‘Dirty Little Secrets’ Trump Hasn’t Told You about Economy



Before getting into the dirty little secrets Donald Trump hasn’t mentioned about the economy, let’s get something out of the way.

We can agree Mr. Trump has been insensitive and crass, at times.

But let’s get into why.

For starters and not to minimize, Mr. Trump is a marketer – a genius at it. Moreover, he is practicing the points he advocates in his book, “The Art of the Deal.”

The strategies are explained in this Wall Street Journal interview:

So in following his blueprint for his 2016 president campaign, he has attacked, walked away, counter-punched when attacked, and when he’s won, he has been being gracious.

He comes across as arrogant in repeatedly discussing his successes. But he’s using a sales technique known as “preventing buyers’ remorse.” He has reminded people about his successes so people remember his strengths; that he’ll get the job done as president.

But is it all smoke and mirrors? Like just about any stellar politician, salesperson or marketer, Mr. Trump understands human nature. He knows he has had to tap into sufficient numbers of voter emotions in order to win.

So he has pushed the envelope; to say the least. Many businesspeople get why. So do angry entrepreneurs, and millions of different demographics of voters who are angry at the decline of America – the lowering of standards.

Marketing puffery

As a business magnate, he knows the U.S. is in so much fiscal trouble we might never solve our desperate situation. Mr. Trump engages in marketing puffery to get his urgent “Make America Great Again” message across to voters.

Sometimes he’s been relentlessly vicious as he whittled down the field of 17 Republican candidates. That included a favorite of mine whom I interviewed, Dr. Ben Carson (Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions).

“There are two Donald Trumps,” says Dr. Carson.

“There’s the one you see on the stage and there’s the one who is very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully. You can have a very good conversation with him. That’s the Donald Trump that you’re going to start seeing more and more of,” he concludes.

Mr. Trump is the only savvy Republican who has also attracted Independents, Democrats and people who never voted before according to published polls.

So what are the dirty little secrets Mr. Trump hasn’t discussed about the economy?

Yes, he raised eyebrows about his call to surcharge foreign products.

Trump critics

His critics – political and in the media – have distorted the impacts from his advocacy for high tariffs to create a trade balance. Merely for the purpose of attacking Mr. Trump’s credibility, they have claimed consumers will pay higher prices as a result of surcharges on products made in China.

But that’s true for only the short term. Mr. Trump points out the macro economics of the issues.

He attended one of the finest finance schools in America, but he doesn’t get technically specific because Americans won’t understand his concerns. He speaks in simple, easy-to-understand terms. He learned that technique by working in the media.

He’s the only candidate to talk repeatedly about the dangers from the $19+ trillion national debt. But if we take a close look at the national debt clock (http://www.usdebtclock.org/), it’s a traumatizing experience.

“Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.”

-Robert Byrne

Mr. Trump knows dozens of nations own our treasuries in the trillions of dollars. Click on this federal government link, http://ticdata.treasury.gov/Publish/mfh.txt. It’s also a shocker.

Root causes

What are the root causes for America’s serious fiscal troubles?

Mr. Trump points out, for example, Americans are suffering reflected by the dangerously low gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of dysfunctional Obama Administration policies.

He singles out Republicans, too. Mr. Obama assumed office from Pres. George w. Bush with an $11 trillion national debt.

The GDP under Mr. Bush was also low compared to his predecessors, Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

“Mr. Obama took office during a terrible financial crisis and endured a punishing recession. Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in his first term but since then, the economy has reclaimed and added 13.2 million jobs and employment is up about 10 percent,” writes Peter Morici, Ph.D.

Dr. Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. (See his economic forecasts.) 

He compares the Obama record to Mr. Reagan’s.

“The Gipper faced tough times too — double-digit unemployment and interest rates, and a bruising recession. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent but subsequently the economy added more than 17.2 million jobs and employment rose about 20 percent,” he adds.

Free trade

Presidents Obama and Bush are also advocates of free-trade policies. But free trade has killed American jobs.

China, in particular, maintains higher tariffs on U.S. products than what the U.S. imposes on Chinese imports, and manipulates the yuan. That keeps Chinese products artificially cheap and U.S. products expensive in China.

“During Obama’s tenure, the trade deficit with China has increased about $100 billion, and costs American workers some 800 thousand jobs directly – and more than 1.2 million jobs counting in those lost from those workers not spending lost wages domestically,” explains Dr. Morici.

Mr. Trump has pointed out roads, bridges and other utility infrastructures are crumbling. He’s right.

Reminders are Seattle’s natural gas pipeline explosion in March 2016 and the collapsing bridges in Washington state; and hundreds of miles away, how about the water issues in Flint, Michigan?

Flint has 14 fewer manufacturing plants, in part, because now Ford is building trucks in Mexico.

As in Michigan, in virtually in every state, there’s not enough tax revenue to fix infrastructure.

Companies aren’t increasing wages because they’re selling too few products. But they’re making profits from cutting workweeks and employee hours. Nationally, the average American workweek is only 34.5 hours.

As for the healthcare debate, ObamaCare defies logic for economic, legal and moral reasons.

Ironically, a free market – with lower premiums and better choices – would have fulfilled the original intent of the law. ObamaCare is the poster child for heavy-handed government dysfunction.

Then, there’s the destructive inversion crisis of big business. Mr. Trump wants to create jobs by incentivizing companies to stay in America, decreasing corporate tax rates, and re-building the factories.

There will be increased competition, which means lower consumer prices.

When family-wage jobs are created, Mr. Trump knows people and government agencies will have higher much revenue. In essence, he’s pushing a nationalistic message so enough American-made products are bought by a newly patriotic American society.

Certainly, there are other issues. But these are salient factors to ponder and solve.

Mr. Trump’s economic approach is closest to Mr. Reagan’s. We need a reincarnation of the Gipper’s policies.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are editor’s picks for relevant reading:

Remembering Nancy Reagan: Lesson in Fear, Negotiations and Perseverance — With the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, thanks to her I have fond memories about a lesson in fear, negotiations and perseverance.

Like Nobility in the Age of Kings, Ruling Class Gets Trumped — Throughout history, there have been ruling classes in every region of the world. Noteworthy in Europe were the Dark Ages in which the ruling classes dominated ordinary, hardworking folks. That’s true for 21st century America. But like the Age of Enlightenment in the 1700s, America’s ruling class in 2016 is getting trumped by a voter revolt.

Academic Study: Rich Pay More than Their Share in Taxes — The 2016 study by the National Center for Policy Analysis reveals the current tax code is highly progressive. It’s entitled, “U.S. Inequality, Fiscal Progressivity, and Work Disincentives: An Intragenerational Accounting.”

Terror – 2 Democrat Presidents Provide Lessons for Obama — Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, both Democrats, won wide respect for their handling of monster threats to America. Plus, both presidents did not hesitate to identify the enemies, call them out on their lies, and to take decisive action. Why President Obama’s political correctness threatens America’s free-enterprise system.

