Romney squeezes out the little guys
October 7, 2012
Romney a “job creator”? Supporters claim that the building of Staples and other businesses in which he had a hand prove he “creates” jobs. One simple fact puts the lie to these claims.
The office-supply business in not new. Individuals and small businesses bought their supplies for years from small local businesses. Larger businesses bought their supplies from distributors. There is a relatively stable market, year to year, in the amount of sales in office supplies.
What Staples and Office Depot have done, along with big-box stores like Home Depot and Walmart, is to capture a bigger share of the existing market. By building bigger stores, beating down the suppliers for lower prices and reducing the number of employees who work for lower wages, they drive the old local stores out of business. Now, fewer people work in office-supply retailing.
So instead of more small, local businesses and more total employees making decent wages, you have large national businesses that take the profit out of the local community and give it to the 1 percent that are the stockholders and debt holders of businesses like Staples.
Local communities are so driven to attract these big-box stores that they compete by lowering the property taxes and fees. In Glenwood, customers are paying increased sales taxes to pay back the developers’ expenses. That is a public subsidy for private profit, otherwise known as “corporate welfare.” Wages at Walmart stores around the country are so low that many workers must get food stamps from the government to make ends meet. They are in the Romney 47 percent that he has no time for.
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A company in Freeport, Ill., called Sensata is being closed, and the machines are being sent to a new plant in China. The company makes sensors for cars and is profitable. About 170 people are losing their jobs. Bain Capital is the owner. That is the business founded by Mitt Romney and from which he still receives payments. The CEO was reported to say that it was in the “best interests of the shareholders.”