Category Archives: Politics & The Economy

4 Tips for Boomers Becoming Entrepreneurs

It’s no secret that the entrepreneurial dream is being pursued more by Gen-Xers and Millennials, 4 Tips for Boomers Becoming Entrepreneursespecially in this economic climate. Many new job seekers are learning that it’s hard to find a job; sometimes the only answer is to create one. However, recent grads just entering the job market aren’t the only ones effected by the economy. Boomers who last their jobs are finding it harder to get new ones as they get closer to retirement age. And while many Boomers expect to work past 65, it’s more and more difficult to find a job that will let you.

Here are some tips for the Boomer who wants to create their own job:

1. Prepare yourself.

Some people take to entrepreneurship like fish to water. Others, not so much. You should prepare  by familiarizing yourself with the everyday tools of the entrepreneur. This usually means brushing up on your tech. So many things are automated, so much communication is through technology. The younger generations have an edge because they’ve grown up with the technology, so whatever you can do to get up to date, do it. It might be fast and dirty, but, if it works, it works. We have some skills you might want to brush up on here.

2. Get help

One thing you have that most Milennials don’t is experience. You already have friends in high places. You already have a job history. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything. Use the experience you already have to reach out to someone else in a position like yours. Together, you can build a better business model.

3. Be conscious of your investment

Businesses fail. It’s a fact of life. You should be aware of this if you’re going to start one. Don’t clear out your 401(k) if you aren’t ready to lose it all. You could succeed and be the next best thing. But, in case you aren’t, remember to keep your safety net.

4. Know your exit

Most businesses take 10 years to see financial gain. Is that too long for you? Just because you aren’t ready to retire at 65 doesn’t mean you want to work until you’re 85. You may fail, you may succeed, it may take you 2 years, it may take you 20. Whether you give yourself a time limit, a price limit, or some other goal, know when you’re going to pull the plug.

If you want more info on Boomers in today’s economy, don’t miss Boomers’ Braintrust on BizTV. Do you have any advice for Boomers? Share in the comments below!

Entrepreneurs turned Politicians

While he didn’t announce his candidacy, Jack Dorsey has expressed an interest in running for mayor of New York some day. If you aren’t familiar with Dorsey, he helped co-found Twitter. He also had a hand in founding Square. You know. That little white box attached to the iPad Mini in all those new coffeeshops that you swipe your credit card through.

Jack Dorsey wants to be NYC Mayor

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey

Dorsey is valued at around $1 billion dollars, but he wouldn’t be New York’s first billionaire mayor.

Mayor Bloomberg, New York’s current mayor, will be exciting his post on Jan. 1, 2014. Dorsey did not say he would be looking to enter the race then. Bloomberg has had some questionable laws passed, including the large soda ban that was overturned by the judicial system last week. On the positive side, New York’s population has reached an all time high. Bloomberg is also a former entrepreneur.

As far as Dorsey’s experience is concerned, Square was started in 2010 and now has 400 employees and a partnership with Starbucks. Twitter surpassed the 200 million user mark in December.

In January, John Catsimatidis, owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, announced his candidacy for mayor. Brian Sullivan, the founder and creator of PUR water filter, ran for governor of Minnesota. Founding father, inventor, and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin didn’t mind throwing his hat into the political ring. Even Mitt Romney had an entrepreneurial background. And, probably the biggest name in entrepreneurs turned politicians, is Ross Perot. Perot founded EDS and then Perot Systems before his run for the presidency.

Many say that small business owners and entrepreneurs represent the American spirit. The entrepreneur is often seen as someone with a can-do attitude, a head for innovation, and an almost stubborn dedication to their vision. Is there something politicians and entrepreneurs share? Or are entrepreneurs drawn to an ideal? Whatever the reason, America has a long tradition of entrepreneurs turned politicians and that isn’t about to change.

What do you think? Do entrepreneurs make good politicians? Will the city of New York adopt Jack Dorsey as quickly as everyone else adopted Twitter?

Impact of Small Business

America has shown it’s fondness for small businesses. While it might seem like only the big chains get the love, small businesses are an important staple in the economy. Here’s an infographic to show you the impact:

smallbusiness

The Domestic Production Comeback

As potential business trends are identified for 2013, one of the ones that stands out is the return of domestic production. Will we start seeing “Made in USA” stamped on our goods again? Let’s take a look.

In September 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers report alluded to a “renaissance” in U.S. manufacturing stemming from factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs and a better financial climate–and the fact that “re-shoring” (returning production stateside) could mitigate $2.2 billion in losses from supply-chain disruptions in 2011.

Another factor is innovation of the startup kind. One of the biggest examples, Tesla Motors, focuses on how things have gotten more efficient in the light of economic downturns. What was originally filed as a lower priority has turned into companies trimming the fat on production and distribution.

As some retailers and startups are either heavily represented or exclusively active online, keeping production in the US can give them a home court advantage. What might have taken an extra day or two to travel from an overseas supplier can now be sent straight out the door.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that domestic production is making a comeback is the growth and sustaining power of local businesses. People have been making a living off Etsy stores and “local” businesses have a strong appeal because they are local.

While all these things factor in bringing more production stateside, will it bring more jobs? Maybe not as many as you would hope. Robots tend to keep the prices down and so far haven’t formed any unions.

What do you think? Is there a future for “Made in USA?” If so, is it coming this year or will we have to wait to see much of a difference?

Let us know below!

California workers loose cellphones

Governor Jerry Brown is starting to slash the California state budget and, on the chopping block, he has targeted cellphones.

He is requiring the return of 48,000 government-paid cell phones by June 1. He said he found it difficult to believe that 40% of state employees needed a work phone.

Does a small expense like a cellphone really make a difference?

Heck yes. This move is going to save the state $20 million.

On January 10th, Brown announced a budget that will slash $12.5 billion in spending and extend $12 billion in tax hikes.

Brown, who assumed office a week ago, has to contend with a $25.4 billion shortfall over the next 18 months. California’s fiscal year starts July 1.

Small Business isn’t Celebrating Health-care Reform

In March, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a 2,000-plus-page law designed to dramatically change how health insurance is provided in this country. The law might have been more aptly named the Small Business Health Insurance Act because its effects—both good and bad—will fall most heavily on small companies.

That’s because we have an employment-based health-care system and small businesses are less likely than large ones to provide employee health insurance. In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation, which keeps tabs on health insurance coverage, reported that 99 percent of businesses with 200-plus employees provided workers with health insurance, as compared with only 68 percent of businesses with 3 to 199 employees. Given these numbers, it’s fair to focus on small businesses when looking at the impact of the new law.

Read the complete story at Business Week

 

Republicans plan to repeal Obamacare

The struggle is not over for the Healthcare Reform Bill. Republicans unveiled repeal legislation Monday night — two days before they officially take charge of the House. They plan a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote the following Wednesday, according to House GOP sources.

Democrats say the GOP is pandering to their base. Well, if their voters elected them with the expectation that they would repeal the bill, then they should probably try to repeal it.

Passage of the health care overhaul is widely viewed as Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Most political analysts believe that while a repeal of the measure can pass the new Republican House, it has no chance of surviving the Democratic-controlled Senate or overcoming a presidential veto.

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, cited projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office noting that the Democrats’ overhaul will lower the federal deficit over the long term.

As a result, she argued, a GOP-led health care reform repeal would “do very serious violence to the national debt” — undermining a central Republican pledge of fiscal responsibility.

The Republicans “will employ budget gimmicks” and “Enron-type accounting” to make the claim that a repeal of health care reform won’t increase the debt, predicted Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland. “That kind of flim-flam” is what people came to expect of Republicans the last time they ran Congress, he said.

Republicans insist that they are moving forward with their push to repeal the health care law because the measure is hampering an economic recovery.

“Obamacare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs,” said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

“Further, Obamacare failed to lower costs as the president promised that it would, and does not allow people to keep the care they currently have if they like it.”

 

 

US sells Citi stake for profit

The last of the US Treasury’s shares of Citigroup Inc sold at $10.5 billion. This means taxpayers will reap a profit of $12 billion on their $45 billion cash investment in Citigroup. It also allows the bank to shake its reputation as a ward of the state.

James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University said: “It signals the company has been fully privatized and that their parole is over.”

Last year, the Treasury intended to sell off their 7.7 billion shares steadily over the course of six to 12 months, but had only sold 4.4 billion by October. The results of the November elections seemed to express discontent with government involvement in private business. As a result, the Treasury has increased its speed in selling off its 61% stake in General Motors.

The government still holds $3 billion in Citigroup stock.

Senate passes Bill on Food Safety

The Senate passed a bill giving federal regulators new powers over food safety on Tuesday. It cleared the Senate on a 73-25 vote.

The Food and Drug Administration would gain the power to order food recalls, which are voluntary. The FDA would also gain more authority to track fruit and vegetable shipments and mandates that producers write safety plans.

Final passage of the bill is not a sure thing, however, due to the tight schedule of Congress’s lame-duck session.

The idea is to have faster responses to contamination outbreaks. The bill is backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and major business groups representing food producers and grocery stores.

Small farms have held up the legislation, warning of higher prices to comply with the new rules. Consumers may lose local produce if small farms can’t keep up. The response: an amendment exempting small farms and food processors with annual sales under $500,000 from the new regulations if they sell their goods directly to consumers or restaurants no more than 275 miles away. The exemption could be removed in emergency cases.

Budget cuts and no tax increases

The 2010 midterm elections resulted in a big change of leadership throughout the country.  More than a dozen governors have promised to balance their states’ budgets. These state chiefs, nine of whom were elected two weeks ago, will have little choice but to slash spending in order to bring their budgets in line, experts say.

All of them are Republican, save for New York’s Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo.

While left-leaning advocates fear that the vulnerable will lose their safety nets, their GOP counterparts see the Republican landslide as an opportunity to overhaul state services. Even without Democrats standing in their way, these governors will be fighting an uphill battle. They still have to deal with powerful public employee unions. Some bargaining groups are agreeing to concessions over salary and benefits. But others are not, which governors say force them to make layoffs and deeper budget cuts.

What is the plan?

Ohio Gov.-elect John Kasich pledged during his campaign that he would reduce taxes. His answer to solving the budget problem is to make the state more business-friendly, which will result in greater revenues.

Kasich also wants to reduce the size of the state government by reforming programs and shedding those that don’t work, said his press secretary, Rob Nichols. Though he didn’t provide many specifics, Nichols said everything would be examined.

The governor-elect said the election gave him a mandate to overhaul state services. He will have to tackle a budget gap is estimated to be between $4 billion and $10 billion.

“We took a step forward to shrinking government and making it better,” Kasich said in his acceptance speech. “Ohio has said it wants to run our state in a new way.”

In Pennsylvania, Gov-elect Tom Corbett has called for reducing state administrative operations by 10% and for cutting the state automotive fleet by 20%, which would save $140 million over 10 years. He also wants to eliminate per diems given to certain state workers and require all elected officials to contribute to their health care coverage.

Republicans now control the governor’s mansion and both houses, ousting Democrats who ran all three. They will have their work cut out for them since they are facing a budget gap of at least $2.4 billion and Corbett has promised not to raise taxes.

“We have the opportunity to bring fiscal discipline to Pennsylvania, to bring limited government and to bring free enterprise to Pennsylvania,” Corbett said in his acceptance speech.

Republicans, however, aren’t the only ones calling for a freeze in tax hikes.New York Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo has also pledged not to raise corporate or personal taxes or sales taxes, even though the state is facing a $10 billion deficit. He also wants to put a ceiling on local property tax increases.

To get the Empire State’s fiscal house in order, Cuomo said he would freeze salary increases for state employees and impose a cap on state spending. He would also reduce the number of state agencies, commissions and authorities by at least 20% through consolidation or elimination.

He also wants to take over the administration of Medicaid from the counties, in hopes of better controlling participants’ use of the program. And Cuomo wants to reduce ever-escalating pension costs by providing less generous benefits to new hires.

Where does your governor stand?

 

 

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