Lane County Can Build Its Own Solution for Economy
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Joseph McKinney
It was disappointing to read another lament in The Register-Guard by someone who moved to Texas for employment (guest viewpoint, Jan. 21). It was another complaint about Eugene's liberals, lefties and hippies. For decades people have blamed them for the lack of economic vitality in Eugene, Lane County and sometimes all of Oregon.
But economic vitality is not the responsibility of those critical of commerce.
Economic health comes from successful business decision-making, stewardship and investment. The lackluster economy in Lane County is the result of undercapitalization, and without capital and leadership, our current underperforming economic dynamic will continue.
It's time to stop the blaming, take responsibility and make things better for ourselves, our children and their children. Isn't that an American value shared by all? We have a talented, educated, hard-working labor pool and natural resources. Lacking are investment capital, a cooperative spirit and leadership - but why?
One hundred years ago, when someone succeeded, the surplus from success on Main Street, milling or manufacturing was passed to a child or talented manager to seed a new venture. These surplus profits were also used for philanthropy; just look at the names on our performance halls and parks. Successful people invested their surplus in the same community where it was earned.
Today, with a simple mouse click, our investment dollars are used for speculating on multinational corporations with no ties to our community. Our surplus goes to Wall Street, not Main Street. Profitable and growing businesses from Lane County are purchased by larger, distant businesses and relocated away from Lane County. The most successful retailer from Eugene, extracting profits from this community over a 49-year period, moved its headquarters to Idaho to avoid additional taxes to fund our schools.
How do we reverse this exodus? Our attempts at recruiting business to Lane County have failed for the three years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the domino effect that had on our fragile, consumer-driven national economy. That's why we need to build the solution ourselves. Multinational corporations will not suddenly discover the Eugene-Springfield area and fund our economic growth. The federal government shouldn't be expected to do it either. …