A different way to pick a candidate

Remember Joe the Plumber? We met him four years ago when he asked then-candidate Barack Obama about taxing small businesses.New for 2012: Meet Joe the Builder. He's got something to say, too, but he's talking to voters. Joe Scott, a successful Massachusetts general contractor, is the author of "The Joe Dial" (friendesha.com), a book that boils down observations gleaned from hundreds of thousands of business deals, negotiations and other interpersonal transactions into a simple rule for human analysis. It's easily applied to every person in the world and it's "a tried-and-true compass for navigating many a sticky social and family situation," Scott says. Here's how it works: "Every person falls into one of the three basic categories," he says. "They're either a taker, a giver or a take-and-giver. Figuring out which category a person - or company, community, organization - falls under tells you what your basic approach for dealing with them should be." Most people fall somewhere in the middle of the dial. But there are small clusters at both extremes. The Pure Taker: The person who thinks only of himself and what he can get out of another person or a situation. He's willing to do just about anything to get what he wants. The first signs of a taker are arrogance, lying, exaggerating, bullying and manipulating. The Pure Giver: The generous, empathetic, self-sacrificing person. Pure givers think only of others and will give everything they have, emotionally, physically and financially, to fill a perceived need. The Give-Takers: They care about themselves and other people, to greater or lesser extents depending where they fall on the spectrum. They may be basically takers with an occasional giving impulse, or people who tend to be empathetic and sharing with a definite streak of selfishness. The most balanced are people who bob back and forth between the least extreme qualities on the give and take scales: sharing, tolerant and helpful, but not necessarily self-sacrificing, or selfish, expectant and happy to receive but not bullies or thieves. Scott says once you decide where on the scale a person falls, you know how to deal with them because you can anticipate how they'll respond. Scott applied the Joe Dial to politics and found the takers are easily identified: they're voters who want something for nothing and the politicians willing to say and do anything to get votes. "Don't vote for the politician whose message is basically, 'Vote for me, I'll give you free things,'" Scott says. "They're the candidates who offer lots of freebies, promises they know they can't deliver. But, because they're takers, they don't think twice about lying to get what they want." There may also be some extreme givers who believe everyone deserves to have certain things, whether or not they work for them. "Unfortunately, politicians learned a long time ago that the easiest way to win votes is to promise people free stuff. Not only do they satisfy the existing takers, they create new ones, which means more votes," Scott says. Giving more and more freebies - housing, food, medical care - is financially unsustainable, he says. Taxing the rich to feed the poor ultimately saps the economy of investors and job creators. Listen for the give-takers, Scott says. They're the politicians who may see a need for government intervention but they recognize it must be paid for - by all who benefit. And they have a feasible plan for that. "I don't advocate for a particular candidate or even a particular party," Scott says. "I'm just using the basic rule of human analysis that's helped me thrive as a builder and a real estate developer."

********** Published: January 19, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 40