Driving a long road trip creates opportunity for one to think about the news, the choice of music, the weather, fast food options and other drivers. It is with another 500 miles of road experience that I am now thoroughly convinced of the following:
1) Cars are here to stay for some time. No amount of mass transit can replace the convenience and flexibility of cars in less dense urban and rural areas
2) Cellphone use in cars will continue. Trying to legislate the how and when a cellphone will be used in a car will not work. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle. For those advocating restrictions please take a few minutes to review the history of prohibition before resuming your tirade. Prohibition not only failed but caused a lot of unintended consequences.
3) Automobile accidents associated with cellphone use especially texting is a real risk. Any activity in the car that distriacts the driver and/or causes him/her to take one’s hands off the steering wheel is a cause for concern.
Rather than legislate an unenforceable disuse; I suggest that government, the auto industry and technology creative types put their respective minds to work to push for more auto safety features, a cellphone system that is truly integrated into the car and fully voice activated, and require more driver safety training be done for the higher risk populations.
It is a lot easier to use the momentum of the object in motion to push it in the direction it is heading than to oppose the forces at work.
Think about it!
There is an excellent slide presentation that was developed by Bloomberg
Bloomberg State Economic Index – BEES
The color coded presentation tracks state economic health indicators such as tax revenues from the late 1990′s thru 2010. Remember that these are lagging indicators so the directional changes in state health are reflective of changes in the general economy that are already well established.
Our current state of unhappiness with Congress is not a new phenomenon.
Here are a few examples sent to me by a friend.
Quips: On Congress
“In my many years, I have come to a conclusion that one
useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a
congress.” quote from: John Adams
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were
a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.” quote from: Mark Twain
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the
government and report the facts.” quote from: Will Rogers
The following “talking dog” story was sent to me recently and after reading it, I laughed and thought “how relevant to today’s economy”. I don’t know who the story’s author is but I congratulate you. My version is paraphrased and abbreviated.
A man stops by a farmer’s house after seeing a sign for a talking dog. He talks to the farmer in his house and then proceeds outside to talk to the dog, who much to his surprise has quite a story to tell. The story is of a life of adventure, of service to his country, of love and offspring and of retirement on the farm he now lives at. The amazed man can’t believe what he is hearing and decides this dog is a “must have”. The man walks back to the farm house to see if the farmer will sell the dog. The farmer quotes the man a purchase price of $10.00 dollars. The stunned man can’t believe what he is hearing and asks why the price is so low. The farmer responds “Because he is a liar. He’s never been out of the yard”.
Sometimes we ignore the important value of something because we get wrapped up in secondary issues. Politicians in Washington please take note.
It is curious that the Bureau of Economic Analysis made the following statement “…Real consumer spending was also unchanged, in line with private-sector expectations.” Is the “consumer spending” a self fulfilling prophey tied to the “expectations” or a bonefied sampling of opinion just prior to data analysis?
If you look at the data, there is evidence that those with money have a little more and are spending less of it in comparison to past reference periods. Are people in a mood to save, to pay off debt or just nervous? Time and more data will answer the question. But remember all the data can show us is where we have been not where we are going.
The economy will not be completely repaired if politicians and leaders ignore the need of people to believe in tomorrow. The vision that is put forth must be one that is unobstructed by political polarizations. It’s not that a political debate about the constructs of an economic vision should be avoided rather it is the posturing of power that consumes resources in repetitive futile cycles which is too costly at this time. Besides, people are fatigued.
An economic vision will need a foundation of influence, an element of risk, momentum, and to be visually tangible so that all stakeholders can connect to it.
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Successfully driving economic development in your community requires leadership, follow-through and a ‘can-do” attitude.
Over the past eighteen months numerous articles have been published discussing the need for job retention strategies, job creation strategies, infrastructure as an economic development driver, and the role of individuals in the economy. Those abundant words of wisdom, coupled with political speculation, have stimulated discussion about the best way to affect a sustained economic turnaround, to increase employment and to ease the burden of insufficient tax revenues in the midst of increased demand for public services.
The distress is amplified as local communities are challenged to compete for fewer jobs in an increasingly competitive environment. “Creative thinking” is typically proffered as a solution to the immediate problem, but in reality, success is less about a creative process and more a question of understanding what you have and how best to use it.
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It is always a challenge to look into the illusive crystal ball and accurately predict what will happen a year from now or even six months given the current chaotic market conditions. This is why many a wise person has instructed their students to hedge by telling the audience “what” or “when,” but never both in the same sentence. In a similar manner, experts have long relied on historical patterns to support beliefs in future trends.
A common thread in all successful wizards’ behavior is their ability to convince, influence and muster support. This is not to say that the American populace is gullible, just desirous of knowledge. It is in this frame of mind that two business women get together on a fairly regular basis, indulge in a glass of wine and discuss the health of the economic recovery. Inquiries about family and friends topped with a dollop of local politics is the ritual prelude to the meatier topics. Technology invariably bubbles to the surface shortly after the wine has been served. It may be that technical information needs clarity of thinking but it may also be that the resulting frustration with the dynamics at work needs to be dulled.