opinion

The Next Four Years

Stephen Yagielowicz

It was Election Day in America, November 6th, 2012 — an historic date that will determine the course of the next four years and beyond. I did my part by voting and then watched the live action unfold on television, joining countless observers around the world, all eagerly waiting to see which candidate would prevail.

According to most pollsters, the ad-weary electorate seemed evenly split right up until the moment, making “who showed up at the polls” a critical factor that could swing the popular vote one way or another — pushing either hopeful over the top to victory.

The two candidates, sitting President Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat with a progressive vision of society; and his opponent, former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican business leader with strict conservative values, are facing off over an agenda that pits two distinct ideologies against each other in a battle of philosophical, pragmatic and practical approaches towards solving the same problems of the day.

The former needs four more years to solidify his initiatives, while the latter claims that the country cannot afford to continue down its current path and wishes to turn back the hands of time. Both candidates are essentially two sides of the same coin however, as government’s day to day functions remain largely unchanged regardless of whose portrait is hanging on a bureaucrat’s office wall.

While there is no lack of industry speculation about a given politician’s motives, much of it over simplifies the equation to “a vote for a Democrat is a vote for porn,” but no serious political party is going to come out as being friendly to adult entertainment.

The Republican platform was, however, recently updated to include a call for increased porn prosecutions…

By the end of the day, it became clear that the President had his lease renewed on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for another four years — a result that doubtlessly raised a collective sigh of relief for the adult entertainment industry — which feared finding itself under the cross-hairs in the wake of a Republican victory.

News of the Obama win spread quickly, with Twitter reporting a massive traffic spike to 327,000 politically-related tweets per minute at around 11 p.m., when word of the re-election began spreading. Another interesting social media statistic reveals that Obama’s team out-tweeted the Romney campaign by 8-to-1 — illustrating the latter’s lackluster engagement with a significant number of voters and fostering the notion that the Republican Party is made up of old, out-of-touch white guys that just don’t get it…

It was a very close race, with the electoral count balanced throughout much of the evening, while the popular vote often favored Romney. In the end, the Electoral College handed the win to Obama — but it was by no means an overwhelming landslide.

The evenness of the race means that no candidate could claim a clear mandate, especially when it comes to social issues, such as freedom of speech — and your ability as an adult to enjoy “adult entertainment.” In other words, the more things change, the more they remain the same: so keep your head down, do the right thing, and you should be OK for the foreseeable future.

It is hoped that the President will find better uses for federal resources than to engage in a campaign to “clean up” a perceived moral turpitude that a vocal minority of zealots seeks to impose its Puritanical will over. It is not the role of government, but that of the free market, to regulate such matters — and this notion may have influenced a portion of the electorate in its vote.

Even if you are not an American, if you are involved in the adult entertainment industry, you have an interest in how U.S. administrational changes impact the business.

Although much has been made about factors such as beefed-up enforcement of the 18 USC ‘2257 recordkeeping requirements or bolstered intellectual property laws, issues including evolving banking regulations could also arise as a result of the election.

For example, many merchants have faced increased scrutiny over the past few years when dealing with financial institutions, such as having to provide proof of identity documents as part of a process called “Know Your Customer” (KYC). Touted as being an anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist tool, this darling of the Obama administration is used for tracking your money around the world for the purposes of tax collection.

There are few safe havens from KYC, its cousins and descendents, and it is likely this federal cash cow will continue, adding complexity to many company’s tax strategies, wherever their offices are located.

Beyond the national elections, Los Angeles County voters passed “Measure B” — a move that has a significant impact on the adult entertainment industry, as it requires performers to use protective gear against blood-borne pathogens, a.k.a. condoms in porn.

The specter of bio hazard suit clad porn performers may be a new niche, but it’s safe to say that is one that has limited consumer appeal and forms an untenable situation for producers. If left to stand, the law could cause an exodus of adult production houses to another region.

This will provide employment for attorneys and moving companies, but that isn’t necessarily the type of job creation that Americans were hoping for in the next four years.

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