Your entire life – 100 years – on a page.

November 13, 2013

This exercise allows you to look at your entire life span in a single image.  It is 100 years (in months) on a single page that you can divide into five phases of your life,  as described below.

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FIVE PHASES of LIFE

  • Phase 1 – Your past. These years are spent and gone. (Have you spent them well or frittered your years away?)
  • Phase 2 – Your Remaining Career Years.  The remaining years you are most productive and engaged in your career.   (Will you spend them well, live with a sense of urgency, or just fritter these years away, also?)
  • Phase 3 – Your Independent Retirement Years – The years after career retirement where you still function well, both mentally and physically. (What to you hope to accomplish with the remainder your life?)
  • Phase 4 – Your Dependent Retirement Years – The final years leading up to your death where you are likely to need assistance (e.g., nursing home, caregiver, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – You Have Passed Away.  You only exist as a memory.  How long do you expect to live, based upon family history, and your condition and conduct?  What is your legacy?

100 YEARS ON A PAGE BLANK100 YEARS ON A PAGE BLANK.pdf

To help you with this exercise, a completed example is shown below.

100 YEARS ON A PAGE EXAMPLE100 YEARS ON A PAGE EXAMPLE.pdf

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ILLUSTRATING YOUR LIFE ON A PAGE

1. STARTING WITH THE MONTH YOU WERE BORN, FILL IN THE FIRST LETTER OF EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR, FOR TWO YEARS.

2. MARK THROUGH ALL THE FULL YEARS AND THE MONTHS YOU HAVE LIVED, UP TO THE CURRENT MONTH.  THIS DEFINES THE END OF PHASE 1: THE YEARS YOU HAVE SPENT.

3. MARK  THE YEAR OF YOUR LIFE YOU EXPECT TO RETIRE. THIS DEFINES THE END OF PHASE 2: YOUR REMAINING CAREER YEARS.

4. MARK  THE YEAR OF YOUR LIFE YOU EXPECT TO START NEEDING LIVING ASSISTANCE. THIS DEFINES THE END OF PHASE 3: YOUR INDEPENDENT RETIREMENT YEARS.

5. MARK THE YEAR OF YOUR LIFE YOU EXPECT TO DIE.  THIS DEFINES THE END OF PHASE 4: YOUR DEPENDENT RETIREMENT YEARS PRIOR TO DEATH.

6. MARK THROUGH THE REMAINING YEARS.  THIS DEFINES PHASE 5: YOU HAVE PASSED AWAY AND ONLY EXIST AS A MEMORY.

100 YEARS ON A PAGE INSTRUCTIONS.pdf

I wish you a life well lived.

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Comparison of Return Rates & Investment Expenses of State Pension Funds

July 4, 2013

A report published by The Maryland Public Policy Institute provides an analysis (spreadsheet) comparison of 5-Year Performance Returns and Investment Fees of state pension funds in the United States.  Living in South Carolina, I was interested in how the Palmetto State compared.  SC does not compare well.

Below are five graphs that show and the compare the different states:

* Returns vs. Expenses

*Hypothetical Return vs. Expenses (If a relationship actually exists.)

* Returns vs. Expenses divided into median defined quadrants (Higher/Lower Returns, Higher/Lower Expenses.  Upper Left Quadrant = Higher Returns & Lower Fees =  BEST.  Lower Right Quadrant = Lower Returns & Higher Fees = WORST.)

* Return Rankings

* Expense Rankings.

* Return to Expenses Ratio Rankings (How much are Expenses eating up Returns?)

The numbers in the first four real graphs are percentages (%).  The scatter plot of Pension Fund Returns vs. Expenses shows little correlation between fees and returns.  It does show two significant outliers: Alabama & South Carolina.  Alabama’s highest in nation 5 Year Rate of Return of 7.5% was twice the next best return rate.  South Carolina’s highest in the nation fee percentage was one-third higher that the next highest fee rate.

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State Pension Funds Expense_Return ComparisonState Pension Funds Expense_Return Comparison

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Hypothetical Pension Fund Performance vs Investment FeesHypothetical Pension Fund Performance vs Investment Fees

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State Pension Funds Expense_Return Comparison with Median Defined QuadrantsState Pension Funds Expense_Return Comparison with Median Defined Quadrants

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State Pension Funds Expense RankingState Pension Funds Expense Ranking

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State Pension Funds 5 Year Return RankingState Pension Funds 5 Year Return Ranking

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State Pension Funds Return-to-Expense Ratio RankingState Pension Funds Return-to-Expense Ratio Ranking

Some investment managers may defend a poor comparison by stating that there is not an “apples to apples” comparison of how fees or returns are reported, and the data is not standardized.  The data in the report is the data in the report, and if not standardized,  it should be in order  to allow transparent analysis.

To the public service employees of South Carolina (and the other states), the important question is not, “Why have our state’s investments done so poorly?”  The important question is, “Why have Alabama’s investments done so much better?”

Consumer Rebate Escrow Tax Accounts – Growing local businesses, creating local jobs, and lowering local taxes from local shopping

February 27, 2013

If consumers can shop around for deals on goods, why not let them shop around for tax deals?

Many retailers have what might be called Rebate Escrow Accounts (CREAs).   A percentage of the purchase price of goods is credited to the purchaser into what is practically an “escrow” account.  When sufficient value has accumulated in the account, the retailer rebates the patron cash credit towards more merchandise.

With retailers devising all manner of incentive programs, it would be a tremendous boost to the local economy if rebates were tax credits that local consumers could apply towards paying property taxes, motor vehicle taxes, or any tax or fee of choice that is paid to the government. Specifically, this would be a Consumer Rebate Escrow Tax Account (CRETA).

The weekly spending required, with a given purchase price rebate percentage,  to pay the annual motor vehicle registration  taxes and property taxes is shown in the graphs below.

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Motor Vehicle Registration Tax Example

Vehicle market value: $20,000

Effective tax rate: 2.5%

Annual registration tax: $625

Annual registration tax/5o weeks: $12.50/week

Percentage rebate to pay tax: 20%

Weekly spending required to pay tax w/rebates:$62.50/week

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Property Tax Example

Property value: $100,000

Effective tax rate: 1%

Annual property tax: $1000

Annual property tax/50 weeks: $20/week

Percentage rebate to pay tax: 20%

Weekly spending required to pay tax w/rebates: $100/week

CRETA’s would incentivize people to boost their local economy because they would have to shop locally to gain the local tax reduction.  And, many people would find it appealing to be able to literally shop around for the best tax deal.

For example, you go to lunch and find that two restaurants are offering “Taxpayer Specials.”  One restaurant offers a 10% ($1) rebate for $10 meal that is credited to your CRETA.  The other restaurant offers a 20% ($2) rebate for a $10 meal that is credited to you CRETA.  In either case, you pay the same $10 for lunch.  The difference is that with the second restaurant, your tax burden get rebated $1 lower because you shopped around for a better tax deal.

2013 SC1 Congressional Primary All-in-One Each-vs.-Every Other Candidate Picker

February 22, 2013

If you live in South Carolina Congressional District 1, how do you go about picking the best  candidate out of a prickle/flock/gaggle/herd/litter/flutter/clutch/bevy/pack/pod/swarm/rookery/clutch/brood* of 16  GOP Primary candidates?

Maybe, instead of trying to pick one out of a congregation of 16, you take each one and compare them to every other one, a pair at a time.  For this, I have created the 2013 SC1 Congressional Primary All-in-One Each-vs-Every Other Candidate Picker.  It is similar to the mileage grid on a road map, and you compare each item to every other item, and vote between each pairing.  You can download it by clicking below.

