THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

Software for the finest computer – the Mind

  • Tim’s YouTube Channel

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,086 other followers


  • "BRYCE's UNCOMMON SENSE SERIES"
    4 New Printed Books & eBooks from Tim on:
    Change/Technology, Management, Politics, and the American Scene
    Click HERE.

  • Categories

  • Fan Page

  • Since 1971:
    "Software for the finest computer - The Mind"

    Follow me on Twitter: @timbryce

    hit counter

     

  • Subscribe

Archive for October, 2012

CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE VOTING BOOTH

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 31, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The variables we know about our current president.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In less than one week we will know who will serve as our president for the next four years. Forget the polls. As I have said all along, this comes down to a few key variables we have to keep in mind when we’re in the voting booth:

THE ECONOMY

It’s no secret our economy can be described as lethargic at best. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is at a paltry 1.3% and only reached a high of 4.1% in the last four years. The federal debt is now in excess of $16 trillion ($6.4 trillion added over the last four years), and we’re now in excess of 100% of the GDP. Translation: we’re spending more than we bring in.

The United States has dropped to #3 in terms of exports (with China and the European Union ahead of us). The balance of International Trade in Goods and Services is now at -$42 billion.

The federal deficit has grown to $1.2 trillion over the last four years and we have been operating without a budget for the last three years which is inexcusable.

Other indicators of economic woes include:
– The country lost its AAA credit rating.
– In 2011 we experienced 1,410,653 bankruptcies (96.61% of which were consumer filings)
– College loan debt now exceeds credit card debt.
– Average gasoline prices have risen $1.85/gallon to $3.86/gallon over the last four years.
– Food stamp recipients have risen from 32 million to 47 million (+46%)

It is rather remarkable the president discarded the report of his own Council of Economic Advisers which basically concluded it was necessary for the government to cut spending.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Despite the president’s stimulus/bailout programs, there are still 12.1 million Americans unemployed (officially). Understand this though, another 2.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work in the previous four weeks.

Those worker groups particularly affected include: teenagers (23.7%), blacks (13.4%), and Hispanics (9.9%).

The country experienced 43 continuous months of +8% unemployment. This represents the president’s entire term of office, almost.

Interestingly, the president failed to meet with his own Jobs Council for more than six months.

ENERGY

With U.S. oil exploration and drilling slowing to a crawl, Americans questioned why the president would throw the government’s weight behind Brazil, a country that also received a $2 billion loan for its state-owned oil company from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Meanwhile he has turned his back on the Keystone Pipeline which would help the country become more energy independent while creating thousands of much needed jobs for Americans.

The United States still imports over 341 billion barrels of oil, most of which from OPEC and Persian Gulf countries, thereby cementing our dependency on this dangerous part of the world.

While energy costs have nearly doubled as a percentage of the annual family budget, heavy handed regulations from the EPA are making what we pay for energy an even greater burden on our families and our businesses.

The administration’s “War on Coal” has forced the industry into retreat, eliminating 1,200 jobs and closing eight mines in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The president has created a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal, America’s most abundant, reliable resource.

And there remains no policy or course of action for energy independence, despite having considerable gas, oil, and coal resources in our possession.

IMMIGRATION

It is no secret that 13 million illegals currently reside in the United States costing taxpayers an average amount of $1,117 per household. Efforts by states to stem the flow of illegals has been rebuffed by the federal government in the form of lawsuits against them. Interestingly, a new lawsuit was recently filed by federal immigration agents against Homeland Security for policies they say prevent them from doing their job of defending the Constitution.

Then, of course, there is the failure of “Fast and Furious” which cost the life of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and destroyed the credibility of the president’s attorney general, the country’s first sitting member of the cabinet to be held in Contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to the scandal.

The attorney general has also been at the forefront of prohibiting states to secure their borders and implement voter identification programs. In addition, he has been an active proponent in implementing the Pretrial System which has jeopardized security by putting criminals back on the streets as opposed to properly processing them through the courts.

FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY

True, the president is recognized for his approval to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, but the rest of his foreign policy can hardly be called credible. The Muslim Spring led to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East, not democracy. It also led to our ambassador in Libya being killed and our embassies attacked, which is strongly reminiscent of the Carter administration. No matter how the president tries to spin it, we are still engaged in a “War on Terror.”

The Muslim Spring also marked a turning point for the United States as the administration adopted a policy of “leading from behind,” whereby we allowed other countries take the lead in determining policy in the Middle East, thus putting into question our country’s credibility as a superpower.

Defense has been significantly weakened. For example, we can now only fight in one major arena, not two. This is unlike when we were forced to fight in both the Pacific and Atlantic regions during WW2. There is now a strain in America’s relationship with two of its traditional allies, Great Britain and Israel. Should war come again, we may very well find ourselves alone. A recent Pew Research poll reveals the president’s approval ratings have dropped considerably among foreign nations, including Muslim countries.

