After updating the two sites for the America the Beautiful Show project, I noticed that my page numbers are in the hundreds and thousands – that definitely needs to be fixed.
But, here is the page with a quick explanation for the project and with the schedule of shows for the event across three days – just an idea of what could be done.
The original idea conceived in 2008 – was to meet a specific need that was and still is a problem. The vast number of people unemployed, businesses that have gone bankrupt, houses foreclosed and communities decimated by the economic crisis have some very common problems with rebuilding their economic foundation.
One of the very most basic problems is being identified as unemployed, as bankrupt, as economically challenged (for a community, in particular). That means – when hiring happens, they aren’t starting there. The places with jobs want to participate where there is not a void, strangely enough. And, when going to big trade shows to encourage companies to put their businesses in a community, the thing that is left out of that presentation – is, oh by the way, everybody in our community is unemployed now and most of our business properties are sitting empty around town.
And, most businesses that are hiring, don’t want to hire people who are currently unemployed or bankrupt. They want people with good credit scores, not people whose small business went out of business. Nor do they want people who don’t have a job now or were laid off – even if through no fault of their own. It is a way of narrowing the search from the hundreds of thousands of applicants to the few considered the “cream of the crop”.
BBC America this morning finally said, that the US unemployment might be more like 14% considering how many people have simply given up looking for work and aren’t counted any longer. However, I still say that the Labor Department figures suggest that one third of our employable population is in jails, prisons, institutions, and not employed obviously. And, the admitted numbers of 58% employment rate for those of employment age known to be employed.
One hundred percent subtracting 58% – doesn’t give an unemployment rate of 9 point anything percent. Not to mention that the unemployment figures that are used by the news and politicians and just about everybody – are not using the additional figures of disabled people who would like to work, those having to come out of retirement in order to afford to live, the people who stopped interacting with the labor department after their searches yielded no work in the last two years or longer, the people who have part time jobs and can’t pay their bills as a result, the people in jails, institutions and prisons that don’t have jobs and have to work somewhere when they re-enter communities and the vast numbers of business owners whose businesses went bankrupt and are unemployed – who aren’t counted either.
Those facts and my personal experiences of not knowing the exactly right name of programs that could help or where to find them, led me to the idea that there is a common need for the communities to reach out to their own people and bring everyone together with a sense of that community participation along with sharing the information that would be useful in rebuilding their economic future with everyone as they do that.
It is one thing to tell people where the foodstamp office is located. It is another to say that if you aren’t going to afford to drive your car and walk to the store for groceries instead – you are going to need a different pair of shoes and approach clothing, carrying those groceries and the weather a lot differently. And, it is something much needed, to say – hey, look – these companies are not going to hire unemployed people and they may not hire anybody for the next three years anyway – so your economic survival has to depend on something else like creating your own business of some kind.
Then, I noticed two years ago that many people and officials and business organizations didn’t say to the public that there wouldn’t be jobs available for a long period of time. And, even now – to listen to the news makes it sound like there are possibilities that may or may not actually exist when it gets right down to doing something with it – like going to job fairs or filling out applications online and at businesses’ little kiosks at their location. So, having been there myself, I thought that it would be better if people could have a lot of helpful resources in their hands immediately and at the same time which they could use to do something about it long before the economy can recover on its own – in a larger sense, regardless of what stimulus is made available. People have to eat, they have to pay their bills, they have to have clothes for their children to wear to school, among other things and in the last two years – and in the next three years, they can’t wait until the economy gets better in order to have the money to do those things and to live somewhere.
Now, selling everything on Ebay, going to the pawn shops with valuables, maxing out the credit cards, borrowing on whatever collateral is left and relying on the one working member of the household who is now working part-time for a tenth of the income that they used to make – has brought many families to this point, but that plan does not take a family or even an individual out through the next three years of this mess. Nor, does it bring an economic vitality to their communities for the foreseeable future.
I thought about changing the name of the America the Beautiful Show to America the Beautiful Information Powerhouse Show – but then that’s so close to calling it a brain trust to tap the resources of America and put them in the hands of the people that need to use them in America’s communities – maybe it all needs more thought put into it. The name will probably not be changed for simply one reason – it is memorable and once people start talking about it – which I have seen among my own family members, that’s what they end up calling it with an emphasis on what America means to all of us. It also reminds me personally of why it is important to do this.
When I made this video Animoto thing last night with photos I had taken of some empty businesses around where I live, there was something I wanted to say about the obscenity of seeing commercial properties where people used to work sitting empty and idle without cars in the parking lot – without customers coming through the doors. And, yet they sit idle at the same price they were when everything was booming which prevents anything from profitably using them now. Some of these in the photos have sat empty for well over the last two years, and yet to rent them would cost the same as if the economy were healthy and the locations were still well trafficked – which they haven’t been for durn near six years.
If I were to take photos of every empty office suite, every empty storefront, every empty car dealership, every empty small business within a five mile radius of where I live – I would have a three hour video and a list of the businesses that have gone out of businesses or moved somewhere with better opportunities would likely run for ten pages or better. It is not right.
And, then two years ago – and last week as well, I noticed that many business and communities’ leaders have an attitude of slicing the pie that many more ways with a smaller slice for everybody when presented with the idea of having more or new businesses in the area where they are. And, yet that is the only way they will have more money spent in their communities and more money coming into it for their businesses and others as well, and new employment opportunities which yield incomes for people to spend in the community – and around and around it goes. But, their thinking seems to be something exactly the opposite of that even though they would say they are all for new businesses to come into the community and having people in their community start new small and medium-sized businesses. Their actions show that their real belief is that it would simply force them to divide up an even smaller slice of an already too small pie of economic resources.
Aside from my own incompetence and the things I don’t know how to do effectively (like twitter) and working with investors, the attitude mentioned above that is held by communities’ leaders and businesses as well, is likely the one basic thing that will undermine the potential of the America the Beautiful Show project or anything else in helping these communities to rebuild the American economy from the ground up. With one hand they are saying they want a thriving business community and with the other, they are insuring the only customers are their own. It is a strange paradox.
Maybe nothing will fix that.
In many cases, in many states and local areas – entry into the business community has been made as difficult as possible to thwart startups rather than to encourage them.
I’m watching the show about Enron again – on cnbc – it is amazing that they thought it was the way to do things and seemed like it was so great to everyone involved with it, including those in business schools and government officials. What is it about business that does that?
And, it screwed up so many things for so many people . . .