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Archive for March, 2009

Bonus Madness

Coach K didn’t think much about President Obama taking time out from working on the economy to fill in his March Madness brackets, but I kind of liked it. With all this doom and gloom going on, it’s nice to see our president acting like things are normal. It reminded me of the way I felt at 7:07 AM on September 15, 2001 when the first TV commercial came on the air after 4 days of back to back 9/11 news.

This time it wasn’t the footage of smoldering buildings that had me down, it was Barney Frank, doing his best imitation of Joe McCarthy as he presided over the AIG bonus inquest.

Specifically, as I’m watching Barney Frank and the gang beat up Ed Liddy, I hear a term that I haven’t heard in years, Retention Bonuses…

Retention Bonuses Aren’t Bonuses

I immediately flashed back to a dark day in Dave Horne bonus history. It was 2002 and I was an Executive Vice President at i2, the company was struggling big time and we were cutting staff throughout the company.

Trust me folks, making decisions about laying off people you’ve known for years is no fun, I hope you never have to do it. I was having a hard time sleeping through the night.

I’ll never forget the week I went ballistic.

I’ll spare you the details of why I went nuts – actually, I’m probably bound to secrecy by some legal agreement — but suffice it to say, in 5 short days, I became convinced that the company was unfairly cutting people on my staffing.

So like I said, I went crazy and on Saturday morning of that week — I just quit. I didn’t quit the smart way, you know the way I tell everybody else to quit, get another job first, don’t burn your bridges…

I was burning bridges like there was no tomorrow I said:

“I’m done, I’m never go back to the office, I don’t give a BLEEP what you tell the people who work for me or my customers, you’re all stupid, dishonest, or both, I don’t care, I’ve had it!”

Man did that feel good. So anyway, Sunday the CEO calls me back and makes me an offer.

He asks me to come back for two weeks
He asks me to announce my retirement
He asks me to be available to talk to customers for the next three months

And then I heard the word – “We’ll pay you a generous retention bonus”

Like I said, I’m legally prohibited from telling you how big that bonus was, but I will tell you that it translated into an pay rate that was an order of magnitude higher than I was getting paid just to do my job.

So why did they offer me a fat retention bonus?

Don’t get me wrong – they hated me, I personally insulted them, I put their company at risk, I probably scared off some customers — at a time when they really needed customers.

Of course they deserved it!

They offered me a juicy bonus for one reason and one reason only — It made business sense

They figured it would cost then a lot more to just let me walk out the door. So as you can imagine, the congressional inquest into AIG Bonuses really hit a nerve with me.

As Ed Liddy clearly stated, these bonuses were not for performance, they were simply to retain key people, who had been fired, and entice them into helping to clean up the mess that we, the American taxpayers had bought 80% of for $180 billion. These retention bonuses weren’t being paid out of greed, they were being paid for good business reasons.

Unintended Consequences in France

 Within hours of doing this week’s Career Mechanic show, a story breaks in The Wall Street Journal, that completely proves my point.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

AIG Fights a Fire at Its Paris Unit

Executives’ Resignations Put Billions in Contracts at Risk of Default

Yep, it’s true. All the heat over Bonus Madness has led to two key AIG executives deciding to give back their retention bonuses and leave the company. Their departure now puts our $180 billion investment in AIG in deeper jeopardy. Nice work Barney!

 CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

 CEO’s Good – Congressional Grandstanding Bad

 By now you’re probably saying “interesting angle Dave, but what does this have to do with my career?”

Good question and here’s the answer. These clowns in Washington are not going to save your career. They’re playing fast and loose with our money. They’re simply dragging villains into hearings and beating them up to show you how much they care. If you ask them, they’ll probably say that they care about your career, but if you look at their actions, they’re not doing squat.

But yet we continue to see the economy coming back to life. Last week we saw better housing numbers and durable goods orders. How can this be happening if it’s not due to the efforts of Barney Frank and the gang in Washington DC? The fact is, the so-called Stimulus Package hasn’t even kicked in yet and things are getting better – how come?

 It’s because “the fundamentals of the US economy are strong” (to quote John McCain). American CEO’s have suffered threw at one and as many as three recessions in the last 18 years and they have a pretty good game plan for hunkering down and weathering the storm.

 Want to know more? Listen to this week’s Career Mechanic (www.thecareermechanic.com) and hear from it first hand from Steve King, a very successful CEO.

You can also do your career a favor by listening to Robin Kessler – The Interview Coach discuss the latest technique for resumes and job interviews. It called Competency Focus and Robin has written several great books on the subject.

