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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

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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Buy Local, Should Be More Than A Slogan

In Business, Economy, Education, Health, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

We hear the phrase constantly – buy local. But regardless of how much encouragement comes from public service announcements, most people still buy what they need from large, corporate chain stores. From toilet paper to breakfast cereal, local markets have always had a difficult time competing with companies like Walmart, Target and Meijer.

Since the start of the recession, local chambers of commerce and other civic groups have tried to get people to switch from big box buying to shopping at the locally-owned retailer. As money belts tightened, those messages were falling on more deaf ears than ever before.

Money in a particular community is a bit like blood in a body, it has to circulate to do any good. Money moves around a region from business to consumer and back, over and over again. That’s how the economic system works. Buying from out-of-town based companies moves the money out of the area. Buying local keeps more (not all) of the money in the community.

Many argue that they simply can’t afford to shop locally because of significantly higher prices. Others complain that local companies lack the product selection or expertise of larger merchants. A family struggling to make ends meet and feed a couple of kids can’t pay $4 for a box of breakfast cereal at a local vendor, when Walmart has it for $2. For them, every dollar counts and the extra five minutes they drive is worth the time and gas if it means there is significant savings at the bottom of the sales receipt.

Prices are lower at chain stores because of mass buying and selling. For example, for every bottle of ketchup a small grocery store sells, companies like Walmart sell hundreds of thousands more. It’s a simple matter of volume. A small business lacks the massive reach and bulk buying power afforded to big companies and therefore has to pay more for products, passing that higher price along to customers at the cash register.

Some small shops lower prices on one aisle, like on every-day necessities such as bread, cereal, soap, and so on, while keeping prices higher on extravagancies to counter the difference. Many already offer a generic alternative to most products or a store brand, the quality of which is often superior to the national offerings.

In the end, it’s up to the consumer to pay attention and do a little homework to see what’s out there and comparison shop. Most large, chain stores will price match nowadays. But nothing is more infuriating than to see someone in Walmart trying for a price match with a coupon from a local store offering a cheaper alternative. Why not just shop at the local retailer and get the deal they’re offering while keeping the money in the community?

Of course, it could be easily argued that big-box stores should be welcomed rather than refuted since they employ more people and pay more taxes to small communities. Valid points of course, but what happens when corporate decides to move the store or shut it down? The collateral damage can be economically devastating.

It should be emphasized also that this problem is not limited to groceries and sundries. Service companies like law offices, insurance providers, carpet layers and even accountants struggle to retain clients, even after years of service. These kinds of businesses are based on trust, relationships and personal referrals, concepts that may have escaped the younger generations who opt, instead, for the online approach or more “progressive” options.

Buying local needs to be more than just a slogan offered up by politicians in tough economic times. Government can’t and won’t save the local economy. It requires a joint effort between consumers and businesses. Consumers need to tell local retailers what they want; Retailers, listen to customers and take action to keep them.

Buying local strengthens a community’s economy against downturn and protects jobs. So, take your next shopping trip to the local grocer and phone your nearest insurance agent for a competitive quote. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and WDTN-TV2, Living Dayton business contributor. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

 

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