The biggest concern though in foreign policy is our hands-off position regarding the buildup of Iran’s nuclear program, a potential powder keg in the making.

UN Agenda 21, which the administration has quietly embraced, is perhaps the biggest threat to the country’s freedoms as defined by the U.S. Constitution. This is a program the administration hopes will pass before the people recognize it for what it is, a genuine threat to the American way of life.

In these dangerous times of foreign intrigue, you have to question the wisdom of dodging the presidential intelligence briefings.

SOCIAL REFORM

The president’s Obamacare reform is his signature piece of legislation, yet it is still opposed by the majority of Americans. The complexity of the law has had an adverse effect on business who still doesn’t understand its ramifications. After it was studied by the Supreme Court, Americans were surprised to learn it represented the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

The president also touted gay rights, not only in terms of marriage, but in the military as well. Meanwhile, the existence of God came under attack.

More disturbing, this administration has fostered the cultivation of a Nanny State whereby freewill is supplanted by the will of the government. This has changed the face of America from “the land of opportunity” to “the land of entitlement.”

SO, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

This sounds more like the work of an apprentice learning on the job as opposed to an experienced leader and manager. The next question is, do we stay the course or pick a replacement? Staying the course means you approve of the condition of the country as mentioned herein. True, there are people who will vote by blind devotion along partisan lines, but I would like to believe that voting for a person means you feel they are the most competent to do the job, not because of political ideology. Party politics are nice, but supporting job competency is more important, now more than ever.

Some would argue Governor Romney would not do as well as the president under the circumstances. One thing is clear, he cannot do worse. President Obama’s label as an “empty chair” president seems justified or, as I am reminded, “While Nero fiddled, Rome burned.”

I don’t want to give the impression the president is a complete failure. After all, he did succeed in making Jimmy Carter look like a star.

“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
– Barack Obama, February 1, 2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IN PRAISE OF SOPHIA LOREN – Why we still find her attractive at age 78.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

THE LANGUAGE OF SYSTEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 29, 2012

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– And, No, it is not C++, Java, SQL, or any other programming language.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

A few years ago, I was at a Comdex show exhibiting our “PRIDE” Methodologies for IRM and gave a brief overview to an inquisitive attendee. He listened to me patiently, but at the end asked me pointedly what language “PRIDE” was written in. He looked at me dumbfounded when I told him it was written in English. I guess he honestly thought “English” was some new programming language. I could have gone on with the charade and said that it was, but honesty got the better of me and I explained to him our corporate slogan, “Software for the finest computer – the Mind.”

The language of systems is no different; No, it is not C++, Java, COBOL, etc., but rather simple English (or whatever your native language happens to be). In the past I have gone into length about the differences between Systems and Software, the two are simply not synonymous. Whereas systems include business processes implemented by human beings, computers and other office equipment, software is simply instructions for the computer to follow. Systems are for people who must also take an active role in its execution. In fact, systems will fail more for the lack of people procedures than they will for well-written computer software. There are more people procedures in a system (we refer to them as “administrative procedures”) than most people imagine. Overlooking their role in a system is a serious error. Let me give you an example…

We had a large manufacturing customer who designed a new “state-of-the-art” shop-floor control system whereby they wanted to spot errors along the assembly line and then quickly react and correct the hiccup. From a software perspective, it was a well thought-out and elegant solution coupled with an integrated data base. There was just one problem; it didn’t work. Consequently, we were called in on a consulting basis to try and determine what was wrong with it. We carefully examined the architecture of the system overall, not just the software, and quickly found the problem; Whenever an error occurred on the shop-floor, an error message was displayed on a computer screen for the shop-floor supervisor to act on. Unfortunately, nobody told the supervisor about the computer screen, the messages, or procedurally how to respond to it. We wrote a simple administrative procedure for the supervisor who then read and responded to the errors properly and the system then ran perfectly. As my example demonstrates, clearly written administrative procedures immeasurably improve the processes of system implementation and operation.

Writing for People

Even when administrative procedures are considered, they are often sloppily written in an inconsistent manner. Unlike the computer who will do anything you instruct it, right or wrong, writing for the human being is actually more difficult. People are more emotional and can be lazy and uncooperative at times. Writing for people, therefore, can be an arduous task. Instituting writing standards can materially help in bringing about consistency to this task and should be encouraged.

Whenever writing administrative procedures, they should answer these basic questions for the end-user:

* What is the purpose of the procedure?
* Who should perform the procedure? When?
* How should the procedure be accomplished?
* What is needed to accomplish the procedure?
* What are some examples?
* What should be done after the processing is accomplished?

As any writer will tell you, you must write in terms your audience will understand. As such, you should consider the intelligence level of your audience. For example, most newspapers in the United States write for people at the 6th grade level. You may possess a sophisticated vocabulary, but does your audience? When it comes to writing administrative procedures, write so your audience can understand the instructions and implement accordingly.