2013 SC1 Congressional Primary All-in-One Each-vs.-Every Other Candidate Picker

Click here to download the Candidate Picker

2013 SC1  Congressional Primary Candidate Tally Sheet

Click here to download Candidate Tally Sheet

To use the 2013 SC1 Congressional Primary All-in-One Each-vs.-Every Other Candidate Picker, simply start with Candidate ‘A’ at the top of the list on the left side and compare them to each of the other candidates (B, C, D, etc.) listed in the column headings on the top of the form.  Go over, and then down from each competitor’s name.  In the empty space where the two names of each pairing intersect, write in the letter designator (A,B,C,…R,S,T)  of the candidate you prefer.   Then, compare Candidate ‘B’ with each competitor, ‘C’ through ‘T’, and proceed down the list.

For example, when comparing Republican candidates Jeff King (F) and Ray Nash (L), write in the letter ‘F’ if you prefer Jeff King or the letter ‘L’ if you prefer Ray Nash where those names intersect,.  Then, on the other 2013 SC1 Congressional Primary All-in-One Each-vs-Every Other Candidate Picker Tally Sheet, record a tally by the name that you picked.

After going through all the candidate pairings, Each-vs.-Every Other, add up all the tallies you chose for each candidate on the Tally Sheet, score and rank the candidates, and pick your winner.

The Candidate Picker is called “All-in-One” because it allows you to compare Republican, Democratic, and Green candidates both within their party and against all others in all three parties.

Since 20 candidates are quite a few to compare if you have not done this type of exercise previously, I prepared a practice Picker you can download below; an ice cream picker.  Pick your favorite flavor of ice cream from the 4 flavors of Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, or Prune.

Ice Cream Picker - Completed Example

Click here to download Ice Cream Picker – Completed Example

Ice Cream Picker - Blank Form

Click here to download Ice Cream Picker – Blank Form

Having completed this exercise, those of you who live in SC1 will hopefully have a better sense of who you will vote for on Primary Election Day, or at least thin out your list.

(*Or choose your own term for these political animals from here:  http://www.thealmightyguru.com/Pointless/AnimalGroups.html)

Mitt Romney at 50% plus 11 delegates (as of 04-03-2012)

April 6, 2012

It’s not how much you’re beating the other guy that counts.  It’s how much you lead the pack.

A simple majority is defined as 50% plus 1 vote.  As of April 3, 2012 Mitt Romney has a slightly larger, simple majority of 50% plus 11 GOP Primary delegates.

While candidate Romney does have a commanding lead over each of his GOP Primary opponents, his estimated tally of  658  delegates from Primaries completed (including 8 superdelegates already committed from states yet to conduct their Primaries) rounds off to 50.9% of 1293 total the delegates. (50.88940% to be more precise.)

With an 11 vote majority, it looks like we still have a squeaker.

The graph below illustrates how Mitt Romney’s total percentages of delegates changed through the April 3, 2012 Primaries, and how those percentages would decline if he failed to capture any more delegates going into the GOP nominating convention.

The 2012 GOP nominating process does not look like a done deal.

The left side of the graph shows the percentage of total GOP delegates committed to Mitt Romney through the April 03, 2012 GOP Primaries. The right side of the graph shows how that percentage declines if he captures no more delegates going into the GOP nominating convention.
Data Source: New York Times 2012 Republican Delegate Tally (as of 04-03-2012}
http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/primaries/delegates

2012 Presidential Primary Each-vs-Other Candidate Picker

January 15, 2012

There are currently four (4) GOP Presidential Primary candidates.  To pick one out of four is not always an easy chore, especially when you have to rely on news media sound bites, the internet, political attack ads, and candidate stump speeches  for information.  Instead of trying to simply pick one out of six, another method is to compare each candidate vs. every other candidate.  Above is a 2012 Presidential Primary Each-vs-Other Candidate Picker.  It is similar to the mileage grid on a road map.

To use the 2012 Presidential Primary Each-vs-Other Candidate Picker, simply start with Candidate #1 on the left side and compare him to each of the other candidates listed in the column headings on the top of the form.  Go over, and then down from each name.  In the empty space where each pairing intersects, write in the number of the candidate you prefer.   Then, compare Candidate #2, and proceed down the list.

For example, when comparing Texans #4-Ron Paul  vs. #5-Rick Perry, write in the number “4” if you prefer Ron Paul or “5” if you prefer Rick Perry in the space where the two names intersect.

Click on the link below to view a completed example where a family or group might use this type of tool to vote on a flavor of ice cream (fiscal priorities.)

https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/what-is-your-fiscal-priority-taxes-government-services-job-creation-or-business-growth/

I included Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in this exercise.  If your opinion is that a GOP candidate cannot beat Barack Obama in the 2012 General Election, you can save time and scratch that GOP candidate off your list.

After you have completed all the pairings, add up the numbers of times you selected each candidate.  Write the total count for each  candidate under the column entitled “NUMBER OF VOTES.”   Then, under the column entitled “NUMBER OF VOTES,” write in the ranking of each candidate.  The one with the highest number of votes gets the #1 ranking.

Having completed this exercise, you will hopefully have a better sense of who you will vote for on Primary Election Day, or at least thin out your list.

Per Capita, Household, and Business Spending Required to Achieve Full Employment

September 23, 2011

The economic recovery starts with the sound of a ringing cash register.

The economy moves through the cash register: business revenues,  jobs, taxes, etc.  To create jobs, money must move through the cash register.  To achieve full employment, you must first estimate how much money must move through the cash register.

An employee and their paycheck are business expenses.  Before incurring the additional expense of a new employee, a business must realize enough revenues to cover that cost.  The question then arises as to how much new revenue a business must realize to have the confidence to hire their next employee.

Click below to download an analysis showing examples of the estimated per capita, household, and business spending that are require to pay for new employees, create jobs,  and lower the unemployment rate enough to achieve full employment in a local area (Greenville County, SC.)

Full employment analysis for Greenville County, SC

Included is the above graph showing the weekly business spending required to pay the employee compensation costs (e.g., 2/3 wages + 1/benefits) for 1000 jobs.  Also included is the graph shown below that illustrates the amount of money from  weekly per capita spending that must be applied to pay employee compensation costs for enough jobs to achieve full employment in that county.

The graphs in the analysis follow the following progression to demonstrate the local economic activity required to achieve full employment:

• Number of jobs required to lower unemployment rate by specific percentages.
• Business spending required to pay for paychecks and employee compensation (i.e., jobs).
• Business spending required to change the unemployment rate by a specific percentage.
• Applied per capita & household spending required to pay for paychecks and employee compensation (i.e., jobs).
• Applied per capita & household spending required to change the unemployment rate by a specific percentage.

To generate the graphs, the following data was used:

  • 2010 Greenville County, SC Population: 451,225
  • 2010 Greenville County, SC Households: 176,531
  • July 2011 Greenville County, SC Labor Force: 225,340
  • July 2011 Greenville County, SC Employed: 204,946
  • July 2011 Greenville County, SC Unemployed: 20,394
  • July 2011 Greenville County, SC Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
  • Number of jobs representing a 1% shift in the Unemployment Rate: 2,253
  • Example Wage Rates ($/hour): $10, $12, $14, $16, $18, $20
  • Employee Compensation (EC) Multiplier  (e.g., 2/3 wages + 1/3 benefits): 1.5

Population data: U.S. Census Bureau

SC Employment data: SC Dept. of Employment and Workforce

Estimated $200 Billion Food Stamp Expenditure Reduction with Standard Weight Unit Price (SWUP) Cost Control

August 24, 2011

The motto for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – a.k.a. Food Stamps) should be the standard reply I  give when asked what my favorite restaurant is: Cheap ‘n Filling.  Applying this philosophy, you could probably reduce the roughly $70 billion that the federal government spends annually on the program by $20 billion, for a ten year cost savings of $200 billion.