The Career Mechanic This Week – Digging Out Of The 2009 Economy
www.thecareermechanic.com

Signs that we’ve reached the bottom continue to pile up. Amazing, considering that the Government’s $800 billion stimulus package has yet to “leave the launch pad?” Meanwhile, Washington continues to amuse themselves with “Bonus Mania.” If (and I know it’s a big if), the economy is coming back, it’s likely due to the ingenuity of the CEO’s of America. You think I’m kidding? Join us this week with our guest Steve King and hear how he turned around a very troubled company in the last recession and created hundreds of good jobs. We’ll also be joined by Robin Kessler – AKA The Interview Coach, who will talk about the latest technique for resumes writing, job interviews and performance reviews.

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Flash Forward 2014

You know, life can be so cruel. When things are really good, there is a little voice in the back of your head saying – “there’s no way this can last.” yet we seldom prepare for the inevitable downturn

I’m sure you’ve heard a few smart Alec’s say they sold all their stock 18 months ago and put everything into money markets, but do you believe them?

By the same token, when things look really bad, like today, we feel like they may never get better, but you know what, they always do!

When I think of my darkest days, the stock market crash of 1987 or September 11, 2001, I struggle to recall the fear I felt at the time. By the same token, until I sat down and thought about it, I didn’t realize that 5 years after each of these dark days, my life was actually quite good. My job had gotten much better, my 401K was better, and my life in general was much better.

So think about your 2014. Chances are pretty good that your life will be much better 5 years from now. The funny thing about a recovery is that, unlike a crash, it happens slowly; kind of sneaks up on you.

There are some signs out there that we’ve hit bottom.

U.S. Economy: Retail Sales Fall Less Than Forecast

March 12 (Bloomberg) — Sales at U.S. retailers in February fell less than forecast and a gain in January exceeded the previous estimate, indicating the biggest part of the economy may be starting to stabilize.

The Commerce Department’s figures mean the decline in gross domestic product this quarter will probably be less than anticipated. Still, a sustained recovery in purchases is unlikely until later in the year because of mounting unemployment, falling home and stock values and shrinking wealth, analysts said. Household wealth fell by a record $5.1 trillion in the last three months of 2008, Federal Reserve figures showed today.

“People are responding to discounting” as companies seek to get rid of surplus inventory, Roger Kubarych, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Global Research in New York, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “In order to have a sustained increase in personal consumption, wealth has to go up.”

Retail purchases decreased by 0.1 percent following a 1.8 percent jump in January, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding cars, sales climbed 0.7 percent. The Labor Department said more than 600,000 Americans filed jobless-benefit claims for a sixth straight week, the worst streak since 1982.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

Citi has strong start to the year

Citigroup has had its best profit performance in over a year in the first two months of 2009 and has generated revenue of more than $19bn despite growing uncertainties over its future, chief executive Vikram Pandit told employees.

In a memo to Citi’s 300,000-plus global staff, Mr Pandit tried to allay fears over its share price, which is hovering around $1, and debt, reiterating that a planned capital injection by the US government and other investors would strengthen its balance sheet. The deal will turn the federal authorities into Citi’s single largest shareholder with a stake of up to 36 per cent.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

If you step back from today’s malaise and look at the history of recessions, you see that statistically speaking, we are very close to the bottom.

Predicting economic recovery timetable difficult
But, analysts say, small-cap stocks usually pick up first

Since 1950 there have been 11 bear markets, Kleintop said. Ten of them hit lows before rallying 10 percent to 20 percent and then falling back again to retest their lows. It is therefore hardly surprising the market recently fell below its previous lows, he said.

Real estate and financial institution problems aren’t new either. “You need only go back to 1989 through 1992 to see the collapse of an overleveraged financial system that had been propping up the real estate market,” said James Lowell, editor of the independent Fidelity Investor newsletter in Massachusetts. “That was the savings-and-loan debacle, which provides a sliver of hope that our current chaos will also find its way to a solution.”

From 1992 through 1999, an investor could buy most bank and pharmaceutical companies’ stocks at single-digit prices, Lowell said. Companies reluctant to hire workers because of the worrisome economy did, however, spend money on technology to boost production and efficiency. That boost to tech stocks could be repeated as we emerge from the current crisis, he said.

Markets never stay down forever, regardless of what government does or doesn’t do. But the real question is whether this market has hit bottom yet.