Playscript

In reality, there is little difference between an administrative procedure and a computer procedure. The only difference is the “actor” assigned to perform the task. One of the most effective techniques for the preparation of administrative procedures, is the “Playscript” technique as developed by Leslie H. Matthies, the legendary “Dean of Systems.” To appreciate Les’ contribution, you have to understand his background. Les graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1930’s with a journalism degree. This was during the midst of the Depression where work was hard to find. For a while, Les tried his hand at writing Broadway plays and became intimate with writing scripts (where actors enter, speak their lines, and exit). When World War II broke out, Les was too old for military service and, instead, was recruited by an aircraft manufacturer in the U.S. Midwest where he was charged with establishing procedures for the production of aircraft thereby expediting the development and delivery of planes to the war front. Using his writing skills, he devised “Playscript” with actors and actions which proved effective to procedurally produce aircraft.

Let’s fast-forward to the 1950’s and the advent of the UNIVAC I. Computer programming languages had moved from machine language to assembly languages, both of which were difficult to program in. Enter Grace Hopper who was looking for an easier and more intuitive approach to programming. As such, she invented an English language compiler called “Business Compiler Zero” (B0) which ultimately became the COBOL programming language. To do so, she modeled the language after a procedure language she was familiar with, “Playscript.” Think about it. Playscript defined the environment, the files to be used and its use of verbs and nouns are easy to assimilate. What this ultimately means is that “Playscript” is the mother of all third generation procedural languages and that our premise, that there is little difference between an administrative procedure and a computer procedure, is true.

In the end, it all comes down to simple verbs and nouns – the Language of Systems.

“Systems will fail more for the lack of administrative procedures than well written computer procedures.”
– Bryce’s Law

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

NEXT UP:  CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE VOTING BOOTH – The variables we know about our current president.

 

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

 

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

WHERE DOES YOUR TIME GO?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 26, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How it adds up.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I was recently stopped at a traffic light on legendary US19 here in Palm Harbor during rush hour. For those of you unfamiliar with US19, it is the main artery running north-south in our county (Pinellas). There are three lanes on each side and traffic volume can be considerable. If you get caught in rush hour traffic, you can be hung-up for quite some time. It can also be quite dangerous; the bumper sticker, “Pray for Me, I drive on US19,” pretty much sums it up. There are traffic lights spread approximately three miles apart, which means there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic. So much so, I started to wonder how much time we waste waiting in traffic. To learn the answer, I checked various sources on the Internet and learned more than what I was originally looking for, for example:

WAITING – on the average, we spend 45 to 62 minutes daily. This includes waiting in traffic, in lines, or for service.

COMMUTING – According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the national average daily amount of time we spend commuting to work is 24.3 minutes. Actually, I thought this was surprisingly low.

EATING – According to the USDA, Americans spend 67 minutes eating and drinking during meal times, but we also spend an additional 23.5 minutes eating while doing something else, and an additional 63 minutes drinking beverages while doing something else, e.g., coffee/tea breaks. In total, 153.5 minutes.

BATHROOM – we average 57 minutes in the bathroom each day, either relieving or grooming ourselves. Women tend to spend more time than men in the powder room, but that is immaterial for the purposes of this article.

TELEVISION – a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicated Americans spend a staggering 2.7 hours watching TV each day.

LEISURE AND SOCIALIZATION – several reports indicate we spend 100 minutes on other recreational activities, excluding television.

SLEEPING – most reports still indicate we spend eight hours each day sleeping. Some reports have it a little higher, but I tend to believe it is less than this. Nonetheless, eight hours appears to be the average.

So, let’s add it up for the typical work day. I’ll round off the numbers to the nearest half hour:

1.0 – WAITING
.5 – COMMUTING
2.5 – EATING
1.0 – BATHROOM
2.5 – TELEVISION
1.5 – LEISURE AND SOCIALIZATION
8.0 – SLEEPING
17.0 – TOTAL HOURS

This leaves us with just seven hours to pursue our labors which doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to everything else. It also makes you wonder if we’re truly earning our keep which is a bit disheartening.

Then there is the matter of how much time we spend on these activities in a lifetime. If I were to use just 50 years as an average, we would find the following number of DAYS spent:

760.4 – WAITING (2 years)
380.2 – COMMUTING (1 year)
1901.0 – EATING (5.2 years)
760.4 – BATHROOM (2 years)
1901.0 – TELEVISION (5.2 years)
1140.6 – LEISURE AND SOCIALIZATION (3.1 years)
6083.3 – SLEEPING (16.6 years)

Please remember, these numbers are based on averages and doesn’t take into account such things as vacations, disabilities, unemployment, etc.

As amusing as these numbers are, they should make us cognizant of whether we are wasting our time or not.

See what happens when you leave me stuck at a red light on US19?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE LANGUAGE OF SYSTEMS – And, No, it is not C++, Java, SQL, or any other programming language.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

REMEMBERING BLACK THURSDAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2012

BRYCE ON THE ECONOMY

– And the lessons it provides pertaining to today’s economy.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Today we commemorate an important day in history, namely “Black Thursday,” which occurred on October 24, 1929, just 83 years ago.

