Category Archives: Politics

SURFING THE TRUMP DISRUPTION: 4 Keys to Success as America Changes in 2017

Whatever your opinion on Donald Trump, everyone can agree that there are huge changes coming to America and the world, starting January 20.

How can a business person or any other citizen adapt and prosper in this volatile time? Since the election November 8, I have come up with a few ideas. None of them involve Tweeting after awards shows.

KEY MOVE #1

BE READY TO LAUNCH NEW BUSINESSES TO PROFIT FROM BIG CHANGES

The US government is the largest organization in our nation. It is about to drastically transform. A multitude of new businesses will spring up to manage the intentional and unintentional results of this disruption. I believe people are going to prosper in new  enterprises arising to exploit or even to oppose this radical shift in government.

It’s not simply that we’ve moved from a Democratic to Republican administration. Mr. Trump seems determined to disrupt the way governing has been done for decades, just as he broke all the rules of campaigning. Whether you love or loath the incoming President, it’s obvious that the next four years will not be business as usual. Is Donald Trump the Amazon of politics, a profound game changer? Or is he closer to Bitcoin or Google Glass, a passing sideshow oddity? Either way there are big changes in store starting right away.

Some of the sectors where the new administration and Congress will make drastic changes include health care, national security, energy policy, international relations, tax rules, business regulations, laws over individuals, and conservation. As these changes are instituted, businesses and jobs will be created to manage new challenges and exploit new opportunities. I expect an explosion of innovation as our nation grapples with the new Administration’s game-changing approach to government.

These opportunities will not be for business owners only. If you don’t own your own company, be on the lookout for openings your employer can exploit, and suggest new moves. You could end up leading a new division of your company! And look for part time side business ideas as well.

There will be opportunities for Republicans and Democrats alike. Innovative enterprises aimed at fighting Mr. Trump and Republican control of government are already emerging.

The Trump Disruption will have no borders. There will be opportunities not only for Americans but people the world over. As America is disrupted from within, other nations will have new chances to excel and challenges to overcome. You could write a book about Russia alone.

I advise everyone to look at every upcoming change, and ask the question: “what’s my opportunity to help?” Particularly focus on areas relating to your experience and expertise. There will be many ways to add value, through businesses, government and non-profit civic causes. Opportunities are there whether you favor or oppose the Trump Administration.

KEY MOVE #2

BEWARE OF SCAMS

Government regulations of businesses are going to be loosened. That’s a sure thing with the new power structure. For my own businesses (hospitality, retail beverage marketing and event services), fewer regulations will be a catalyst for growth, innovation and profits. But while a more permissive regulatory environment will present opportunities, it also creates more openings for fraudulent operators. As regulations fall, new scams are sure to crop up. It will be increasingly important to read the fine print and do due diligence on every personal and business deal. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

KEY MOVE #3

DON’T IMITATE DONALD TRUMP!

The blunt, unfiltered approach that works for Mr. Trump is 99% likely to backfire for the rest of us in our daily lives. Even if you are a Trump fan, it’s important to avoid insulting, arrogant, thoughtless behavior in business and personal interactions. You are not a billionaire TV star.

The satirical magazine The Onion was on point with this spoof:

REPORT: It Is Still Nowhere Near OK to Act Like Donald Trump

ITHACA, NY—In the hours since the Republican nominee’s stunning election to the nation’s highest office, reports have confirmed that, regardless of circumstance, it is not even remotely close to okay to act like Donald Trump. “Just to be perfectly clear, speaking or behaving in a manner similar to President-elect Trump is just as unacceptable now as it has ever been,” the reports stated, adding that in zero percent of cases is it even borderline permissible to conduct oneself either personally or professionally in a fashion akin to Trump, and that has not changed in the past two days. “In fact, acting like Mr. Trump does for even a moment will result in a wide range of negative social—and in some cases, criminal—consequences for you personally.” – THE ONION satirical media site

KEY MOVE #4

FOLLOW THE MONEY (AS ALWAYS) ON ITS NEW PATHS

Eight years of divided government are over. Republicans are in control of all Federal branches and the majority of State Houses. Similar to the first term of President George W Bush in 2000, there will be a huge shift of resources toward Republican-preferred programs and away from those seen to benefit Democratic constituencies.

This shift will create two new sets of opportunities:

First and most obviously, Republican favored programs flush with new funds will offer new jobs and contract opportunities for businesses.
But also, Democratic favored programs losing funding will be searching for creative ways to continue their endeavors. This too is an opening for entrepreneurial minded people to step up with creative solutions.

Just don’t expect the government to shrink in total size and spending. Even Mr. Trump is not that radical. Rhetoric always comes in second to self interest, regardless of who rules! So count on plenty of ways to profit working with the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Our Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Whether you think Trump will “make America great” or be a “disaster,” unprecedented opportunities are on the way with the “huuuuuge” changes we’ll all be experiencing. Welcome to the uncharted territory of Trump’s America.

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Not Everyone Should Vote

It’s nearly election day, and we’re told the most important thing is to just get out and vote, and the more voters the better.  Rock the Vote! Right?

But I don’t see how it helps for uninformed people to vote, if they don’t take the time to study issues, seek out facts and varied perspectives, and try to make an intelligent decision as you would about a business issue.  As in business, quality is more important than quantity.

People who don’t take time to understand issues and civics should not cast a random, uninformed vote.  I think for our society, quality decision making is going to help our nation more than just a high quantity of people checking a box without really thinking things through.

I am not saying that any adult should be prevented from voting – no one deserves the power to be in charge of “who’s qualified.”  Everyone needs equal voting rights.  In fact, I think it should be made more convenient to vote with longer hours and easy absentee voting, though I do believe some fair, free and easy voter ID should be required.

So should you vote?  If you answer yes to any of the questions below, I’d encourage you to stay home this election, spend some time getting better qualified, and make your vote count next time around.

  1. Do I not know the names of all my representatives and cannot pick them out of a lineup on sight?
  2. Do I rarely pay attention to news or political analysis?
  3. If I do pay attention to politics, do I listen mostly to sensationalist or “opinion” media from one perspective (right or left)?
  4. Do I just vote a party line without evaluating each candidate?
  5. Do I seldom pay attention to how elected officials are doing their jobs and personally behaving between election seasons?
  6. Is there nothing a representative from my preferred party could possibly do to cause me to vote for the other party, or do I give them a “free pass” on bad behavior out of party loyalty?
  7. Am I obsessed with particular politicians (positive or negative) and pay little attention to nuts and bolts policies?

If you answered yes to any of these, please just stay home and don’t vote. That’s the best thing you can do for America.

Of course, it’s your choice and that’s how it needs to be.

Vote with Care – and God Bless America!

#MarriageEquality and #GunRights Show Us How To “Do the Impossible”

In 2008, Barack Obama met with a fundamentalist preacher during his presidential campaign, to state his opposition to same sex marriage.  The most liberal candidate in recent history felt supporting same sex marriage was politically dangerous just 7 years ago.  This week when the Supreme Court affirmed the right to same sex marriage was protected in the Constitution, it was the expected outcome.  And the vast majority of businesses, politicians and citizens saluted the decision.  The White House was lit in rainbow colors.  From Impossible to Inevitable in 7 years.

rainbow white house

I grew up in the country hunting, fishing and shooting guns.  Even in our conservative region in “the good old days” we still never imagined that all citizens would someday have the right to carry loaded weapons, concealed or open in holsters, in nearly every public setting.  Yet today every state is required by Supreme Court ruling to allow public possession of firearms, including concealed carry.  From Unthinkable to Unstoppable.

gunrallymarch

What these two remarkable developments have in common is an organized, passionate group taking sustained political action.  In both cases, citizens mobilized into a political force over decades, raising money and more importantly wielding the votes to threaten candidates’ and politicians’ careers if they didn’t support and advance their issues.  Gay Rights and Gun Rights activists didn’t get discouraged or give up until they achieved their goals.  It’s impossible to deny the effectiveness of their determination.

American Citizens are almost universally disgusted with American Government.  This is one sentiment where the left, right and center actually agree!  But we typically say we can’t do anything about government waste of taxpayers money, inefficiency, bloat, bullying citizens, corruption, unethical behavior and other problems.  We say “that’s just the way it is” and it will never change.  Or we feel we can just vote in “our guys” without changing the rules of the system.  History shows that tactic does not solve the dysfunction.

Whether we agree or disagree with the hard fought triumphs of the Gay Rights and Gun Rights movements, their victories show this fatalistic attitude about improving our society is simply a cop out.  What’s more important than wise use of taxpayer dollars and the integrity of our leaders?  Citizens can clearly seize power if enough people care and put in a sustained effort.  We have the power to step up and make things better.

Do we just like to complain, or do we actually want to change our nation and world for the better?  Whatever you care about, don’t cop out and say it can’t be done.   This week’s Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage is just one example proving that’s not true!

As dysfunctional as our politics have become, Citizens in our Republic are still in control of our own destiny.  But in politics as in business, success takes hard work and persistence.

sorry-for-the-inconvenience-we-are-trying-to-change-the-world

Read more about how same sex marriage triumphed in Slate.

And check out just a couple of examples of how the open carry and concealed carry movement succeeded in legalizing widespread carrying of loaded firearms.

Amazing things can be done when people care.

— TTBG

 

 

#EarthDay Is Not A Hippie Holiday

~~ If we don’t manage waste and our business assets responsibly, our business will fail.

~~ Same goes for humankind managing the earth’s resources. But the stakes are much higher – we only have one planet.

~~ Responsible waste disposal and resource management must not be partisan issues.

~~ Here is what some of our leaders have said about preservation of Earth’s environment over the years. Earth Day is not a hippy holiday, and concern over the environment is not a left wing cause.

“Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people of this country. It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later.” — Richard Nixon

“The preservation of parks, wilderness, and wildlife has also aided liberty by keeping alive the 19th century sense of adventure and awe with which our forefathers greeted the American West. Many laws protecting environmental quality have promoted liberty by securing property against the destrutctive trespass of pollution. In our own time, the nearly universal appreciation of these preserved landscapes, restored waters, and cleaner air through outdoor recreation is a modern expression of our freedom and leisure to enjoy the wonderful life that generations past have built for us.” — Ronald Reagan

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” — Henry David Thoreau

How I Felt (A Little) Better On #TaxDay.

~~ How much does the average person have to pay in taxes to cover the services each person enjoys in the USA?  It’s a complex question and I could not find a straight answer online.  This would be a good masters thesis for a college student.

~~ I can’t construct a scenario where each person does not receive at least $20,000-$50,000 worth of tax paid services each year, just thinking about the roads, rails, airports, the military, the police, fire protection, libraries, street cleaning, elder and disabled care, programs to protect social order, and even health and safety inspectors (much as we fear them in the restaurant industry).  What’s the value of living in the world’s leading nation?  I don’t know exactly but it’s up there.

~~ A Heritage Foundation report demonstrates that you have to be in the top 40% of the population in income to pay more in taxes than you get back in benefits.  If you can read their entire impressive report you should be promoted to Professor.  From their graphs it looks like the tipping point is around $20,000 in annual taxes.   Pay less than that and you are getting more than you pay for.  More, and you are subsidizing others (on average).  Remember, that is total taxes, so it includes sales taxes, property taxes and local taxes not just Fed and State.  Taking this approach the rich are paying the way for the poor which seems to be a great deal for lower income people.

~~ But the question of fairness can also be viewed in another way: what percentage of income is paid in taxes?  By this standard the poor are more burdened than the wealthy, particularly in the area of state, local and sales taxes.   In fact, by some estimates the poorest 20% of Americans pay 2x as much of their income in taxes as the richest 20%

~~ Here’s some varied perspectives from Pew Research, CNBC and Warren Buffett on the fairness of our tax system.  And where our tax dollars go.  Clearly there’s a lot of room for argument, and for more research.  Cue that masters thesis candidate!

~~ I have a hunch that for all but the richest, we may be getting a lot more for our money than we like to think!  At least that will make me feel better when I write my checks to the IRS.

~~ To end on a positive note, check out these restaurant tax day discounts and even freebies from around the nation.

Sonic-Tax-Day

 

 

 

 

Chicago Politics: Top 5 Campaign Promises

~~ Top 5 Jesus “Chuy” Garcia Campaign Promises in the Chicago Mayoral Race
1. A chicken in every pothole ~~
2. Movember will be made an official city holiday ~~
3. Promises to remain Hispanic for his entire term ~~
4. Get rid of red light cameras, as well red lights ~~
5. Lower taxes and increase spending on popular programs… hey wait, sounds like he’s running for Congress!

~~ Chicago Votes April 7!