Investing in Businesses (So They Can Invest in People)

The Alliance for Maine believes we need a long-term, strategic plan for growing foundational jobs and strengthening Maine’s economy. The goals of such a plan include making Maine more competitive and attractive for investments in businesses, which will use those investments to create and sustain jobs.

One of the comments we hear in response is, “We should invest in people, not business!”

We understand that people currently see deep divisions in our politics, our community and our economy. We see the way that some in the business world and on Wall Street have played the game simply to concentrate more wealth among the ultra-rich. We see referendum after referendum in Maine seeking to shift money toward lower income earners, under the banner of “investing in people.”

But, for Maine to prosper, we need to recognize that investing in businesses IS investing in people.

Business is just the way people organize to get things done—to do things for people. The food we eat is produced, processed, and delivered by businesses.  The cars we drive are made, delivered, sold, and maintained by businesses.  The fuel that heats our homes is obtained, processed, and delivered by businesses.  And all of those businesses are really people—enabled by the tools they need to do their work.

What’s a trucking company except trucks and truck drivers? You have to buy trucks for drivers to drive, so you need investment to have the money to buy the trucks. You need investment in business to create jobs for people.

It takes investment to create the tools, factories, and equipment people need to do work. That work enables people to support their families and pay taxes. There is no money to invest in people (assuming that means things like education, health care, and a safety net as opposed to tools and equipment people need to work) without foundational jobs to create income and wealth.