1) Corporate profit margins just hit an all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before. (And some people are still saying that companies are suffering from "too much regulation" and "too many taxes." Maybe little companies are, but big ones certainly aren't).

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Companies and farmers are always complaining that it's almost impossible to make a living - somehow I never believe them...

Small businesses have a hard time surviving, especially when big box stores move into an area. Impact on the community may be subtle, but is real. For example, we used to have a beautiful spring festival, The Lilac Festival, and it was supported by small shops that lined main street and benefited by increased traffic, especially from small farming communities who entered bands and floats. Today, those small stores are mostly gone, box stores don't invest in community and suck money out of the community. 
Farmers have a hard time because of fluctuation in prices and variable weather. Price supports were an attempt to keep small farms in hands of family farms. With growth of agribusiness, small farmers do not benefit and huge farm conglomerates buy out farmers. Farm land no longer belongs to families ... they become share croppers or move to cities. There was a time when 85% of the paid labor force was farmers, now it is less than two percent.  

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