Every Vote Counts

I don’t blame you if it feels to you like the 2008 election has been going on for nearly 3 years. By March of last year, there were already nine Democrats and eleven Republicans who had either officially declared their candidacy or had strongly signaled their intentions to run.

As we enter the dog days of summer, and as Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s platforms come more fully into focus, now is the time when most casual observers of politics start to get intellectually involved, looking at the social and economic ideas proposed by each candidate. This year, voters will be closely considering both candidates’ views on the war, social policies, and of course, ever-present concerns over the economy.

An old friend and colleague once told me that physician audiences are sensitive when words such as “wealthy,” “high-end,” and “luxury” are used to describe them, because they don’t necessarily consider themselves well-off. I understand his point, but the simple fact is that as taxpayers, physicians are indeed among the most susceptible to tax policies that target small business owners and the “wealthy.”

One common fallacy often used to describe low voter turnout is the notion that “my one vote won’t make all that much of a difference in a national election.” As a person who most likely owns your own small business—your practice—you have as much to gain or lose as anyone by the outcome of the November elections. And as a physician, you’re part of a larger group of like-minded individuals who face the same financial challenges.

With tough economic times in the forecast and with hits to physician compensation across the landscape, it’s crucial that you really listen to the candidates and their tax proposals. Look at your previous years’ tax returns, and imagine how incremental increases to the nominal tax rate could impact your working capital—which includes all of those who work for you.

What do you stand to gain from voting for the candidate who most reflects your views? What do you stand to lose by not having your vote counted?

Mike Hennessy is Chairman and CEO of MJH & Associates. Click here for more Hennessy's Highlights