Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Move Your Money, Pay Cash and Buy Local

Frustrated Americans are bankrolling bank bailouts and funding bonus checks for CEOs with poor performance appraisals, but what can we do about it? How can we voice our anger and frustration? The federal government thinks these banks are “too big to fail.”

Arianna Huffington and her cohorts have given us a way to demonstrate our frustrations. If these non-performing banks are “too big to fail,” make them smaller by moving our money out. The Move Your Money campaign began in December 2009 and has taken off through social media and the Internet. At least two Examiners have encouraged their audiences in Newark and LA to move their money.

For Tucson, I’d encourage people to not only move their money to sound local banks or credit unions but also to buy local and pay cash. These three simple strategies can help us invest in our community and our local businesses.

More money stays in your community if you bank locally and buy locally. The Local First movement has been progressing across the country, with chapters in many state and cities. Yes, Tucson has Starbucks, Target, Safeway, and national chain retail stores, but we also has Epic Cafe, Yikes Toys, several farmers’ markets, and Bohemia. Shopping and dining locally makes economic sense. The Local First Tucson website lists locally owned businesses in every service category. Forty-five cents of every dollar you spend stays in Arizona, when you buy from Arizona businesses.

Pay cash is my third piece of advice. Why pay cash? Because it costs you and the retailer money when you pay with a debit or credit card. Retailers pay 2-5% of the purchase price to the card company when you use a VISA, MasterCard, American Express or other debit or credit card. Two percent of a $10 purchase is only 20 cents. Multiply 2% by millions of transactions each day across the world, and you realize that card companies are making truckloads of money– even before they start charging you interest, annual fees, late fees, or ATM fees for the convenience of using cards. Check out the New York Times video that opened my eyes the insane amounts of money that are being made by cards companies– particularly VISA, the industry leader. Cards are much more convenient than checks or cash, but we are paying dearly for that convenience.

How do we survive in tough economic times and still foster growth locally? Pull money out of those free-loading banks that are “too big to fail”, cancel the credit cards with those mega-banks, and open up an account with a local community bank or credit union. Buy local, pay cash, and live within your means.

This article originally appeared in my Progressive Examiner column.


This entry was posted on January 19, 2010 by in Arizona, Capitalism, economy, jobs, Local First, organizing, Tucson and tagged .

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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