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Gini Dietrich

Control Your Own Destiny

By: Gini Dietrich | September 26, 2011 | 
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A week ago, former President Bill Clinton was on The Today Show to talk about the sixth Clinton Global Initiative and “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Politics aside, he said something very interesting.

He said companies are sitting on $2 trillion they’re not willing to spend.

Two. Trillion. Dollars.

They’re not spending it. They’re not hiring people. And, when Matt Lauer asked what reasons business leaders are giving, Clinton said there isn’t just one reason.

He said they:

  • Aren’t sure, if they hire more people, that the products they make will be sold; and
  • Believe we should have a more competitive tax system in America.

He also said most business leader do not:

  • Complain about the price of labor; or
  • Complain about the quality of labor.

Most believe American workers are highly productive and more flexible so that’s not the issue.

Because of the anecdotal conversations he’s having with business leaders, he believes the best way to bring the economy back is to find ways, “sector by sector, to help increase sales and to make business taxes more competitive.”

Perhaps the companies Clinton and other leaders are speaking with are on Wall Street (Microsoft, Cisco, and Google), but here on Main Street, we’re not sitting on any cash.

As much as I would love for the government to help me increase my sales, I think there is only one way we’re going to get out of this: Stop blaming the economy and start working twice as hard to build our businesses.

It seems Mark Cuban agrees with me (or I agree with him – he’s slightly more popular than me). Yes, Mark Cuban the billionaire. The guy who owns the Dallas Mavericks.

He blogged, the same day Clinton was on The Today Show, that the most patriotic thing you can do is make a crapload of money. Yourself. He suggests not relying on the government to do it for you. Or to wait for someone else to control your destiny for you. Do it yourself.

Here’s the flaw in that thinking: We’re human beings. We like to have someone/something to blame when things don’t go our way. We’re inherently lazy. And we are always looking for shortcuts and the easy way out.

But I agree with Mark. We are the only ones who can change the way our businesses are run. If we all work to build our businesses, instead of complaining that taxes suck and the economy sucks and no one will buy what we make, we might actually change the economic outlook.

We’ve been presented huge issues by big banks and Ponzi schemes and unethical and dishonest people who were allowed too much control.

But what good is it going to do to complain about it? Why not work on growing our businesses so that, together, we can affect change?

Perhaps that’s naive or maybe you think I’ve been drinking too much of the American Dream kool-aid.

But, if there really is $2 trillion in cash in public and private companies, let’s work hard to find ways to not just create jobs, but to buy the products and services developed by those new positions.

Let’s spend that money and turn the economy around already.

We’re the only ones who can do it. Not the government. Not Clinton’s Global Initiative. Not a bunch of really smart people sitting in a think tank.

Us.

A portion of this ran as my weekly Crain’s column last Friday.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

97 comments
missmims1
missmims1

I have been saying for years that we control our own destiny, however, I never applied it in a business sense. However, with it becoming harder and harder for people to secure jobs, now is the time for people to start CREATING opportunities.

_davidhorne_
_davidhorne_

Yes! The great thing about realizing it is up to you (us), is that we no longer have to wait for someone else to get us out of the hole.

It saddens me when I hear people talking about the economy or the government or some external force that put someone in their position. Doing so only concedes that you need someone else to get you out of those circumstances.

Realizing that you are responsible for where you are and more than capable of getting yourself where you want to go is being liberated. Now you can go and succeed.

JamesDBurrell2
JamesDBurrell2

Gini,

What a great article to read on my return to SpinSucks. I think the most empowering concept at our disposal is the idea that we maintain absolute power. Power over our attitudes, thoughts, actions, and ultimately, our successes or lack thereof.

The most basic of economics courses teach the precept that taxation results in a deadweight loss for the entire economy, and as such, a punitive corporate tax structure such as the one in the US does not beget investment or a growing economy, but despite all of our bickering, complaining and pleading, neither you nor I have the power to change that. All we control is our own economic output, our own efforts, and as you said, our own destiny.

-JB

dbvickery
dbvickery

I agree with most of what you are saying. However, my concern is that we have an unsustainable standard of living. I love my life, my house/cars/etc. Our society always wants bigger and better and latest, though. And we are willing to use credit to get it or demand that others get it for us or cover our debts. When my wife (@kfvickery) and I get into discussions around topics like these (and it can range from K-12 and college education to job training to healthcare), I generally raise the question "but who is going to pay for it". And that is always a sticky question...where I fall on the fiscally conservative side which often is not a popular view, so I remain silent and go about my business saving with the expectation that no aid will be forthcoming from anyone else.

brady2387
brady2387

One of your best posts ever! Thank you for cutting through all the rhetoric and saying it like it is. Everyone should share and link to this blog. Keep up the good work.

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

Wow, political and yet down the middle.You are right. The best thing anyone can do is survey their local landscape, identify something they can personally do and go about making their local purview better. Ideally each individual will also not view their attempt at bettering their own situation as a zero sum game. And no, in the long term neither gov't nor the CGI can be the agent for long term growth. Pres. Clinton was talking about how best to jumpstart a sluggish economy. As for blame, it is normal to point and make it someone else's fault. The fact that it's not MY fault doesn't relieve me of the responsibility to try and make things better.

MSchechter
MSchechter

It's damn cliché but there are no victims, only volunteers. There are a lot of things in my life that are not 100% and 100% of those things are my own damn fault. And there is only one thing that is going to fix them and it sure as hell isn't time. It's just work, plain and simple. Thanks for a swift kick in the ass AG! And FYI, I'm pissed at you today.

