Monday, March 25, 2013

Shopping and the Budget: Pretentious Marketing

I received my monthly brochure from a major retailer last week. Though I'm not a frequent shopper, the brochure was alluring. Maybe it was the models or the colorful clothing, but something about the layout and presentation had me hooked. The experience was enticing enough to warrant a trip to the store.

I walked through the place, looked around. There's a reason why I stopped frequenting the retailer. It was sheer disappointment. The clothing displayed in the magazine were all there, but they weren't assembled in the same dazzling fashion. The pieces were separated and they appeared fragmented. I felt jilted and disappointed, kind of like the way many Americans feel about the country's state of affairs.

The Senate passed its first budget last week, the first in four years. The senators were up until the wee hours of the morning drafting a budget that passed by a slim majority. The House presented its own version first, beating the senate by a week or so.

Right now, we have two budget proposals in place, all addressing the deficit using different approaches. I'm reading the senate version doesn't even balance. We have our legislators perceiving themselves as diligently working away to sell a plan to remedy our economic woes, only to deliver a fragmented, incohesive plan.

Which explains why most Americans are disappointed with the country's performance. In fact, only 21 percent of Americans report feeling satisfied, down six percentage points from last month. That's back to the same level of satisfaction in 2009, a mere one year after the current recession first hit.

You see, our lawmakers have apparently adopted a similar marketing pitch as the major retailer. They have been luring us with this commitment to meet a need, only to fall short. Which is unfortunate, considering that many Americans relying on federal programs have been fretting about the final outcome.

So, what's a person to do? Well, with respect to the retailer, you can simply decide to shop somewhere else. Just walk by the place and refuse to spend your money there. But how do you go about teaching the government accountability? We can choose to not vote for a particular candidate at the next elections. Perhaps we can put our dissatisfaction in writing. There's no telling whether this will get a budget passed though.

Another possible solution is to stop saving, spending, and looking for work. I mean, if our leaders aren't interested in getting this economy going, why should the average American?

What I'm getting at is this: If our politicians are bent on improving the status quo, they need to lay off the fluff and dazzle. What Americans want are results, and until they get one they're tuning out the pretentious marketing pitch.

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