Why a 1960s’ Beatles Protest Song is Still Relevant — Have you ever wondered why British groups like The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Beatles spent so much time touring abroad? To sell music for sure, but there’s another reason: Abusive taxes.

Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.

-Robert Byrne

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

If You Emulate Trump, Would You Profit? Yes and No



Feb. 25, 2016 –


Yes, it’s true that many of Donald Trump’s personal, business and presidential-campaign strategies are worth copying.

Much of his approach would enable you to make more profit.

As you no doubt surmise, there are caveats. Some of his behavior isn’t to be emulated.

GOP Presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump – November 12, 2015


Lessons from his personal life

Let’s consider Mr. Trump’s personal life. It’s a study in contrasts.

True, he has been married multiple times. However, his ex-wives support him in his endeavors.

Three times may be a charm for Mr. Trump. He’s now married to a woman who speaks five languages and has received favorable media comments.

By any measure he’s a very successful father. His kids love him and are successful in their own lives.

He’s known for being generous with money and for being cordial with everyone he meets. Personally, I know two women who praise him for being approachable many years ago.

In one case, when the young son of a friend wanted to meet Mr. Trump during an important event in Los Angeles, the billionaire dropped everything to meet with the boy for an hour.

In another situation, an actress friend once spotted him playing playing golf. In a lighthearted manner, she interrupted him and told him she needed luck in her career, and asked: “Can I rub you like I would a genie for good luck?” He laughed and said “yes.” She got her good luck.

Lessons from his business interests

Consider his aggressive business strategies, which differ somewhat from his campaign tactics.

At his father’s knee, he learned the risks of being an apartment landlord – a very litigious arena. He went against his father’s wishes when he borrowed $1 million from him and became a commercial developer.

In being overly aggressive, he over-extended his finances. But he learned from failures.

Mr. Trump learned other lessons when four of his businesses went bankrupt. He polished his negotiating skills in landing on his feet. As a Wharton graduate, he implemented proven step-by-step solutions for a financial turnaround.

He makes a valid point in his book, The Art of the Deal – don’t be afraid of walking away from the table when the negotiation isn’t working.

After low points in his career, Mr. Trump realized he needed to accelerate his shameless self promotion for effective branding. If your business slows down, you must rebrand your business.

“Fortune favors the bold.”

-Virgil

He wrote books, leveraged the news media and in reality TV programs, and he mastered the art of being unpredictable to generate publicity.

These strategies enabled him to license his name for easy profit.

He invested in quality but never wasted money by cutting corners or taking shortcuts.

As a real estate developer, for favorable zoning and other matters, he’s courted politicians – Democrats and Republicans, alike, by making donations.

Lessons from his politics

After weighing political runs for president and governor of New York, he launched a formal presidential campaign in June, 2015.

Mr. Trump quickly demonstrated he understood the mood of his core target – voters who are angry.

He laid out positions favored by his target audience – from illegal immigration to trade and jobs.

He has been clearly comfortable with many Americans not voting for him. Mr. Trump knows how to develop a loyal following and that his opponents aren’t worth worrying about.

He used his personal principle of being unpredictable in order to outline his policies disliked by so-called progressive voters.

He was successful in branding himself (Despite Cruz’s Despicable Tactics – Why Trump Will Win).

Another branding tactic – he branded his opponents, such as calling Sen. Ted Cruz a “liar” for his frequent campaign dirty politics, and labeling former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as “low energy.”

When former Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, criticized Mr. Trump for not disclosing his tax returns, The Donald returned fire:

“Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!”

That was illustrative of why his supporters love him – they want a fighter.

You might recall in 2012 when Mr. Romney was beating incumbent President Obama by 5 percent in the polls five months before the November election.

All summer long, Mr. Romney was bombarded with attacks from Democrats but he never once responded.

In effect, Mr. Romney allowed his adversaries to brand him as a dangerous capitalist. Nor did Mr. Romney aggressively debate Mr. Obama.

Mr. Trump may be authoritarian or narcissistic but in showing his pride for his business success, he dodges a bullet that had previously devastated Mr. Romney. No one successfully brands Mr. Trump as a monster capitalist.

Even evangelicals – from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress in Dallas – have been vocal in their support of Mr. Trump.

They want a strong, patriotic businessperson in the White House –as does a Christian church elder I know. His comment to me in supporting the Trump candidacy: “Let’s pray for him.”

Mr. Trump’s unfavorable poll ratings stem from his political positions and for his crass personal attacks on people like Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

Candidly, they might work in politics. But such crass attacks should be discouraged in business. There’s a better sales strategy when tempted to bad mouth competitors.

However, as Dr. Ben Carson once told me, politics is a “cesspool” (Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions).

Mr. Trump’s branding (“Make America Great Again”), his overwhelming news-media dominance, and his political positions propelled him to frontrunner status.

Moreover, his success was achieved by running the lowest-cost campaign of any candidate.

He’s demonstrated frugality in spending. It’s made possible in-part because he knows the value of leveraging the media for PR.

Mr. Trump doesn’t read from teleprompters. He speaks extemporaneously in a style that appeals to many Americans. He repeats his points in speeches. People remember what he says.

Conclusion

So know your strengths, weaknesses, and your target audience. Be frugal but don’t be afraid to invest wisely. Create and implement salient branding.

Don’t allow your competitors to brand you, and remember bad mouthing competition is not a viable option.

Finally, be bold.

Do these things; you’ll be profitable.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are links to related articles for increasing profits:

Money – Your Net Worth Matters More than What You Earn — When it comes to finance, most business owners and other individuals strive to increase their wealth to have more opportunities. The trouble with some, however, is that they focus on income and not their net worth. That means, of course, spending less than they earn.

Earn Profits via Innovation, Relationships and Local Marketing — If your company is struggling as a result of declining profits, at least three factors are responsible: The clutter of competition, management, and ever-expanding and head-scratching list of advertising options.

Companies Profit Most by Investing in Customer Engagement — Better business performance results when CEOs show leadership in providing the best-possible customer experience. That’s confirmed in a global study.

Increase Profits by Hiring Talent with the Best Trait — Enthusiasm — You’ll increase your odds for profits with high-performing employees with the right culture — if you hire for the right personality trait – enthusiastic people. That’s right. Look for people who have the makeup to being committed and who will care for the welfare of your company. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

Quick Checklist for Profits You Can Implement Today — Here is a top-10 checklist for profits.

“Fortune favors the bold.”

-Virgil

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Marketing Segmentation with Radio: Works for Biz, Politics



Marketing segmentation is a strategy that enables you to divide a broad target into subsets of businesses, consumers and voters – based on their common interests.

Once you know their common interests, chances are you can design and implement the right strategies.