“I overlaid the six other market collapses of 40 percent or more since 1900 against our current market and found we’re right at the point where four of them hit their bottom,” said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist with Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis. “And every one of those previous six declines, including two during the Great Depression, recovered in a violent manner.”

For example, during the Depression the stock market fell 90 percent to hit its low in 1932 before rebounding with a 300 percent gain, Paulsen said. Then in 1937, the market fell 50 percent before recovering 75 percent of that loss within nine months of hitting the low.

“In the other collapses, all representing declines of about 50 percent, each of them fully recovered its entire loss within 18 months,” Paulsen said. “If there’s any sign of the economy bottoming out in late spring, those signs will cause a rally on Wall Street and confidence on Main Street will improve.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

So my advice to you is to stop worrying about your future (so much), and start thinking about how you’ll cash in on the inevitable uptick that may be here sooner than you think.

For ideas along these lines, listen to this week’s Career Mechanic show.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW

The Career Mechanic – Flash Forward 2014

I have news for everyone – the world will not be ending anytime soon. To the contrary, if you study the history of recessions, you’ll find that according to all reasonable measures, we may have already hit bottom! So what does this mean to you? Join Dave and his guests career prosperity coach Allison Maslan, and class of 2008 graduate Ryan Randolph to talk about the future and how you can start planning today for the coming prosperity.

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Whether you’re out of work, or simply looking, the idea of a good job feels more elusive today than ever. My first good job was with Data Terminal Systems in Maynard Massachusetts. DTS was the first company to use micro computers to power electronic cash registers.

What made DTS a good job was simple. It was job and company that was clearly going someplace. Bob Collings, the founder and CEO went out of his way to make it a fun place to work. But we all worked very hard. Bob rewarded every employee with an all expenses paid vacation for them and their spouses every time we doubled profits. Man did that get everyone focused! It seemed like we were going on a new vacation every year.

My brother-in-law Rudy has two good jobs. He’s a Captain with the Fitchburg Massachusetts Fire Department and he owns his own Chimney Sweep Business. As smart as Rudy is, these two great jobs wouldn’t be possible if wasn’t for his union, which negotiated a great contract that allows these guys to work a 24 hour shift and then take 3 days off!

This gives firefighters plenty of time to hold a second job, or like Rudy, start their own business. It also gives the entrepreneurial firefighter an incredible security blanket. After 30 something years, these guys can retire and collect a pension that can start as high as 80% of their top salary and it goes up every year for the cost of living. They also have great health benefits and lots of days off.

You can’t argue with the fact that labor unions make jobs better for those who belong to their union. That said, I am hard pressed to see where unions do anything to actually created new good jobs. Clearly, the UAW has negotiated wonderful contracts for their current members, but what future auto workers. The consensus is that lucrative labor contracts are the number one reason for the failure of the Big 3 car companies. If these companies go under, what happens to all of those good jobs?

Obama and Unions

One thing that’s clear, the Obama administration loves unions. His new labor secretary Hilda Solis has a long history with organized labor. Her confirmation hearing got a little sticky when it came know that she had secretly been the treasurer for American Rights at Work, a nonprofit organization pushing for legislation to ease the formation of unions.

The key piece of legislation they’re pushing is something called the The Employee Free Choice Act. The name of this bill could have been picked by George Orwell. What it actually does is eliminates the right to a secret ballot all workers have enjoyed when their employer is being targeted by unions, and replace it with an open petition. This will enable union organizers to pressure workers who don’t want to join the union.

Just how big a deal is this? Citicorp downgraded the stock of recession-proof Walmart, because they have been identified as the number one union target if this bill basis.

Why is that a big deal? It turns out the average private sector worker makes $19.14/hour while the average union worker makes $23.96 – 25% more! If Walmart is forced to bump their payroll by 25%, or even 10% for that matter, they will be dramatically hurt and workers will lose their jobs.

The Project Labor Agreement

Late one Friday night, after the evening news had cleared the airways, President Obama signed an executive ordered directing all of the $787 billion dollar stimulus spending to go to union shops.

Here’s a startling quote from the Washington Times:

“This executive order encouraging all federal agencies to adopt discriminatory, union-only project labor agreements is a shameless giveaway to Big Labor, which spent over a billion dollars to get Obama and pro-forced-unionism Democrats elected last year,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Not good for anyone who’s career is not guarded by a union negotiator. By the way, remember all that infrastructure spending coming our way in the Stimulus bill? Well the Heritage Foundation reports that 84% of all construction workers does not work for a union!

So Now What?