Today, the world is still reeling from “The Great Recession,” which put our global economy into a tailspin thereby affecting not just the United States, but all of the countries of the world. Blame can be placed on a compendium of variables, such as the credit boom, bad banking policies, bursting the real estate bubble, etc. This led to a global tsunami of unemployment, and a significant drop in international trade. There were few people who were unaffected by the recession. Business as we knew it, was gone, and remains so. As devastating as it was though, it paled in comparison to the grand daddy of economic meltdowns, “The Great Depression.”

On October 24th, the stock market lost 11% of its value at the opening bell on very heavy trading. Nothing this dramatic had happened before thereby earning the nickname “Black Thursday.” Wall Street bankers sought a way to stop the slide and opted to buy U.S. Steel and several other Blue Chip stocks well above their current market value, a trick used to stop the panic of 1907. Indeed, it halted the slide, at least until the following Monday (“Black Monday”) when investors opted out of the market in record numbers. Despite additional attempts to prop up stock prices, the market plummeted thereby triggering a worldwide depression.

The Great Depression lasted for over ten years. Companies closed their doors, unemployment was rampant, soup lines grew, and investors committed suicide by jumping out of buildings financially ruined. Our lifestyle changed radically, from prosperous to desperate. In the average household, all members of the family were expected to cut costs and chip in to pay bills, regardless of their age. No job was considered insignificant or taken for granted. A High School diploma was a prized possession as many people had to drop out of school to earn a wage to support their family. A lot of people were lucky to earn nothing more than a Junior High School diploma (8th grade). The Great Depression sent shock waves through our very sinew, leaving nobody unaffected. You learned to improvise, adapt, and hustle in order to survive.

Because of its scope and dramatic human impact, The Great Depression made The Great Recession seem like child’s play. There was little government support, certainly nothing like the entitlements known today, such as Food Stamps which weren’t offered until the 1960’s. Soup kitchens sprung up to feed the needy, sponsored by churches and other institutions.

Despite numerous attempts by the government to snap the country out of the depression, it was the industrialization of World War II that brought us out of it. Since then, safeguards have been installed in the stock markets to help avoid another major crash, but they are certainly not foolproof as we have seen with many slippages over the years, most recently:

DATE DROPPED PERCENT
2011-08-08 -634.76 -5.55%
2011-08-10 -519.83 -4.62%
2011-08-04 -512.76 -4.31%

Others within the last 25 years:

DATE DROPPED PERCENT
1987-10-19 -508.00 -22.61%
2008-10-15 -733.08 -7.87%
2008-12-01 -679.95 -7.70%
2008-10-09 -678.91 -7.33%
1997-10-27 -554.26 -7.18%
2001-09-17 -684.81 -7.13%
2008-09-29 -777.68 -6.98%

The big question though is whether it is possible to experience another depression on the scale of the 1920’s. The answer obviously is, Yes, although politicians and economists will resist the use of the word as it is considered political suicide. If the country’s debt rises above the Gross Domestic Product, as it obviously will, the dollar will weaken, as will stocks, thereby triggering a collapse. Another variable is the weakened European economy which affects our own. If Europe collapses, there is a good chance they will drag us down with them.

And when the money is gone, businesses will close, unemployment will rise to record levels, and our lifestyles will once again be dramatically altered. Some would argue this is just the tonic America needs to mend its economic recklessness.

The Great Depression may seem like a distant memory, particularly to young people voting in the upcoming elections for the first time, but we should all pay heed to the lessons it conveys. If you had trouble surviving the recent Great Recession, try to remember the Great Depression dwarfed it. We are by no means out of the woods yet.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

NEXT UP:  WHERE DOES YOUR TIME GO? – How it adds up.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

 

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

THE POWER OF APPEARANCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 22, 2012

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– A guide for how appearances affect you in the workplace.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Your appearance says a lot, not just about you, but how you regard others as well. Someone who is well dressed and groomed will command more respect than someone who is not. Today, tattoos and body piercings are very popular among younger people. Regardless of your attitude towards them, there are still many prejudices against such body art in the corporate world. Understand this, the higher you go up in the corporate ladder, the more you become a visible symbol of the company you represent. If your body art doesn’t convey the right image, you won’t be going anywhere. So, if you happen to like that new nose ring you put in, don’t expect that big job promotion anytime soon. Like it or not, if you have got body art, do yourself a favor and keep it under cover. The same is true in regards to unkempt hair, facial or otherwise.

If you have to wear a tie to work, make sure it is contemporary as well as conservative. Learn to tie a decent knot (people tend to giggle at clip-ons) and the length is somewhat important. For example, a tie resting well above your belt buckle implies inadequacies in the individual, and a tie resting below the belt buckle implies someone prone to excess. The tip of the end of the tie should rest on the top of the belt buckle.

One last thing in terms of dress, “business casual” certainly does not include wearing T-shirts, jeans, shorts, gym shoes or sandals. If you clean up your appearance you will be surprised how people treat you.

