By Michelle Graff

While working on an upcoming story for National Jeweler about the effects that the newly elected Democratic Congress will have on the retail industry and independent jewelers, I was left speechless when I called a jeweler to get her thoughts.

"It won't affect me at all," she said breezily. "What does Congress have to do with my business?"

A million answers ran through my mind, but none seemed to make it out of my mouth. I was too busy wondering how, in 2006, any business owner can imagine that Congress has nothing to do with his or her business. The incoming Congress may make laws that will change current regulations on import/export tariffs, estate taxes, luxury taxes, Internet sales and a host of other equally important issues for retail jewelers. The newly elected senators and representatives will likely change the course of our foreign policy, which could have very real economic implications here at home.

By voting, staying abreast of such issues and contacting legislative representatives to make one's opinions known, retailers can have a say. Burrowing one's head in the sand and assuming that what happens in Washington, D.C., has no affect on the rest of the country is not only naive, but it's also poor business policy.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.