Get out the veterinary vote

Forget politicians. Much-needed change can come from you.
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Oct 01, 2012

Forget politicians. Much-needed change can come from you.


Brendan Howard
I grew up in California, where being outspoken is a way of life for many people. Everything on the Left Coast is a little faster, a little more exciting, and a little busier. Sure, we may have borrowed an easygoing pace of life from the beach-combing surfers, but we borrowed our energy from frenetic centers of art and business. Most of all, people in California speak their mind, because, y'know, they're important and people need to hear them, right?

Then my wife and I and our two cats came to Kansas, where common courtesy rules with an iron fist and sports talk takes the place of the contentious discussions of politics and religion. All that to say, if you don't talk politics with anyone but your significant other—and maybe not even then—I understand completely.

That's why, when it comes to the upcoming presidential election, we chose to skip the grayer aspects of political philosophy and look at hard numbers at play in an important part of our government: your taxes. We can't know for sure that Republican promises of tax cuts would trickle down to the pet owners who swing your doors. We don't know that Democrats' hopes of a healthier country and a better community safety net would give Americans more leverage to spend the money to also keep their pets in top health.

But when it comes to your income taxes for 2013 and your immediate future? Veteran veterinary CPA and consultant Tom McFerson has you covered starting on "Obama vs. Romney and your taxes".

We could delve deeper into the ramifications of national politics on veterinary medicine, but strangely enough, animals—and the veterinarians and team members who keep them healthy—don't always pop up on the national political stage. Food safety. Animal cruelty. Bioterrorism. Zoonotic disease and new disease. I suppose we should be glad when our major issues are absent from the national conversation, because they'd likely be nothing but bad news.

Veterinary medicine isn't in need of a President so much as it could use solutions. We have lots of practice owners whose clinics can't be sold for enough to retire on. We have associates underpaid by their underperforming bosses and unable to climb out from under shocking school loans. And we have larger and larger waves of students coming to veterinary colleges to pursue their dream to make animals lives better, healthier, and happier, and maybe satisfy the country's pet-owning client base while they're at it. But where will they work?

The solutions may come from ... you. I recently spoke to a serial entrepreneur and husband of a DVM with a highly creative solution—he and his wife are trying to get private practitioners to charge an extra 50 cents on services to help make in-state tuition at their veterinary college free. The school would attract the best candidates, and veterinarians would graduate without debt.

That sure sounds better than a tax break to me.

Brendan Howard, Editor