Office Appearance

Your desk and office space says a lot about your character. Because of this, you should make an effort to keep your physical surroundings as clean and up-to-date as possible. As an example, the military typically operates under a philosophy whereby you either work on something, store it away, or dispose of it. This forces people to be organized. There are those who would argue “A cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind.” Nothing could be further from the truth. A cluttered desk represents laziness and disorganization. People, particularly customers, prefer an orderly workplace. Think about it next time you go to a grocery store.

The point is, our physical surroundings affect our attitudes towards our work. For example, I know of a small print shop with a manager who insists on keeping it spotless. Their paper products are packaged and shipped promptly, inventory is well stocked and maintained, waste is disposed of immediately, and the machines are routinely cleaned and kept in pristine form. Further, the printers are dressed in uniform jumpsuits to keep ink and chemicals from soiling their clothes underneath. Contrast this with the typical print shop that is often cluttered with debris and the machines are infrequently cleaned. The printers of the “clean” shop have a much more positive and professional attitude regarding their work than other printers working in “dirty” shops. Further, absenteeism is not a problem in the “clean” shop and the printers are proud of the products they produce. Basically, they see their workplace as an extension of their home and treat it as such.

As a footnote, I asked the manager of the print shop why his printers kept the facility so clean when others were so dirty. He jokingly confided in me, “They don’t know any better.” In reality, the manager had set operating standards and routinely inspected the premises to assure they were adhered to. Over time, it became a natural part of the print shop’s culture and now he rarely has to inspect them.

NOTE: From my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  REMEMBERING BLACK THURSDAY – And the lessons it provides pertaining to today’s economy.
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

CAN YOU REALLY BALANCE A BUDGET BY CUTTING TAXES?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 19, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Yes you can. Here’s how.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As we have long known, the golden rule for making a profit is to maximize income and minimize expenses. Over the last few years though, government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels have violated this rule primarily by spending more than they take in. Such spending sprees are usually the result of campaign promises made to constituents. Let’s face it, it’s easier to get elected by giving things away as opposed to practicing fiscal restraint. Thanks to the Great Recession though, we have been given a wake-up call that we can no longer afford such giveaways and must learn to live within our means.

Following the golden rule though, in order to balance the budget, politicians should be raising taxes and cutting spending, even though this may place a burden on cash-strapped taxpayers and government officials accustomed to spending money unabated. So, is it possible for politicians to balance budgets while reducing taxes? As implausible as it may seem, Yes, it is not only possible, but the precedent was established a long time ago.

The trick is to reduce government spending more than the amount we lower income taxes. Translation: the party is over and the government has to go on an austerity program whereby services are reduced and the size of government is reduced. Lowering taxes has the added benefit of stimulating the economy by providing taxpayers with more cash to spend, and fill government coffers with sales tax in the process. When it is necessary to supplement income in the face of declining taxes, there are other vehicles for doing so, such as raising fees for licenses.

There are many recent examples where governments have been able to balance their budgets in this manner:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie balanced his state’s $31.7 billion budget this way. He also used his power of the line-item veto to make final adjustments.

Ohio Governor John R. Kasich inherited an economic nightmare, yet was able to balance the budget and finish fiscal year 2013 with a surplus of $552 million, approximately $408 million more than originally planned.

Likewise, Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell also announced his state had finished the previous fiscal year with a surplus of $544.8 million.

During his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was able to turn the state’s economy around by pushing the legislature to roll back the state income tax from 5.3% to 5.0% (Massachusetts has a flat income tax). He also proposed a “tax-free shopping day”, a property tax relief for Seniors, and a manufacturing tax credit, all of which did wonders for rejuvenating the Massachusetts economy.

The real proponent of this concept was President Ronald Reagan whose “Reaganomics” was another form of supply-side economics. The four pillars of Reagan’s economic policy were to reduce the growth of government spending, reduce income tax and capital gains tax (thereby freeing up money with consumers), reduce government regulation of the economy (to stimulate business), and control the money supply to reduce inflation. The rate of growth in federal spending fell from 4% under Jimmy Carter to 2.5% under Ronald Reagan. Many economists have stated that Reagan’s policies were an important part of bringing about the second longest peacetime economic expansion in the country’s history, and followed by an even longer 1990s expansion that began under George H.W. Bush in 1991 and continued through the Clinton administration with unemployment rates steadily decreasing throughout his presidency (7.3% at the start of his presidency and 4.2% at the culmination, with the lowest rate reaching 3.9% in 2000). Click HERE for more information.

