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Ash's favorite wedding pic
The top 1 & 2% isn't what it seems... New research shows that 20% of Americans meet the "wealthy" threshold at some point in their lives:
Bottom Line: Class warfare has been alive and unfortunately well in recent years. As the President, political allies and fringe groups like “Occupy” have banded together to portray the top 2% as rich fat cats taking advantage of everyone else. Never mind for a moment that the top 2% account for about 36% of all Federal income taxes paid. The implication is the same people continue to rake year after year at the expense of everyone else. In reality a majority of the 2% are different people year after year…
The threshold for the top 2% (as defined by the Federal Tax code and targeted for tax increases this year) are those who earn $250,000 or more in a year. Here’s where the narrative gets interesting.
The top 2% are not the same people year after year. Far from it… In fact more than 20% of Americans are part of the top 2% at some point in their lives. It could be for a year or several years or an occasional year but the point remains that it’s not an exclusive club of fat cats that have been perpetuated by interest groups and Socialist politicians. So how/why does this happen?
Some have investment gains in a year or certain year that put them in this group. Some are paid on commissions and will have a huge year. Some are in business for themselves and will have good years and bad. Some have will have good paying careers only to lose that job. So our progressive tax policy really is regressive for the overwhelming majority of the top 2% in any given year that are trying to make the most out of their most productive years.
Company holiday party or cash? It's not even close:
Bottom Line: The company holiday party isn’t what it once was for many. It’s part economic and part changes of what’s acceptable in society today. If you ask a majority of employees, they’d much prefer to just stop the party altogether and take the money that would have been spent on the party instead. MetLife studied employees and found that:
So the end of many company holiday part traditions isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the eyes of a majority of people in the workplace. Actually they may welcome the end of the party.
Weight gain & cardiac events during the holidays:
Bottom Line: This isn’t a positive story but it may be better than you’d expect. I’ll explain. How many pounds do you think the average American will gain from Thanksgiving thru Christmas? This is the silver lining…
I’d imagine that’s less than you guessed… So that’s potentially a positive. This next number isn’t as positive…
So… We’re not adding 5% to our waist line so it must be the stress…
Spending per student tops $115,000 - 2nd highest in world and what we get is...:
Bottom Line: So the annual
Average it all together and we have about the worst performance of any developed country (and lose too many developing countries).
What’s worse… We now spend more than $115,000 per student in public education in the
A Christmas Story" House is open for you on the 30th anniversary of the movie... You can stay for a few nights via winning the EBay bid:
Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic Minimum wage:
Hi Brian, this morning you gave stats on the increase of the federal minimum wage. Would you please post those on your cheat sheet or send them back to me. This is the kind of information a person really needs to be armed with when being confronted with socialist ideas.
Bottom Line: I studied data from the
Those on the Federal Minimum Wage are:
So in short the rhetoric about many Americans having to support households on the Federal minimum wage simply doesn’t compute – it’s less than 1%. I, like most, once worked on minimum wage until I became more valuable. Most should realize that minimum wage jobs, which are clearly entry level work, were never intended to be careers to support the family. Even in these economic times that is still the case. Additionally, because cost of living is so vastly different for state to state (and really city to city) minimum wage arguments are best left to the states.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bottom Line: So yesterday brought another wild revision with important economic data from the Feds. This time it’s the 3rd quarter
The reported growth rate of 3.6% is a good number. If we could sustain economic growth at 3% we’d have a healthy economy that we’ve all been waiting for since the beginning of the Great Recession – which occurred six years ago. Unfortunately we aren’t going to be able to sustain that growth rate. Here is what I found in the number:
So the good news is that an economy growing above 3% is exactly what we need. The bad news is that it won’t be sustained in the 4th quarter. In fact based on this number economic growth will likely be 2% or lower.
The political bottom hasn't occurred yet for President Obama as his average approval dips below 40% for the first time:
Bottom Line: First the first time in his Presidency President Obama has officially fallen below 40% average approval putting him on course to be in company only shared by President’s Truman and G.W. Bush. Yes there have been occasional polls that have had President Obama below 40% but not an average of all polls until now.
Less than a year into his second term President Obama has become the second fastest to the under 40 threshold (G.W. Bush reached it two months quicker in his second term) and is on pace to become just the third two-term President to average below 40% approval in his second term.