The fact is, when it comes to creating good jobs, Washington DC and Big Labor Special Interest groups have never done much to help. Where do good jobs actually come from? The reality is that 70% of the new jobs created over the last 10 years have come from small businesses.

Candidate Obama promised a $3,000 tax credit and a capital gains tax break for every small business, but not of these promises made it into the bloated budget he proposed last month. There is some talk about making federal money available to help small businesses get loans, but that has yet to become law.

The Gold of Small Business — Jeff Morrill and NuOrthoSurgical

This brings us to this week’s guest, Jeff Morrill. Jeff had a great job with one of the best companies in the world – Johnson and Johnson. But he wanted more. Two years ago he left J&J to work for a “green” motor cycle company and recently he help found a medical equipment company called NuOrthoSugical.

Jeff Morrill, CEO NuOrthroSurgical

Jeff Morrill, CEO NuOrthroSurgical

I firmly believe that this recession will end, but not due to bloated government spending, but rather, it will be because hard working entrepreneurs like Jeff Morrill lay it on the line to create new small businesses that ulimtaley create hundreds of new good jobs.

The Fall River Herald did a nice piece on NuOrthroSurgical a few weeks ago and reported:

“NuOrtho’s growth plan includes $10 million in sales next year, $240 million in 2012 and $335 million by 2013. The probes will be marketed toward the 16,000 orthopedists in the United States. Morrill said they hope to expand to Europe and ultimately sell across the world.”

Wow – great stuff! Go the www.thecareermechanic.com and listen to the whole show, I think you’ll be as impressed as I was with the things Jeff’s done.

The Career Mechanic – Turning Good Jobs To Gold

What makes a job a “good job”? Where do good jobs come from? This week’s show examines a wide range of topics including abuse of power, corruption and the role of organized labor in the 2009 economy. Dave’s guest this week is Jeff Morrill. Two years ago, Jeff left a good job at Johnson and Johnson and embarked on a trek that led to the creation of an exciting new company called NuOrthoSurgical. We’ll talk to Jeff about his journey and how this company may generate thousands of new jobs – just when America needs them the most.

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I graduated in 1975, I went to work for a cash register company (Data Terminal Systems). By the mid-eighties, when I was laid-off, the US electronic cash register industry was dominated by Japanese and Korean companies and DTS no longer existed.

Back then the Internet didn’t exist, computers weren’t personal. Software was known as “programming,” and the only networks were run by the Defense Department! I remember sitting through a presentation in the late 80’s about this new thing called Mosaic, which would make this thing called THE INTERNET accessible to regular people. From then until I left Silicon Valley in 2005, all of my jobs were tied to the Internet.

Massive Job Losses

The automotive industry is still in the throes of a massive hemorrhage. Here’s a story from the New York Times that paints a pretty clear picture of what lies ahead for the white collar workers in the automotive industry may face.

Dead End in Detroit for White-Collar Workers
New York Times

By BILL VLASIC and NICK BUNKLEY
Published: February 16, 2009

DETROIT – For all the ups and downs, and more downs, that white-collar workers here have lived through, they have always managed to put on a brave face, assuring one another that the American auto industry will come back stronger than ever.

Doug Zupan is finishing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan. Until last semester, Chrysler paid his tuition. Now he’s unemployed

Doug Zupan is finishing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan. Until last semester, Chrysler paid his tuition. Now he’s unemployed

But now that resolve has given way to grim resignation, as General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler have announced wave upon wave of job cuts.

After closing plants and shrinking their blue-collar work force, Detroit’s troubled Big Three are cutting white-collar jobs in their hometown at an unprecedented pace – more than 15,000 in the last year, with more to come.

Unlike union workers laid off from idled factories, salaried workers have no safety net of health care or guaranteed income for a year. At best, it’s a small severance or buyout, and a voucher for a discount on one of the hundreds of thousands of unsold cars that G.M. or Chrysler has sitting in inventory.

White-collar workers who walk out of the headquarters of the auto companies face few prospects in the Michigan economy. And with G.M. and Chrysler surviving on federal loans, facing a deadline Tuesday to submit new and broader restructuring plans to the government, the outlook grows only more bleak.

The market for the skills of auto engineers or designers in the prime of their careers has evaporated, with no hope in sight for a turnaround. Moving to another city is hardly an option when there are so few buyers for the suburban homes that would have to be sold first.