Whether you’re in business or politics — if you don’t have a mega budget for marketing and research — take heart. There are easy, affordable ways to use market segmentation targeting the right persons — using radio.

With radio, you can reach your audience anywhere — at home, at play, at work and in their cars.

ID-100183946 stockimagesFor my money, the best approach is to target civic-minded voters using traditional advertising channels. Why? I recommend reaching customers who care about their communities.

Radio and television can help you deliver a personalized message to tap into emotions of such people locally. Of the two, radio is less expensive and more effective in a more personal fashion.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean putting all your commercials on talk radio.

Two 2015 studies by Nielsen show the impact of radio. Nielsen is a media research company – including the listening habits for radio stations and viewing habits for television stations.

Personally, I have great respect for Nielsen’s integrity. In 2010, I wrote that the firm admitted significant errors in its Web research. Nielsen’s admission really impressed me.

These days, the company studies consumer habits and trends worldwide – in more than 100 nations and the company still provides authoritative information.

“Reaching 93 percent of all U.S. adults every week and playing a leading role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, radio has the ability to positively impact campaign results,” says Carol Edwards, senior vice president for media analytics at Nielsen.

She made the statement when the company reported “Radio’s Returns Have Advertisers across Categories Tuning In.”

Nielsen reported radio advertising is especially effective in four retail categories: Department stores, home improvement stores, mass merchandisers and quick-service restaurants.

“Reaching 93 percent of all U.S. adults every week and playing a leading role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, radio has the ability to positively impact campaign results.”

That makes sense. (Disclosure: I’m a big believer in the power of radio — where I started my career and decades later I’m launching my own radio show in Seattle.)

Lest I forget to mention it, your stations’ sales reps can provide you with credible data about radio audiences.

Impact on voters

A second study, “Morning Commute: Reaching Voters with More Than Just Talk Radio,” explained how radio can be effective in election campaigns by targeting voters.

Different radio formats can be used to attract different voter types. Nielsen used voter registration and other data from Experian Simmons.

The company divided Republicans into three categories: Mild, Uninvolved and Ultra Conservative.

It also determined three categories of Democrats: Conservative, Left Out and Super Democrats.

Nielsen shows the choice of radio format is important, as its following graphic illustrates.

But Nielsen says the following graphic shows the value in selecting the top stations.

So, while it’s great to get an interview with talk show hosts, it’s even more productive for political consultants, their agencies and politicians to buy radio advertising as Nielsen illustrates.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more marketing strategies:

For Top Sales, 5 Rules for Targeting the Right Prospects — If you target the right prospects, you’ll save time and money and increase your revenue. There are five rules to follow. They’re developed for B2B but work for B2C, too.

5 Tips If You Think You Have to Rebrand Your Business — Evolution is possible in different ways whether you need to expand or redefine your business. No matter what you’re considering, it’s a serious decision. Any mistakes in assumptions are critical.

Do Celebrity Testimonials Really Boost Sales? — Celebrity testimonials have been common throughout marketing history. Some testimonials, work, but some don’t. Here’s why; plus an infographic on the successes and failures of celebrity endorsements.

A Marketing Strategy That Best Defends Your Company — What do I mean by the phrase, “A marketing strategy that best defends your company”? Protecting your assets with the right marketing strategy results in the shielding and enhancing of your brand, as well as protecting your customer base.

Companies Profit Most by Investing in Customer Engagement — Better business performance results when CEOs show leadership in providing the best-possible customer experience. That’s confirmed in a global study.

“Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.”

-Leo Burnett


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

36 Tips: Develop Confidence to Win an Office Tug of War


When nice people lose in office politics, it isn’t because their opponents are stronger. They lose because they unknowingly give away their power.



For people lacking in self confidence, winning a tug of war at the office is easier said than done.

One sign is whether you’re winning hearts and minds at work. For instance, in the event of disagreements, are you able to persuade others?

If you can’t persuade others even when you provide irrefutable facts, of course, you might be dealing with extremely obstinate people.

It’s also possible you’re not making your case well and going about it unproductively.

To use an analogy: If you’re in Los Angeles and really want to arrive in New York, don’t get in your car and drive south to Mexico.

So use a road map to get you where you want to go.

Candidly, as a young man long before I became a business-performance consultant, my career took off when I became a better employee.

Before I knew it, I earned the right to manage others.

How? Along the way, I sought mentors and used road maps for my career.

For confidence in an office tug of war, here are ground rules for a road map:

  1. Your first job is to find a mentor. Look for someone who is successful in ways you’re not. Don’t be shy about approaching someone. Chances are a prospective mentor will readily accept your request.
  2. Don’t take such a mentor relationship for granted. When you start being successful, your relationship is not finished. As Peter Drucker said, “Arrogance is being proud of ignorance.” You’re likely to learn even more from an astute mentor. Only if the person becomes too busy or your career takes a dramatic turn, you might need to find a different mentor.
  3. Make your bosses look good. Respect their positions and be loyal. Without kissing up to your bosses, look for ways to be supportive and helpful. Executives understand the value of a loyal employee.
  4. Don’t be a people-pleaser. In your interactions with others just to get along with them, avoid all gossip. Don’t participate in the spreading of rumors. Be honest and direct. You’ll develop a more positive image, and you’ll become the go-to person in the eyes of your bosses and co-workers.
  5. Extend your comfort zone. Reach out to others. That means interfacing with people in other departments as the first step in building new business relationships.
  6. Learn the landscape. Know who is truly your friend and who is your adversary. In this way, you’ll never deceive or offend the wrong people.
  7. Be loyal to your allies. Developing alliances is a two-way street. You’ll be able to rely on others, if they feel they can rely on you.
  8. Learn how to use your enemies. As the adage goes, “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” Be sociable. Learn to probe artfully. Develop and maintain a dialogue with your enemies. You’re more likely to know what they’re thinking, and to win them to your point-of-view at crucial times.
  9. Don’t say more than necessary. Stand out by using the tool of silence. The more you say the more common and less powerful you appear to be. And you’re also likely to say something foolish, which will hurt your cause.
  10. In the heat of battle, know how to keep information close to your vest. Never reveal more than you really have to say. To use a baseball analogy, successful pitchers don’t let the batters what type of pitch is next. Don’t warn your adversaries by telegraphing your next moves.
  11. Manage your reputation. Guard it. Don’t become vulnerable. As in all sports, be defensive – protect your turf. A strong reputation is your foundation for power.
  12. In adversity, don’t let your environment define you. That means not letting others brand you. Be your own master. Re-engineer yourself, if necessary.
  13. Learn self-marketing techniques. First impressions are lasting impressions. You are judged by appearances. Be dignified in your self-promotion with charity work or working on committees. Don’t make the mistake of generating too much exposure. If you’re omnipresent, you’ll dilute your image.
  14. Never dirty your hands. Save your ammunition for important causes. Even if others agree with you on a political issue, whenever possible let them do the dirty job. If complaints are necessary to upper management, it’s better if you let others do it.
  15. Let opponents come to you. You’ll maintain your leverage of power, if adversaries feel they have to approach you first. In negotiations, usually the first person to speak eventually loses.
  16. Avoid arguments, win via your actions. The momentary satisfaction from winning a bitter disagreement isn’t worth it. Spoken words are sometimes more dangerous than actions. You’ll encounter resentments, which will last for a long time if not forever. It also demonstrates more power.
  17. Avoid negative or hapless people. It’s one thing to help others, but it’s another to get lost in someone else’s doldrums. They usually create their own misfortune with unproductive attitudes and behavior.
  18. Be gracious. Suspicious people will be won over by if you use gestures of generosity and honesty.
  19. When you need help from others, be a good salesperson. Don’t beg. Remember all decisions are based on emotion. People will respond favorably to you if they see a benefit for their best self interests.
  20. In a mammoth struggle, win decisively. Don’t leave anything undone. Don’t let fires smolder. Like a smoldering ashes in a fire, your enemy can recover.
  21. Cultivate an image of unpredictability. If your attitudes and behaviors are too familiar, your opponents will sense you’re vulnerability.
  22. Don’t isolate yourself. Be accessible. Mingle and communicate regularly with your allies. A crowd of friends help shield you.
  23. Don’t be harried in dealing with others. Maintain your independence. Don’t rush to take sides in disagreements.
  24. Know your adversaries, and allow them to be arrogant. Understand their weaknesses while appearing to be detached. Be a Columbo, the under-estimated TV character played by Peter Falk, who shrewdly solved the crimes.
  25. Expect to win, but surrender when you think you might experience defeat. The trick is to analyze early enough to save face. Never fight because of pride. Instead, surrender. It’s a tool of power when used right.
  26. If you’re uncertain about which approach to use, be conservative until you’re ready to be bold. Before acting, do a mini-SWOT analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then act with bold. Virgil had it right, “Fortune favors the bold.”
  27. As in track, plan to finish the race. A SWOT analysis will help you plan to victory. Think far ahead. You’ll be perceived as a visionary.
  28. Act as if … that means in all things appear to be natural and acting with ease. Act with confidence. Hold your head high and carry yourself well. If you act and speak with conviction, others will be convinced of your strength. You’ll enhance your image by appearing to function effortlessly without panic. 
  29. Slower motion gets you there faster. Never act like you’re in a hurry. Walk slowly and speak with impeccable diction. Patience is a virtue so develop a sense of good timing. Be sure you’re right before acting and pause when the timing isn’t good.
  30. Stay calm and within yourself. Anger is never OK. Keep your adversaries at bay by staying calm.
  31. Be leery of free deals. Don’t take shortcuts. Be free of guilt and deceit by always paying your own way. Actually, by being generous, it will convey an image of authority and credibility.
  32. Don’t try to succeed or overshadow a great personality. Nothing is ever as good as the original. You’ll be overlooked and will lose your identity you’ve worked hard to build.
  33. Attack the source of trouble. Don’t get sidetracked like the fictional character, Don Quixote, who was famous for jousting at imaginary windmills. Problems are usually caused by one person. Attack the actual cause so problems don’t multiply.
  34. Carefully, be an astute advocate for change. Don’t overwhelm everyone around you by trying to innovate or change everything too quickly. You’ll appear to be power hungry. Make changes slowly. Be sure they appear to be necessary and moderate transformations.
  35. Be approachable and occasionally self effacing. People respond more favorably to people who are human – who aren’t error-free. They like people who can laugh at themselves. Such a strategy will prevent your associates from thinking your narcissistic.
  36. In ordeals, don’t over-reach. You must know when you’ve earned enough of a victory. Understand when it’s important to stop.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant strategies:

18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics — Most people troubled by office politics are too focused on the behavior of their adversaries. Stop giving away your personal power. Don’t think or act like a victim. Here are 18 valuable tips to win in office politics.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips — In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss — Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss.

5 Personality Traits Why Managers Are Promoted into Leadership — In selecting candidates for leadership, the risks can be great for both the company and managers in lost time, effort and money. So when deciding which of their corporate managers should be promoted into a leadership positions, naturally, companies don’t want any surprises.

“You can’t just play around with all those big cats – you’ve got to take somebody on.”

-Maya Angelou 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Minimizing Liability and Managing an OSHA Inspection



Government is making it harder and harder to run a business. Many business owners dread government’s voluminous regulations, including from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Founded in 1971, the agency has great power. Admittedly, government oversight is warranted for worker safety.

However, some of OSHA’s actions have been abusive for political gain, according to published reports. (See: GOP Rep: Obama’s OSHA is Targeting Non-Union Shops.)

Photo from the article: Union representatives join federal government safety inspectors on site visits to non-union businesses

OSHA is allowing union organizers from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to accompany OSHA inspectors to at least one unsuspecting non-union business.

In an interview with Fox news host Greta Van Susteren, Brent Southwell, CEO of Professional Janitorial Service, declared SEIU organizers surprisingly accompanied OSHA to the business on three occasions. 

Prior to the three visits, the company had not been cited with OSHA complaints. 

Mr. Southwell told Ms. Van Susteren:

We have no problem with OSHA coming in. Our problem is when they bring in the union representatives to try to intimidate us and basically using government agencies to try to force us to become union.

Ms. Van Susteren asked for comment from OSHA and the SEIU. SEIU declined to comment.

She published OSHA’s response:

In a written statement, OSHA saying in part allowing non-employee third party representative to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk around inspections is not a new OSHA policy. OSHA’s long-standing regulations interpreting the law the states that representative can be a third party if that third party representative is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. 

In checking Google News — there are more than 10 thousand search results for OSHA. 

An IndustryWeek article, “Exploring the Limits of OSHA’s Inspection Authority: A Precursor to Exercising Your Rights,” caught my eye. It was written by an attorney, Michael Rubin, at Goldberg Segalla LLP 

What are your rights if you get a surprise visit from an CSHO (compliance safety and health officer)? 

Not to oversimplify, and I urge you to read the full article, here are excerpts from what Mr. Rubin wrote:

To Consent or Not to Consent

In most cases, the CSHO will arrive without a warrant. Since the CSHO is dependent on your consent for the inspection to proceed, this provides an opportunity (prior to consenting) to negotiate a reasonable scope and reasonable conditions for the inspection. If you succeed in this regard, it would usually be advisable to consent. Indeed, if you don’t consent, you risk the loss of any potential “good will” that could have otherwise been created during the process and also lose control over the scope of the inspection.

In addition, it may be a signal to OSHA that you have something to hide.

Importantly, an employer has the right to request that the inspection not proceed until a specific employer representative appears at the site.

