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

Quick vs. Best

A man goes to prison and the first night while he’s laying in bed contemplating his situation, he hears someone yell out, “44!” Followed by laughter from the other prisoners.

He thought that was pretty odd, then he heard someone else yell out, “72!” Followed by even more laughter.

“What’s going on?” he asked his cellmate.

“Well, we’ve all heard every joke so many times, we’ve given them each a number to make it easier.”

Oh,” he says, “can I try?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
So, he yells out “16!” There was dead silence in the cell block. He asks the older prisoner, “What’s wrong? Why didn’t I get any laughs?”

“Whoa man,” said the older man, Racism is nothing to joke about.”

This story clearly illustrates the danger of quick assumptions.  I think a lot of us are like the new prisoner, we are fast to jump in before taking the time to discover what really is going on. 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 rural 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.

When 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 investing in new businesses – or growing an existing business. They grow that business – and employ people to do the work or service the customers – creating paychecks.

Sysco (the Sysco that is larger than both FedEx and John Deere) recently made a rather large investment in Tama County through Iowa Premium Beef. And as of today we have 515 more paychecks than we did before they came.

The quick assumption that was made by a couple of communities about housing was NIMBY (not in my backyard). They claimed it was a great project, but it should be somewhere else. Careful what you ask for. Somewhere else could truly mean some other community outside of Tama County.

We do not need a quick assumption on this matter. What we need is the best solution. I believe we should do everything in our power to promote quality housing for the new employees and their paychecks. If we don’t, the workforce will work here and live somewhere else – spending their paychecks in other communities and helping other communities’ downtowns grow and prosper.


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