If you browse through the aisles and do a little comparison shopping at any grocery store, you get the definite impression that the SNAP program could feed twice as many people with half the money it currently spends.  From what I can determine, a root cause of many of the problems with the program, besides increased enrollment,  is not just spending or a lack revenues to support the program, but a lack of pricing control.  There seems to be little control of the cost of allowable items that food stamp recipients can purchase.

Pricing is the independent budget variable that drives the dependent variables of spending and revenues.  For example, you spend $3.50-$4.00 for a gallon of gasoline because that is the price at the pump, and you must have personal revenues (e.g. paycheck) that are sufficient to cover the cost.

STANDARD WEIGHT UNIT PRICE (SWUP) 

REDUCING FOOD STAMP EXPENDITURES BY 25% TO 50%.

Since food is sold by weight (e.g. cents/ounce), a straightforward way to control, and thereby reduce food stamp expenditures is to limit the amount of money that benefits recipients can spend for each ounce of food. Implement Standard Weight Unit Price (SWUP) as a cost and spending control method.  Determine the maximum amount of money for which food stamps can be used to purchase any food item.

A significant factor in food pricing is packaging.  Snack sized food packages cost a lot more than family sized packages to purchase the same weight of food.  Bottled water is a good example of this.  You can purchase a case of 24 bottles of water for $4 to $5.  Or, you can purchase 24 single bottles of the exact same water for $1 to $1.50 each, for a total of $24 to $36, or 5 to 10 times the cost of a 24 bottle case.

The following two questions then arise:

Q1.  Does the SNAP program allow food stamp recipients to basically spend whatever they want on any qualified food item?

Q2. Should food stamp recipients be allowed to spend whatever they want on any qualified food item, even if the retailer offers the same food for a cheaper cost (e.g., package size) in that same store?

There are two ways to implement SWUP cost control:

SWUP #1 – Maximum SWUP

For each type of food, determine the maximum SWUP (e.g., 2 cents/oz.) that can be paid with food stamps.

SWUP #2 – Maximum SWUP ratio

For each type of food, determine the minimum SWUP (e.g., 1 cent/oz.) that is available, and then establish a multiplier that represents the maximum unit price (e.g., 3X or 3 cents/oz.) above the minimum price for which food stamps can be used to purchase that food item.  The SWUP ratio is self-adjusting for food inflation.  As food prices rise, maintaining the SWUP ratio allows people to pay more for the same food items than when prices were lower.

Both SWUP methods offer SNAP aid recipients a fair amount of food choice.  What SWUP will also do is eliminate the purchase of high priced, gourmet items, such as the example below where food stamps were used to purchase lobster.   Purchasing gourmet foods and paying premium prices defeats the purpose of the SNAP program: to feed people for a month with the amount of food stamp money that they receive each month.

(A story behind the food stamp lobster cash register receipt)

http://www.snopes.com/photos/signs/receipt.asp

To test my SWUP cost control hypothesis, I did some comparison shopping for a hypothetical spaghetti dinner (pasta, tomato sauce, green beans, bread, bottled water.)  For this experiment, meat was excluded. Only packaged food items were evaluated to keep this simple.  For each food item, its price, weight, and packaging data were collected for 5-7 varieties on the grocery store shelf. The store’s discount card price was used where available.  The SWUP and SWUP ratios were calculated for all food items.  These are shown in the data and graphs below.
Below is a summary of the comparison shopping data, and a summary of the amount of food choices that would still be available with SWUP cost controls implemented.

Summary of comparison shopping data

Food Item/ Max. SWUP (cents/oz.) / Min. SWUP (cents/oz.)/ Max.-to-Min. SWUP Ratio
Spaghetti pasta / 37.4 / 6.3 / 5.9
Tomato sauce / 10.7 / 5.1 / 2.1
Green beans / 9.4 / 5.4 / 1.7
Bread / 15.0 / 5.5 / 2.7
Bottled water / 8.5 / 0.9 / 9.4

Summary of food purchasing choices with Max. SWUP Ratio=2.0

Food item / Starting no. of food choices / Remaining food choices with Max. SWUP Ratio=2.0
Spaghetti pasta / 7 / 3
Tomato sauce / 6 / 5
Green beans / 5 / 5
Bread / 6 / 3
Bottled water / 7 / 4

The comparison shopping data suggests that the SNAP program could potentially reduce food stamp spending by 25% to 50% by simply limiting how much money is spent on each food item, on a Standard Weight Unit Price basis.  Many more people could be served at a lower program cost.

On the other hand, if the purpose of the SNAP program is to provide families with enough food to keep them from going hungry, then contract the service out to food pantries, soup kitchens, and other nonprofits , and just provide people with baskets of food each week, at the lowest possible cost.

An issue that confronts some aid recipients is the lack of transportation to food retailers that offer the best food value.  They may have to shop at the nearest, high priced convenience store.  To this, consider that Domino’s Pizza delivers, Meals on Wheels delivers, and many grocery stores deliver or could start delivering.  It would be well worth the cost of a modest food delivery fee to cut food stamp expenditure by $billions.

The Economic Recipe Guide

August 20, 2011

Coming soon….. The Economic Recipe Guide (Click here to see front cover.)


EXCERPTS (or something similar) :

ECONOMIC DEFINITIONS

A Model for Structuring Public Service Organizations to Optimize Service Delivery

Recipe for a Balanced Government Budget

A Model for Structuring Public Service Organizations to Optimize Service Delivery

April 15, 2011

“But a want that is satisfied is no longer a want”
– Abraham Maslow

A psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow developed a theory to describe the influences (i.e.,needs) that motivate human behavior. These influences were grouped into categories that encompass a person’s bodily needs, their intrinsic drives, the environment, and interactions with other people. These categories are arranged into a Hierarchy of Needs.

Because a community is a group of people, certain needs must be met for it to function well, and for its citizens to realize a high quality of life. Because government exists to address many of those needs, Maslow’s Hierarchy of (personal) needs provides a logical structure for public service organizations, and for the delivery of public services.

The following is a model for aligning community services to meet the personal needs of citizens in a community.

The following is a process diagram showing show to structure a service organization and its resources for the optimum deliver of public services.

This is NOT to suggest that government does all things for all people.  The scope of government must be defined, along with the tax burden of its citizens.

ECONOMIC DEFINITIONS

March 4, 2011
  • Economy – A group of people who form relationships based upon consumption
  • Economic activity – Consumption
  • Economic development – Creating any reason for people to consume
  • Economics – The study of consumption

A business is a group of people.
A community is a group of people.
A government is a group of people.
Without people, there is no economy.
Without relationships, there is no economy.

By the above definitions, it should be a fairly simple matter to grow the economy by just having people consume in the right way.

Recipe for a Balanced Government Budget

October 18, 2010

The way to balancing a government budget can be found on the back of a box of pancake mix: a recipe.

Fixing any problem requires a methodology, or a recipe/process/method that is comprised of reasonable, practical, and cost effective steps that actually produce a reasonable outcome.  Regardless of the issue (e.g., unemployment, illegal immigrants, education, budget deficits,) you don’t often see public policy makers creating comprehensive, practical, step-by-step roadmaps to address them.