Maximizing the Utility of the Opening Conference

The first stage of an OSHA investigation is the opening conference. At the opening conference, the CSHO is required to explain why the employer is being inspected, including whether it is a programmed or unprogrammed inspection. Unprogrammed inspections are usually of a higher priority and may be triggered by imminent dangers, catastrophes, fatal accidents, complaints, or referrals. If the inspection is due to an employee complaint, the CSHO is obligated to provide the employer with a copy of any written complaint (without the name of the complaining employee). The CSHO is also required to describe the intended scope and duration of the inspection.

Notably, Section 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act states that inspections must be conducted in a “reasonable manner” during “regular working hours.” In so keeping, you have the right to insist that a reasonable scope and protocol be established for the inspection.

Requests for Documents

With respect to any additional document requests, an employer has the right to (and should) request that the requests be put in writing and all be directed to a single management representative. This management representative should be the same person to provide the records to the CSHO. This is important and serves to manage and control the inspection.

Of course, any privileged documents should not be produced. Also, copies should be kept of everything produced.

Employer Involvement in the Walkaround

The walkaround is the actual inspection. During this phase, the CSHO will walk the site, gather evidence, and seek to identify potential safety and/or health hazards in the workplace. The CSHO is authorized during this phase to take photographs, videos, and measurements; collect environmental samples; and employ other reasonable investigative techniques. Importantly, both an employer representative and an employee representative have the right to accompany the CSHO at all times during the walkaround and duplicate any investigations conducted by the CSHO, including taking side-by-side photographs, videos, measurements, and samples. This should be done.

Notably, when an employer identifies an operation or condition as a trade secret or confidential business information, OSHA is required to treat it as such and keep the information confidential.

Restrictions on Employee Interviews

Although the CSHO is entitled to interview your employees as part of any inspection, there are certain restrictions–employees are not “fair game” to the extent you may think. First, a notable distinction exists between hourly employees and those in management. Although the CSHO may interview hourly employees privately (and may insist on doing so), an employer representative has a right to participate in all management interviews, in part because any admissions made by management may be attributed to, and used against, the employer.

In addition, hourly employees do have the right to request that a personal attorney or union representative be present during their interview. If honored by the CSHO, this would negate any private interview of the hourly employee.

Again, these are only excerpts. You are urged to read the full article. It explains OSHA’s inspection authority and your rights.

Mr. Rubin is special counsel in the OSHA and Worksite Safety Practice Group at the law firm Goldberg Segalla. He is co-editor of Goldberg Segalla’s OSHA: Legal Developments and Defense Strategies blog. He may be reached at mrubin@goldbergsegalla.com.

From the Coach’s Corner, more information on dealing with the government:

HR Tips to Avoid Legal Hassles with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — Employers have been having problems with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE served 3,004 notices of inspection (NOI) in fiscal 2012.

Tips on Understanding the Mindset of IRS Auditors — An IRS audit is enough to make you tense with cold sweat in the palms of your hands. More businesspeople have complained to me about the mean-spirited treatment at the hands of IRS agents than any other federal agency. Worse, the agents’ frequent lack of common sense is shocking.

Government Warns Business in Ruling Against Costco on Social Media Policy — Many companies encourage their employees to promote their offerings and services on social media. But beware, it was bound to happen: The trend has caught the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which can dictate your social media policy.

Agency Provides Help for Small Business to Cope with Federal Government — Most small businesspeople are weary from overzealous government. A federal agency is doing something about it.

Don’t let Minimum Wage Mandates Ruin Your Business — Your cash flow, credit access, pricing and profit margins are all directly or indirectly at-risk with the proposed mandates to increase the minimum wage. Workers should be paid well, if they’re good performers.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

-George Washington

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

How Will Journalists Act After Obama’s Supreme Slap at the 1st Amendment?

Updated March 1, 2015 –

A controversial study of the news media by the Federal Communications Commission has been put on hold. Many Republican lawmakers, media groups — and this business portal — complained that the study was a disingenuous attempt to influence journalists in their news coverage — a threat to freedom of the press, which is protected by the 1st Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, this portal pointed out it was a dangerous big brother precedent — it was also an attempt to influence news coverage to favor Democrats in the 2014 elections.

constitution_1_of_4_630The controversial study is just the latest of outrageous Obama Administration actions, such as the Justice Department’s unconstitutional seizure of some Associated Press telephone records and for monitoring Fox News reporter James Rosen’s e-mails and phones; the IRS targeting Obama’s political adversaries, and the administration’s cover up of in the Benghazi attacks.

As it is, the mainstream media has proverbially been an administration lap dog by failing to accurately report the countless failures of Obama policies.

The FCC disingenuously called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.”

All media operations have a Web site so this meant 100 percent monitoring of news coverage with a veiled threat of government control and intimidation.

An agency commissioner, Ajit Pai, had warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that researchers will “grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.”

He also cited the survey as a threat to the freedom of the press. It’s also a threat to American citizens in our democracy.

“The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch,” wrote Commissioner Pai, who was appointed in May 2012 by President Obama. “But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”

Commissioner Pai is right. The FCC is comprised of five commissioners — three Democrats and two Republicans. So the threat is real.

Newspapers have been immune from the heavy hand of government except in cross-media ownerships in certain markets. Newspapers aren’t regulated by the FCC, but broadcast operations are. Radio and TV stations must apply to renew their federal licenses every eight years.

For conscientious, hardworking journalists, the FCC survey was a euphemism for a draconian threat to the Constitution and First Amendment by the immense, sinister machinery of government.

To be polite, it’s also a disingenuous political power grab in an election year — in which the Obama Administration is likely to lose support in Congress over ObamaCare failures and other policies.

Intrusive monitoring

According to published accounts, survey questions include:

– What is the news philosophy of the station?

– Who else in your market provides news?

– Who are your main competitors?

– How much news does your station air every day?

– Is the news produced in-house or is it provided by an outside source?

– Do you employ news people?

– How many reporters and editors do you employ?

-Do you have any reporters or editors assigned to topic “beats”? If so, how many and what are the beats?

– Who decides which stories are covered?

– How much influence do you have in deciding which stories to cover?

– How much influence do reporters and anchors have in deciding which stories to cover?

– How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?

– How do you define critical information that the community needs?

– How do you ensure the community gets this critical information?

– Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management? If so, can you give an example? What was the reason given for the decision? Why do you disagree?

The Obama Administration’s attempt to put monitors in newsrooms is outrageous and unacceptable — it represents an insulting challenge to both journalists and Americans, alike, who relish freedom from government control and propaganda.

Can anyone say “big brother is watching?” Throughout both terms of the Obama Administration, most journalists have behaved like lap dogs instead of asking the right questions about the administration and its motives.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for additional reading:

Obama’s Broken Promise for Transparent Government – Study — New questions emerge about President Obama’s promise for open government — in the aftermath of the creepy behavior of Obama Administration officials in the IRS scandal, the snooping on journalists, and the changing stories about their roles in denying aid to four Americans who were killed at Benghazi. 

