Local economy is starting to gain

For all the criticism we hear of President Obama – and he deserves it for the mess he and his administration have made of health care – we really can’t pick on him for his handling of the economy.

The stock market has come back incredibly strong from the debacle of 2008 and even locally there continues to be good economic news.

In last week’s Cabinet, for instance, we carried a story about Milford’s 2014 preliminary town budget that indicated more money is coming into town coffers through the Community Development Office. That is because there were several large building permits issued, including those for the Pine Valley apartments, and an increase in site plan applications.

It is a given that businesspeople don’t invest if they don’t have confidence in the direction of the economy, so one could surmise, just from looking at Milford, that confidence is growing stronger.

That doesn’t mean that everyone is out of the woods. There are still people in economic distress, still people without jobs, without health insurance, and there are still companies that seek to cut as much as they can. Of course, they don’t cut executive salaries. They lay off lower echelon employees.

It is a given that, in corporate America, it is profit that is the engine, not the general welfare of the workers. After all, workers can be replaced by machines or, if not by machines, by workers from other countries who will work cheaper.

This is nothing new, although thanks to computers and the Internet, outsourcing has become much easier. And it’s difficult to blame businesses for wanting to minimize costs and maximize profits.

But it’s hard to accept when we read about executive salaries, executive bonuses and, in far too many cases, executive spending.

For a wonderful look at all of these things, we recommend the book “Barbarians at the Gates” about the attempts of the tobacco company RJ Reynolds to take over Nabisco. It’s a fascinating read and, although it all happened nearly 20 years ago, still holds a strong lesson for the present and the future.