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CNNMoney Report: Four years of barely making it…”The (lost) American Dream”

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The link is to a MUST WATCH video about a family dealing with the economy and going from living on 130K a year household income to $10.00/hour jobs:  http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2012/06/08/n-long-term-underemployment.cnnmoney/

The Life that many of us were once living “The American Dream” has been washed away with the reality of the economy as we currently know it…the working “middle-class” that once were prominent and thriving on 100K+ per year has been reduced to a class that is filing for food stamps and public assistance just to survive, many trying to do so starting over at the beginning in jobs earning in the $10/hour range. This “new” reality has to stop and has to change if the USA is to still call itself the land of the free and the home of the brave; yes were still brave (many of us) but how can we feel free when we can barely afford food or lights in our homes or to create a future for our children!? America are we going to recover…this financial malaise has been going on for far too long!!

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Written by Gary Thomas

June 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

MY SPOUSE (WIFE OR HUSBAND) IS NOT MY ENEMY

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“My spouse is not my enemy!”

We live during a time that the family is constantly under attack by both internal and external pressures. If we have a spouse that is not abusive nor an adulterer and is generally a good person trying to do the right thing then it should be our goal to do every thing in our power to make and keep things right with them and our relationship. That opening quote is one that we need to take time to remember on a daily basis.

Recently, I saw an internet post & picture, the picture was of an elderly couple laying on their bed, the wife holding her frail (and probably ill) husband in her arms, at that moment she was looking up reflecting. She remembered once being asked a question “how did your marriage last over 65 years?” her response was “we come from an era that we didn’t throw away things that were broken, instead we did everything we could to fix them!”

WOW, absolutely simple and absolutely powerful! Consider an old phrase “the grass is not always greener on the other side”

I submit, that we return to focusing on the family unit staying a unit even through the tough times (considering the caveats of my 2nd sentence); we made the decision to get together, now let’s make the decision to STAY TOGETHER! If you happen to be on a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or how many number of marriages, endeavor to break the cycle and make this one work. I challenge us all, take a moment every day, to remember at least 1 thing that made you fall in love with your husband or wife in the first place, then when the little problems that challenge your relationship arise (and they will) you’ll have something fresh in mind to compare the problem against.

Hmmm…who knew you could smile when you’re angry? Will you accept the challenge, what other helpful tips can you suggest or have heard of?

Written by Gary Thomas

May 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Denver Post Article: Why gas prices rise — is it demand, speculation or politics?

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http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_20245232/why-gas-prices-rise-mdash-is-it-demand?source=rss

The article above is a short read from the Denver Post; it looks at gas prices and asks the question of why so much change in prices. Like me I’m sure most consumers wonder exactly why does the price of gasoline go up and down (mostly up the past few years) at such an alarming rate and frequency. The article’s question of “Why are gasoline prices so high?” is the automobile drivers billion dollar question to the crude oil industry. In addition the article’s Q&A provides one answer that should be alarming to most: “Investment in oil futures contracts by pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, exchange traded funds and other investors who aren’t going to actually use oil has risen dramatically in the last decade. Much of this money is betting that oil prices will rise.” Why should that answer be alarming? Because while the investment funds themselves don’t use the oil/gasoline the people that are putting their money into these funds do, with particular interest on the retirement funds mostly funded by the average worker who in most cases is hit the hardest by rising fuel costs (gasoline, home heating oil, and natural gas). To know that the funds we put our money into, to set up for our own futures, is a part of the cause that is deeply impacting our present should be an alarming fact.

Please comment to let us know: Overall, do you buy the answers given in the article?

Written by Gary Thomas

March 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Pres. Obama’s ‘2012 – Election Year Budget Announcement’ and the subsequent argument against

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http://articles.cnn.com/2012-02-13/politics/politics_obama-congress-budget_1_trillion-budget-spending-cuts-federal-budget?_s=PM:POLITICS

President Obama unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget request Monday that hikes taxes on the rich, spends new money on infrastructure and education, but does little to reform the entitlement programs that pose the biggest long-term threat to the federal budget. Pres. Obama said “We built this budget around the idea that our country has always done best when everyone gets a fair shot…” Below is a fox news commentary segment: http://public.media.foxnews.com/021412/021412_al_economypanel_W700.wmv                        

My argument against specific comments that were made:

1.    One commentator speaks of businesses going under, but neglects to mention the OVERALL unemployment numbers, if employment is low then the main street businesses (mom & pops and up to the under capitalized businesses, less than 500K in annual revenues) find themselves most hit by lowered spending by the masses. This in turn impacts the bottom line of each of those businesses. Which by the way are not in a position to receive funding from the investment world and big banks looking for higher rate of return (these such business are interdependent, for survival, on the general public having cash to spend), most have the ability to self fund, or stem the tide, for a year or two maybe three but not more!      2.    Talks of higher debt but does not accept the fact that the current administration inherited not created the current debt load, or shall I say precursor to debt Armageddon!