Canadian Study – U.S. States Plummet in Economic Freedom — If you or your business has unwarranted problems with any level of government – from ObamaCare and the IRS to local zoning ordinances – your economic freedom is being trampled. Further, there’s a connection between the arrogant trampling of our economic freedom and our unhealthy economic climate.

7 Capitalism Principles for Economic Growth, Prosperity — Employers are discouraged from hiring largely because of uncertainty created by public policies. That includes uncertainty – created by ObamaCare – in costs and taxes. Add to them, policies leading to tepid growth in U.S. gross domestic product. Of course, global concerns include the European Union economic crisis, China’s banking and housing headaches. 

What Would Abraham Lincoln Say Today? — Memorial Day is a holiday to remember the armed forces’ men and women and why they died to protect our freedoms. What Honest Abe would say today.   It’s been well documented that Abraham Lincoln is the political idol of President Barack Obama. 

“Well, all I know is what I read in the papers.”

-Will Rogers 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

6 Nobel Laureates Among 673 Economists Backed Romney’s Economic and Jobs Plan



Nearly lost in all the gutter politics engineered by President Obama and his supporters in the 2012 presidential campaign are two important elements.

That would be meaningful discussions about the issues, and the endorsement by 673 economists.

The impressive endorsements included six Nobel Prize winners of Gov. Romney’s economic and jobs plan.

“We enthusiastically endorse Governor Mitt Romney’s economic plan to create jobs and restore economic growth while returning America to its tradition of economic freedom,” wrote the economists in a statement.

“The plan is based on proven principles: a more contained and less intrusive federal government, a greater reliance on the private sector, a broad expansion of opportunity without government favors for special interests, and respect for the rule of law including the decision-making authority of states and localities,” they added.

The six Nobel laureates:

  • Gary Becker
  • James Buchanan
  • Robert Lucas
  • Robert Mundell
  • Edward Prescott
  • Myron Scholes

Why the endorsement?

The economists predict the Romney plan would result in six achievements:

  1. Reduce marginal tax rates on business and wage incomes and broaden the tax base to increase investment, jobs, and living standards.
  2. End the exploding federal debt by controlling the growth of spending so federal spending does not exceed 20 percent of the economy.
  3. Restructure regulation to end “too big to fail,” improve credit availability to entrepreneurs and small businesses, and increase regulatory accountability, and ensure that all regulations pass rigorous benefit-cost tests.
  4. Improve our Social Security and Medicare programs by reducing their growth to sustainable levels, ensuring their viability over the long term, and protecting those in or near retirement.
  5. Reform our healthcare system to harness market forces and thereby reduce costs and increase quality, empowering patients and doctors, rather than the federal bureaucracy.
  6. Promote energy policies that increase domestic production, enlarge the use of all western hemisphere resources, encourage the use of new technologies, end wasteful subsidies, and rely more on market forces and less on government planners.

“In stark contrast, President Obama has failed to advance policies that promote economic and job growth, focusing instead on increasing the size and scope of the federal government, which increases the debt, requires large tax increases, and burdens business with many new financial and health care regulations,” they explained.

“The result is an anemic economic recovery and high unemployment. His future plans are to double down on the failed policies, which will only prolong slow growth and high unemployment,” they added.

Their complaints about Obama

The economists also fault Mr. Obama for six reasons:

  1. Relied on short-term “stimulus” programs, which provided little sustainable lift to the economy, and enacted and proposed significant tax increases for all Americans.
  2. Offered no plan to reduce federal spending and stop the growth of the debt-to-GDP ratio.
  3. Failed to propose Social Security reform and offered a Medicare proposal that relies on a panel of bureaucrats to set prices, quantities, and qualities of healthcare services.
  4. Favored a large expansion of economic regulation across many sectors, with little regard for proper cost-benefit analysis and with a disturbing degree of favoritism toward special interests.
  5. Enacted health care legislation that centralizes health care decisions and increases the power of the federal bureaucracy to impose one-size-fits-all solutions on patients and doctors, and creates greater incentives for waste.
  6. Favored expansion of one-size-fits-all federal rulemaking, with an erosion of the ability of state and local governments to make decisions appropriate for their particular circumstances.

Instead of campaigning on Mr. Obama’s indefensible economic record, he and his supporters have ostensibly tried to throw smoke screens with a barrage of personal attacks on Mr. Romney – everything from accusing him of being a tax-dodger to a disingenuous innuendo about putting blacks “back in chains.”

Little wonder it’s a tight race sans the 2008 promise of “hope and change.” History shows that in tight contests, the incumbent always loses.

From the Coach’s Corner, see this portal’s economic analyses in the Op Ed section by another economist, Dr. Peter Morici.

Plus, here are related topics:

Now, ObamaCare Consultant Insults Small Businesses – 3rd Surfaced Video — Yet another scandalous video related to the ObamaCare deception has surfaced — this time insulting small businesses. In a newly released video, the ObamaCare architect, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, said he wrote tax credits into the ObamaCare bill — purportedly to benefit small businesses because “you gotta say you like small businesses in America or you’re a communist…”

Fiscal Fact-Check: Deficit, Social Security, and Medicare — America’s economic system is in grave danger. Like your personal finances, fiscal discernment in U.S. public policy is important for our economic recovery. A Harvard study reveals that massive U.S. borrowing and spending have wasted trillions of dollars in flawed efforts to stimulate the economy.

Is it Too Much to Ask For Civility and Honesty from Mr. Reid and the Press? — There was an unsubstantiated claim, ostensibly for political reasons, by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the 2012 presidential campaign. He made headlines when he falsely claimed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney failed to pay his income taxes for 10 years. It’s reminiscent of McCarthyism and lazy journalism.

“On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.”

-Will Rogers

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Marketing Lessons from Rick Santorum’s Failed Candidacy



So, former Sen. Rick Santorum unsuccessfully campaigned for president again in 2016. But he failed to do as well in 2016 as he did in 2012.

Ostensibly, he didn’t learn the marketing lessons from his failed 2012 campaign.

Most recently he has been CEO of Echolight Studios. Without even considering his political views, the former senator from Pennsylvania doesn’t have a prayer unless he makes some marketing changes.

Unintentionally, Mr. Santorum’s unsuccessful presidential campaign — with inadequate branding — provided business with Internet marketing lessons.

Mr. Santorum 


Perhaps you noticed the inflammatory results in searching the Web for him. When you searched for “Santorum,” the deprecating site of “spreadingsantorum.com” was first on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

For curious voters interested in the campaign, it was an especially disappointing search. The site is no longer ranked No. 1 for the keyword, Santorum, thanks to Wikipedia, but remained in the top 5 the last time.

