A New PracticalDad Paradigm:  Think Locally, Buy Locally

The economic events of the past year have caused the PracticalDad and spouse to not only rethink the uses of credit, but also the targeted use of spending when we do choose to spend.  In a nutshell, spending your economic stimulus check for a new TV is meaningless for the country since the money ultimately flows to Korea or Japan.  If you do spend, try to assure that it goes to your neighbors or countrymen first.

One of my wife’s comments challenges the view that Walmart is good for America.  How can it be really good for America if all of the manufacturing profits on goods sold flows overseas?  How does that help my own countrymen?

Ah yup.  I can’t say it better myself.

The PracticalDad family has long tried to control credit use, and is adapting to the new reality of Pay-as-you-go.  But we moved to a newer home in the past year and have consistently planned to finish the basement, paying it with cash.  The day that we signed the contractor’s contract was during the week of Wall Street hell and stroking a deposit check required a serious gut-check.  As we discussed the project later that night, we found that we’d had similar thoughts regarding the project.  One of those was that in this environment, if we had money to spend, we wanted to assure that it went to local people who would benefit from the money.  It wouldn’t go to improve the living standards of someone in another country.  And if we have to purchase bathroom fixtures, we’d like to purchase the products of American companies providing wages to American employees.  So we’ll be looking at American manufacturers.

Racist or nationalistic?  Not really.  We’ve purchased foreign products when they were a compelling buy, but as we age, we begin to understand that we are, in a sense, neighbors who have to support one another when the opportunity arises.  We understand that domestic products are liable to be more expensive than some imports, but it’s our responsiblity to look beyond our immediate checkbook to the support of our larger society.  And if the quality isn’t there, then we will elsewhere.

So our cash burn in the next two months will skyrocket as we move forward with the project.  But local electricians, plumbers and contractors will also benefit.

And if Walmart is so great about saving Americans money, it’s only to make up for the fact that the typical American is poorer for all of the manufacturing sent overseas.


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