Letters to the Editor

Virtues of thinking local | Federal Way letters

Hard times are hitting just about everyone. Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? In your daily life as you buy products and exchange goods and services, are you looking at what you are buying and who is getting the business? I ask because one of the things that killed the working class in the last 10 years is importing more and “outsourcing” our jobs.

The problem of course is short sighted thinking.

Did anyone look at the long-term return on investment (ROI)? At least two major companies have focused on the long-term investment in local people: Southwest and Alaskan. Both of these carriers are alive and well because they have focused on business efficiency and ROI. Their bread and butter customer base is U.S., and incidentally so are their airplanes as they only fly Boeing planes in their fleet. By buying Boeing, they help employ Americans in higher paying jobs. By doing so, these employees in turn can go on vacations, fly these carriers and help the local economy.

When a couple of the companies I worked for made the decision to outsource their tech support to places like India and Costa Rica, I asked some of the decision makers, what’s the ROI? Even though I have more of the same education, I didn’t have a lot of influence at that level of decision making, but the question is valid and a long-term intelligent one to answer.

Simply put, ROI is this: What percentage of money do you get back from what you put into something? If you own a bank in Seattle, who are your customers? What language do they speak? Easy first round of questions, right? Your customers are American and we speak English. So, if you’re pressed to make more money for your stockholders and of course you get huge bonuses paid to yourself for making more money for the bank? What would you do? Offer a better product? Offer more services? Give your customers a point break on their loans? Or do you decide to offload all your online and phone support to India? The easy way is brainless.

At first it seems like a cost saving right off, since it’s cheaper. But long term, who is it in India that has a bank account at your bank? How will your customers feel when they can’t understand your customer support team? Will someone in India use your bank’s products? (Home mortgage? Checking, savings or insurance?) Will their income go to support other local businesses that do business with you? See my point? Short-term "get rich" thinking is killing us.

Case in point. Did anyone notice the huge bank bailout? Did you see that the execs still rewarded themselves billions in bonuses with our tax money, even though their banks failed?

Maybe that’s why all your jobs are being shipped off and the unions can’t do a thing about it? No one teaches the butterfly effect. So few think about their neighbors and how their executive decisions are going to affect everyone else. Our own Congress doesn’t, or they would all commit themselves to the health care plan they are shoving down our throats. So, the next time you’re thinking about purchasing a higher priced item or getting a loan, think locally and buy from your neighbors first. Keep your fellow countrymen employed.

Frosty E. Hardison, Federal Way

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