Navigating the Mindfields

Daniel L. Jaffe

Why the broad Congressional agenda has potential to suck the advertising industry into the political whirlpool

Tiptoeing through the political minefields is never comfortable, easy, or safe. This clearly is a period of strong antibusiness sentiment, combined with progovernment regulatory interventionism and deep skepticism of business self-regulatory efforts.

The Congressional agenda is being driven primarily by economic proposals led by the bank bailout and stimulus packages. Millions quickly become billions and then trillions of dollars. This dizzying financial progression makes some armchair analysts cavalier about the impact of these numbers. However, we cannot allow ourselves to be numbed by the numbers. At some point, Congress and the White House will have to find a way to pay for all of the high-priced political promises they have made. In the past, this has often meant that politicians begin to call for new advertising taxes. Clearly our industry could find itself suddenly sucked into the political whirlpool.