My general argument toward all:

1.    RE: The call into question of experience (or in-experience) of the Pres. Obama and his staff as chief executives and not having the high level experience of budgeting and business development. The phenomenon of business senior executives moving into the world of politics as senior officers (of states and the federal government), that is in the numbers seen today, only began roughly 20 years ago. I’m speaking of the: George H.W. Bush, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Christie’s, etc. Most CEO types chose to stay clear of being policy makers and budget masters and rather wanted to be involved politically only on the fund-raising and campaign trails with interest in seeking residual benefit from backing a winner (nothing wrong with that fact; I call it “Walking with a Tiger”; and am certainly in favor of a capitalist society). But this fact stabs at such indications of “lack of budget making experience” as politics in the formidable years of our country was left to those that made their life and life’s work that of being a politician; with emphasis on “Of the people and for the people”. Capitalism is a great thing at its best, it allows for opportunity to create what you want in this country, the problem is when capitalist ideas spill over into that of pushing (or seeking) for political gain and mis-placed benefit.    2. For those that argue de-regulation of the banking industry as one of the key components that lead to the mortgage crisis, while correct in principle they are not correct in the history of laying blame with former Pres. Clinton only, it actually began with Pres. Reagan as was his effort to ease restriction on capital gains and new market creation opportunity for the industries and corporations that he was in the pocket of. Due to the spill over of capitalism (the financial gain) into the higher world of politics, the cycle continued through each subsequent presidency to finally the point of where we are today.

What say you my readers? Does any of this make sense and which is the best, and most important, the correct argument?

Written by Gary Thomas

February 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

HAS ESPN (The Business) BECOME TOO BIG

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Written by Gary Thomas

February 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Driver Education Needs

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http://www.ny.aaa.com/safety/driver_training/story.asp?xml=workshops.xml&zip=12603

Above is a link to AAA/Auto Club of NY re: Driver Training Offerings

(Make sure to scroll to bottom to take part in my poll)

My industry is that of providing safe, quality transportation to clients that book with that expectation. The ability to provide, what I feel is the key component “Safe” transportation, is determined by a number of factors. Most of these factors hinge upon the ability of the driver of their (the customer’s) car and the other drivers on the road at the moment). While my company and most other transportation providers require a “standard of safety”, which includes driver capability, testing, training and monitoring, unfortunately that requirement only impacts roughly 10% of the vehicles on the road, that is “professional” drivers whom are licensed as such. Our industry standards do not have impact on the greater majority of other drivers on the roads daily. While I have faith that almost everyone on the road means well and has the intention of moving between their destinations in a safe manner, it is their skill as a driver (or a higher power) that actually dictates most outcomes of driver travel. That most important skill set, which includes knowledge that isn’t being given proper and necessary attention, after a driver completes their involuntary 5 hour driver education during the process of getting their driver’s license for the 1st time. While this is truth in fact, I do not blame the average driver themself, I place that blame solely upon the shoulders of each state that issues and regulates driver licenses. Its my opinion that each agency should make continued driver education and remedial training a necessity for every individual to maintain a valid driver license. I know those reading this are already thinking “so I’m going to have to pay more to keep driving?” or “who is going to pay for this?”. Actually, we are already paying for it by the fees we pay to the DMV to maintain our driver licenses everyday and the insurance fees to keep our vehicles on the road. Each state agency has its own standard requirement on the fees it collects, Driver Education if offered by the local DMV’s – Dept. of Motor Vehicles could and would be at no cost to each driver (again as a standard requirement) . When we consider the cost for, increasing insurance premiums as a result of more unskilled drivers on the road having accidents, downtime for repairs when a vehicle is damaged in an accident and possible personal downtime due to injury or loss of life, the trade-off of requiring & providing education on the rules of the road and defensive driving techniques just makes sense!

In closing, how many times have those that are “good drivers” asked the question “what the heck is that person doing, do they know how to drive?” While forming your opinion on this posting consider how many times you’ve said that and/or how many times you may have avoided an accident due to the un-skilled driving of someone else. Our roadways are seeing more and more volume every day; safety & driver education/re-education needs to increase right along with the number of vehicles on the road!

Let me know what you think?? 

Written by Gary Thomas

January 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Economy/Small Business/Investing

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Tougher economic times are the points in history in which savvy investors and the worlds greatest capitalists FIND their greatest gains on investments. They seek opportunities where their returns can be 100% to infinity; how do they find such opportunity when everyone else CHOOSES not to? They seek out undervalued markets and undervalued businesses (those that include newly created businesses that are short on capital but with well-developed plans; niche’ opportunities within established markets). An area that is of special concern and interest is funding of small businesses, that is those with designs on creating a large national or international product and creation of systems & numerous jobs in-turn those that can generate and sustain positive revenues. This time of economic difficulty and mistrust fostered by mismanaged corporations & funds, along with our new president, have both signaled the need to shift from focus on BIG Business as operated today to emphasizing the development of small businesses as the future for a return to our country’s greatness. In addition current BIG businesses can create only limited job opportunities due to potential redundancy, thus they generally look to ramp up revenues through shift in business philosophy and streamlining. Note that publicly traded companies, after laying-off workforce (downsizing) typically go through a period of great capital gains and increasing stock values. This almost seems to not make sense from an investor standpoint, because the company is now loosing some of its ability to manufacture its products or supply services, but closer looks reveal that a company, post-downsizing, actually gains in cash-flow value due to the salaries & long-term benefits now off and coming off the books from the number of displaced staffers. This increase in positive cash flow becomes an enticement to investors as the publicly traded company now has more capital with which to dedicate to R&D of new products, pay down debts and move more nimbly toward better profitability; most importantly now can yield dividends to its investors. In addition the investor sees the company as transforming to streamlined operations as typically more work and speedier product creation is called for and gotten on the part of the remaining work-force. In essence they have now created a more financially viable entity, one in which the investor sees the possibility of great gains. Today NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo issued his second “State of the State” address with  emphasis on economic growth of the state’s economy in 2012; he touted tourism as a key factor and Gov. Cuomo said “New York will keep the momentum going with a $200 million second competitive round of regional economic development awards in 2012…”

For more go to The Poughkeepsie Journal web-site link: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20120104/NEWS01/120104014/Cuomo-Investment-economic-development-tourism-key-2012?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|PoughkeepsieJournal.com

Written by Gary Thomas

January 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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