Jane Yazzie: New jobs are good for the county, budget

To the editor:

New jobs in Moffat County are good news for us and for the local budget, and having a job enables a person to become a shopper at local businesses. However, having buying power from a Wal-Mart salary would be limited when workers might have to pay for extra shoes, clothing, child care and phone service. An August report about 130,000 new jobs in America and in early summer also stated that average hourly wages were increased by about $84 a year for a Wal-Mart worker to spend. In other words, most of us need discount stores because, even if employed, we have limited buying power beyond our living necessities.

Why are most of us lifetime discount shoppers? The U.S. minimum wages, not increased since the late 1980s, and better-than-minimum wages seldom improved, plus underfunded public services, and higher rent, food and fuel costs have turned one of every seven or eight of us into poverty (37 million of us by the Labor Day CNN report). Giant discount stores, knowing we are desperate for their low prices, figure out how to make us and our towns more and more reliant on them, and their primarily method is to force local businesses, who sell what the discounters sell, to close.

Discount chains require their suppliers (mostly non-American) to cut and cut costs, so the chains can buy their stock cheap and thus undersell local American competition. Our local businesses can seldom be in a pack of bulk buyers dealing for the cheapest supplies to offer us in their stores, and, even if they want to improve their local businesses or be open more hours, they have no national company to underwrite the costs of improvement.

Moffat County is now studying its most natural tourism qualities, its history, its relative lack of pollution, the value it has of not being the same as any other town on a traveler’s route, and it has practiced wariness with boom and bust instability. To find work for our unemployed and underemployed to offer work at wages that would allow us to support each other’s businesses and do so without resorting to a Wal-Mart type center is the challenge. What a record we could make for ourselves in the America of many Wal-Marts if we could figure out how to do it. People would travel to see such a place, and it would be filled with old and new local businesses, rather than with an economy always appearing to be drying up behind closed business doors.


Jane Yazzie

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