Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Deficit-not enough revenue or too much expense?

Total federal tax revenue has remained at a fairly steady rate of 15-20% of GDP since 1960.  From 1990 to 2000 US GDP grew an amazing 74% and basically tax revenue outgrew spending, creating a budget surplus in the late 1990's.  From 2000 to 2010 the GDP only grew at more reasonable 42%.  An average annual growth rate of 4.2% is actually still pretty healthy, but two things happened.  Some of the factors that caused the tremendous growth rate in the 90's such as a housing bubble, increasing consumer debt and decreasing personal savings were unsustainable and those factors did directly trigger a recession.

The bigger problem is that as economic growth slowed, federal spending was greatly accelerating.

Growth in total federal spending for the past two decades was:

1990-2000 - 42%
2000-2010 - 93%

Before you blame two wars for the problem, you should break down the elements of spending growth.  Yes national defense spending did increase from 2000-2010 by 135%, but over the entire 20 year period from 1990 to 2010 national defense as a percentage of total federal spending dropped from 24% to 20%.  At the same time the components of entitlement programs (Social Security, Income Security and Medicare) grew as follows:

1990-2000 74%
2000-2010 107%

And as a percentage of total federal expenditures these programs went from just under 40% of federal spending to 51% of federal spending over the same 20 year span.

So how did the recession impact the federal budget? In fact, recession may be a misnomer, because the US economy measured by GDP has actually only declined one year, 2010 in the past 20 years, but that growth is being outpaced by the growth in federal spending.

If you want to check the math, you can access these numbers yourself at


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Effective Selling By Asking Questions Skillfully

Author: Jenny Cartwright

 Anybody is capable of asking questions. But the real question is, once you ask questions, what are the impact, quality and range of the points you ask?

When it comes to Selling, mastering how to ask the right kind of questions is important to your survival as well as the amount of cash you can make. You should give enough attention to developing your skill in asking questions. To do this, you have to plan the questions you'll have to ask.

Create a series of questions that will focus on various kinds of scenarios, in order that it will be simplier and easier for you to actually move from context to context when you are presenting. Your questions should have a natural approach and shouldn't be a scripted one. If you're not sure of the types of questions you have to ask, consult with a skilled sales expert in your company to inquire on how to properly do it.

It is just as important to know how to ask a question and what to ask. Asking questions is a skill that could be learned and applied. Cops, interrogators as well as soldiers learn this skill. However this training is not usually available to sales experts, when it is one of the do or die factors in your sales results.

You will need to follow and develop this skill overtime with much discipline, knowledge and confidence. As you strengthen this important skill, begin to think about the pace, structure and techniques you'll use in order to get your customers to open up to you.

The manner you phrase, position and arrange your questions will have a significant effect on the responsiveness of your customer to you. You will need to be as open as well as responsive to ensure that you know their requirements.

Here's an example of a question asked in two various ways: "Are you the decision maker?"

This type of query would most likely be answered with short and direct answer. The client would probably put an end to the conversation immediately and buy from your competitors.

Another way of asking the exact same question shall be as follows:

"Once you have done your test drive and reviewed the results, what will your decision process include?"

With this more eloquent and more sensitive question, you could expect a more cordial and open response from your client and a higher chance that the sale can happen.

The main difference of these two questions which were trying to extract the very same kind of information was how the second question understood the role of the client and it was more articulately delivered.

Learn how to structure your questions in a manner that will motivate your customer to comfortable and voluntarily share the facts with you. You can include acknowledgment as well as empathy in your question to do this.

Improving your knowledge in asking questions could greatly affect the result of your sales transaction. Devote more time to develop as well as improving this craft and you'll find that it will give you great returns. ----------------------------------------------------
 By asking the right questions, you have a higher chance of closing a sale.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Next April could be a taxing time for Olympic athletes

Should US Olympic athletes pay income tax if they win a medal at the games? Read about the potential for taxes in winnings at