“I know it’s not great everywhere, but this is probably the worst place to find a job,” said Doug Zupan, a designer who took a buyout in November after working at Chrysler for six years. He was one of 5,000 salaried workers who accepted a buyout the day before Thanksgiving from his job at the Chrysler Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Mr. Zupan, a 35-year-old father of three preschool-age children, said he was stunned by the sudden and rapid decline in an industry suffering through its worst sales in more than 25 years. “I am going to do my best to get out of the auto industry,” he said.

FULL STORY

Then there’s Wall Street. The media has been so busy writing about wall street greed, they they’ve failed to talk about the 400,000 white collar workers who are now on the street. Here is a sobering story from The Harvard Crimson of all places.

A possible new career for the unemployed in the financial district: Use what you know as a tour guide.
A possible new career for the unemployed in the financial district: Use what you know as a tour guide.

Jobs Tough To Find For Future Financiers
Students turn to boutique firms and less popular locales in the job hunt
Published On Monday, February 23, 2009

By VICTOR W. YANG
Crimson Staff Writer
There was a time when Sangu J. Delle ’10 seemed to have the job market in the palm of his hand.

The high-profile Delle, who serves as president of the Black Men’s Forum, spent his first two summers as a college student working at prominent financial firms. As a freshman, Bear Stearns came calling. Goldman Sachs took him on as a sophomore. And those were not his only choices.

But in the face of the most disastrous financial downturn since the Great Depression, times have changed, Delle said, and so has his grip on the job market.

“Last year I had offers from everywhere, from Merrill Lynch to Bear Stearns to Morgan Stanley, he said. “Half these firms don’t exist anymore-the offer letters I have now are historical documents.”

Delle’s plight is hardly unique. This year, hundreds of Harvard students hoping to enter the finance industry are facing the most difficult career and internship marketplace in decades, as the firms remaining on Wall St. are shrinking their workforce and turning away even the most qualified applicants.

Signs of the new crunch are not hard to come by, especially for young job-hunters immersed in the recruiting process.

Kayley E. Laren ’09, the chief investment officer for Smart Women Securities-a student group dedicated to investment education-said that many firms are not looking to hire much beyond the size of their summer class.

“There are far fewer firms that are in the career pool because of bankruptcies and acquisitions,” she said. “Frankly, if you’re just looking at a numbers game, it’s frightening.”

FULL STORY

Help May Be On The Way

Just as the Internet didn’t exist in 1975, there are undoubtedly major new industries that will employ millions of workers that we cannot even conceive of today. To find these jobs, you’ll need to study emerging technologies, analyze political policies, and most importantly, decide when the right time is to job in!

One place to look is to actions of the Obama administration and the industries they’re stimulating. Here is an article from jobfox.com that details some of these jobs.

The Obama Effect: New Job Trends to Watch in 2009
Jobfox, the Internet’s fastest-growing job site, predicts the job sectors most likely to grow as a result of Obama administration’s economic initiatives.

McLean, Va. (December 17, 2008)- Jobfox, the Internet’s fastest-growing career site, predicts the top Obama-inspired new job trends to watch in 2009. The list includes the job sectors and key professions that are most likely to grow as a result of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus policies.

The Obama administration has said it will “hit the ground running” with what experts project to be a $700 billion job stimulus package. The new administration’s goals are to create or save 2.5 million jobs over the next two years.

According to Jobfox, the most wanted new jobs, listed by major Obama initiatives, will include:

Initiative: Construction of Roads, Bridges, Transit and Rural Broadband

Key Jobs:
Construction managers
Project managers
Civil engineers
Computer-aided drafting specialists
Telecommunications engineers

Initiative: Greater Oversight of Financial Markets

Key Jobs:
Compliance accountants
Internal auditors
Tax accountants
Government regulators

Initiative: Energy Independence

Key Jobs:
Electrical engineers
Mechanical engineers
Power grid managers
Biofuels chemists
Sales and marketing

Initiative: Healthcare Modernization

Key Jobs:
Nurses
Information technology specialists
Bioinformatics specialists
Information security specialists
Software developers

Initiative: Volunteerism and Community Involvement

Key Jobs:
Social workers
Administrators
Translators

“Epic changes are ahead throughout the professional landscape,” said Rob McGovern, CEO of Jobfox. “It’s just like 1991, when we didn’t know the Internet was coming. New job titles will emerge, many of which haven’t been invented yet. Savvy professionals will be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities.”

LINK

A New Model For Job Searchers

So, I followed this story and discovered what jobfox.com was all about. The guy who created careerbuilder.com started the company and it has a whole new model to help people discover their ideal job. It also give companies who are trying to find good people a way to cut through the clutter that has permeated the big job boards.

