Groups take to airwaves to warn against 'fiscal cliff'

How worried are you about the fiscal cliff?

So maybe we can advertise our way out of the fiscal cliff crisis. Some business groups think it’s worth giving a try. They’re launching ad campaigns, urging members of congress to “just fix it.” Their fiscal cliff ads are dramatic -- and to the point.

One radio ad from the Business Roundtable says, “America’s CEO’s have a message for Washington. Don’t take our country over the fiscal cliff."

That ad starts airing on Washington radio stations this week. Another group began its ads the day after the election. It’s called the Campaign to Fix the Debt. It has big business backing, and it’s headed by Maya MacGuineas. She says the ads are aimed at members of Congress.

“We know that there are going to be hard choices involved," she says. "And we want to let them know, we have your back.”

MacGuineas is hoping lawmakers will be more willing to buck their parties if they know they have business support. Stephen Hess is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He says it was smart to have the fiscal cliff warning delivered by CEOs.

“Every member of the House knows the business groups in his neighborhood and will be more apt to listen to them than others,” says Hess.

Initially at least, the ads will only appear in Washington. I know how disappointed the rest of you are. But more ads are planned for later, targeting the districts of wavering representatives. Elizabeth Wilner is vice president of Kantar Media CMAG. She says outside-the-beltway ads might not be welcome.

“There are many people sitting at home who probably hit their limit on political ads and are happily watching car ads and other sorts of ads not expecting to see anything political,” she says.

But Wilner adds, at least they won’t be attack ads. The only character being smeared here is the fiscal cliff.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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