Shopping is one way we can help economy

President Bush was widely mocked for saying this, but he was right: Keep shopping.

He was asked, while the country last teetered on recession, what ordinary Americans could do in the wake of 9/11. I think what he meant was not to let fear get the best of us, to live our lives. I doubt he intended for us to be oblivious to the world outside, although admittedly it can be hard to tell with this guy.

I took his remarks as don't let a few lucky terrorists take us down.

If most of us have come years later to take the grind in Iraq as routine, somewhere else, the economy is a different matter altogether. This one has hit home in Northern Nevada, and Douglas County has proven far from immune.

Economic cycles run up and down, booms and busts and bubble bursts and all that. The difference between these cycles? Consumer confidence. That's why Realtors and retail folks sometimes rail at the press for scaring people out of their patriotic duty.

So what can "ordinary" people do to turn the economic tide? That's right, go shopping. Trite, maybe, but also true.

The economy is down, not gone. Most of the working people still have jobs. We're still borrowing money, still buying homes, and if you have a teenage daughter of a certain age, spending a bit too much on a prom dress that can only be a bit too revealing for your baby.

I'll carry this advice a step further. If you believe in the virtues of living in a strong community and the value of a high quality of life: Shop locally.

Where do you think the lion's share of support for community service projects, children, seniors, and all the various worthy fundraisers comes from?

Where we shop matters well beyond the products and services we purchase. Driving for the best deal can mean steep costs that we ignore to our peril, and I'm not talking about the rising price of gas.

Residential taxes don't cover the bill for government's services. That's partly why you might see county commissioners get excited about companies moving to town, sometimes even helping with start-up costs. The tax bounty from business is far richer than what residents can deliver.

Whether legislators make the best decisions in their ceaseless quest to improve the tax base is another story, of course. But generally, their hearts are in the right place. I'll give them that.

The business community's footprint goes well beyond the tax bill and even the fundraisers. Most of us work for a business, and the mere presence of thriving stores and restaurants and such has a lot to do with a town's identity.

So yeah, I favor buying locally out of pure self-interest. I'll help our businesses in an admittedly small way, and they'll help me and you by helping make this place where we live that much better through their taxes, their donations and their presence.

Keep shopping.

If only the war were this simple.

n Don Rogers, publisher of The Record-Courier, can be reached at 782-5121, ext. 208, or


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