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Showing posts from January, 2013

Appreciation: The Music of Life

One of the first people in American business to have a salary of over one million dollars was Charles Schwab. He was selected by Andrew Carnegie to become the first president of the newly established United States Steel Company in 1921. Schwab wasn't a genius. He wasn't even the smartest in his industry. When asked in an interview for the secret to his success, Schwab stated:

"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation  and lavish in my praise. I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a sp…

Musical Interpretation

Interpretation is one of the great qualities that everyone, musically-gifted or not, enjoys about music. It's totally up to the creators and listeners to determine the music and lyrics' meanings. 

Consider the jazz standard "All the Things You Are." You could spend a whole day sifting through various YouTube versions of this 1939 classic. Everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson have renditions of it (click the links below).

As listeners, we have all experienced hearing a new interpretation of a familiar song. This experience exposes our minds to a new approach foreign to our ears. The new interpretation causes us to realize that the version or style we're familiar with isn't the only one. We may or may not like the new interpretation, but we can still acknowledge and appreciate it.
Like any other art form, music is interpretive. The same song may carry a trillion different meanings to many different people. There is no standard for measuring the mental, e…

Tax Breaking the Cliff

Included in the fiscal cliff tax package passed by Congress on New Years' Day are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make business of all sorts of industries happier. The new tax law includes tax breaks for industries from film production to rum importation. 

A tax break is anything that reduces the amount of total taxes an individual or business must pay. They mainly come in four forms: tax credit, tax deduction, tax exemption, and tax rebate

More than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, totaling to about $76 billion in savings for their beneficiaries. Due to the breaks' temporary status, tax break renewal attracts heavy lobbying and campaign contributions from the businesses and trade groups that say the the tax breaks help them prosper and create jobs.
Here are some of the provisions enacted in the new law. Take a close look, some of them may benefit your business or industry: A tax credit for research and development, benefiting many industries incl…

Fiscal Cliff + 3

The US' welfare tilts on the choices of its three main domestic sectors: households, business, and government. Households provide labor and ideas while using wages and salaries for spending (often called "consumer spending"). Business provides jobs, capital investments, and the goods and services available for sale to all three sectors. Government provides infrastructure, healthy and safety regulations, laws, and collects revenues through taxes. 

All three sectors are deeply intertwined therefore the choice that one sector makes directly or indirectly impacts the others and itself. This fact shines light on the importance of the Fiscal Cliff Bill, which affects households directly and business indirectly. The newborn tax bill enacted this week leaves income tax rates where they are for 99% of households while raising them on the top 1%. 

President George W. Bush enacted lower taxes rates on the wealthy in 2001 and  2003. Those lower tax rates expired on December 31, 2012. …

Fiscal Cliff Averted

Late last night the House of Representatives passed the "Fiscal Cliff" Bill to avert the fiscal cliff- the largest tax increases in American history. The entire ordeal is all about taxes. This measure is significant for many reasons, one being that the US tax structure has not seen substantial change like this for many years. 

In policy terms, the bill makes permanent most of the tax rates that were set only temporarily in the Bush era. The new legislation also permanently keeps the middle class from being hit by the alternative minimum tax, a 1969 set of tax exemptions intended only for the wealthy.

The bill raises income tax rates for the first time in almost two decades and fulfills the President's signature campaign promise to prevent rates from rising on the middle class. Not since 1991 has a Republican in Congress supported such a move.

President Obama appeared in the White House press briefing room just minutes after the House passed the bill. With Vice President Joe…