Congress Is Full of Hot Air

There are 26 million unemployed and underemployed Americans, and we’ve just suffered the worst terrorist strike in this country since 9/11. So our Congress has snapped into action by concentrating on critical initiatives to push our nation forward. Let’s begin with the House moving to reauthorize the Federal Helium Program. That’s right. America needs to marshal its forces to keep blimps in the sky with the production of helium. Without blimps, how do we get those great overhead shots of football games? At least all the people sitting at home without jobs will have something to keep them occupied. So as we tackle flawed technology of the 19th century, we also are spending $5 billion on all-electric vehicles, the flawed technology of the 21st century. They don’t work... Read More

How Congress Is Killing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

It is still galling that this nation’s entrepreneurs and small businesses — our country’s job creators — don’t get any support. Our political parties rail against each other, determined not to let either side win. This is a giant roadblock toward economic security. But elsewhere in the world, differences are being hashed out that are designed to help small businesses thrive. And it’s happening in an area that’s the least likely to promote economic peace: Israel and Palestine. That’s right. According to reports, economic collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians has been hobbled by the lack of a neutral forum for settling disagreements between Israeli and Palestinian businessmen when they arise. Palestinians and Israelis face restricted access to each other’s territory... Read More

The United States of California

If you want to see where the country is headed under the Obama administration, look at California: a state in deep financial trouble that will collapse under its own weight if it does not wean itself off debt, excessive taxes and paralyzing regulations. The same forces that are hurling California toward insolvency are beginning to affect the rest of the country. I recently acquired a manufacturing company in the Sacramento area that is an incredible company with an incredible legacy and workforce. Every time I visit, I relish interacting with the people and the area’s majestic beauty. But there is a feeling of uneasiness bubbling under the surface. Outwardly, everything looks fine, but underneath, people in California are very concerned because of years of mismanagement. Their state will... Read More

When It Isn’t Good to be Number One

America loves to be number one. But now we have the dubious distinction of being number one in a category that nobody wants: we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. The result is that the U.S. tax code continues to drive American employers to outsource jobs overseas. Since 2001, Japan had levied the highest combined corporate tax rate among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries at 39.5 percent. They recently lowered their rate to 38.01 percent, which according to a study by the Tax Foundation puts Japan’s rate below America’s combined federal and state rate of 39.2 percent — the highest in the world. What does this mean for America’s job picture? Our job creators have fewer financial resources to work with as they struggle to hire more... Read More

Compromised Secrets Compromise Job Creation

Secrets are a trust between individuals and groups. They play a role in security and building sustainable relationships. But when secrets are compromised, trust is the victim. There have been two recent situations where secrets are being compromised — both of which will compromise job creation. The first surrounds the supposed secret deliberations by the Supreme Court over Obamacare. The cost of implementation and compliance with a government controlled healthcare system will be staggering. The estimates escalate each time another layer of regulation is peeled back. Ultimately, this heavy burden will be passed on to American businesses in the form of higher insurance premiums and taxes. The consequence is that companies are not hiring new employees and will start reducing staff to afford... Read More

When Patents Are Stolen, so Are American Jobs

Ideas build nations. Great minds fueled the economies of nations as far back as the ancient Egyptians. Yet, after only a bit more than 200 years, America has become the world’s innovation leader. Small and medium-sized American companies generate the overwhelming percentage of this creativity, filing 13 more patents per employee than large corporations do. Meanwhile, the core copyright industries alone (not including the broader sector) lead all major industry sectors in U.S. exports and have grown three times faster than the overall economy in the past 20 years. Core copyright industries are those that create copyrighted works as their primary product, including motion pictures, music, software and publishing. Our intellectual property (IP) is in demand everywhere around the globe. Unfortunately,... Read More

Traditional Donor Base Lukewarm on Obama Re-election

If you’re looking for proof that President Barack Obama has lost his luster with his voter base, two of his traditional big donors – labor unions and Hollywood — are taking a tentative look at supporting the Democratic Party with big money. While the AFL-CIO will certainly support Obama and Democrats, they are not generating the kind of money that Democratic presidential candidates are used to receiving. And they certainly are not as enthusiastic as they were in 2008, when unions gave $400 million to Obama and congressional Democrats. Last year, labor political action committees gave federal Democratic candidates and committees $21 million. But this was 20 percent from the same period in the 2008 election cycle, according to a Chicago Tribune story Consider the irony that Obama faces.... Read More

Manufacturing Needs to be Remanufactured

Nationwide, an estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled, according to a survey published last year by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The survey found 5 percent of current manufacturing jobs are unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates, 67 percent of manufacturers have a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers, and 56 percent expect the shortage to increase in the next three to five years as older workers retire. Most of these unfilled jobs are in the skilled production category — positions such as machinists, operators, craft workers, logistics managers and technicians. How did the U.S. manufacturing industry – historically and currently the worldwide leader in manufacturing — lose its mojo? (Yes, the United States is the largest manufacturing country... Read More

Cherry-Picking the Employment Numbers

The White House trumpeted an unemployment figure of 8.3 percent as great progress. That would be encouraging if it were true. It’s not. The administration selectively chose the data that seemed to indicate a drop in unemployment while ignoring any numbers that would detract from their findings. Interestingly, this is exactly how the first unemployment figures were tabulated in 1878 by Carroll D. Wright, chief of the Massachusetts Bureau of the Statistics of Labor. According to the New York Times, he circulated a survey that asked town assessors to estimate the number of local people out of work, but only count adult men who really want employment. “By doing this, Wright said he understood that he was excluding a large number of men who would have liked to work if they could... Read More

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

As I watch the general malaise gripping Washington, I find myself thinking about the lyrics of Tom Petty’s hit song: “The waiting is the hardest part.” I know I am not the only one waiting for something to happen to get this nation back on track. Our small businesses, entrepreneurs and 14 million unemployed feel an endless gnawing, the grinding of gears, as America performs like a broken clock. Time stands still. It has become all about the waiting. • The waiting for the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare so we can get our future healthcare costs under control. The Affordable Healthcare for America Act is anything but affordable. When the majority of states consider it unconstitutional, something is very wrong. It’s just one more thing keeping small business from hiring.... Read More