Balancing a budget means having to make some hard decisions and living within your means. Unfortunately, spending can be irresistible to politicians, particularly those running for reelection. The stark reality though is when you fail to balance the budget, you go into debt, your credit rating falls, you cannot pay your bills, and a general economic implosion occurs. Sound familiar? This is why most states have a balanced budged amendment and line-item veto (the one exception is Vermont). Even with such legislation, there is no guarantee states will abide to the budget, which explains why states such as New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and Massachusetts got into trouble originally. The budget simply establishes the guidelines for government to operate under. If they violate it, as many have, it usually means there is either a financial emergency, or someone is spending money irresponsibly. As to the federal government, I would wager on the latter and not the former.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE POWER OF APPEARANCE – A guide for how appearances affect you in the workplace.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

HOW WE WILL VOTE IN NOVEMBER

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 17, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Keep an eye on “The Silent Majority.”

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The hoopla over the party conventions is over, the debates are coming to an end, and we are now just a couple of weeks away from making an epoch decision regarding the direction of our country. If you do not know who you are voting for by now, you have either had your head in the sand, or you simply do not care and will not be voting anyway (thank God). Just about everyone else has made up their mind and is ready to cast their vote. You can be sure both parties are leaving no stone unturned to find any truly undecided voters out there. If they haven’t made up their minds by now though, they will undoubtedly be voting for the wrong reasons on election day.

I’ve been studying the various polls as to how they predict the people will vote in the Presidential election. Here’s what I found:

Men – Romney will take the majority of male voters.

Women – Obama will take single women voters, while Romney takes the married ones.

The military – will be strongly behind Romney as they consider their current commander-in-chief weak.

Law enforcement – will vote likewise as the military.

Business people – both men and women will be more in-line with Romney.

Teachers – with Obama of course.

Gays – will be more aligned with Obama’s position.

Labor Unions – even though membership in unions is in sharp decline, they will support the president.

African-Americans – as I have written, the president will get the lion’s share of votes from the black community, but it will be substantially less than what he garnered in 2008 as they are disappointed with the president’s performance (and high unemployment among blacks). Voter turnout among this group will be down.

Latinos/Hispanics – legal Latinos who are gainfully employed will vote for Romney while the illegals will vote for the president. This will be a split decision.

Youth – will continue to support the president, but their numbers will be down dramatically.

Seniors – there will be a pronounced senior turnout in favor of Romney.

Churchgoers – even though conservative Christians do not like Romney’s association with Mormonism, they will see him more aligned with Christianity than the president. Also look for Romney to score well with Catholics who do not like the president’s policies pertaining to health care.

Jews – the Jewish vote has historically gone to the Democratic candidate, but the president’s policies regarding Israel have offended many. This will also be a split decision (for the first time ever).

Asians – this will be the big prize that a lot of people are overlooking. Asian-Americans are the new #2 minority, behind Latinos and ahead of blacks. Historically, Asians have voted Democratic, but they may very well find commonality with Romney this go-around. This will be a close decision favoring Romney.

Other variables: President Obama will be unable to recapture the enthusiasm he enjoyed in 2008. Those who are now disappointed in his performance will likely not vote at all as opposed to Romney. The President’s low approval rating has hurt him tremendously and caused disillusionment among his supporters. The thrill is gone and people will no longer be voting for him regardless of the color of his skin.

The other variable is the rise and return of “The Silent Majority” who has been quietly observing the president’s performance and simply does not like what they see. There is perhaps no stronger evidence of “The Silent Majority” than the State of Wisconsin’s recall elections earlier this year, where Gov. Scott Walker was kept in office despite a loud and boisterous campaign coordinated by the unions and the Left. If “The Silent Majority” believes in Romney’s message, they will understandably abandon the president. More than any other group, “The Silent Majority” will decide the November election. What is perhaps most interesting about the “Majority” is there is no way for any of the polling organizations to know exactly who they are or be able to forecast how they will vote. Make no mistake though, “The Silent Majority” is the faction who will decide the outcome of the election and no other group. If they are fed up with how the country is being run, President Obama will be looking for a new job, regardless of the media spin.

“There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot dogging it. So — but they are there, believe me, they are there.”

– Clint Eastwood at the RNC, Aug. 30, 2012

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  CAN YOU REALLY BALANCE A BUDGET BY CUTTING TAXES? – Yes you can. Here’s how.
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

OUR INTOLERANT SOCIETY

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 15, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– What role does technology have in all this?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Freemasonry is one of the most misunderstood institutions on the planet. It is not a religion, charity, political action committee or cult. It is simply the original fraternity whereby members congregate to enjoy friendship, morality and brotherly love. Despite this, people are suspicious about their motives and have accused the Masons of everything from starting World War I to the Kennedy assassination. No, they are not trying to secretly commandeer government. Heck, they have trouble organizing a picnic, let alone the world. Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret, but before I do, you should understand in order to join the Masons you must possess a belief in Deity (in a Supreme Being). Because of this, no atheist or agnostic can join the Masons. I have personally sat in Lodge with members representing every religious denomination imaginable, all enjoying peace and tranquility. Now for the secret: discussion about religion and politics is forbidden in a Masonic lodge. This is done in order to maintain the harmony of the Lodge.

