by Jeffrey Folks –
On Friday, the president wasted no time informing the country that unemployment rates had dropped from 9.8% to 9.4%. That sounds pretty good until you dig into the underlying numbers. Then it sounds dire.
Despite expectations that the U.S. would add 170,000 new jobs, only 100,000 were added in December. And yet the unemployment rate fell by 0.4%, a feat that would normally require the addition of up to 750,000 new jobs. How could the rate fall so dramatically with job gains of only 100,000? [Read more…]
Creativity fosters innovation, but how can you ignite creative sparks within your organization? Inc.com compiled lessons on developing a vibrant research and development strategy.
To come up with their best new ideas, most companies turn to an inexpensive and efficient source of innovation: their own employees. How can you unleash the creative spirit lurking in your workforce? Here are eight of the best strategies we’ve uncovered in recent months.
1. Let Every Employee Play Designer.
Three years ago, the five-person research and development team at pet-accessory company West Paw Design had a case of collective writer’s block. A production manager named Seth Partain proposed holding a contest for the company’s three-dozen employees. Everyone from salespeople to seamstresses were encouraged to spend an afternoon designing and producing prototypes for new products. Following an end-of-day vote, a winner was crowned at an award ceremony. By making employees feel a part of the idea-creation process, West Paw Design set up a new pipeline of product development. [Read more…]
When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted by Congress in February of 2009, a mere 0.899% of the funds were directed toward helping Small Businesses. Despite the fact that the Small Business sector employs over 50% of the American population, Big Business and Wall Street got most of the attention from our government during the “Great Recession” (and continues to do so).
The Crisis of Ethics in America
10/8/2010 – Chuck Colson –
Even before the critically acclaimed film The Social Network opened in theaters, there was one big financial winner: Newark, New Jersey’s public schools.
While critics were screening the movie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the struggling school system. Not only that, he made the announcement on Oprah.
Apparently, Zuckerberg was looking for a little bit of good PR. He’s concerned that people who see the film may question his personal ethics. The more important concern ought to be, however, what the film says about business ethics in our culture. [Read more…]
During the same week in which the president was vacationing in a $50,000-per-night home in Martha’s Vineyard, half a million Americans were standing in line, waiting their turn to apply for unemployment benefits. Those benefits are about $400 a week, not enough to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and car payments, and cover medical and other expenses. Not only that, but they run out (or used to) at 26 weeks. Even with Congress’s election-year largesse, which has tacked on an additional 73 weeks, unemployment benefits must run out at some point. More and more Americans — those who have begun calling themselves the 99ers — are now arriving at that point. [Read more…]
America’s economic situation needs an emergency heart transplant, but Obama and the Democrats keep offering band-aids instead. We need a major change in government economic, tax, and fiscal policies not more government bailouts. Yet the president is doing nothing to reverse the enormous uncertainty fostered by his own administration’s aggressive anti-business and pro high-tax initiatives and rhetoric.
In the latest indication that our president has no clue why businesses are struggling and unwilling to hire, Obama is trying to force through another $30 billion government bailout program to “help banks boost lending to small businesses.” Unfortunately, it’s not the lack of available funds that are stopping businesses from expanding and generating new jobs. It’s the massive economic uncertainty and instability created by misguided government mandates (especially the oppressive regulations of ObamaCare), coupled with the massive tax increases coming in January 2011, that have spooked companies and forced them into defensive economic positions. [Read more…]
John Galt is the mysterious hero lurking in the background in Ayn Rand’s infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged. He is the industrialist who went into hiding and led a strike of producers fed up with the physical and moral encroachment from a government of moral supremacists who rationalized theft with childish notions of fairness but no conception of the actual production of wealth. That synopsis should also explain why Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957, is having a very strong resurgence in popularity.
I meet with two different groups of independent business owners focused in the southeast and their perception of current business conditions is almost unanimous. They are angry. They face conflicting and unclear regulations, and a near certainty of increasing taxes . They are impatient. Many are not profitable and are unable and unwilling to tolerate customers who cannot pay, employees who do not think, banks without judgment, and a government that despises their efforts to create wealth and jobs. [Read more…]
From the archived pages of Imprimis, the monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College, President Ronald Reagan reminds us that economic freedom is an absolute necessity not only for political freedom, but for all freedom. That freedom must be fought for and protected in every generation. That the business community must join this fight and not remain passive.
“It all comes down to this basic premise: if you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and in fact all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction. Every generation has to learn how to protect and defend it. Once freedom is gone, it’s gone for a long, long time. Already, too many of us, particularly those in business and industry, have chosen to switch rather than fight.”
President Reagan clearly understood that government action is the biggest threat to our economic freedom and personal freedom. He correctly identified the government as the problem, not the solution: [Read more…]
7/24/2010 – Henry Oliner –
Karl Marx understood that capitalism is intrinsically productive but saw an inherent unfairness in any value other than that provided by labor. Marx also understood that individual incentives to produce would inevitably lead to overproduction and painful contractions. To avoid these contractions and their impact on labor costs, he believed the proletariat should, and inevitably would, exercise control over the means of production. Some true believers insist that he sought a utopian ideal rather than an authoritarian state, but the control of production by the state became essential to their objective. [Read more…]
Steve Wynn, the American entrepreneur and casino resort/real-estate developer, was recently interviewed by CNBC for the opening of his new Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas. During the questions and answers session with the correspondent, the billionaire business owner addressed some of the most serious problems American companies face and the incompetent manner in which politicians in Washington, DC are handling the economic situation and the unpredictable manner in which they continue to aggressively punish US businesses.
In the interview Wynn talks about the lack of common sense that has disappeared in Washington and the completely out-of-control spending that is fueling the massive national debt:
“It’s common sense that’s disappeared in Washington DC. It’s common sense that’s disappeared in the years of 7 and 8 in America. We’re inheriting the awful results, both in our government … of wild, uncontrolled spending, unbelievable, unsustainable debt.
And yet, here we are, doing it again, $20 billion a month to the FHA. On top of what happens to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re doing it again today for $20 billion a month! We’re destroying the housing market, again; under the name of a stimulus, phony misrepresented names.”
6/9/2010 – John Stossel –
America’s current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. We have a standard of living that’s the envy of most of the world.
Why did that happen? Prosperity isn’t the norm. Throughout history and throughout the world, poverty has been the norm. Most of the world still lives in dire poverty. Of the 6 billion people on earth, perhaps 1 billion have something close to our standard of living.
Why did America prosper when most of the people of the world are still poor? [Read more…]