Trade Association Hypocrisy

By John Stewart

In November, Timothy Andrews, president of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), issued a news release attacking President Obama's recently issued mandate to cut 20 percent from federal agency spending on "plaques, clothing and other unnecessary promotional items."

I'll bet if you had interviewed the officers and members of this association just two weeks ago about the federal budget you would have heard almost a unanimous chorus suggesting or demanding that the government needs to reduce spending across the board.

So what happens when the President takes such a move? ASI issues a news release pleading for its members to take up arms and fight this move by the President.

The ASI news release said, "We are undertaking an aggressive PR campaign to immediately educate the media and others... why our industry's output and value shouldn't be called 'wasteful spending.'"

So let me get this straight, ASI and its members (I assume this to be the case) want the federal government to reduce spending wherever possible, but they object (at least Mr. Andrews does) to the President's mandate urging a reduction in agency spending on pens, cups, plaques and other advertising specialties?

Actually, I don't know how anyone can seriously attack such a modest mandate and still maintain a straight face!

Mr. Andrews, I fully support private industry choosing to buy pens, mugs, and plaques from your industry. In fact my own company has purchased advertising specialties. However, please don't expect a lot of sympathy from taxpayers like myself when the government makes a move to reduce its purchase of advertising specialties and you urge your members to fight such a move!

The bottom line is that Mr. Andrews wants the government to continue spending money on advertising specialties because it will help "the industry bounce back." So you want taxpayers such as me to help your members by encouraging the government to continue its spending practices?

I really don't know how Mr. Andrews can keep a straight face when he urges his members to contact members of Congress and urge them to keep spending money on imprinted mugs, mouse pads, pens, plaques and lots of trophies.