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It’s About Jobs… But For Who?

With the Olympics in full swing, we’re getting our first dose of state and local political ads. The common theme? Jobs.

But leave it to television to dumb-down a very complicated problem. It’s fine for Rob McKenna, Jay Inslee and Cathy McMorris Rodgers to talk about how jobs are the No. 1 issue to tackle in 2013, but what exactly do they plan to do? Apparently, that’s too much for a 30-second spot.

Here’s one way these and other candidates could speak to a huge number of potential voters who are extremely motivated: They could offer real ideas for getting America’s young people back to work. This isn’t a rich vs. poor thing — it’s a young vs. old thing, and it’s a national crisis.

Newsweek recently labeled our 18- to 29-year-olds “the screwed generation,” as their unemployment rate is double the overall national rate; in Washington state, the rate for the 20-24 group is nearly one in five. Meanwhile, the new jobs that are being created are being snatched up by those 55 and older. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, nearly six of every 10 new jobs are being taken by that nearing-retirement demographic. (And just watch what happens if Congress “fixes” Medicare and Social Security by pushing the retirement age out.)

So, candidates, if you want to continue on with your vague happy talk about “jobs,” go ahead. But with a little sharper message, you might just appeal to the 2 million young Americans on the outside looking in at that Dream thingy everybody keeps talking about.

Are You a Serif or a Sans?

Still undecided? Thinking about settling it via a quick rock-paper-scissors with your barista first thing Election Day? Here’s another way to decide that’s at least as meaningless as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s plans to fight global warming (none and zero): Pick a winner based on whose font is cooler.

Everybody knows Obama is punctuating his signs and ads with Gotham, the iconic, modern font he started using during his 2008 campaign. Now the news is out that Romney is using Mercury for his message massaging. The interesting thing about their font choices, as detailed by New York designer David Rainbird in a widely circulated blog post, is that they were both designed by New York’s boutique font foundry Hoefler & Frere-Jones. What’s more, they were both first designed for men’s magazines — Gotham for GQ, Mercury for headlines in Esquire.

Who cares about the words — it’s how they look that matters.

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