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Optimism, Fiscal Cliff, Improvisational Comedy and #RiseAbove

December 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm PST

The first rule in improvisational comedy (I have heard) is to say “Yes, and…” to everything.  How different would the current fiscal cliff debate be if improvisational comedy rules were followed?

White House: “I’d like to raise tax rates on the wealthiest 1%, so that we don’t have to raise taxes on the middle class.”
Congress: “Yes, and we’d like to lower the corporate tax rates so that we can be more competitive globally.”
White House: “Yes, and I’d like to cap tax deductions for our wealthiest so we can help reduce the deficit.”
Congress: “Yes and we’d like to decrease spending by 5% (you can take it from anywhere you’d like.)”
White House: “Yes, and I’ll see you at the bill signing ceremony.”
Congress: “Yes, and Happy holidays.  Have a great break with the spouse and kids.”
White House: “Yes, and you too. Wait, I got you a gift. Just a little something to say thank you for your leadership.”

(Hugs.)

And scene.

See how simple that was? Everybody wins and our nation’s optimism and predictability are restored!! Saying yes and being optimistic can have great rewards.

Actually, in my view, optimism and good cheer seem to be trending up. I was driving into work this morning feeling a bit surly because the traffic in the Bay Area was particularly bad.  Then, I remembered that heavy traffic is actually a good sign.  Heavy traffic in Bay Area means people are working. Generally, the worse the traffic the better the economy.  I do try to be optimistic, but sometimes we all can lose perspective.  There seems to be more optimism and good cheer going around generally.  Is this an economic indicator?  Or, is it because we’re into the holiday season?

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Manufacturing Recovery? Who says?…

October 4, 2012 at 8:30 am PST

…well, it looks like several folks are saying it!

American Factories were going all out in September -- is it a sign that the US economy is picking up?  Wall street certainly seemed to respond well to some key indicators at the beginning of October.

Take a look at some of the performance metrics below and you’ll get an indication of why…

  • The ISM (Institute for Supply Management) Index (PMI™)  rose to 51.5 for September from 49.6 in August. Anything above 50 shows growth (growing rather than contracting), and a nearly two point rise reverses previous months declines, the fastest pace since May.
  • Pace is slow, but signs are hopeful. The new orders index rose from 47.1 to 52.3 suggesting humming production this month, and suggests November will be good too.

However…

  • The economy isn’t growing as fast as the Fed Chairman would like. Hence an open-ended QE3 (Quantitive Easing 3) and a statement that interest rates will remain low until 2015.
  • JP Morgan Economists are saying that we’ve seen a slow down in US Manufacturing and it’s tracking more like the overall US economic growth -- sluggish, suggesting the best may be behind us. Still growing though, but slowly.

Overall I’m a bull on US manufacturing. There are a number of US companies looking to bring back jobs from overseas. But the labor shortage in the US is getting worse. Baby Boomers retiring, not enough skilled or trained workers to take their place. A recent Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute study stated that manufacturing sector can’t find workers with the right skills to fill around 600,000 jobs. Hopefully Cisco’s Remote Expert and Cisco’s other solutions will help. Check out Ron Kafka’s blog titled “Realize Business-Wide Benefits with Cisco’s Remote Expert” to find more about Remote Expert. Read More »

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