Think Positive - Vote Positive!
There are varying opinions as to when the “Great Recession” began. Arguably, the roots extend back to the start of the housing bubble burst in the back half of 2007. But from my perspective, the critical moment in time was mid-to-late February of 2008. It was at this time when consumer spending really started to dip, and the impact was felt across wider swathes of the country.
What happened? What was the catalyst? I have long believed that a key factor was the shift in the political dialogue in this country. At that time, the presidential candidates shifted their focus from the war front to the home front, and did so with an incredibly negative and pessimistic view of both the current and prospective fortunes faced by our nation. For months, the airwaves were saturated with pessimism and dire prognostications. And I believe that, in their selfish attempt to secure power, they created a self fulfilling prophecy of doubt in the consumers’ minds. This isn’t to say that there were not very real economic issues to be reckoned with. But the last thing we needed was a negative vibe being injected into the masses. It was enough to make a difference, and at the very least, accelerate the downturn of the economy. We needed positive leadership, and we received the opposite.
Now, more than two and a half years later, we come to another watershed moment. Thankfully, the mid term election campaigns are executed on a shorter time frame then the presidential campaign, and we are not subjected to the vitriol and negativity for quite as long. But make no mistake about it: the past few weeks have turned increasingly negative in tone, and the final few weeks will certainly prove to be even more so. And the timing could not be worse. In some respects, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel in the economy…and it has proven not to be a train. But for the weeks that remain, the self-serving politicians will make it seem otherwise.
Let’s hope that the American consumer is not derailed by the political dialogue, as they were in early 2008. It will be a sin of we lose the ground that has been regained at such a high cost by the people and businesses of the United States. We still have a long way to go to claw our collective way back to the overall economic vibrancy of the prerecession period, and there are many businesses that cannot afford to take a step back.
The best thing that could happen during the mid terms is the emergence of positive voices that seek to inspire America, accompanied with thoughtful domestic and international policies that help business and the economy to thrive. Perhaps our best chance of accelerating the improvement in our economy rests upon rewarding such voices with the opportunity to effect positive change designed to loosen the dual shackles of oppressive taxes and over-regulation. And if such a victory is accompanied by a celebratory dinner at everyone’s favorite restaurant…well, we’ll all be smiling.
Don Fox Don Fox has 30+ years experience in the restaurant industry. He joined Firehouse Subs in 2003 as director of Franchise Compliance, and was promoted to the position of CEO in 2009. www