Here is a basic 16-step recipe to balance a government budget:

Step 1. Toss the numbers and start with plain English.

Realize that numbers get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish. Initially, put numbers aside when developing a system. Define the sequence of steps in plain English in order to create the process by which the system operates.

Step 2. Define the purpose of government.

Realize that government exists to meet certain needs so that society and communities might function and maintain a high quality of life. Evaluate current programs and determine if they meet the purpose of government, or not.

Step 3. Define the scope of government.

Decide which specific, public needs that government will and will not address, and set priorities.  Evaluate current programs and determine if they fall within the appropriate scope of government, or not.

Step 4. Start at the local level.

Realize that all tax money originates from the same place, and that all government checks are sent to that same place: some place with a ZIP Code.   Government programs and resources are utilized at the local level.

Step 5. Adopt Responsibility Based Budgeting.

Decide exactly who should pay for various government programs and services.

Step 6. Assign responsibility for funding government.

Assignment of tax paying responsibility stabilizes the revenue stream.  Assign taxpaying responsibility through assessments (a tax bill with someone’s name on it.)

Step 7. Give credit for ALL tax payments.

Credit any type of tax payment to the taxpayer’s personal or business tax assessments first, including indirect taxes such as sales and excise taxes.  Electronic commerce technology allows for this.

Step 8. Focus on the funding of specific resources.

Consider the budget to reflect the scope of work, and to be a listing of resources (e.g., people, places, & things) that are required for government programs.

Step 9. Decide on whether to fund resources with or without collecting & spending tax money.

Realize that there are two ways that government can obtain the resources (people, places, things) needed for public service programs:  By collecting and spending tax money, or without collecting and spending tax money.

Step 10. Look to the taxpayer last.

Initially, consider the Taxpayer as the Funding Source of Last Resort.  First, seek to obtain resources without collecting and spending tax money by offering the resource provider with the appropriate incentives.  When tax money is not spent, it need not be collected.

Examples of the Taxpayer as Funding Source of Last Resort include the Adopt-A-Highway programs and volunteer firefighters, where taxpayers save $million by “borrowing” the labor to pick up roadside trash and put out fires.

Step 11. Adopt Tax Payment Choice.

When government must collect and spend tax money, adopt Tax Payment Choice.  Offer taxpayers a variety of options in how they pay their taxes, and the flexibility to effectively lower their tax burden.  Allow businesses the option of direct Payment-in-Kind (PIK) of goods and services as a form of tax payment.  With PIK, businesses would receive retail value tax credits at wholesale cost.

Step 12. Plan for a tax holiday every year.

When revenue requirements have been met for the fiscal year, plan to give people holiday from tax collection.

Step 13. Meet revenue requirements.

At this point, the budget is balanced.

Step 14. Declare a tax holiday for the remainder of the year.

The goal should be to have an annual tax holiday during the period of time that will have the maximum economic impact (e.g., Christmas shopping season.)

Step 15. Take a temporarily holiday from taxes.

With the plethora of available electronic commerce technology, we should all be able to just quit paying taxes at some point each year for the remainder of the year.

Step 16. Rebate any tax surplus back to taxpayers.

Government should take from it citizens only what is needed to deliver public services that fall within it appropriate scope of activities and that are defied by its budget.

The above recipe is one example of how to balance a government budget.  Many types of recipes can be created.  What is important is that the objective is articulated,  a series of steps is defined to meet the objective with reasonable success, and that the steps are executed to achieve a reasonable success.

Recipe for Full Employment

October 17, 2010

The way to create full employment can be found on the back of a box of pancake mix: a recipe.

Fixing any problem requires a methodology, or a recipe/process/method that is comprised of reasonable, practical, and cost effective steps that actually produce a reasonable outcome.  Regardless of the issue (e.g., unemployment, illegal immigrants, education, budget deficits,) you don’t often see public policy makers creating comprehensive, practical, step-by-step methods that actually result in reasonable success.

Here is a basic 4-step recipe to achieve Full Employment by focusing at the local level:

* Use the sales process as job creation process.

** Estimate business growth or sales to hire next employee or create next paycheck.

*** Estimate per capital or household spending required for different types of local businesses    to grow enough to hire their next employee.

**** Create a system to convert local spending into local paychecks.

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* Use the sales process as job creation process

All businesses must sell.  They must sell more of their goods and services to justify the risk and expense of hiring a new employee.  The Sales Funnel is a visualization of the selling process that represents a series of probabilities in the steps that lead to a sale.  When the Sales Funnel is expanded enough to result in a business hiring a new employee, it becomes The Jobs Funnel.

The Jobs Funnel – Using The Sales Funnel to create more jobs in your community.
https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/the-jobs-funnel-what-local-businesses-must-do-to-create-more-jobs-in-your-community/

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** Estimate business growth or sales to hire next employee or create next paycheck.

Below is link to a short, informal survey I took with some small business owners in my community, at a networking breakfast. I asked them how much they would need to grow to hire their next employee. Half those surveyed indicated they would have to grow 100% or more to hire.  What is needed is a statistic or metric to better define that “growth,” and that can be related to consumer or household spending by industry or business category(e.g. NAICS codes).

Survey showing why job growth is slow: Businesses have to grow a lot to hire and they will only hire one new employee at a time.
https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/survey-showing-why-job-growth-is-slow-businesses-have-to-grow-a-lot-to-hire-and-they-will-only-hire-one-new-employee-at-a-time/

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*** Estimate per capital or household spending required for different types of local businesses to grow enough to hire their next employee.

By knowing the amount of revenue growth required for businesses to hire their next employee, and the amount of additional, local household or consumer spending required to generate those new business revenues, you can develop a road map to “full employment” (e.g., 5% unemployment rate [UR].)  You actually plan local job creation, base upon local, economic parameters.

With the labor force being approximately half the population, the ratio of population to jobs required to shift the UR 1% is 200 to 1.  That would require that $2/week per capita or $7/week per household to be converted into wages from consumer spending, or household consumption.

For example, to create a job that pays wages of $10/hour or $400/week requires $2/week from the spending of 200 people to generate those wages.  This would be multiplied by a factor for total new business revenues required for a business to hire, and create that next paycheck.

Below are some analyses that provides a measure of economic activity that would be a starting point for lowering the UR 1% in the United States (1.5 million new jobs), Michigan (50,000 new jobs), and South Carolina (20,000+ new jobs) where I live.

An Approach to Lowering the United States Unemployment Rate 1% (on about $20/week)
https://paycheckeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/united-states-1-unemployment-rate-reduction-03-09_r0.pdf

An Approach to Lowering the Michigan Unemployment Rate 1% (on about $20/week)
https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/an-approach-to-lowering-the-michigan-unemployment-rate-1-on-about-20week/

An Approach to Lowering the South Carolina Unemployment Rate 1% (on about $20/week)
https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/an-approach-to-lowering-the-south-carolina-unemployment-rate-1-2/

=================================================

.
**** Create a system to convert local spending into local paychecks.

An Approach to Lowering the United States Unemployment Rate 1% (on about $20/week)
https://paycheckeconomics.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/an-approach-to-lowering-the-united-states-unemployment-rate-1-on-about-20week/

For example, to covert local shopping into local jobs requires:

* a transaction system (to covert spending revenues into paychecks)
* a reporting system (to better inform and motivate people to shop locally and create paychecks)
* businesses willing to participate by offering some goods and services for this paycheck creation program
* incentives for businesses to participate
* people who are willing to shop locally
* incentives to motivate people to shop locally and create paychecks

.

