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Promo Products Named In Potential Government Cuts
Vol. 867 
November 10, 2011

Saying his goal is to eliminate government "waste, large and small, in a systematic way," President Barack Obama has signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to reduce spending in specific areas by a total of 20%. The decision, announced yesterday, directs federal offices to make combined 20% cuts to the following areas: travel, employee technology devices, printing, executive fleets, and "extraneous promotional items." Regarding the use of promotional products, the executive order states the following: "Agencies should limit the purchase of promotional items (e.g., plaques, clothing, and commemorative items), in particular where they are not cost-effective."

Agencies have until mid-December to find ways to cut expenses in these areas and must apply the reductions to their budgets by 2013. According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Obama's executive order will save $4 billion annually – money that the president believes is better used to fund job programs and other initiatives aimed at improving the economy. However, many ad specialty industry executives argue Obama's stance is anti-business and his views on economic recovery are misguided.

"For the president to say that buying promotional products is a waste is extremely troubling and shows how little he knows about the industry," says Matt Bertram, president of Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100). "This is again another example of our administration making quick decisions that will hurt small business."

Other executives, like Fred Albrecht, owner of Proforma Albrecht & Co. (asi/116308), feel the cuts may provide an opportunity for industry members to better educate government leaders. "I believe we need to continue to promote the cost effectiveness of our products as the absolute best media available to create brand awareness," Albrecht told Counselor. "Rather than attack the president for his spending cuts, I would like to see more time spent promoting the value our industry brings to the world of advertising."

Click here to read the executive order that President Obama issued.

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