- “MOST LEADERS, NO MATTER HOW EXPERIENCED, DO A POOR JOB of establishing clear, indisputable expectations of others. Then, because of lack of clarity, people may do their best, but it’s not exactly what was ‘hoped’ for and disappointment sets in.” Good delegation or assignment of an expectation involves: (1) Defining the deliverable – form, degree of completeness, next step; (2) Establishing clear timeline & due date – not ASAP or ‘whenever you can’; (3) Identifying resources or collaborators you expect to be included; (4) Setting clear reporting process – the method for communication & delivery: email, meeting, conference, etc; (5) Documenting the understanding in writing. The objective is to tolerate the “pain of discipline” in order to avoid the “pain of regret or disappointment.” [CPA INSIDER – Nov 18, 13]
- WAREHOUSES FOR THE ULTRA-RICH – some 200,000 individuals with assets over $30 million – hold hundreds of billions in dollars, gold, fine art & wine, precious metals & tapestries, and other treasures. Switzerland, Luxembourg and Singapore lead in number of ‘freeports’ – buildings which “look more like the interior of a modernist museum than a warehouse…with private showrooms…and security including several hundreds of cameras, biometric reading for access to strongrooms, vibration-detection technology and seven-ton doors on some vaults… Freeports are something of a no-man’s land, where customs duties & taxes are suspended and no value-added or capital gains taxes apply…which make them appealing to kleptocrats and tax-dodgers as well as plutocrats… and a part of the dirty-money black hole for money-laundering and terrorist financing… an attractive new breed of tax haven. [THE ECONOMIST – Nov 23, 13]
- THE ECONOMY’S NEW NORMAL? Notwithstanding the fact that the Federal Reserve cannot invest in infrastructure to create jobs, the philosophy behind continuing to print money (under the moniker ‘Quantitative Easing’) is that by its effect of holding down interest rates, asset values – particularly stock and housing – will continue to inflate “in order to create ‘wealth effects,’ which in turn boost consumer confidence to stimulate spending and help the economic recovery… While there is no proven connection between QE and growth, the Fed path is quite clear: believing that QE will put the U.S. on a sustainable growth path, without danger of inflation in the short run.” [FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT – Nov 13] So far, however, this policy has not worked. Despite ‘easy’ money, “households are still deeply in debt… and, whether because of our slowing population growth or our persistent trade deficits, we’re stuck in a world where prudence is folly and where trying to balance budgets to save more only makes everyone worse off.” Former Treasury Sec’y Summers recently argued that America is in “secular stagnation – a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between… A permanent slump… If he’s right, the economy is incapable of producing full employment without financial bubbles or massive stimulus, both of which tend to end badly.” [THE WEEK – Nov 29, 13]
- “CALIFORNIA HAS SET A NEW STANDARD FOR BOGUS MISLEADING LABELING.” An official ‘Made in California’ label is now legal, as long as at least 51% of wholesale price comes from in-state manufacture or assembly and a fee is paid to the State for that Seal. However, if any of the product’s other 49% come from outside the U.S., the new law precludes the product from being labeled “Made in U.S.A.” Since labeling law in most other states follows Federal regs (which only require that “virtually all manufacturing costs are domestic”), a product with Mexican parts, for example, is okay ‘Made in California’ but could NOT be labeled ‘Made in USA’ for sale in California. Conflict is that if the same product is sold elsewhere (with the ‘Made in California’ label), it would be subject to a lawsuit for fraud. [THE FOOD LAWYERS NWSLTR – Nov 13]
- AND P.C. ABSURDITY AT THE UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA CONTINUES: At UCLA, a professor is being accused of Racism by ‘Students of Color’ for “correcting grammar & punctuation in minority students’ assignments… ‘Acts of Micro-Aggression’ that have created a hostile class climate”; At Berkeley, where some 900 illegal immigrants are currently enrolled in classes closed to ‘tax-paying’ citizens, Student Senators passed a resolution banning use of the term ‘illegal immigrant’ as “racially charged, dehumanizing people, and contributing to punitive & discriminatory actions aimed at immigrant and communities of color.”
- THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: One hour of yoga a week reduces stress levels in employees by a third, according to Duke University School of Medicine. A walk in the countryside, and perhaps simply sitting still & relaxing, has similar benefits.