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Posts Tagged ‘good old boy system’

Do your homework before voting this election.

In Jobs, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 11:26 am

DIH LOGOHere we are in election season again, when liberals and conservatives alike spend millions of dollars trying to convince voters to either keep them in office or replace the incumbent.  As always, when they’re not kissing your baby, they’re stealing his lollypop. With so many candidates running who are essentially, “the lesser of who cares,” how will you decide at the ballot box?

A common theme of election strategies is the tired old, “let’s bash the other guy,” method, which is exactly as it sounds. In the months and weeks preceding the election, voters are inundated with television commercials, fliers and post cards all declaring the treachery of the opposing candidate, regardless of the validity of the claims. The goal is to “scare” you away from that candidate for fear he or she will bring about the end of democracy as we know it.

Another popular method of political marketing is the “two chickens in every pot” promise. The goal here is to simply convince you that no matter how you are living now, vote for “me” and I’ll make your life better, and the themes follow trends.

In the years following 9/11, for example, candidates promised better homeland security. After the recession hit, they promised banking reform and more jobs. In reality, however, politicians have little to do with any of that.

When you read about a lower unemployment rate, chances are it’s because many jobless simply stopped reporting their status or benefits have run out. Unemployment numbers fluctuate, organically, not because some politician changed the face of the workforce with the swath of a pen. Please try to keep this in mind: government does not, has not, and never will create jobs in the real world. Regardless of how much they hype job-creating policies, no politician can create jobs in private industry.

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

In fact, the majority of political interference just impedes business and slows workforce development – unless you have a nice, fat check to send them at election time. Then you get all the help you want until your money runs out.

The rest of the time, business owners must contend with the result of what these self-serving bureaucrats do best. Invasive regulations, ever-increasing taxes and other legislative roadblocks usually just muck up the works and prevent small businesses from growing – or hiring.

Local government interference can make things even worse, because that’s where the real decisions are made. When local politicians have a “pal” in a particular industry and a competitor comes in to try to set up shop, it can be harder to get official processes pushed through, like location approvals, licensing, and so on. It does happen, and far more often than you might think.

What gets even more annoying is the level to which some politicians try to convince people they are “regular folks,” when most of them are millionaires many times over. Great examples are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Congressman John Boehner, and many of their compatriots, on both sides of the aisle, each of whom are super-wealthy and many up for re-election. None of them have a clue what it would be like to have to survive paycheck to paycheck like so many of their constituents.

Whatever the ploy, a politician is a business selling a product in the same way that any company would try to get you to buy their brand of soap or corn flakes. It’s all marketing, and knowing that people make political decisions emotionally rather than based on any logic or facts, the more frightening the ad campaign the better.

The same goes for choosing to approve or deny the various ballot issues. Just because they send kids to bang on your door with big sad eyes and a long sad tale of how the children will suffer without passing a tax increase (while the kid has no idea what they’re shilling for, because they’re kids), that doesn’t mean you should pull vote “yes.”

Best advice, ignore the advertisements. If every voter did a little homework on the candidates and issues instead of voting a party line or from fear or guilt, there would be a marked improvement in the quality of our leadership.
The Jamestown Comet.com editor / publisher, Gery L. Deer, is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

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Not without honor, except at home

In Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

DIH LOGOIn the Bible, the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 4, Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” The quote refers to the question of Jesus’s work being rejected in his own hometown. That was a couple of thousand years ago but, sadly, this same lack of local support and recognition is still rampant today.

We are constantly barraged by the pleadings by civic and business organizations encouraging us to “buy local.” But, when push comes to shove, even these organizations utilize outside resources more often than not.

The best examples of this kind of behavior are evident in the entertainment industry. I know dozens of performing artists, from musicians to specialty acts, who never seem to get work in their own home areas.

Most make a good living but will always have to travel, which is, of course, somewhat of a necessity for securing regular pay in that kind of business. At the same time, most of them offer much lower fees to work closer to home and yet are rarely taken up on the option in favor of “outside” help.

Someone out there is probably saying, “Well, maybe they’re just not very good.” There is an ignorance surrounding the concept that if someone chooses to remain in their home region, they must be less than expert at their particular job. If not, they’d have been moved to relocate due to excessive demand – untrue.

If these folks are as untalented as that statement implies, why would they have the opportunity to do so much elsewhere? An entertainer or other professional tends to earn far more money on jobs where travel and extended booking time is necessary than if they do a single project in their own community. So why would they be paid more and requested so often out of the region if their talents are less than ideal? The logic there makes no sense.

Take the country singing group, The Statler Brothers, for example. From the 1960s through the early 2000’s, these Staunton, Virginia boys sold millions of records, performed all over the world and yet never relocated from their home town. For more than 25 years, they even did an annual 4th of July concert there to raise money for local charities. And they’re not the only story like this.

Ignorance of local talent is not limited to the entertainment world, however. Other professionals are frequently dismissed in their own communities as well; that is unless they achieve some wider attention and suddenly discover people stacked like cordwood on their coattails.

The point here is that, regardless of the product or service needed, if civic and business organizations are going to practice what they preach, they need to utilize more local talent, and not just the big players on the block. Sadly, with so much “good-old-boy” nepotism at play, without some folks stepping outside the proverbial clique, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. When people do make the effort to connect with local providers, they tend to expect a lot of freebies or slashed pricing. That’s not only unfair, it’s downright disrespectful.

For example, say a chamber of commerce wants to hire a local printer to help with event materials for a charity fundraiser. Often, the organizers want to exchange the work for advertising or sponsorship credits rather than paying the printer’s quoted rates.

In most cases, local business will offer some kind of discount or even an exchange if given the opportunity, but it is disrespectful for the organizers to expect it. Your cause is not the reason the business owner opened his doors. Be prepared to pay for their services.

It would be great if small businesses, local entertainers and other professionals were more appreciated and supported in their home regions. The long term rewards to the community could be unimaginable.