Opinions

Taxes, Christmas and the Power of the Press

Posted by Julie Roehm on December 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm

As I sat down to write this blog, I am being bombarded with emails of holiday deals and steals from retailers everywhere. At the same time, my news updates are pinging with the latest info on the "fiscal cliff" talks and the impending doom and gloom should these talks fail. My brother, his wife and kids live in the DC area and have jobs that are affected by the talks such that they may not be able to come to our house for Christmas if the talks break down. So, all in all, this fiscal cliff stuff is really bringing me down. Then, I came upon this "fiscal cliff calculator" which really put things in perspective. It lets you choose your family demographics in terms of family make-up (single, married, married with kids, kids in college, etc) and then it lets you see the impact to you should the Dem plan pass, the Republican plan pass, or should we fall of the cliff. Except for those making $34,000 or less or over $2.2 million, the difference is pretty small in terms of impact by plan, except the falling off of the cliff option, if this calculator is to be believed. This is not to say that those large impacts to the bottom or top rungs aren't important but from the data I have seen, 90%+ are in those 'tweener groups. Take a look at this calculator from the Washington Post and see for yourselves: "Fiscal Cliff Calculator."

So, is this marketing work at its finest? Maybe. But maybe too the issue is really more than taxes. Do marketers make this highly divisive issue worse by amplifying, augmenting or dare I say, exaggerating one side or the other? As much as I love my profession, I have to believe the answer is a resounding, "yes". Not necessarily in the facts or the weight of the decision on taxes and cuts are concerned but rather about the disparity between them and the vilification of the plan creators. I have always believed that there is more in common between Americans than there is separation, at least for the majority of Americans (there will always be outliers). I also know that these statements and this post will likely cause people to shout me down for oversimplifying the matter. I get that but I also get that this increasing division and focus on the extremes and negatives are getting us nowhere fast. So, for Christmas this year, I would love to have the political marketers take a holiday so that the politicians have a shot at working together to find an answer without the background rhetoric of the really effective marketing teams. It can't hurt for just a few days.

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