the top sellers, well, good luck having it stay available.

Can we imagine a world where more people are economically empowered? I think it's time to start.

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