It’s interesting to see what a little tolerance can do. Instead of squabbling over theological or ideological differences, Masons sit as brothers looking for ways to cooperate and understand each other. I’ve discovered a little tolerance can go a long way. It’s a pleasure to know men who are my political and religious opposites. You gain invaluable insight as to their interests and perspectives on life. We learn from each other. It’s actually quite refreshing to speak on the level without fear of retribution. The fraternity proves it is indeed possible to have civil and respectful discourse, but certain rules of decorum have to be observed.

Outside of the Lodge, there are no rules or decorum. In the real world of today, it has become commonplace to make scurrilous claims designed to attack the integrity of another. It wasn’t always like this though. Although we understood differences existed between ourselves, there wasn’t a public venue to comment. Thanks to the advent of easy-to-use social media, where a wide variety of disparate personalities and interests meet and pass public communiques, decorum and cordiality have been replaced with venom and hostility. People will say things in such venues they would never dare say face-to-face. Such discourse is changing our society and makes for heated arguments. Nobody is immune from this, including yours truly who has been duped into reacting upon having his nose tweaked. Even those of us who do not use social media are affected as they will undoubtedly encounter a person influenced by such technology.

Thanks to electronic communications, where we observe the thoughts of others, we have sharpened our personal sense of social and ideological right and wrong, thereby accelerating the rift between us. One side sees our country as half-empty, and the other half-full. To illustrate:

Liberals pound on conservative doctrine, and vice versa.

Atheists ridicule people over their religious beliefs.

Politicians spin lies and deceit against their opponents. Negative advertising is now the norm, not positive.

Gays argue with straights over lifestyle.

Our divisiveness is now in full bloom for all the world to see. Our common sense of right and wrong is cloudy at best and we no can longer agree what kind of country the United States should represent. Not surprising, one side or the other will not not be happy, which is why I worry about the fallout from the November elections. It is impossible to elude.

We have gone from respectful discourse to a society intolerant of the other person’s point-of-view, thanks in large part to technology. It’s too bad we cannot all sit in Lodge together and speak on the level.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  HOW WE WILL VOTE IN NOVEMBER – Keep an eye on “The Silent Majority.”
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Communications, Life, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

THE LESSONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 12, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How one coach taught America’s pastime to young players.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

For ten years I coached Little League baseball and softball, not to mention being an umpire and serving on the local board of directors. I cannot lay claim to being the greatest coach, nor the worse. I certainly didn’t suffer under the illusion this was the big leagues, nor that my kids would go on to play pro ball, even though a handful made it to the college level. Instead, I wanted to teach the mechanics of the game (how it is played), sportsmanship, and the general love of the game. My kids are all grown up now and if I made the slightest impression on them, that I somehow shaped their perspective on the game, than I consider myself lucky. There were only two things I asked of them; that they try their hardest, and maintain their grades in school.

Baseball is a game; something you are supposed to find entertaining and rewarding. I never understood those coaches or parents who believed in winning at all costs. Some would accuse me of not being competitive enough. Sure, I wanted to see our team win, but not “at all costs”; not if it caused us to lose sight of right and wrong and a distorted sense of sportsmanship. There were coaches who would make their kids run laps if they lost a game. I guess this was designed to shame them into playing better and to teach them losing was a disgrace. Had this been some life threatening event, I may have understood their rationale. It wasn’t. It was Little League. It was a game.

Whether I was coaching boys or girls, prior to the game I would have the kids line up on our foul line, take off their caps, and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag. It became my signature to do so. To my way of thinking, baseball is America’s game and it was my way of making the kids cognizant of not only our country but the need for fair play. When we recited the pledge, we would invite the other team to join us, as well as the parents. Most were happy to do so, but I ran into at least three coaches who steadfastly refused to have their teams participate. I thought this was strange, as did the parents of the other teams.

During practice we would spend a lot of time teaching defensive moves both in the infield and outfield. There was also a lot of batting practice. The league would also sponsor clinics in batting, pitching, catching, and umpiring. During batting practice, I would spend considerable time on bunting. Girls had no problem with it, but boys tended to resist it. Nonetheless, they learned the virtue of a good bunt and how it can win a game. There is perhaps nothing more exciting to see a bunt win a game or a stolen base. Speed was important to me. If we got on base, we made it clear we were going to challenge the arms of the other team, if for no other reason than to unnerve them.

Aside from the physical nuances of the game, we also taught the psychological aspects, such as the importance of momentum, dominance at the plate or on the mound, and how to “sell” a play to an umpire. As to the latter, we obviously didn’t want our players to cheat, but we told them an umpire has only one set of eyes and cannot possibly see everything. Therefore, it is important to do such things as showing the ball in your hand after a close play, thereby helping the umpire make up his mind for him.

One time, when we were playing defense, a player from the other team advanced to first base in a close game and we were concerned he would steal second base. From the dugout I would yell a football call, “Red 21″…”Red 21.” This confused the runner and coach who believed a secret play was in the works to throw him out. Consequently, the runner held at first and never advanced. As the inning ended, my players returned to the dugout where they asked me what “Red 21” meant. “Nothing,” I replied. It was just a smokescreen to confuse the other team. The kids thought it was a riot.

