Sunday, July 31, 2011

Five Ways to Manage Stress

Some good tips on managing stress:

1) Don't pass judgement.  Every time you pass judgement, you increase your stress level.  Give people the benefit of the doubt and you'll feel more relaxed.

2) Always arrive a few minutes early.  Being late can really raise your stress level.  Ever notice that you catch all the red lights when you're in a hurry?

3) Seek support.  When something is worrying you, find someone you trust and discuss it.  It might not be as bad as you think, or maybe there is some positive action you can take.

4) Don't catch other's stress.  Sure, it's good to be sympathetic and help when you can, but remember, you didn't create their problems.  Their stress is their stress.

5) Listen more, talk less.  Blood pressure goes up when you speak.  Relax and really listen -- determine what they are really saying, it might help.

Hope this helps,


Why are they ruining the country we fought for? View from a WW2 Veteran

Talked to one of the wisest people I could think of, a very neat gentleman and a WW2 veteran.
Until Bush (W) was elected, he was a strong republican.

As we talked, he shook his head sadly.  

"What is wrong with people?  Don't they know you have to pay for services and infrastructure?  Taxes are a lot lower than they were in the fifties, especially for the higher brackets."

He leaned over and took a sip of water.  "And this debt ceiling -- why are they not working things out?  Our country was founded on compromise.  Don't they realize the impact, the damage they are doing to our country?"

He said, "Tracy, write that the American people want their leaders to sit down and be realistic.  You can't cut your way to prosperity!"

There you have it -- wise words to Congress.
Voters, know how your congressmen/women behave ... and remember!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is it cool to be greedy?

Does our society reward those who've made it with the help of our infrastucture,  but don't want to help support it for anyone else?  

Interesting article:

Does this look like a golden age?

Have a great day,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Words of wisdom from a T-shirt

This was on an old tee shirt of my daughter's.  Wouldn't it be nice if more people felt this way?

As human beings we have in us to provide for others.  It's purely a choice.  But actions must precede the words.  The vast fortunes we have obtained are meaningless unless we pick those up that have fallen, provide for those that have nothing. 
Author unknown

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Business tax cuts undercut the economy; what other measures make sense?

I read this editorial by Edwin McLenaghan in the Triangle Business News.
I thought it made a lot of sense, and worth repeating.
McLenaghan is a public policy analyst at the N.C. Budget & Tax Center in Raleigh.

"Policymakers from both political parties have proposed cutting or eliminating North Carolina’s corporate income-tax rate in hopes it will boost business investment and job creation. 
While cutting corporate taxes might make for a good political sound bite, evidence shows the state would be better off with other alternatives for boosting the economy.

North Carolina already has the lowest state and local business taxes as a share of the economy in the country, and the corporate income tax accounts for less than $1 in $13 paid by N.C. businesses in state and local taxes. In fact, a 30 percent cut in the rate (as proposed by Gov. Perdue) would result in just a 2.2 percent reduction in business taxes and only a 0.04 percent reduction in total business costs.

The fiscal research division of the General Assembly estimates the recent proposal to cut the state rate to 4.75 percent from 6.9 percent would cost the state $307 million in fiscal 2012, with the annual cost rising to $410 million after five years.

Analysts in other states have modeled the impact of corporate tax cuts, and the results strongly suggest new jobs would come at a high cost. In Oregon and California, legislative analysts predict cutting the state corporate income tax rate by 20 percent to 30 percent would increase personal income by 0.2 percent and employment by 0.06 percent to 0.1 percent after five years. This translates into an estimated cost of $98,000 per job in Oregon and $83,000 in California. And because nearly all states have a balanced-budget requirement, their residents would pay the entire cost through higher personal taxes or cuts to public services.
Proponents argue tax cuts will increase corporate profits and encourage investment. But profits are at record highs, and corporations aren’t hiring widely. Cutting the corporate rate will simply boost profits with no promise or evidence of job creation. In fact, much of the after-tax savings from a tax cut will flow straight to out-of-state investors and executives.
The other main beneficiary of proposed corporate tax cuts would be the federal government. Because profitable corporations deduct state income-tax payments on federal returns, 35 cents of every dollar in cuts would go to the U.S. Treasury.

Small-and mid-sized businesses are the engine of job growth, but few would benefit from reducing the rate. In 2005, only about 28,000 of North Carolina’s roughly 775,000 businesses paid income tax. In the same year, 217 corporations accounted for nearly three of five dollars in those payments. That means 60 percent of any corporate tax cut would flow to 0.12 percent of North Carolina’s private employers.

Because of loopholes and subsidies, the state’s biggest corporations typically pay less than the statutory 6.9 percent rate. Of the 14 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in North Carolina, none likely paid the statutory rate in 2010, and only three paid more than 5 percent. Three companies – Nucor Corp., Progress Energy Inc. and Goodrich Corp. – received net state corporate income-tax subsidies despite substantial profits.

All businesses and residents benefit from having a solid work force, sound infrastructure and public investments in the quality of life. Research by economist Timothy Bartik suggests specific public investments that will do far more to build a state’s economy than corporate tax cuts. Here are four items N.C. could pursue:

Customized job training: Expand job‐training grants to individual firms, leveraging the resources of the community college system. Bartik’s research shows customized job training programs are 10 to 16 times as cost-effective in creating jobs as business-tax incentives.

Manufacturing extension services: Expand consulting services to small- and mid-sized manufacturers to help them compete, leveraging funding through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Such efforts are about nine times more cost-effective than tax incentives in creating jobs.

• Subsidized employment and economic development: Temporarily subsidize part of the wages for new jobs filled by workers who endured long-term unemployment, with preferences for small- and mid-sized businesses.

High-quality, early childhood education: Expand North Carolina’s early childhood programs, Smart Start and More At Four, and eliminate the waiting list for child-care subsidies. Bartik recently estimated the present value of a dollar of state investment in Smart Start and More At Four was $8.79.

I give the Triangle Business Journal alot of credit for publishing this!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whose really bankrupting America?

I had just decided not to write about politics anymore when I heard this theory at a holiday party.  At first, I thought the guy had one too many, but after thinking about it, he may have a point. See what you think...

Here's the thought:

1) The federal government is the only entity that can restrain big business
2) The republican party aligns itself with big business


Reagan -- amassed unprecedented debt

Clinton -- worked to make government more effective, left office with a surplus

Bush (W) -- took the surplus and turned it into the largest debt in history,  started two costly wars (a surefire economy drain -- look up what the war in Afghanistan did to the Soviet government)
Tried tax cuts to stimulate the economy, the main effect was to further increase the debt
Meanwhile, Big Money Handlers were running amok, but the government did nothing until the last minute

Obama -- landmark consumer protection regulations, much needed regulations on Wall Street, stimulus package that will help build infrastructure, a start on health care reform that limits some of the bad practices of the insurance industry.  Big business didn't like that.  Poured money into the the 2010 elections.

Now the Republicans have their chance.  They only started to care about the deficit when it wasn't their problem anymore (and it doesn't come into consideration when cutting taxes for the rich, only when extending unemployment benefits). They're looking to undermine the power of the Federal Government. 

If this is true,you can say good bye to consumer protection, clean water and good roads.

Hope it isn't -- I'd rather not go back to the 1890's and the robber barrons.

Let me know what you think...