January 8, 2015

Other People's Money

"Whooooosh!" Ever get that feeling that sometimes your money is being flushed? It happens in politics every day. Politicians using taxpayers’ dollars for frivolous items or things that clearly do not help our country with the basics; food, clothing and shelter. Some of the worst politicians are the ones that were born into wealth and/or a thriving environment, not knowing the true value of the U.S. dollar, and then having them become the caretaker of “other people’s money.” Contrarily, some of the best leaders are those who “come from the dirt,” growing against the odds they were initially dealt. They are the ones who know the meaning of hard earned money and how to spend for the sake of need unlike those who side with the sake of want.

Taxpayers pay a certain percentage of their wages to the federal government. They have no choice in the matter. Remember the saying only two things in life are certain, death and taxes. Those taxes, if utilized correctly and not wasted, are in fact a much needed way to help us with our day to day life. Roads, schools, our country's defense, to name just a very small few. If we didn't pay taxes, we would be living and experiencing life in a much different world.

As an NAHB member your dues are like taxes. Dollars from your "paycheck" are contributed to your local HBA to be divvied up by the local, state and national (NAHB). Those dues are paid to each level so that each level can work on what's best for the member; education, business opportunities and industry growth. The local level, in most cases, provides the education and business opportunities. The state and national associations provide industry advocacy and growth. That growth could be in the form of protection as well because any adverse actions towards our members livelihoods would threaten growth. The state works on issues that inevitably take its course through the state capital and NAHB performs the same function in our nation's capital.

When we elect our legislators, whether it's on the state or federal level, we as taxpayers demand fiscal responsibility. Reasonable people understand that you can't keep printing money and eventually, when your rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter will eventually come back to haunt you. That is fiscal irresponsibility.  As a member, if you feel that your dollars are not being well spent, you simple do not renew. How many members became ex-members because of a lack of perceived value?

In our federation, fiscal responsibility begins with our very own elected officials but it could end with membership not growing because as we add members we lose members. That's called "treading water" and even the strongest of swimmers will drown if there is no one there to help them. That is why we, as an association, elect members to fill leadership roles. The stronger associations elect leaders to lead us. It takes a special member to want to lead; it takes an exceptional leader to lead our members to opportunities that help us through work, business development and financial stability. Leaders know how to properly work with "other people's money" because leaders know it is not THEIR money. Fiscal responsibility should be just that; being responsible. Being held accountable. Being a leader.

Anybody can preach fiscal responsibility, but it takes a leader to really do it. A leader, a true leader, will take a member-elected position and will be accountable and will not hide or shy away from frank conversations that may, and will, be needed as we move through 2015 and head towards all of our futures. 

When it's time to elect your next association leader, elect someone who will not take "other people's money" for granted and will perform as if it is their own hard earned money being spent. Fiscal responsibility truly is the art of understanding the value of money, in our association’s case, members’ dues.

One drop represents one voice. Many drops represents NAHB's voice!

No comments: