Got a mind to give up giving, yes, and go shopping instead

By Gil Johnson of Dundee, Oregon. Gil describes himself as a "part-time chicken farmer and full-time martial arts instructor, and a former political hack."

In 2008, I gave the Obama campaign about $250, which along with donations to Steve Novick, and then Jeff Merkley, plus a host of other local candidates, added up to quite a bundle considering my meager income. It's nothing to brag about. I didn't get invited to any big receptions at the White House, but I do get plenty of e-mails from the Chicago headquarters.

This year, I think I'm going to take the same money and go shopping. Christmas in July---well, more like August now. And maybe September. If enough Democrats and progressives do the same thing, Obama will have a better chance of winning re-election.

Why? Because in the immortal words of James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid."

As President, Barack Obama has not inspired us the way he did as a candidate. Anyone who gives him better than mixed reviews is probably employed by his staff or by the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, given the weaseliness of his opponent, there is no way he should lose. Willard Romney is actually running against his own record as governor of Massachusetts. Romney is universally acknowledged to have no moral compass---even by his supporters. He has the albatross of Bain Capital to carry around his neck. A large portion of the rabid Republican base hate him because he is a Mormon. He can't connect with ordinary people. In fact, he may be the first person with Asperger's Syndrome to be nominated for president by a major party.

But the polls are close and we all know this election is going down to the wire. A lot of people will vote for Romney because the economy still sucks and Obama hasn't made it better (never mind that he kept the economy from getting worse). Romney is pushing jobs and the economy, and if the unemployment picture doesn't brighten up soon, he has a very good chance of winning. Americans always vote their pocketbooks.

And that's why I'm urging everyone to go shopping.

As all of you who read your Paul Krugman every Monday and Friday know, lower taxes don't create jobs. Fewer regulations don't create jobs. Austerity measures certainly don't create jobs. Jobs in the private sector mainly are created by greater demand for goods and services. Employers only hire more people when they don't have enough of a workforce to meet new orders.

So shop 'til you drop. If every registered Democrat in Oregon bought $200 worth of Christmas presents this summer, that would add up to about $180 million. If we all shop judiciously, buying stuff from local companies that are likely to hire Americans rather than Chinese, this could have enough of an impact to shave a point or two off the unemployment stats. The economy doesn't need to come roaring back by October; all we need is a good trend.

Since Oregon typically represents one percent of the U.S., economy, if this movement went national, it would add between $15 and $20 trillion to the economy. Of course, not every Democrat is going to spend this money now. Most Democrats don't have $200 to spend. But if only 10 percent of us do Christmas (or Hannukah, etc.) shopping way early, that's still around $2 trillion nationally.

In other words, more than double the Obama stimulus package of 2009.

You can quibble and say that the $200 we spend now means less for businesses during the holiday season (which inconveniently comes after the election). These business owners may get false hopes that the economy is really turning around. Don't forget, however, the multiplier effect of this spending, particularly if most of the purchases are made with companies that are likely to hire new employees. That would mean buying stuff that is locally produced, which in itself is a positive step towards a more democratic capitalism.

Besides, if Romney wins, 99 percent of us are going to be worse off for the next four years, if not longer. So shop early and shop often.

Comments

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    I like the idea, but where are we going to find products made in the U.S. Have you shopped for American-made clothes, small appliances, computers, entertainment devices, kitchen tools, hand tools, wrist watches, phones, toys, bath linens, etc, lately? They are mighty thin on the the ground. And I don't know of a single source to tell me what's made here in our country -- and I'm a pretty well-informed political activist who wants to "buy American". Trying to find American-made products is a very frustrating and time-consuming task.

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    A quick Google of the terms "portland oregon buy local" turns up plenty of sites for Oregon businesses, such as this one: http://www.chooselocal.com/

    We don't have to be absolutely perfect about this. A chain like New Seasons sells stuff from all over the world, but a lot of their inventory is local and the company is locally-owned, so the profits stay here.

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    My first reaction was WTF? But, as I read further, I like your logic. I have the best of intentions of giving to his campaign, but there never seems to be enough left at the end of the paycheck. For my part, I do think it's important to give and will endeavor to split it between local products and Pres. Obama's campaign.

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    Thanks for the post Gil!

    If we shop, we should probably focus on buying products from Ohio and Florida. If the businesses in those states do well, we'll win. Any local stores that specialize in that? Is the Buy Ohio store next to Made in Oregon?

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    Not only do we get to have a GOP candidate who can't connect and has no empathy but we get to have the RomneyRyan idiots come after our Medicare Cards for which they give us a stinking' voucher. They say, don't worry seniors, we're going after the Medicare Cards of the younger people who are paying for yours. So listen up, voters, in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, you are paying a lot every day for today's seniors to have something you are never going to have. Doesn't that make you feel good?? RomneyRyan say you don't deserve it because there are plenty of rich folks who deserve to have many, many more tax breaks. This is what happens when a cult of lunatics are trying to run our govt. and we are in jeopardy of letting them. http://blog.reidreport.com/2012/08/if-you-read-nothing-else-today-read-this-notes-from-goper-who-fled-the-cult/

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      But nothing in your diatribe about the $710 billion Obama, Reid and Pelosi just took from Medicare. Nothing about the fact that Medicare BEFORE this heist under reimburses many procedures and is the primary cause for healthcare inflation for the rest of us. Nothing about the fact that as proposed the Ryan Medicare proposal would allow even those in their 20's, 30's and 40's to sign up for the standard Medicare that their parents have no choice but be roped into today.

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        Oh, please. Stop watching Fox News.

        Obama didn't take $710 billion from Medicare.

        It came from Medicare Advantage. And it came from reducing the overhead, marketing, and profits that go to the private companies that run Medicare Advantage.

        The law specifically prohibited taking the savings out of health care delivery itself.

        Unlike Paul Ryan, who actually wants to reduce the provision of health care services.

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    Hey Kurt, back away from the Fox channel and inform yourself:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/15/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-said-barack-obama-first-history-rob-me/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/15/stephanie-cutter/ryans-plan-includes-700-billion-medicare-cuts-says/

    Now be a good troll and run along.

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    I'm told that there are dems currently sitting in safe seats in congress who are also sitting on over $60 million in contributions that they are too selfish to pass along to "fellow" dems in tough races this year.

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