It’s worth noting that once Truman and Bush averaged under 40% they never made it back above that threshold. They both averaged 36.5% for their second term.
Fastest growing game app ever:
Bottom Line: If you like trivia and have a iPhone you’ll likely love a new app called QuizUp that has become the fastest growing game app thus far. It’s only available for iPhones thus far but it achieved 1 million users in 8 eight days and 3.5 million users within three weeks. Fastest ever to each of those numbers. You can quiz with friends or random people through the app.
A new laser company says they can make first down calls much more accurate:
Bottom Line: The Company is called FirstDown Laser. They say they can make spotting the football for close spots faster and more accurate. If you’re a football fan you know that there can be multiple points of failure / variance in spotting. First it’s up to a ref to estimate the right spot, then it’s up to them to toss the ball to the nearest hash mark, then they have to bring our the chains to measure. Three points of failure. FirstDown Laser says that their tech can immediately and accurately detect whether a first down has occurred as soon as a ref spots the ball. That eliminates two points of failure and saves time. Hopefully the NFL will pay attention.
AT&T is finally offering a new plan that's actually a good deal:
Bottom Line: If you have paid off your smart phone and use AT&T for data you can now save at least $15 per month. AT&T now has what’s called the Mobile Share Value plan. This allows you to separate your data cost from your wireless service if you’ve already paid for your smart phone (which would be the case if you bought it at full cost originally or if you’re past your two year contract). This will save you at least $15.
Guess what we seem to have the Christmas spirit!:
Bottom Line: A quick hitter for you… Through December 3rd Christmas tree sales are selling at a record pace up 16% over last year! Maybe it’s the Hallmark Christmas movies…
2 million+ usernames & passwords stolen to key companies – what you need to know:
Bottom Line: Many major companies recently had what amounted to millions of usernames and passwords compromised. This occurred world-wide. I’ll focus on the companies that were impacted in the
So how did this happen? It’s been somewhat falsely reported as a hack attack but it really isn’t. Its key logging through emails. How does this happen?
Scammers send emails that look official to people who may have accounts with these organizations. People then click links in the email and “login” with their real account info. At this point it’s too late. To prevent being a victim you should always go to a website directly and login and/or follow up with a representative you work with to see if action is needed by you.
These emails are pretty slick, often with your name and seemingly relevant messaging. I get at least one of these every day alleging to be Clear Channel HR asking me to verify benefit info or the help desk asking me to take a survey, etc.
So how do you know if you were affected? All companies have flagged affected accounts and are forcing the real account users to setup new usernames and passwords. If this is you:
If execs are telling the truth the job market should improve and the economy should pick up next year:
Bottom Line: The latest Business Roundtable
This survey is the most effectual of all business surveys because it’s what
Interesting... the biggest issue we have at work is…:
Bottom Line: You’ll occasionally see or hear about surveys that indicated a majority of Americans are unhappy at work. That’s almost always interpreted as a majority of Americans are unhappy with their current employers and many analysts try to suggest that we’d leave our employers if we could. Well… What if the problem was the employer but the coworkers…?
Turns out that the average person is unhappy with their coworkers in the workplace – daily. Jive Software identified that 59% of all people in office environments are annoyed by their coworkers daily. The most common complaint:
So this is actually easy to fix. If you are likely to be loud or inclined to get into personal matters walk away from your desk and others. You’ll make your coworkers happier and they’ll like you more!
The latest problem that's cropped up over the state legalization of marijuana while it’s federally illegal:
Bottom Line: The tangled web we weave. Here’s the latest problem with states creating their own marijuana laws that are counter to federal law.
A man who worked in
The employee is now suing the company citing that marijuana isn’t illegal in
The surprise biggest percentage winner of the holiday shopping season:
Bottom line: Typically when big percentage increases in products occur it’s due to a new product or technology. I can never recall such sudden growth of a product that’s been around longer than us. Ready… It’s wine. Specifically wine bottles priced at $15 and above.
But the higher end stuff has really taken off:
Pretty crazy that seemingly all of the sudden we’re almost in unison doing this… As I think about gifts I gave and will give this year. I’m in this camp. Interesting…