Who’s Thinking About the Consumers?

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Harvey D. Kart

On Tuesday, the stock market dropped another 265 points as mounting concerns about the U.S. Economy continues to worry Wall Street. This is the 8th straight day the stock market has tumbled since October 2008.

One reason experts often cite for the declining markets is the fact that we do very little manufacturing in the U.S.—probably about 10% of businesses focus on manufacturing. That means if you are in manufacturing or exporting business, you’re probably having a good year. If you are in the banking environment, you’re also having a great year. If you’re an attorney in a big law firm, you’re having an over-the-top year.

Apparently, not everyone is having a great year.

A press release came across my desk about how it’s also a tough time to be a physician. According to the release, “Not only are they facing the coming effects of healthcare reform, which is placing considerable challenges on their ability to effectively practice medicine and maintain a viable medical practice.  The economy has severely impacted their ability to save and retire.”  I also read that superstar athletes are having a “tough time.”  Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are renegotiating their salaries to help with their teams’ salary caps.

Let’s get real for a moment.

It’s the small businesses that continue to struggle. Whether they manufacture a product or are in the service industry, a majority of small businesses have already gone through the past year by cutting costs and trying to figure out how to generate more business. I’ve always felt that it’s the small businesses that truly drive the economy. When they can bounce back and bring the consumers out from hiding, only then will Main Street bounce back.

Like other business people, I had been watching a lot of the news fairly intently leading up to the debt ceiling vote. Now that’s it over, I’m listening to experts debate who won and lost. I hear both sides also talk about how horrible the agreement is.  But no one is talking about the general public, and I find it frustrating.

No one wants to talk about spending cuts will affect them. Small business employees are maybe making $12-$15 per hour and they probably haven’t had a raise in a couple years.  Many of these employees are also recent graduates who have over $100,000 in student loans. And they have to turn on the TV and see politicians argue about everything except for job creation. They have to hear how Peyton renegotiated for $90 million. Where are our priorities? Along with decreased consumer spending, we still have a struggling housing market and local governments cutting essential services for the public.

How does this all make sense? We need to bring back focus on the American people. We need to figure out ways to create more manufacturing jobs and generate more business for small companies. We need to figure out how to bring consumers out from hiding.

It all comes back to Washington and the choices they are making. I’m not pointing blame towards anyone or any party. Too much of that is happening already, further distracting us. I’m not looking for all the rich people to give the poor all of their money. But I wish all of these rich, wealthy, and well-educated business leaders and politicians would at least be dealing with the problem of job creation and helping small companies generate more business. You have all of these smart people in Washington who are voted into office to solve the problems this country. Yet all we see is them spending all of their time distracted from dealing with everything but the critical issues.

I really do hope something changes soon. All we can do right now is wait and hopefully cooler heads will ultimately prevail.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

3 COMMENTS

  1. As a small business owner I can confirm the affects of the economy. We have just cut hours or pay, again. I really cannot understand why we cannot get business men or women in government to operate government like a business. But I am not in politics so maybe that is too elementary.
    It is disheartening to see consumer confidence continue to idle or decline.

  2. This article is well written and seems to be objective and impartial. I agree that if we did more manufacturing in the U.S. that would help and of course as a small business owner myself, I truly wish that more attention would be paid to how to make sure we all keep thriving.

    Shilonda Downing
    Virtual Work Team LLC

  3. The financial sector and markets are effecting every one, especially our field of real estate. I hear today, in the UK where I am from they are yet again cutting money from the armed forces. Stewart (blogging group)

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