The derogatory site was created in 2003 by a part owner of The Stranger publication in Seattle, who was annoyed by then-Sen. Santorum’s comment about a U.S. Supreme court ruling that was favored by the gay community.

Understandably, Mr. Santorum complained to Google about the rankings – after all there are precedents. Indeed, it can be argued that Google could do something about it.

You might recall Google penalized the derogatory monkey-face depictions of Michelle Obama. There are countless security examples from when Google and the other search engines have issued a warning about a Web site when it believes a site is a security risk to users.

Until and unless Google and the other search engines take corrective measures, the Santorum campaign should have focused on what it could control.

However, the campaign failed to use best practices in Internet marketing.

Its salient shortcomings:

  1. Failure to use SEO techniques
  2. A call to action without giving the right incentives – branding and value propositions
  3. Poor organization – lack of preparedness

Without even considering his political views, the former senator from Pennsylvania doesn’t have a prayer unless he makes some marketing changes.

Failure to use SEO

As a result of his strong showing from largely grass roots efforts, Mr. Santorum’s campaign attracted an unprecedented number of voters who were curious about him. They could find the right site easier when they search using the key words, “Rick Santorum.”

But if they searched using “Santorum,” they get the derogatory site.

In effect, however, the campaign allowed Mr. Santorum to become a victim of political sabotage sans common SEO procedures.

Yes, the Santorum campaign had options to effectively to eliminate the adverse impact of the sarcastic site. Curiously, “spreadingsantorum.com” only has a Google page rank of 5. That wasn’t insurmountable for the Santorum campaign, if it employed proper SEO techniques, and understood how to win on Google.

Hint: If you can win on Google, you will on the other search engines, too.

So see the following:

— Five factors to get peak Google results

— Google details its new reasoning for best Web site rankings

— Understand the 23 key questions Google has about your Web site

— Checklist: 14 strategies to rock on Google

As for the Santorum campaign, it needed to develop and focus on one site – just one site dedicated to the candidate. But it mistakenly directed Internet users to a donation form – one of two duplicate content sites (supportricksantorum.com and ricksantorum.com).

Premature call to action

The Santorum donation site set a poor example by only asking for money. There were no stellar branding and value propositions. Visitors weren’t readily able to learn anything about him – neither his policy positions nor his background.

All of this meant the right sites showed up twice – but they were below the fold on Google.

Moreover, duplicate content hurt the cause. Two different domain names containing similar content defeated the purpose. The two sites effectively insured his Web presence was diluted – the search engines don’t know which was paramount for users.

Poor organization – lack of preparedness

With such a confusing marketing approach, the campaign inadvertently sent two unintended signals.

Firstly, it showed poor organization and lack of preparedness — note the verbiage in this Santorum tweet:

“Your great support has caused some unexpected downtime on our website! You can still support us at our temp page: ricksantorum.com”

Because the campaign instituted some redirects – the tweet sent people to the donation site. That’s a violation of best practices in marketing – never assume the voter has enough incentives before you ask for a vote or beg for donations.

Secondly, such strategies — unbranded donation page and desperate-looking tweets — left users with the impression that he’d fail because he was desperate for donations.

Further, as an example of over-reaching, the campaign constantly changed the tag line that appeared on the search engines. The candidate needed to be consistently repetitive with his branding and Web presence. Aside from the duplication issue and failure to install the donation page in one site, he needed to attract thousands of new links from good Web sites.

Whether he realized or not, failure to take such precautions adversely impacted his credibility as a viable candidate. After all, even if he could have won his party’s nomination, he would have faced a Democrat who long ago demonstrated extraordinary Internet expertise.

Good Internet marketing lessons for business from Mr. Santorum.

From the Coach’s Corner, for more resources, see this portal’s Marketing and Tech archives, which are packed with solutions.

“Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.”

-John D. Rockefeller




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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Senate Leadership — Sensible on Do-Not-Track



A lost art in leadership has almost come to the rescue of marketers and consumers, alike.

Long ago, it was a pleasure to watch politically opposite leaders – President Ronald
Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill – work congenially. Another example from Congress and the Presidency was Gerald Ford.

The focus was on principles, not personalities.

Yes, I met all of them. As a young broadcast journalist, I separately interviewed Mr. Reagan before he became president, Mr. O’Neill when he was Speaker of the House, and I broke the story nationwide about Mr. Ford’s plans after leaving the White House.

               

        Mssrs. Reagan, O’Neill and Ford

They were indeed leaders. Political compromise was taken for granted in those days. Since then, however, it’s become a lost art.

However, we experienced a partial, joyful return to yester-year in April 2011 after the bipartisan bill entitled, Commercial Bill of Rights, was introduced by political adversaries — then-Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

With Mr. Kerry now the Secretary of State, someone needs to step up to fill his void.

Where are the Reagans, O’Neills and Fords now?

Differences

By way of explanation, changes in commerce and the Internet have led to debate.

Admittedly, as a consumer, online privacy is a concern. Trust is important. Consumers have a basic right to protect themselves against predators.

Conversely, my marketing side has been concerned by over-reaching of consumer advocacy groups in discussions over do-not-track legislation. Marketers have understandably been worried about the loss of visitors’ data. That is, until now.

(Disclosure: Visitors data is used for data to make this business portal as relevant as possible. It indicates which articles are popular and those that aren’t, and from where visitors come and how long they spend here. Tracking makes it possible for advertising to be inserted adjacent to certain content that interests users. By using key words, readers are able to find helpful information and insights.)

Two goals

But the bill is a cavalry of sorts coming to our rescue. It requires a code of conduct, but do-not-track legislation is excluded.

In this digital age, much of the economy depends on it.

“Americans have a right to decide how their information is collected, used, and distributed, and businesses deserve the certainty that comes with clear guidelines,” said then-Sen. Kerry.

“Our bill makes fair information practices the rules of the road, gives Americans the assurance that their personal information is secure, and allows our information-driven economy to continue to thrive in today’s global market,” he added.

The bill’s basic components:

  • Accountability and security – marketers must use security
    measures for data.
  • Access, consent, correction and notice of information – clear notice must be given to consumers as well as their right to opt-out.
  • Constraints on data – Marketers are restricted on the data they collect to enable transactions or to provide services.
  • Enforcement will be provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Attorneys General in each state.
  • The FTC will be allowed to approve programs by nongovernment organizations to monitor initiatives providing safe harbors or protections.
  • The Department of Commerce will help coordinate safe harbor applications for privacy and sharing of information.

Sounds good. Today’s politicians need to learn from history. Let’s get it done, and encourage more bipartisan leadership!