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

I was thrilled reading this post! I echo the other comments about us taking care of us. Im a huge Dave Ramsey fan and while he always preaches this, his team recently started an initiative called The Great Recovery, inspiring people to do exactly what you said here - take responsibility for and control of future.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

I hope people are beginning to understand just what FDR meant when he said during the previous Depression, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".

While I'm not a big fan of greed, if we have to choose between fear and greed I'll take greed any day. The more we can all plow ahead, the better. We may not know just what we're doing half the time, but we can be sure that sitting around like scared bunnies isn't going to get much done at all.

maryhruth
maryhruth

Thanks for saying this, Gini. Always seems so dumb to me that we blame instead of create. It was our greed right along with Wall Street's that caused this Recession.

scribblinghappy
scribblinghappy

I totally agree with you on this one. "We the people" need to act!

janbeery
janbeery

Amen Sister!

Funny, I was at church this weekend, (that's not the funny part) and the pastor was talking about money. He put his hands cupped around his mouth and said very loudly, "THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!"

We have always been a country that pulls together and makes things happen. We need to get back to basics and move forward as the strong people we are.

hackmanj
hackmanj

I appreciate the "don't complain, act" aspect of this Gini. I think that is something that anyone can rally behind regardless of their economics/politics. That's all I am going to say though to keep this on the rails because I have many opinions about a lot but want to stay on topic. Kudos girl.

jono.smith
jono.smith

I love President Clinton (full disclosure: I used to work for him), but the idea that American business leaders (and specifically Fortune 500 CEOs) are not hiring because of the tax system and because they aren’t sure that if they hire more people that the products they make will be sold is pure rubbish.

Let's start with taxes: corporate tax revenue last year was down by 27% compared to 2000, even though corporate profits are up 60% over the last decade. In 2005, 1 out of 4 large corporations paid no income taxes at all even though they collected $1.1 trillion in revenue. Examples abound: In 2008, Goldman Sachs paid only 1.1% of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion bailout.

Let's talk about sales: The Fortune 500 registered the third largest profit gain in history in 2010, and median pay for top executives was $10.8 million. When the last President left office, the Dow was at 7,949, today it's nearing 11,000. All of the economic indicators support hiring, but why isn't it happening? I was chatting this morning with an old friend who works for a Fortune 500 company and he was scratching his head about their absence of hiring. Their EBITDA last year was $1.3B and they have $1B in operating cash flow, yet they’ve had zero net job creation in the US in the last 18 months. It sure seems like something else is going on here.

Now if I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that high unemployment is the best way to keep an economy down and get a more "pro-business" friendly President in the White House. With this person in the White House, rules will be tweaked and regulations would be relaxed allowing the Fortune 500 to reap even more massive profits. Luckily I'm not a conspiracy theorist.

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@maggietranquila I totally like his attitude of "go out and make boatload of $, then pay taxes". Moving the money, moving the economy.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@JoelFortner I'll have to check out The Great Recovery...sounds like it's right up by alley. Thanks Joel!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@maryhruth Exactly! It's like buying a house you KNOW you can't afford, just because the bank is willing to give you the money. Where is the accountability?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@janbeery "The government is not going to take care of you." I would have yelled an amen at that!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@hackmanj LOL! It's hard to stay on the rails with politics involved. I appreciate the comment.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@jono.smith dude you rock. The fortune 500 tends to shed jobs vs create jobs when aggregated. Something about getting a certain size and then often the only way to keep growth is downsizing? When we get our Social Security Statement usually they show government revenue sources. Personal Income Taxes is around 70%.

The real problem is that politics is money. Eeveryone is owned except Bernie Sanders. We have a broken political system where money buys what you want. Right now they Teaparty with Big Business help is trying to deregulate the food industry so no one keeps our food supply safe. WTF is that?

As for your point here is an article from Yahoo which I loved and reflects my comment from this morning.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/video-man-asks-obama-raise-taxes-town-hall-201340480.html

wagnerwrites
wagnerwrites

I remember reading something about how effective unemployment is for big business. I think it was from a guy named "Marx." Seriously, you hit the nail on the head. I appreciate that we should take responsibility but what about business leaders? Do they get a pass? @jono.smith

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@jono.smith That is a very interesting theory...good thing I don't believe in conspiracies. It does make you scratch your head, doesn't it?

maggietranquila
maggietranquila

@jeffreypjacobs yes, they checked everything. They were terrific. His name was Jesse. I certainly know about rubber
at this point.

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@maggietranquila argh, SO sorry. I am sure they checked BFGoodrich and Uniroyal fitments, too, for you. Hate it that we couldn't help :(

maggietranquila
maggietranquila

@jeffreypjacobs JPJ Your people were awesome with Michelin Tire information
Sadly you don't make a tire for my car.
Aarrgghhh...:-)

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@jeffreypjacobs rats, but it is a busy call ctr. Sorry for your inconvenience, but try Gregg Knox, or all others are well- trained.

maggietranquila
maggietranquila

@jeffreypjacobs Jeffrey just made the call spoke to four different people . Woman named Barb said she could not locate John? Last Name?

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@maggietranquila 1 (866) 866-6605 ask for John ( only John in call ctr), 25 years experience with helping consumers. Let me know how it goes

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@maggietranquila absolutely a difference. Raw materials up 300% last 3 yrs. Watch for 70$ rebate! Want to speak to consumer specialist?

maggietranquila
maggietranquila

@jeffreypjacobs Tire JuJubes? LOL Shocked at the cost of rubber? Is there seriously a difference between expensive
And not so expensive?

JeffreyPJacobs
JeffreyPJacobs

@maggietranquila ahh, Ms. Maggie, sending good tire juju to you! If you have ANY trouble, let me know. I will send the proper authorities!