We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If you don’t think that a little ‘ol blogger like me can take on and win against a trillion-dollar industry’s corporate welfare scheme and its political allies, then read on. I won through careful research and persistence. Then I lost once the allies of the giants of the tourism industry came to power in 2008. But, this tale displays that individual bloggers can have major impacts on legislation, now more than ever as the alternative media has grown and the 2012 elections may turn the tide in Washington.
Unless you are a foreign tourist entering the US, paying $14 to enter, you probably haven’t heard of Brand USA. Today, the Washington Free Beacon describes “The Cronyism Board” of this public-private partnership to promote tourism to the US: “It is governed by an 11-member board. John Connor, director of the Office of White House Liaison at the United States Department of Commerce, appointed the board members….All of the board members Connor has appointed have donated to Democrats and Democratic organizations almost exclusively, if they have donated at all.”
Briefly, the impetus for Brand USA came from the giants of US corporations, immensely profitable already from tourism. Rather than use their own deep pockets to promote tourism, they sought additional taxpayer and tourist funding for their advertising.
A former Freddie Mac public relations guru who helped generate the mortgage meltdown that sent the U.S. economy into a tailspin last year is behind this year's campaign by Walt Disney, Anheuser Busch, American Express, Orbitz and other corporate heavyweights to charge foreign travelers and U.S. taxpayers to subsidize advertising for their already immensely profitable industry.
Nonetheless, in 2010, the Travel Promotion Act was enacted. Expected revenues of $200-million.
What do we have to show for it? The April 25, 2012 Forbes, for example, critiqued Brand USA’s TV ad to be shown abroad: “Unfortunately, the new campaign misses the mark.” Others, like Frommers are also critical. Advertising Age asked its readers "Will This Campaign Designed to Attract Tourists to the U.S. Actually Work?": Eighteen of twenty commenters were critical of the ad. Ah, but Brand USA hits the mark for cronyism and corporate welfare.
Thanks, Bruce, for taking on this thankless job. Don't feel that you've lost. It's only temporary. More and more of the grown-ups are waking up to what is happening to our country and to them. We can fight back in November, and we will.
I spent the majority of my life living in and the around "The Black mining hills of Dakota" where, even tho' I never met a boy named Rocky Racoon, I did get to know several people who owned tourist shops.
They were constantly petitioning the state and local Gov'ts to provide/pay for their advertising because of all the money they brought into the local economies. They used as arguments all the jobs (minumun wage, zero benefit) they created and made claims about how those tourist dollars "multiplied", one dollar becoming 5, 6 or even 8 or 10 dollars by some magical formula they were never quite able to explain.
Then when fall colors filled the sky and cool fall temps filled the air, they shuttered their shops and made haste for their winter homes in Arizona and Florida.
I have opposed state advertising for private business all my life and will continue to encourage those who own businesses to pay their own way. Other than my employer, I owe them nothing.