We also spent a lot of time explaining the strategy of the game, such as when to throw a pitch-out to a dangerous hitter, how a third baseman should challenge a bunt, picking-off a runner, how to keep a runner on second base, and much more. A lot of my kids, particularly the girls, learned how to keep score and came to realize the value of a well maintained scorecard.

It was also important to teach the kids to have fun. During practice we would play certain rock and roll songs with a certain beat and rhythm to teach them timing, particularly Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and The Who. Parents who would normally drop the kids off and leave would stay and listen to the music. It became somewhat of a social scene for the parents who would gel and become strong supporters of the team.

Now and then, when our hitting was off, we would say “Time to wake up the bats,” and drop three or four bats loudly in the dugout to get the kids to snap out of their slump. If the kids were groggy at an early Saturday morning game, which seemed to be common, we would give them sugar-sweet pixie sticks which would give them a jolt of energy to wake them up.

Little League games typically last just six innings. One time, during a night game, we were playing a team coached by a friend of mine. We concocted a little scheme with the umpire and at the end of the fifth inning, the umpire called “time,” and both teams came out of their dugouts and over to the sidelines where the parents were sitting. They looked perplexed as to what we were doing. We had the kids assemble in multiple lines in front of the parents and, on queue, we began to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the mothers who was a local school teacher. Both the parents and the kids enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure the mom won’t forget it anytime soon.

As we live in Florida, we have a Fall league to provide additional coaching to players. Inevitably, we would play during the day on Halloween in October. For this, the coaches wore masks which looked ridiculous but broke the tension for the kids.

There were of course many other things to liven up the season, such as ice cream, pizza, and an occasional barbecue. It was important that we taught the kids to play hard both on and off the field.

I learned a lot from this experience. I met a lot of good, caring parents over the years, but more importantly I got to meet a lot of great kids and it was fun watching them grow into adulthood. It’s not important they remember me, although I will bump into one of my players now and then, but it’s more important they remember something they learned along the way, such as how to lay down a bunt, how to keep score, appreciating the difficulty of throwing a runner out at second, the importance of teamwork, or standing for the national anthem with their hand or cap over their heart. If I contributed in any way to such things, then I consider myself a successful coach. It’s not the runs scored that makes baseball a fascinating game, it’s the kids.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  OUR INTOLERANT SOCIETY – What role does technology have in all this?
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Baseball, Life, Management, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

OUR DEFINING MOMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 10, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Are we really headed towards Armageddon?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Over our country’s history, there have been a handful of events which have defined who we are as Americans, such as our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, our Civil War, our participation in World War II, and the protests of the 1960’s. These events defined who we are, our personality as a country, our determination in the face of adversity, and how we treat others as well as ourselves. All have come at a heavy price in terms of human life and the reconstruction of society. Such moments come along rarely and we should be mindful of their effect on our country.

We are now on the verge of another epoch event which will define who we are and what we want our country to be. Never before has there been such a disparity in our choices for the election in November. Conservatives want an America with smaller and less intrusive government; they have a fervent belief in capitalism and the free enterprise system. This of course means fiscal responsibility. Liberals on the other hand want more government, and truck loads of entitlement which we can no longer afford. By increasing taxes we are redistributing the wealth of this country and discouraging entrepreneurship and encouraging businesses to move off our shores. Is taxing the answer, or cutting our spending? As anyone who has had to manage personal finances or balance a budget can tell you, we must learn to live within our means. Even cities controlled by Democrat administrations facing bankruptcy know this, such as Scranton, PA and Stockton, CA. Not since Nixon/McGovern in 1972 have we seen such disparity among the citizens of this country, but it is even more pronounced in 2012. There are two distinctly different interpretations of America which are simply incompatible.

One thing is for certain, there are only three possible outcomes from the November elections: gridlock as we have experienced over the past two years, a liberal state, or a conservative state. As we have seen, gridlock will paralyze the country, and the last two options will likely cause civil insurrection. Liberals are simply not interested in living in a country as defined by Conservatives, and Conservatives cannot abide the Liberal’s view of the world. Consequently, the elections of November 6th represents a defining moment which will affect our destiny.

Do we take charge of our fiscal affairs or let it continue to run unabated?

Do we establish an environment encouraging business and jobs, or tax and regulate them into obscurity?

Do we continue to adhere to the U.S. Constitution or do we devise a new form of government?

Do we want to promote personal initiative and individual responsibility or establish a nanny state?

Do we want government to exercise control over business or do we want government to be a servant of the people?

Should Socialism supersede Capitalism?

We’ll make these choices on November 6, 2012; an epoch event for the history books. Half of the country will interpret it as doomsday, and the other half will see it as a day of salvation. As to our defining moment: We will either survive this tempest or be devoured by it. The world will be watching.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
THE LESSONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH – How one coach taught America’s pastime to young players.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: