Editorial: The economics of Christmas

Christmas arrived just in time to serve as an antidote to the depression that seems to have gripped our nation.

It’s not a real, fiscal depression yet, but a plethora of depressing thoughts dominates the national discussion: Big banks are threatened, big auto companies are on the brink, big retailers are losing money and big government can’t do anything about it, other than print big money and throw it in the general direction of the problem du jour.

Thank goodness Christmas is here, with its message of the birth of hope and a new beginning. Let’s lighten up and try to give birth to some positive thoughts and promote what’s best in our society.

America’s strength is its people, not its corporations. Its people are smart, innovative, hard-working and always hopeful for a better future. They’re willing to take a chance on a good idea. Bill Gates, for example, dropped out of Harvard and went to work in his garage. He’s only the best known example. Whidbey Island is home to hundreds of people who think like Bill Gates, people who have gone into business for themselves fixing cars, building homes, digging gravel, transporting others to the airport, creating art and doing a thousand other things that don’t require approval from a corporate board or favors from a government agency.

If there’s any way to put America back on track, it’s by encouraging Americans to innovate. Encourage new businesses and help those small businesses that are struggling to succeed. Time has already shown that giving billions of dollars to huge banks doesn’t do the country much good, it just assures that the comfortable will stay comfortable.

In the coming year, government at all levels should encourage the new and let the old fend for themselves. Decrease taxes on small businesses and provide loans to creative people with good ideas. Give new businesses a tax holiday of five years to help them get off the ground. Small town bankers recognize a good idea and good business plan when they see it, just make sure they lend the public’s money to good prospects instead of sitting on it. Not every loan will pay off, not every tax break will reap benefits, but enough will succeed that in just a few years the economy can be entirely remade.

Christmas is a time of new beginnings. There is hope in the world, and that hope should be nurtured by society. Fix the economy from the bottom up and watch it blossom.

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