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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

What is Broken

With a whip in one hand and an electric cattle prod in the other, Pete was trying to get some yearlings to load onto the scale.  Having had enough, an 800 lb. steer turned and ran over Pete.  The other 21 head did the same, leaving Pete somewhat tamped into the ground. Several cowboys helped him up and Pete immediately began complaining loudly that he hurt every place he touched.  They rushed him to the emergency room where he was examined by a doctor.

“Doc, I’m hurt bad.  No matter where I touch, the pain is terrible.”  To prove his point, Pete touched his left arm and squealed in pain.  Then he touched his right knee and the sharp intake of breath left no doubt that the pain was intense.

Baffled, the doctor ordered x-rays.  After looking at the x-rays, the doctor returned to the examination room where Pete was anxiously awaiting the results.

The doctor said, “Pete, you’re going to need surgery.”

“Oh my,” Pete whimpered.  “Am I going to make it, Doc?”

“I think so,” said the doctor.  “You have a severely broken finger.”

This story clearly illustrates the danger that making a false quick assumption.  I think a lot of us are like Pete, we are fast to jump to a solution before taking the time to discover the root cause of the problem. We’ve all done it. Making quick assumptions, off the top of our heads comes natural to us.

On the subject of Tama County’s economy, I hear from many people that are concerned about the decline of our downtowns (and rightly so). When you look at the problem quickly, the quick logical answer is to bring in more store fronts to fill all the empty buildings. The REAL answer to solving our declining downtowns is to create JOBS that create PAYCHECKS for the residents of our county. It is the paychecks that will in turn enable people to become the all-important customers that will shop at the retail stores we have (and the additional shops that will come).

All right Heath, so how do we create more paychecks? At the most basic level it is done by people stepping out and starting their own businesses – or growing an existing business. They grow that business – and employ people to service the customers – creating paychecks.

Ron tells his story in his own words. “I started a tree and lawn care business 5 years ago and am now selling the lawn care end of things and focusing on the trees …… harder work but, more money …. I have tried to explain how easy it is to start this type of business to several of my friends, so they can do it too. I have even offered to front the money to get things rolling for them (i.e; business name … insurance … dpt. of ag registration). I can’t believe it when they don’t take me up on my offer. I guess they are afraid of physical labor. I am shocked. I have proven to them that it can be done. I have shown them that a person can make a very nice living. Part of me is grateful that most people are either too lazy or scared – more business for me. Oh yeah …… want to let you know that when I started my business I was a dishwasher at a local pizza establishment making $8.00/hr…..Now I make on average between $65.00- $200.00/hr. And yes… I BUILT IT!”

So, what do you believe… do we have a broken finger or nearly dead body??


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