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s an article about an American statesman who showed leadership in a bipartisan way: Five Attributes of Leadership Are Needed Now

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

-Robert C. Gallagher

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Washington State Spending, Taxes – ‘Katy Bar the Door’

 

Updated March 7, 2010

Watch out. A desperate situation is at hand. The 19th century phrase, “Kay Bar the Door,” is applicable to the 2010 Washington legislative session. The Legislature is creating tax bills and is spending at a dizzying pace.

You mean it isn’t helping to create a strong, state economy and environment for job-creation while facing a $2.8 billion shortfall? No efficiencies anywhere? What about the reports of mismanagement, poor results revealed in performance audits, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-employee bonuses?

Well, let’s consider:

  • At least one formal hearing has been scheduled sans a 24-hour notice.
  • Sen. Rosa Franklin, D-Tacoma, introduced an income tax bill, SB 6250.
  • A ghost tax bill was introduced (that’s right, no text – it was blank).
  • The Senate wants to raise $918 million with a sales tax increase of three-tenths of a cent to 6.8 percent.
  • Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s income-tax proposal on the fall ballot and would reduce the proposed new sales tax by one cent. It would put an income tax of 4.5 percent on many job-creators – individuals earning $200,000; heads of households making $300,000; married couples would face a new tax if they earn $400,000.
  • Imposing a sales tax on out-of-state businesses and consumers who buy Washington products.
  • Imposing a surcharge on auto insurance.
  • Hitting out-of-state financial institutions with a business and occupation (B&O) tax.

But that’s not all – not by a long shot.

Of course, you know Gov. Gregoire signed into law the bill that “temporarily” repealed The Taxpayer Protection Act, Initiative 960. That’s a clear rejection of voters’ wishes. Three times voters have formally stated their wish for tax protections. But again, the Legislature does not have to pass tax bills by a two-thirds margin. It also removes transparency for voters about taxes they’re forced to pay.

Personally, I don’t mind taxing out-of-state credit card companies with a history predatory interest rates and fees for bogus reasons. They’re domiciled in states permitting predatory behavior that was not retroactively rectified in a credit-card protection bill passed by Congress. The predatory practices are a major reason small businesses have poor credit.

However, it appears an income tax that only hits the wealthy is unconstitutional. It would require approval by voters and a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. But a Seattle Times report indicates Senate Democratic leaders are hoping to bypass the required two-thirds vote in the Legislature because they know they can’t overcome the Republican opposition. If they’re successful in another end-run around legal checks-and-balances, of course, lawyers will get involved.

The Democrats’ idea is patterned after a 2010 voter-approved measure in Oregon, which hiked income taxes on individuals earning $125,000, households making $250,000, and on businesses.

However, unlike Washington, Oregon does not have a sales tax.

Lawmakers lax on major revenue source

Considering Washington relies heavily on sales taxes from vehicles, the Legislature is incredibly uninformed.

For example, a sales tax on Oregon and Alaska businesses and consumers will discourage commerce in Washington and threaten the livelihood of the state’s businesses and will worsen the state’s already-weak jobs situation.

Secondly, when buyers stop shopping in Washington, state businesses will pay reduced B&O taxes to the state.

A new tax will especially impact the sale of big-ticket items. Ask any Washington commercial-truck dealer if they have out-of-state customers. Their answer will be yes.

They’re already concerned their sales are down. What’s worse, relatively few have the cash flow to advertise now – ask any media advertising salesperson. During good times, the auto sector is the No.1 advertiser on radio and television. Even Honda dealers have had to lay off employees. (Disclosure: I’m very familiar with the auto sector. My firm formerly had auto dealer clients who advertised on radio and television. A regional truck dealer has an ad on this site.)

Out-of-state businesses come to Washington to buy fleets of trucks because the quantity and selection is superior. Privately, one dealer confides that some buyers travel 3,000 miles to Washington to buy commercial trucks. So they patiently wait for the economy to improve.

However, it’s also well-known that Washington state car buyers journey to Idaho for savings and to avoid paying high sales taxes by buying from Dave Smith Motors – a high-volume car dealer who advertises heavily in an in-your-face style on Seattle radio stations.

The dealer’s slogan: “Serving the Pacific Northwest and Beyond Since 1965,” and on its Web site it boldly states: “We cannot sell any NEW vehicle for Export or Resale.” The hint being that Washington car dealers could get a better deal in Idaho, too.

In fact, the dealer is the world’s largest Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealer, and is a leader in sales of General Motors cars and trucks.

The sales tax for the metropolitan King and Pierce counties is 9.6 percent.  Idaho only charges a 6 percent sales tax, which is shared with cities’ coffers, and the state affords a lower cost of doing business.

Bad planning

Moreover, the budget ramifications for Washington state:

  • No B&O taxes are collected
  • Reduced sales taxes because after making a purchase, motorists drive over the state line to Washington where they can register their vehicles in less-populated counties to save 1 to 3 percent on their vehicle’s sales tax.

The Legislature is behaving unproductively in another matter. Adversely affecting dealers and consumers, alike, the Senate wants to halt another major car-buying incentive – the long-time tax deduction for used-car trade-ins. In other words, the Senate wants to tax motorists at both ends – when buying and when selling a vehicle.

Incredibly, lawmakers insist on staying in the liquor business – is liquor a core state service? The state employs 1500 liquor employees and taxpayers are saddled with their costly pensions.

At best, the surcharge on car insurance is disingenuous. “Perhaps if the Legislature hadn’t raided the account the funds would be available for the use intended – preventing auto theft,” says Jason Mercier of Washington Policy Center.

FYI, if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of Mr. Mercier, much of the Legislature’s chicanery would not come to light. It’s a full-time job making sure there’s transparency. Many lawmakers are doing their best to make certain Washington does not have an open government.

The Legislature also wants to heavily tax candy – in the aggregate, a big state employer. Simply consider just one heritage state company, Brown and Haley, an employer of 250 workers but is in the midst of financial woes even without a burdensome sales tax.

Other sin taxes include a 500 percent increase on cigars, but gives favored documented treatment to Tribal smoke shops.

Let’s not forget the stifling new tax on bottled water.

Some lawmakers want to double the death tax.

And others want to triple the tax on gasoline and diesel as hazardous or toxic but they won’t use the revenue for badly needed road repairs or construction. Meantime, Washingtonians will undoubtedly pay even more for fuel.

Meantime, nothing has been done about the state’s bloated payroll and associated costs. Ask any employer if they are able to pay 88 percent of health insurance, or if their retirement plans can compete with the state pension system. The answer will be no. Don’t forget the Legislature is tardy in plans to fund $7.9 billion in retiree health benefits.

That sums up the debacle pretty well – continued spending, boundless chicanery in violating transparency standards, unsatisfactory performance audits, mismanagement and stifling taxes. Nothing has been accomplished that will strengthen the state’s economy or create jobs. In fact, it can be easily concluded that the 2010 legislative session has resulted in a sharp decline of voters’ economic and political freedoms.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.