Tag Archive for 'Rich Galen'

Small Business Advocate Poll: Game-changer?

Debates between presidential candidates aren’t always game-changers. But sometimes they are, like the one just competed.

It’s difficult to gauge whether people are surprised that Romney performed so commandingly, or that Obama came in third in a two-man debate. Either way, in terms of being a game-changer, this debate is being scored as one of the top three in more than a half-century.

We wanted to know what our audience’s expectations were for this debate, so in our online poll last week, we asked this question: “The first of three Presidential debates will take place this week. How will these events impact your vote?” Here’s what we learned:

Only 12% said the debate results would not change their plan to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. The big number from our survey - 73% - said the debate would not change their vote for Romney/Ryan. Just 15% admitted that they thought the debates would influence their final decision.

If our audience is representative of the small business sector, it’s a solid Romney/Ryan constituency, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, least of all the Obama campaign. But with his poor debate performance this week, it can’t be good news for President Obama that 15% of our folks were looking forward to the debate for something to help them make their decision.

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Last week on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the first presidential debate with Rich Galen, Republican strategist, publisher of the popular cyber-column, Mullings.com and frequent political talking head. Click on one of the links below to download or listen to what we had to say.

Who won the first Obama-Romney debate?

The Obama-Romney debate was beautifully unstructured

Was the first Obama-Romney debate a game changer?

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Wars and rumors of wars

“The problem with humanity is the humans.” That’s a maxim I coined a while back, and you don’t have to look hard to see the evidence, as humans “fight” over differences in ideology, egos and interests.

Over two millennia ago, in chapter 24, verse 6, Matthew reports that Jesus said, “… there will always be wars and rumors of wars.” Indeed, even here in the 2nd decade of the 21st century, wars are still being waged with weapons of destruction. But thankfully, one redeeming trend for humans is that most of the wars that are “Breaking News!” these days are increasingly being fought with words.

Even though there has been physical contact in the very recent conflicts in the Middle East over self-determination, the most effective weapons-of-choice have been words. In the U.S., there are ongoing wars between states over water rights, fought by politicians with legal word-daggers drawn. And for a couple of years now, from Greece to Wisconsin, wars-of-words are being fought over what to do about financial promises made with 20th century political expectations, now in conflict with 21st century fiscal realities.

We wanted to know what you think about this last kerfuffle, so last week, in the Newsletter and on our website, we asked this question: “In order to balance their budgets, some governors and legislators propose adjustments in employment terms and benefits of state employees to bring them more in line with the private sector. State employees, their unions and some legislators are protesting. Who do you agree with?”

Those who said they “agree with the protesters, this is just union busting,” represented 18% of our respondents. Those who think “state employee pay and benefits should be more in line with the private sector,” were in the extreme majority at 82%.

Wisconsin has become ground-zero for these intrastate conflicts. Indeed, what happens there in the war between the new governor and government employee unions will likely become the tipping point for how the conflict of centuries mentioned above will play out across America, including in Washington.

In times like these, the words of that great opossum philosopher, Pogo, continue to ring true: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the issues in Wisconsin  as well as the current unrest in the Middle East with my friend and Brain Trust member, Rich Galen, publisher of Mullings.com and talking head of the Republican persuasion. Click on the links below to listen to our conversations, and leave your thoughts on what should be the outcome of either issue.

State budgets realities vs public employee unions
What’s the political and economical future of the Middle East?

Making hard financial decisions

Congress and the Obama Administration are in a great debate over our current financial condition of deficit spending. For several years, the U.S. government has been spending more than it takes in, which for governments, businesses and households alike, is a scenario that cannot go on forever.

In order to appreciate the budget balancing task, it’s important to understand that the federal budget is made up of two key financial commitments:  discretionary spending, which Congress has to renew each year, and mandatory spending, which renews automatically. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid and certain national defense items comprise mandatory spending.

The mandatory stuff amounts to about 60% of the annual federal budget, with about 35% for discretionary and 5% to pay interest on the national debt. But about half of the discretionary budget is discretionary defense spending, which only leaves about 18% of annual federal spending for everything else.

So, there you have it:  The easiest part of the debate is over less than 20% of the federal budget. Since all of this piece of the pie can’t be eliminated, you should be getting the picture that in order to move the deficit cutting needle enough to reverse the current deficit trend, hard decisions will have to be made in defense and entitlements. And that’s the hard part of the debate.

But debate it and fix it we must. Because, while the U.S. still has more assets than liabilities, that won’t last long if we continue to spend more than we take in.

We wanted to know what you thought about this issue, so last week we asked this question in the Newsletter and on our website: Funding for “entitlements,” like Social Security and Medicare, are a major part of the U.S. government’s unsustainable long-term budget deficit. Would you be willing to include changes to these programs to reduce the long-term deficit?  The results were impressive.

Those who believe everything should be put on the debate table represented 83% of our respondents. Those who think entitlements should be off the table came in at just 11%, with the remaining 6% saying they were not sure.

