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Aug 06

Just Two Things

It’s been an absolutely beautiful summer in my area of the country. Sure, it started out a little rough with some below-normal temperatures and a whole bunch of rain, but the last two-to-three weeks have been incredibly nice. So, you need to get outside and enjoy this while it’s available. I don’t think you should be spending a whole lot of your time reading blogs – especially mine, which tend to wander all over the place, anyway. Yes, I’m attached to the glass and architectural metals industry and I try to come up with things associated with the business, but blogs are supposed to be light and maybe bring things to the reader’s attention that they might not get elsewhere. And that’s what I try to do. But this week, I need to be kinda brief, so I have just two things I want to comment on. One a bit political, perhaps, and the other a confirmation of what we have been talking about in this blog off and on for about a half a year. Here we go …

The First Thing – The (Tax) Inversion Thing

In the inversion thing, a U.S. company typically merges with or acquires a foreign company and then moves its income (or as much as possible, anyway) to the foreign operation, often relocating its headquarters overseas in the process. So, jobs are moved out of the states, and a whole lot of taxable profit is likewise moved out of the country. The “inverting” company’s goal is pretty straightforward … to get out from under the heavy tax rates of the U.S and get into a country with lower rates. Often, the tax rates are half … sometimes even less … in these foreign countries.

There is currently a lot of crying and gnashing of teeth over this–particularly by our elected officials. Some even call these companies doing these inversions “unpatriotic.” Not surprisingly to me, the politician now trying to get legislation in place to slow down, if not halt these inversions, is none other than Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, a senator from a state that has (the last time I looked) the highest combined tax rates in the country. It is well-documented that companies by the hundred have left Illinois for Wisconsin, Texas and Indiana in the last several years, primarily to get out from under Illinois’ tax load. And what is the answer to this outflow … what else: raise the taxes and fees even more on those left behind to make up for the taxes lost due to the high tax problem. Crazy!! 

It’s a global economy. Our standard of living in the states is in many ways only achievable because we buy cheap stuff made in foreign countries. Are you, as a consumer of cheap foreign products also “unpatriotic?” The best way and the right way to stop the inversion thing is to Fix The Tax Codes in this country. Time to get our heads out of the sand!!

The Second Thing – The Labor Shortage Thing

According to a report released last week by the Department of Labor, America will need 41,700 more cement masons, 114,700 more electricians and 218,200 more carpenters in the next six to eight years than it is currently on track to produce. More than half of the country’s tradesman are 45 years of age or older. Enrollment at technical colleges has dropped 23 percent since 2010.

We’ve been talking about it right here for several months now, and when I saw some of these statistics, I just had to make a comment about it. If you plan to be around for a while and either maintain or grow your business (and you employ skilled trades people), you had better spend some time planning (and putting into place) a well thought out program that will ensure you of a competent and productive labor force in the future. This could very well become your biggest challenge.

The Picture(s) Thing – Sorry, I guess I have some more things! … 

I received a few complimentary emails about last week’s blog picture (the heron) and got a few questions about it, as well. So here are the answers in case you are also wondering; I take virtually all of the pictures that appear in the blog. It has become a bit of a hobby for me. The nature/woodsy photos are mostly taken in an area about a mile from my house by the name of Fullersburg Woods. I walk there very often and take my camera along regularly. I’m glad some of you are enjoying them. Believe me, I enjoy taking them. The one below was taken last week. I am going to assume it is a snow crane, only because that’s what I was told it is.

LyleAug6

The Sports Thing

Come on hockey season. OK, football, too!

The Quotable Thing

This comes by way of regular reader Dick Johnson. I like it, and I think it is pretty accurate. It is attributed to Stanley J. Randall. Thanks Dick.

“The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

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