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Article published February 20, 2013
Big stores hurt many
Charles K. “Kip” Steckman Connoquenessing Township
It’s not a Republican or Democrat problem. Our economy is our country’s problem. You don’t hear much said about it, but I think this has a lot to do with our failing economy: The big box stores are ruining our economy by putting all of our caring small-business owners out of business. Think about it. If you had a passion for something and wanted to start a small business to keep your family employed, what would it be? A gasoline station? No, there’s already Sheetz, GetGo, BP, etc. Would it be a hardware store or a home improvement, paint, carpet, lawn and garden, appliance or electrical store? No, Lowe’s and Home Depot have all of that covered. My point is, people would be hard-pressed to find a small business still around in any of those fields. Smaller businesses are being shut down by large companies that are enjoying favorable tax rates, while their lawyers and accountants continue finding more ways for them to use the tax code to their fullest advantage. Meanwhile, the average hardworking people still are paying a much higher tax rate. When I started my business more than 23 years ago, the only help I got was from the Small Business Administration. There were no special rates or discounts and no lower taxes; the U.S. Government was just a co-signer on my loan so I couldn’t default. I am grateful for that, but that was all that was available. If I could have gotten some relief from taxes or a better rate on my loan, we would have grown a lot faster. I’ve paid Uncle Sam back for his help. I gave him 25 percent of my total income every year for the past 23 years, and he never once showed up for work. The small person will keep struggling or just give up because it’s tough to get ahead today. The wealthy are getting richer while the common person pays more than his fair share. People should keep in mind how many good jobs have been lost because of the big stores. The smaller stores employed good people who took pride in the products they sold and were knowledgeable about those products. I don’t ever remember going into a mom-and-pop store, asking a question about anything that store sold and getting the answer “Duh.” Our economy has a lot of blame to go around. Instead of pitting Republicans against Democrats, let’s do the right thing and concentrate on making our country’s economy stronger. Stop the politics and get to work.