One thing is for sure: The question is not whether difficult financial decisions will be made - that is coming, sooner rather than later. The question is whether Americans can gin up the discipline and leadership to make the hard decisions ourselves before our non-American creditors have to do it for us.

Based on our poll results, the electorate seems to be more disciplined than our political leaders.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio - and on the Internet.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with my friend and Brain Trust Member, Rich Galen, publisher of Mullings.com and talking head of the Republican persuasion,  and Ted Fishman, author of China, Inc. and Shock of Gray, about our current budget crisis. Click on the links below, take a few minutes to listen and leave your thoughts.

Who caused America’s current budget crisis? with Rich Galen

Has the U.S. debt become a national security issue? with Ted Fishman

The compelling political stories of 2010

Does health care legislation still have some hurdles that could derail passage? Could the Democrats lose their majority as a result of their policies? With an opportunity to take advantage, will Republicans be effective or feckless?  Political operative, Rich Galen,  joins me on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to discussed these issues, plus Rich makes a bold prediction that surprise even me.

Rich is a long-time Brain Trust member, and is the publisher and writer of the thrice-weekly e-zine, Mullings.com. Take a few minutes to listen to this interview and, as always, leave your thoughts on what you think about 2010 politics. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Leveraging good over evil: Remembering 9-11

The human spirit, I believe, is the most powerful force in our world. Unfortunately, a single evil spirit is often more powerful than a good one.

The reason for this inequity is because it is the nature of evil to be fanatical and aggressive, while the nature of good is to be gentle, often complacent, and sometimes even naive. The good news is there are more good people in this world than evil ones. But that math only works, to paraphrase Edmund Burke, if the good work together against the evil.

We cannot afford to be naive. We don’t have the luxury of being complacent. Even now, eight years later, this is no time for gentleness. We owe it to those who gave their lives to never forget the images we saw on September 11, 2001. To never forget what this evil hath wrought.

Let’s work together — all nations of good people — until we rid ourselves of this evil called terrorism. However long it takes. Whatever it takes.

We can claim no other comparable blessing to offset the imbalance between the power of good and the forces of evil.

Today, on my radio show, The Small Business Advocate Show, I reflected on this the 8th anniversary of the attacks of 9-11. I also talked with Rich Galen on his reflections. Take a few minutes to listen and be sure to leave your thoughts.

A 9/11 poem:Listen Live! Download, Too! Listen Live! Download, Too! Ten truths about the war on terrorism:Listen Live! Download, Too! Listen Live! Download, Too!
Rich Galen on 9-11:Listen Live! Download, Too! Listen Live! Download, Too!

The lion of the Senate and small business

The lion is dead.

The senior Senator from Massachusetts, Edward Moore Kennedy, has lost his battle with brain cancer, which, like the rain, falls on the just and the unjust, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak.

The only thing the name Kennedy is more synonymous with than wealth, public service, power and privilege is unspeakable tragedy. It has been said that to whom much is given much is required. In the case of clan Kennedy, much has indeed been given, but surely too much has been taken away. Now the youngest child of Joe and Rose has been taken by a tragic disease.

In the hours since his death, many have reflected on his life and work, including those who agreed with his politics and those who didn’t. I am in the latter camp.

I didn’t know the Senator, but we have mutual friends and they loved him. Apparently, you were fortunate if he called you friend. And it’s admirable that, for someone to the manor born, he could have lived a life of leisure but chose rather to dedicate his energy to public service. That service, however, too often was at cross-purposes with two things that I love and have dedicated my own life’s work and energy to: the marketplace and small businesses.

For years I have been an ardent and public critic of Senator Kennedy for championing issues that I believe are harmful to small businesses. For example: minimum wage increases, laws that promote unionism, carbon emission laws that threaten the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, innumerable tax increases and the one about which he was the most passionate, his Big Kahuna, universal health care.

He was known as the “liberal lion of the Senate.” For the same reasons that he earned that moniker, I gave him another one: the arch-enemy of small business. I think I know enough about the Senator to believe that he wouldn’t want me to be a hypocrite today, so I still stand by that appraisal of his record.

There is at least on thing that Kennedy and I had in common: a sometimes ill-advised courage of our convictions. I much prefer those who feel strong enough about their ideas to declare them. Unfortunately, in my opinion, most of the public policy convictions Kennedy declared I consider the work of someone out of touch with what has made America great, our free market system.

But Ted Kennedy was an icon for something else that is great about America, individualism. God help us if America ever stops producing individuals like Ted Kennedy and if it ever prevents such an individual from declaring his convictions – even when I disagree with them.

Rest in peace, Senator Kennedy; I won’t miss your work but I will miss your spirit.

Recently, on my small business radio program I talked about Senator Kennedy with two members of my Brain Trust. Rich Galen, publisher of Mullings.com, a Republican who worked on the other side of Kennedy’s policies, and Bill Brandt, President of DSI, Inc., a Democrat, who was a friend of Ted Kennedy for over 30 years. Take a few minutes to listen to these conversations, and be sure to leave your thoughts.

For Rich Galen:
For Bill Brandt:




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