On Business: Presidential Impact

By | Monday, February 20, 2017 Leave a Comment
We are one month into Trump's presidency, and I keep finding myself trying to suss how that will impact the comic book industry. As we're only a month in, we don't really have any data yet and most of the broader think pieces I can find were written no earlier than a few days into his term. I presume economists have been watching to see what actually starts happening.

My personal economic situation, as of right now, is actually pretty good. Around the middle of last year, I got a nice promotion at my day job (with an accompanying salary increase) and I just last week had my annual review in which my boss had nothing but praise for me, and I got a decent raise and bonus(!) because of it. My wife also has been anecdotally doing well, although her formal review won't be for another few weeks. Both of our companies seem to be doing well, so there looks to be no danger of us losing our jobs on the horizon. Coupled with the only debt that either of us have being the mortgage on our house, and the fact that I'm a cishetero white male, I don't know that I, myself, have too much to worry about in the short term.

That said, I am worried. Less so for me, but for many of my friends and family who aren't in as stable situations. For those who do have something to be genuinely fearful of. Whether that's a loss of their healthcare because the Affordable Care Act is repealed, or a loss of their freedom because they're Muslim, or a loss of their life because they're Black, or any of the other horrible effects Trump's (and the GOP's) policies are already starting to have on anyone who isn't a rich, white male.

Now because I'm in a fairly stable position, I'm trying to use whatever means I have to help those creators trying to make a living doing comics. Often by supporting them when/where I can via Kickstarter or Patreon or whatever, or just buying their books, or just promoting their work on social media (although my reach is decidedly limited there, so I don't know how much impact I honestly have). But that's me. I'm doing what I can because I can, but I've already talked with people who've had to cut back because of their own position. Their income is less stable, and they're not able to help as much.

Further, people are putting their resources towards countering Trump. Instead of a vacation, they're travelling to a protest or march. Instead of spending time reading, they're writing and calling their Congressional representatives. Their money is going to placards and stamps instead of comics.

And that's only a month in.

I suspect -- and this is indeed just speculation -- that we'll see more of that. Businesses will contract and/or switch full-time employees to contractor status, which will make the more stable people less stable. That, in turn, will mean they'll be able to provide less support to the creative types who are already less stable, and they'll be forced into survival mode, doing whatever they can just to get a basic income, and spending less time on their art. I talked about this shortly after the election, but I'm starting to see that happening. It's completely anecdotal, possibly driven by confirmation bias, but it's something that I think bears keeping a close eye on. For everyone's sake.
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