February 26, 2013
“After all, the chief business of the American people is business.”
This is one of President Calvin Coolidge’s most famous quotes, spoken during an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1925.
That statement is just as true now as it was in 1925.
Here in the Elkin-Jonesville community, many of our local businesses are run by business owners of relatively modest means.
Among our local businesses, some of them will struggle to make a profit this year, and others may have to close down. Many of the people working for businesses in this area prefer to live unassuming lives, attending church on Sundays, donating to non-profits, and helping coach little league games. Many may not think their lives are very exciting.
Nonetheless, it’s people like these who help move the economy forward. Contrary to what the media may seem to tell us, it’s not the president of the United States nor the chairman of the Federal Reserve who can make the economy grow. The president may choose to try to raise or cut taxes, to borrow more money, or to revamp the tax code. The chairman of the Federal Reserve may choose to redeem or sell more Treasury bills. They certainly can affect the economy, and in the past they’ve made some harmful decisions.
But neither of them are the ones who make products or offer services. They’re not the ones providing groceries, hearing aids, shoes, cards, or medicine. They’re not the ones who will come and fix your car, repair your roof, rid your computer of a virus, cut down and remove a dead tree, or landscape your lawn.
We may sometimes complain that their rates are too high, or that their service isn’t as good as we wanted, or that their shop isn’t open long enough. But they’re the ones who actually provide us our goods and services. The beauty of our system is that they need to constantly work on making their goods or services more affordable or improve the quality of their product. Their only other alternative is to eventually go out of business.
Without these businesses, we wouldn’t be able to have jobs in this area, and we wouldn’t be able to pay our police officers, teachers, or public servants. Academic institutions would be virtually worthless if we didn’t have businesses offering jobs.
The jobs of these business leaders are often difficult, but their expectations are high. Their owners want them to grow profits, and if they own the business themselves they need to grow profits so they can feed their families and keep up with inflation. The employees want higher wages and better benefits, the customers want lower prices and higher quality, non-profits want donations, the community wants them to offer more jobs, and government entities want more taxes to pay for services.
Some of us may have been misled in recent years, as many government officials – especially those in Washington, D.C. – act as though they’re the ones who provide us the goods and services. They think they need to take care of our health insurance, automobiles, banks, and even houses.
Don’t be mistaken: the local businesses in Elkin and Jonesville understand what we need better than any bureaucrat ever will. They may not know as much about public policy, nor will they dress in suits as much, but the total sum of their knowledge is much more than the knowledge of a few smart bureaucrats.
For that reason, it’s an honor for us here at The Tribune to once again sponsor the annual Readers’ Choice “Best of the Best” awards. The Readers’ Choice competition is The Tribune’s annual contest, in which readers and members of the community can vote on the best businesses in their industry. Anyone in the community can vote. Visit our website online, click on the “Best of the Best” button to the right, and then sign up for free in order to vote.
The contest will go through the end of March, and the winners will be announced early in April.
We cannot recognize every single business in the community, but we’re honored to recognize some of the best of the best.