Tune in this week and hear me talk about the changes in the US job market and discuss jobfox.com with Steve Toole, a vice president at the company.

The Career Mechanic – The Tectonic Shift in the US Job Market
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

As the automotive and financial services industries rupture, millions of jobs vanish right before our eyes. Yet, the government is pouring trillions of dollars into the economy to spurn new jobs. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where those new jobs are going to be? Dave’s guest this week is Steve Toole, Vice President with jobfox.com. Job Fox recently published a report on where the new jobs are likely to emerge under the Obama administration. Steve will talk about this report and how to take advantage of jobfox.com to find your ideal job.

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The president assures us help is on the way. I hope he’s right, but clearly the stock market doesn’t agree. I seem to recall an old adage that says that the stock market is one of the best indicators of where the economy will be 6 months down the road.dow

Well, I certainly hope that’s not true. We just closed the worst February in stock market history since 1933 and as I write this, the Dow has slipped below 6900! Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who says otherwise.

Here is a story from Saturday’s Kansas City Star, which I think hits the nail on the head:

Obama’s Blizzard of Big-Spending Proposals Snowing Under Economic Hope

By E. THOMAS Mcclanahan

Since the beginning of the year, the stock market has fallen about 20 percent – about half that drop coming since the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Yes, the economy is in a mess and the market’s queasiness reflects that. But the Obama administration has contributed greatly to falling share prices. Virtually every time an Obama administration official speaks, the market drops again – a vote of no confidence in the profusion of new programs and the prospect of ever-higher spending.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 381 points last month when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner revealed that despite eager expectations, the administration had only vague plans for dealing with the banking crisis.

Some people I’ve talked to seem to think the stock market’s behavior is of minimal significance. But even if you don’t invest, the market is an important leading economic indicator.

The prices it discovers every day are a collective judgment of the future value of the nation’s stock of capital, and traders most definitely don’t like what they see.

The Dow dropped nearly 300 points when Obama signed the stimulus bill, which was largely devoid of any significant measure to encourage increased investment.

Indeed, the bill’s stimulative effect will be very weak. It’s loaded with political pork for Democratic constituencies, including tens of billions of dollars in new spending on means-tested social programs that will be nearly impossible to cut when the federal money runs out.

Congress is likely to continue much of this spending, building those amounts into the budget baseline and permanently expanding the size of government. This gives the lie to Obama’s pledge to push through major cuts in the deficit.

For example, states will sign up new recipients for an expansion of Medicaid. In two years that money will go poof. Will politicians then say to recipients, “Sorry, you’re on your own?” Not likely.

A recent paper by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center paints a grim picture of the government’s future financial position.

“In 2009, the federal deficit will be larger as a share of the economy than at any time since World War II,” write the authors, Alan Auerbach and William Gale. “What is more troubling is that, under what we view as optimistic assumptions, the deficit is projected to average at least $1 trillion per year for the 10 years after 2009, even if the economy returns to full employment and the stimulus package is allowed to expire in two years.”

So much for Obama’s talk of reducing the red ink to $533 billion by the end of his term.

The constant eruptions of new spending have sent tremors through the bond market. The financial ground has shifted to the point that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her recent Asian trip, was reduced to pleading with the Chinese government to keep up its purchases of U.S. Treasuries.

Obama isn’t content to concentrate his efforts on major crises of the day – housing, the auto industry, the credit markets and the economy in general.

No, he has decided that his administration must also forge ahead on major health care reform, an education initiative, the transformation to a “green” energy economy and even a cure for cancer.

It’s an agenda of staggering proportions. Whatever the next few months bring, it’s now clear that this president is no centrist.

LINK TO STORY

Fighting What Seems Like the Inevitable

In the face of all of this doom and gloom comes this week’s guest on The Career Mechanic show, Gary McGrath. Gary is just a regular guy. He has four kids, two in college and one about to start, a mortgage, car payments, all the usual.

gary-mcgrath

Gary McGrath

Gary has been a salesman all of his life. About five years ago, he found the job he loves. Unfortunately, his sales territory includes large financial institutions like A.I.G.

In the summer of 2008, Gary was planning his sales campaign for the end of the year, just as the economic meltdown hit. Did he read the newspaper and give up? No way, he focused, focused, focused, and turned the 4th quarter of 2008 into the best sales quarter in his career.

Gary made serendipity happen.

If you’d like to hear how Gary did this, check out this week’s Career Mechanic Radio Show.

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