The above recipe is one example of how to balance a government budget.  Many types of recipes can be created.  What is important is that the objective be articulated,  a series of steps be defined to meet the objective with reasonable success, and that the steps are executed to achieve a reasonable success.

Survey showing why job growth is slow: Businesses have to grow a lot to hire and they will only hire one new employee at a time.

June 21, 2010

How much do businesses have to grow to hire their next employee?

At a  meeting with some small business owners, I asked the following question:

“HOW MUCH DOES YOUR BUSINESS HAVE TO GROW TO HIRE ITS NEXT EMPLOYEE (35-40 hours/week)?”

Businesses were categorized into the following groupings for Business Size (Number of Employees): 1 to 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 19, 20 to 49, 50 to 99, or 100 or more employees.

Responses for required Business Growth to Hire Next Employee were categorized as follows: 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, 200%, or more than 200%.

BUSINESS GROWTH REQUIRED TO HIRE NEXT EMPLOYEE

Below is a summary of the results:

SURVEY RESPONSES: 14

NO. OF SURVEYED BUSINESSES WITH ONLY 1 TO 4 EMPLOYEES: 10

MINIMUM GROWTH REQUIRED FOR HIRING NEXT EMPLOYEE:  25%

AVERAGE GROWTH REQUIRED FOR HIRING NEXT EMPLOYEE:  >70%

NO. OF BUSINESSES REQUIRING 100% OR MORE GROWTH FOR HIRING NEXT EMPLOYEE:  7

PERCENTAGE OF BUSINESSES REQUIRING 100% OR MORE GROWTH FOR HIRING NEXT EMPLOYEE:  50%

Even though the sample size (14) Is small, I believe that it is a fair representation of the local business community.  For half the businesses to indicate that they would need to grow 100% for more in order to hire their next employee suggests why job growth will be slow.

The results of my small survey seem to agree with the data in a BLS paper on Business Employment Dynamics.   The data is for business establishments that had employment gains from business starting up or expansion,  and employment loss from business contraction or closure during a yearly quarter (2Q 2008.)   The employment changes are divided into three groups: 1 to 4 jobs created or lost, 5-19 jobs, and 20 or more jobs.

“Business employment dynamics: tabulations by size of employment change”
http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2009/04/art2full.pdf

The data shows that the vast majority of businesses added or lost only 1 to 4 jobs during the time period for that data. (Most businesses hire one employee at a time.)  In the report, 84% of businesses that either added or lost jobs changed employment levels by only 1 to 4 employees.  This is shown in Table 1 and Charts 3 & 4.

Chart 7 shows that the gross job gains & losses as a percent of employment for the decade of the 1990’s was greater than the following decade.  Chart 9 shows that the average job gain for establishments adding jobs, and the average jobs loss for establishments losing jobs also declined.  The report does not give reasons, but I suspect that moderation of job gains/losses relates to the loss of manufacturing. Production lines tend to add or lose large numbers of jobs at one time as the production schedule increases or decreases. As we have lost manufacturing plants, the average employer changes the size of the workforce less during any quarter.

CONCLUSION

It seems that jobs growth will be slow because businesses will have to experience significant growth to justify the expense and risk of hiring, and most  companies will hire only one new employee at a time.

The Jobs Funnel – Using The Sales Funnel to create more jobs in your community.

May 23, 2010

In your community, what is the Economic Development strategy to help existing, local businesses sell more?

All businesses must sell.
All businesses must sell to stay in business.
All businesses must sell to pay the bills.
All businesses must sell to earn revenues.
All businesses must sell to make a profit.

Until businesses sell more, they will not create more jobs.

A common planning tool in the sales process is the Sales Funnel.  It is a series of steps that lead to the customer purchasing the product.  Each step in the funnel has a probability of success or failure.  A customer can continue to the next step in your funnel, or walk away and hop into someone else’s funnel, or make no purchase at all.  Some prospects will walk away after each step.  The Sales Funnel narrows, with fewer prospects at each subsequent step as the end of the sales process is approached.

Success in selling is a matter of persistence and numbers.  The wider the funnel, with more prospects going into the opening, the more actual sales that will come out of the end.  Below is an example visualization (your vision may vary) of The Sales Funnel.

SALES FUNNEL  STEP ………………………….. ………………..PROSPECTS

Sales Prospects __________________________________ 100

Sales Leads ____________________________________ 50

Proposals ___________________________________ 25

Price Quotations____________________________ 10

Negotiations _____________________________ 5

Customer Orders & Product delivery_______ 2-3

For a business, the ultimate goal of The Sales Funnel is a happy, returning customer who will yield revenues and profits.   A goal of Economic Development is the creation of jobs.  When businesses sell enough of their goods and services to create more jobs, The Sales Funnel becomes The Jobs Funnel.

Below is an example visualization (your vision may vary) of The Jobs Funnel creating more jobs from more sales.

JOBS FUNNEL STEP ……………………………………………………..PROSPECTS

More Sales Prospects ______________________________ 150

More Sales Leads ________________________________ 75

More Proposals ________________________________ 35

More Price Quotations_________________________ 20

More Negotiations __________________________ 10

More Customer Orders & Product Delivery____ 4-6

More Revenues & Profits

More Jobs

The Jobs Funnel is best suited to helping existing, local businesses grow enough to create more jobs in their community.  Most communities can do little to help their manufacturers grow.  This is because the majority of manufactured products are shipped & sold to customers outside of the community or outside of the state they are actually manufactured in.  The primary, target Prospects of The Jobs Funnel are local customers or local shoppers.

The Sales Funnel represents what businesses must do: sell.

The Jobs Funnel represents what businesses must do to create more  jobs: sell more.

$350 million funding proposal for South Carolina Public Schools

April 30, 2010

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Consider that with a PK-12 enrollment of approximately 700,000 students in SC public schools, it only take $1.43 per student to raise $1,000,000.  That factors out to less than a nickel per week.

How many ways can you raise a nickel per student, especially if local businesses can also realize an extra nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar per student?  In most communities, children represent approximately 1 of every 6 people.  They can drive a tremendous amount of economic activity, so why not facilitate that in a way that benefits their education?

The tax revenue pie has shrunk and will continue to do so.  Stimulus money will run out.  People have to compete harder for competitive grants.  That leaves us with the cutting of staff and programs, tax increases, or hoping for “stimulus” or “bailout” money with all of its many strings attached.

The status quo does not work.  To maintain government services requires different ways of generating revenue.  Click below to look at a few different ways to stabilize public school funding.

$350 MILLION IN ALTERNATIVE REVENUE STREAMS FOR SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS 

It is not the amount money in the amount of money in the revenue streams that will stabilize government budgets.   It is a matter of how you divert the revenue stream through the community.  By diverting the same tax money thought local businesses (e.g., business partnerships & local shopping) on the way to the tax collector’s office, you generate additional economic activity and jobs.

In schools, the most important thing is to maintain stability because for some children, the classroom is the only stable environment they know. If our political leadership is not willing to try some different things to stabilize the classroom environment,  then they will have to just keep cutting as the money pie continues to shrink.  And no matter how they cut it, there is simply less to go around.

Tax Payment Choice – Shopping around for the best tax deals

April 14, 2010

With all the modern electronic commerce technology that is available today, we should be able shop around for different ways to pay our tax bill, and effectively lower our personal tax burden while driving additional economic growth.  With Tax Payment Choice, you could.

When a person or business pays any tax, first credit that tax payment to their personal or business tax assessment. A tax assessment is a tax bill with your name on it and states exactly what you must pay for living in a particular political subdivision. Assessments include property taxes and motor vehicle taxes.

With Tax Payment Choice, offer people and businesses a variety of methods to pay their tax assessments, and the flexibility to do so in a way that effectively lowers their personal tax burden. For example, if you owe $100 for your car tax assessment, would you rather?:

A. Write a $100 check directly to the County Treasurer’s office.

B. Pay $4/week to purchase $200 worth of lottery tickets (50% goes to finance the govt. budget and 50% goes jackpot payouts) with half the ticket purchase price being transacted as a tax payment that is credited to your tax assessment.

C. Purchase a couple season tickets to see your high school football team play their home games, with the ticket purchase price being transacted as a tax payment that is credited to your tax assessment.

D. Pay $5 for popcorn, hot dog, and a drink at the above mentioned high school football games, with half the purchase price being transacted as a tax payment that is credited to your tax assessment.

E. Eat at a local restaurant once a week, with $2 from the meal price being transacted as a tax payment that is credited to your tax assessment.

F. Eat at another restaurant across the street once a week, with $3 from the same meal price being transacted as a tax payment that is credited to your tax assessment.  Market competition effectively lowers you personal tax burden.

G. If you own an office supply store,  pay a tax payment of  $100 worth of photocopy paper to some local government agency as a Payment in Kind (Paper- in-Lieu of  Taxes.) You receive a $100 credit to your business taxes because that is what was budgeted for that paper. You paid a $60 wholesale cost for that paper.  You business taxes are effectively lowered by $40.   In other words, your receive a retail value tax credit at wholesale cost.

Since the government agency received the resource directly that it would have otherwise purchased, it does not need to spend tax money.  If government does not spend tax money for a resource, then it does not need to collect tax money for that resource from the citizens or businesses residing in its political subdivision.

H. Some combination of all of the above.

In the above examples, Tax Payment Choice allows you to shop around for tax deals to effectively lower your personal tax burden.  It takes the same tax money you pay, and simply diverts your contribution to the government revenue stream though your community in a way that generates additional economic activity on the way to the Tax Collector’s office.

With all the commonplace and readily available electronic commerce technology available, we should be able to just quit paying taxes at some point in the year and have an annual tax holiday.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A WHITE PAPER WITH A SHORT TAX PAYMENT CHOICE WORKSHEET

Economic Development Required to Achieve “full employment” Where You Live

March 22, 2010

Have you ever estimated the amount of economic development activity, in terms of  capital investment for new or expanding companies, that is required to create enough new jobs to achieve “full employment” (e.g., 5%) where you live?

I took a shot at it.

Below is a link to an example analysis for a county the following economic metrics:

Three year capital investment by new and expanding companies (2006-2008): $121,500,000
Related jobs created by these companies: 882
Average capital investment per job: $137,755

Population: 185,000
Labor force: 85,075

New jobs required to lower county unemployment rate (UR) 1%: 851
Estimated investment required to lower UR 1%: $117 million

New jobs required to achieve “full employment”: 7,500
Estimated investment required achieve “full employment”: $1 Billion

Click here for the analysis.
https://paycheckeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/2006-2008-anderson-county-full-employment-investment1.pdf

RENT-A-TEACHER: The Alternative to Furloughs and Terminations

March 8, 2010

Would a local business be willing to hire a teacher for one day a month as a means of closing a school district budget shortfall?

Would a teacher be willing to work one day a month at someplace other than their classroom as an alternative to a pay cut or termination?

The revenue pie continues to shrink. No matter how you cut it, there is simply less money to fund public services.  States and school district are increasingly using furloughs, unpaid days off, as a budget cutting tool.  Cutting five employee work days from a 180 day school calendar yields a salary reduction of 2.8%.  There is an alternative mechanism that would potentially achieve the same, or even more cost savings, and also allow teachers to avoid a pay cut: RENT-A-TEACHER.

The responsibility of any employee is to perform tasks that are requested by their employer.  If the employer sends the employee off site to work at another location, then it is the employee’s responsibility to do so, especially if that employee receives the same pay.

In the RENT-A-TEACHER program, teachers (and other school staff) would work at local employers a few hours a month.  Participating employers would pay the school district for the teacher’s time.  For example, the teacher might leave school after lunch for four hours on a Friday afternoon to work at a local business.  A student teacher would cover during that time. (The student teacher could also be rented out.)

Businesses would pay an hourly Teacher Rental Fee (e.g. $20/hour.)  This would be for the teacher’s salary only.  The school district would maintain the teacher’s benefits, and continue to pay the teacher their full salary (e.g. $35/hour.)  Businesses not only contribute to the school but also receive the benefit of the productive work provided by teachers they hire.

Participating businesses that employ teachers for a few hours a month would receive public recognition for doing so.  Since most people are very supportive of teachers, this program would provide an incentive for people to shop and spend more money locally.  This would preserve the local tax base, increase revenues of local businesses, and likely result in local job creation.

RENT-A-TEACHER is an example Tax Payment Choice. Since this new revenue stream goes towards the school budget, treat the Teacher Rental Fee as a form of direct tax payment that is credited to the tax assessments or fees of that business.  (TEACHER-RENTAL-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES) Give businesses a choice in how they pay their taxes, and they will do so in a manner that helps stabilize school funding.

Below are examples of revenues that the  RENT-A-TEACHER program might generate for schools.  I used round numbers, based upon an equivalent 40 hour work week, to get to an estimated teacher salary of $35/hr for the 36 week school year.  The attachment includes data and graphs for several hourly teacher rental rates.  You can work with the numbers and come up with your own scenarios.

(Click here to download a full analysis of the potential school revenues that might be realized from the RENT-A-TEACHER program.)

*****STARTING ASSUMPTIONS FOR HYPOTHETICAL STATE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM*****

NUMBER OF TEACHERS: 50,000

AVERAGE TEACHER SALARY: $50,000

TOTAL STATE TEACHER SALARIES: $2,500,000,000

———

**WEEKS/SCHOOL YEAR: 36

STATE SALARY $COST/SCHOOL WEEK: $69,444,444

AVERAGE WEEKLY TEACHER SALARY:  $1,400

———

**SCHOOL YEAR DAYS: 180

STATE $COST/SCHOOL DAY: $13,888,889

AVERAGE DAILY TEACHER SALARY: $278

———

**SCHOOL YEAR HALF-DAYS: 360

STATE $COST/SCHOOL HALF-DAY: $6,944,444

AVERAGE HALF-DAY TEACHER SALARY: $139

——–

HOURS/ SCHOOL DAY:  8

HOURS/ SCHOOL WEEK: 40

HOURS/SCHOOL YEAR: 1440

STATE $COST/SCHOOL HOUR: $1,736,111

AVERAGE HOURLY TEACHER SALARY:  $35

====================================

SCHOOL DAYS: 180

PROPOSED WORK DAY REDUCTION: 5

PERCENT SALARY REDUCTION: 2.8%

====================================

*****EXAMPLES OF SIMILAR PERCENTAGE SALARY SAVINGS FROM RENT-A-TEACHER*****

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $10/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK:  4.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER:  $40

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS:  2.9%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $71,428,571

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $15/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 3.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $45

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 3.2%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $80,357,143

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $20/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK:  2.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $40

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS:  2.9%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $71,428,571

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $25/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1.5

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $37.50

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 2.7%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $66,964,286

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $30/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1.5

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $45

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 3.2%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $80,357,143

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $35/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $35

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 2.5%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $62,500,000

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $40/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $40

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 2.9%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $71,428,571

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $45/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK:  1.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $45

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 3.2%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $80,357,143

===============================================

HOURLY TEACHER RENTAL RATE: $50/hr

AVERAGE TEACHER RENTAL HOURS PER WEEK: 1.0

WEEKLY SALARY SAVINGS PER TEACHER: $50

PERCENT SALARY SAVINGS: 3.6%

ESTIMATED ANNUAL STATE BUDGET SAVINGS:  $89,285,714

===============================================

Purchasing Rules – How Government Spending Hurts Many Businesses

January 12, 2010

When government collects tax money and spends it, this hurts many businesses for one simple reason.   Purchasing rules prohibit or make illegal the purchase of many goods and services with tax money.   The businesses that sell these prohibited goods and services must rely upon private sector spending to survive.   Government procurement policies effectively specify that many businesses are economic losers by diminishing economic diversity and the revenue stream for many private sector businesses.   Tax increases further shrink the private sector customer base.

Below is a listing of economic losers that have been created by a county government spending policy.  (Actually,  taxpayers should be glad that their tax money is not spent on  items such as pet care, movies, golf club, sporting equipment, and clothing.)   Money diverted from consumers and taken as taxes becomes unavailable to consumers to spend on items such as pet care, movies, golf club, sporting equipment, and clothing.

As budget pressures drive government bodies at all levels to increase tax revenues, the available pool of private sector business revenues will shrink.  Businesses that qualify for government spending will be the chosen winners.  Businesses that are prohibited from receiving tax money will be the losers in the government purchasing game.

It is often reported that consumer spending drives two-thirds of economic activity.  This suggests that the way to promote a more broadly based economic growth it to shrink the government spending component of GDP.

Gardens on Wheels – A home grown way to improve the quality of life of Seniors

December 28, 2009

It strikes me that many economic development initiatives and efforts are too grand, too vague, too lacking in specifics and focus, lacking in metrics that are necessary to measure progress, and just do not connect with people in a manner to be effective.  Many ED professionals apparently fail to recognize something obvious:

  • ANY ACTIVITY that people do as a group is economic activity
  • ANY ACTIVITY that organizes people is economic development

Take any simple activity that people can do by themselves.  Then, organize that simple activity.  You will have conducted economic development and created economic activity.  You will have promoted business formation and growth, and job growth by simply organizing simple activities.

Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to Senior Citizens.  Gardens on Wheels is a program that delivers container garden plants to Senior Citizens.

With approximately 40 million (40,000,000) Seniors age 65+ in the United States, Gardens on Wheels has the potential to produce a demand for 100 million (100,000,000) units. (It takes more than one plant to make a garden.)  Expanding this beyond the 65+ age groups would provide the potential to grow a significant, domestic industry.  (You can estimate the potential job creation.)

One summer, I drove to Missouri to visit my parents, ages 90 & 87.   Riding with me was a potted tomato plant.  Dad used to maintain a garden, but could no longer.  The potted plant survived the drive.  All Mom had to do was water the plant, and they had fresh tomatoes for a few months. (Tomato plants bear a lot of fruit.)

Gardens on Wheels is a program to provide potted garden plants to Seniors so they might have container gardens.  This could be done in conjunction with local growers and farmer’s markets, and would promote local produce.  The container plants would effectively be a vegetable “coupon” or “sample,” and seniors would acquire a taste for more produce.

Gardens on Wheels would enhance Senior nutrition, promote self-sufficiency, and generally improve the quality of life.  (While a plant does not provide the companionship of a puppy, many Seniors do have enough time on their hands to watch plants grow.)  Also, there in an increasing prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency because people to not spend enough time outside.  Gardens on Wheels give people a reason to go outside for a dose of sunshine.

Here is a very general procedure or project description for Gardens on Wheels:

Gardens on Wheels – General Procedure

https://paycheckeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/gardens-on-wheels-community-metrics1.pdf

Unemployment Rates for February 2010 likely to hit 35% for Anderson,SC & 15% for Anderson County, SC

December 6, 2009

10 Year Unemployment Rates for Anderson, SC & Anderson County, SC

It looks like it will be a long, cold, hard winter in Anderson County, SC

“Unemployment near 30 percent in city of Anderson”
http://www.independentmail.com/news/2009/dec/01/unemployment-near-30-percent-city-anderson/

“According to figures provided by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Anderson’s preliminary unemployment rate in the city was 27.9 percent as of Sept. 30, while the county unemployment rate stood at 12.5 percent.

Since January, the city unemployment rate has averaged 27 percent, up 12 points over the 2008 average, and 15 points over the 2007 average.”

It will likely get worse.

In looking at BLS unemployment rate (UR) data for the City of Anderson and Anderson County, the Feb. 2010 UR is likely to hit 35% for Anderson and 15% for Anderson County.

This was determined from looking at UR data from 2000 through 2009; specifically, the percent change in the UR from the months of November to February, and December to February.  From December to January in the above graph, the slope of the UR consistently increases as it crosses the New Year’s Day line.

For the City of Anderson, the average UR increase from Nov. to Feb. is 35% and from Dec. to Feb. is 28%.

For the Anderson County, the average UR increase from Nov. to Feb. is 27% and from Dec. to Feb. is 22%.

The preliminary October 2009 UR for the city and county are 28.1% and 12.9%, respectively. The following, historical data suggests that the UR rates are likely to increase by approximately one-third (1/3) for Anderson city and one-fourth (1/4) for Anderson County between now and February:

Nov.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson City
200x
2001 117
2002 15
2003 7
2004 10
2005 17
2006 46
2007 8
2008 26
2009 66
AVERAGE UR% CHANGE – 35%

Dec.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson City
200x
2001 89
2002 13
2003 13
2004 12
2005 16
2006 51
2007 8
2008 14
2009 33
AVERAGE UR% CHANGE – 28%

Nov.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson County
200x
2001 119
2002 15
2003 6
2004 12
2005 17
2006 4
2007 0
2008 13
2009 56
AVERAGE UR% CHANGE – 27%
Dec.-Feb. 200x UR change (%): Anderson County
200x
2001 90
2002 13
2003 13
2004 13
2005 15
2006 7
2007 9
2008 7
2009 31
AVERAGE UR% CHANGE – 22%

Christmas shopping season will conclude and the extra retail workers will not be needed. Construction activity will slow during the dreary, winter weather. Tourism jobs take a winter break in Upstate South Carolina.

Single Page National Health Care Plan

November 23, 2009

.
Health care coverage basically boils down to four (4) questions:

Q1. Who needs it?
Q2. What do they need?
Q3. How much will it cost?
Q4. Who pays?

Instead of 1000-2000 page documents like what Congress likes to produce, a comprehensive and comprehendible starting structure for a national healthcare plan can be formatted on a couple of spreadsheets.  It would look something like the following:

SINGLE PAGE NATIONAL HEALTHCARE PLAN

(This was created from spreadsheet & not a stone tablet. Feel free to create your own.)

Q1. Who needs it?

*Gender – Female/Male
*Age – 0-12/12-18/18-25/25-40/40-65/65+

Q2. What do they need?
The U.S. Department of Health &  Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaide Services has published a listing of Category Definitions for National Healthcare Expenditures.
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/quickref.pdf

HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURE CATEGORY
*DENTAL SERVICES
*DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
*HOME HEALTH CARE
*HOSPITAL CARE
*NURSING HOME CARE
*OTHER PERSONAL HEALTH CARE
*OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
*OUT-OF-POCKET PAYMENTS
*PHYSICIAN AND CLINICAL SERVICES
*PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND NON-DURABLE MEDICAL PRODUCTS
*PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Well vs. sick care
*Prevention
*Intervention

Insurance Coverage
*Insured
*Uninsured

Q3. How much will it cost?
(Fill in the blanks.)

Q4. Who pays?
(Fill in the blanks.)

To address national healthcare, or any other issue, you:

1. Insert numbers in the blank cells of the spreadsheet.

2. Sort the numbers in descending order, from biggest to smallest.

3. Make a bar chart showing the numbers from biggest to smallest.

4. Start with the biggest bar on the chart.

 

Or…..you can start with 1000-2000 page incomprehendible documents and the uncompromising arguments that accompany them.

JK

$100 Million Funding Program for Public Schools – Homework & Test Sponsorship*

November 13, 2009

TEST SPONSOR PIX

Schools receive considerable sponsorship by many means, such as advertisements in the printed programs for football games.  At my son’s high school, a collection of advertising banners is hung on the fence surrounding school property.  Businesses also give rewards (e,g, fast food & pizza) to students for good grades and attendance. A car dealership in my town gives away a car to a high school student who has perfect attendance during the school year.

The tax money pie has shrunk.  It will continue to shrink.  No matter how you slice it, there is simply less tax money to go around.  So, why not raise revenues for public schools by offering sponsorship opportunities for instructional materials (e.g., homework assignment & tests)?  In addition to businesses, some parents would sponsor homework assignments or tests for their children’s classes. (See news article below.)  This would replace some of the school funding that continues to be cut from the state budgets as the money pie continues to shrink.

*Below is an example analysis showing how you might raise $100 million for South Carolina public schools from sponsorship of  homework assignments.

HOMEWORK SPONSORSHIP REVENUES

Potential revenues for public schools from sponsorship of instructional material such as homework assignment

https://paycheckeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/homework-sponsorship-revenues.pdf

This is based upon:

700,000 SC students X  150 homework school days = 105,000,000 total student assignment days.

105,000,000 X $0.10 per/(assignment-day) = $10,500,000

This number increases with the number of classes that a student takes, assignments given, and if the sponsorship cost is increased.

$10,500,000 x 5 assignments/day x $0.20/assignment = $105,000,000

If you object to this type of sponsorship, then consider why it would be worse than any other type of school sponsorship that schools currently receive, especially if sponsorship of instructional materials were to be allowed as a form of tax payment (Tax Payment Choice.)  Would you prefer to have your child’s class size increased, or to lose their teacher in the middle of the school year? As with all things in schools, guidelines would be implemented.

You can read some articles about a teacher that sells ads for tests. (Google keywords: “teacher sells ads on tests”)

This following article has an image of an ad on a test.  It is just a single line that states,”Sponsored by…”  With guidelines, this can be done in an acceptable manner for students. Children would realize that people are paying attention to them.  Children and parents need to realize and appreciate that someone else is paying for their public education.

‘Ads on tests add up for teacher’
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-12-01-test-ads_N.htm

“About two-thirds of Farber’s ads are inspirational messages underwritten by parents. Others are ads for local businesses, such as two from a structural engineering firm and one from a dentist who urges students, “Brace Yourself for a Great Semester!”

Principal Paul Robinson says reaction has been “mixed,” but he notes, “It’s not like, ‘This test is brought to you by McDonald’s or Nike.’ “

If alternative funding methods are not employed to stabilize school funding, then what else is left to do but raise taxes or just keep cutting?


ROSI – Return On Social Investment

November 10, 2009

A common business metric is Return On Investment (ROI.)  It is used to measure the money gained or lost on an investment, relative to the amount of money invested.

Addressing social pathologies requires an ongoing financial investment.  I propose that a metric be created to measure the increase or decrease in tax money that is expended on programs that address social pathologies: Return On Social Investment (ROSI.)

For example, what is the ROSI for money spent on teen pregnancy prevention and high school dropout prevention programs?  What investment is required to realize a $1 million savings to taxpayers?

If a programs has a negative ROSI, then consider another, more cost effective program.

Social pathologies represent several great costs to our nation.  These pathologies include a variety of crimes, dropping out of school, substance abuse, and various forms of physical, mental, and emotional abuse.  The costs to us all include higher tax burdens, lost workplace productivity, higher crime rates, dependency upon social programs, crowded prisons, and an overall decline in the quality of life in our communities.

There is a body of data that estimates the tax burden associated with various social pathologies.  There is also a cost of doing nothing to address them.  Prevention is usually cheaper than intervention and having to address the consequences of the problem for years.

There is also an issue with addressing the needs of our U.S veterans.  Many are homeless.  Many others who were sent into conflict must now deal with physical, mental, and emotional scars.  On the About.com US Economy blog, you can read about how the VA is addressing the needs of veterans:

$3.2 Billion Well Spent to Help Vets
http://useconomy.about.com/b/2009/11/04/3-2-billion-well-spent-to-help-vets.htm

The cost to rehabilitate 154,000 homeless veterans is $2.3 billion.  Over the life time of these veterans, what are all the types of costs that result from doing nothing to help them, who will bears all of these various costs, how much money will these costs represents, and for how many years will we bear all of these costs?

Aside from the cost of doing nothing, there is an intangible cost for not addressing the needs of these veterans.  It is a loss of national honor for not attending to those who answered the call of duty and paid a price.

I was on the state planning committee for the 2008 South Carolina Dropout Prevention Summit.  There, I heard someone suggest that if a student drops out of school, you might as well send them straight to prison because that is where so many dropouts end up, anyway. When you compare the cost of 4 years of high school to 10-20 years for incarceration, the investment in education seems a lot cheaper.

My focus on the Dropout Summit planning committee was to work with SC Dept. of Ed. staff and other state education policy makers to develop a school resource funding model that school districts could use to obtain locally funded resources for dropout prevention and other school programs.  Basically, if a business, organization, or person has budgeted or purchased a resource, and is provided with an incentive to offer that resource for public service, then taxpayers do not need to pay for it.

I developed a couple of spreadsheets to demonstrate this school resource funding concept. You can download them from the SC Dept. of Eduction website. For my example, I chose the risk factors related to teen pregnancy for which dropout prevention programs might be developed in order to help these at risk students stay in school until graduation.

http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Innovation-and-Support/Dropout-Prevention-Summit/index.html

Click on the following link at the bottom of the web page to download the spreadsheets.
Example of Dropout Risk Factor Resource Inventory and Analysis
(Anderson County Teen Pregnancy & Early Parenthood)

One spreadsheet is for tabulating a countywide inventory of resources (e.g, qualified personnel, facilities, equipment & supplies) that you would include in the budget for a dropout prevention programs.

The second spreadsheet is a resource capacity analysis.  With a comprehensive resource inventory, you can estimate how many at risk students can be helped, or not.  If there is a resource deficit, then a decision must be made whether or not to provide the resources for these at risk students to help them stay in school until graduation.  If we decide not provide the resources, them we know that they are still at risk of dropping out, and should simply quit complaining about our low high school graduation rates and the low workplace competency of our workforce.

The very useful thing about a spreadsheet is that you can change the row headings and still have the same spreadsheet.  Since public education is a government program, this funding model applies to any governement agency, and to the budget of any state, county, or local government.  You just need to pick the program that needs resources and insert the resource providers in the row headings.