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 2,124 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 the ‘Government’ Category

EXPANDING GOVERNMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 13, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Why it has gotten so.

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

Over the last 100 years the federal government has grown by leaps and bounds. The impetus for this is probably economic related (e.g., “The Great Depression,” and today’s world economy), and military related (including two world wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, numerous minor engagements, and the War on Terror). We also have several years of presidential campaigns heaped in where we were promised a lot more than two chickens in every pot or two cars in every garage. This has all changed the face of our government where we now have several more agencies and departments to deliver on presidential promises. For example, during my lifetime alone we have seen the introduction of several cabinet posts, such as HUD, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, EPA, and Homeland Security.

There are essentially two theories as to why government expands: that it is driven by citizen demand, or it is self-generating, that it grows naturally by itself. I tend to believe in the latter as I see it as an excellent example of Parkinson’s Law in action. The law, which was devised by C. Northcote Parkinson, a noted British historian and author was based on his experience with the British Civil Service. Among his key observation’s was that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically, he suggests people make work in order to rationalize their employment. Consequently, managers create bureaucracies and superfluous work to justify their existence, not because it is really needed (aka, the “making mountains our of mole hills” phenomenon).

We see examples of Parkinson’s Law in just about every government body, from federal to state, to municipal, to the smallest bodies of government, including Homeowner Associations. A few years ago I was President of my Homeowners Association where I was able to balance the budget, update their governing docs, and streamline their administrative affairs. It wasn’t hard, it just required a little common sense, nothing more, nothing less. Since I left the board of directors though, spending has gone through the roof, and we are now paying more for dues and getting a lot less in return. As I see it, my Homeowners Association is a microcosm of the problems with government; paying more and getting less. To illustrate, the only visible government services that impacts me directly are roads, water and sewage, the police, and education. Everything else is transparent to me. Others might include welfare, housing, and the environment, but I think this is the exception as opposed to the rule for most people. In other words, the average person sees little in return for the taxes they pay.

Then we come to the old argument as to whether government should be more or less intrusive in our lives which is actually a political argument. There are those who say we need more government since the average citizen is not smart enough to control his/her own destiny, and there are others who want less government control and more freedom. Understand this, the government grew over the last 100 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. So political ideologue has no real bearing in this regard. It is simply a matter of management (or the lack thereof).

Recognizing companies were becoming bloated and inefficient, executives began to flatten corporate hierarchies in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The poster child for this was Jack Welsh of General Electric who earned the nickname “Neutron Jack” for his ability to flatten G.E. units. Welsh’s approach was reminiscent of Joseph Stalin’s purges which came in waves of three: the first was to eliminate the deadwood from around the office, representing the people who were the most expendable; the second wave of purges represented a major belt tightening effort intended to find out who the company could live without, and finally; the third wave was the hardest as it required considerable soul-searching but uncovered the bedrock of the corporation. What was left was a more efficient organization that was more focused on the right priorities.

Now imagine if we did something like this to our government; it would force a lot of bureaucrats out of office, it would create a leaner and more streamlined government, and it would force them to concentrate on the services that truly matter.

But for some reason I think most people like a fat government. They like having someone looking over their shoulder, kind of like a security blanket. As I found in my homeowner association though, the price of a bloated government is more expensive, more bureaucratic, and provides less service. I guess it comes down to how dependent we want to be on government and whether we trust their judgment to maintain our interests. As for me, I vote for less government, not more. Here’s another way of looking at it: should the government serve its constituents, or should the constituents serve the government? You tell me.

First published: December 1, 2008

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA – Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

LAST TIME:  THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY  – How it impacts business.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Advertisements

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY?

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 5, 2017

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– What the “separation of church and state” really means.

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

For some reason, Americans believe there is a legal requirement to separate church and state in the US Constitution. It is now commonly believed organized religion has no business in the workings of the state. The reality is, there is no such stipulation whatsoever in the Constitution. There is only a couple of references to religion in our governing documents. The first is in Article 6 of the Constitution whereby “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The second reference is in Amendment One of the Bill of Rights whereby, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” I cannot speak for the governing documents of the various states and territories, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, that is all there is pertaining to religion.

So where does this presumption of separation come from? Two places: other countries who embrace such a concept, but more importantly in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists regarding the 1st amendment. Jefferson was president at the time and well known as author of the Declaration of Independence (but not the Constitution; that was Madison). In the letter, Jefferson wrote:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

By this letter to the Baptists, Jefferson meant that the United States would not establish a national church. This letter greatly influenced Supreme Court decisions. Keep in mind, Jefferson is speaking on another matter altogether and he is writing as president, not as a justice of the Supreme Court who should rightfully interpret the separation issue. However, for some strange reason, the letter was used to define the separation issue. In Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947, the Supreme Court used a portion of the letter (eight words only) and interpreted it to mean, “The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” How they came to this conclusion mystifies Constitutional scholars to this day. It is interesting the Supreme Court based its conclusion on an interpretation of a letter, not the Constitution itself.

Based on this Supreme Court decision, atheists and attorneys have used this as a means to drive God out of our country. Today, we hear of football teams prohibited from saying a nondenominational prayer before or after a game, Christmas trees have been banned from schools, students are being suspended for saying “bless you” after hearing someone sneeze, there are movements to remove anything pertaining to God out of government buildings, and there is even an attack on our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

Not long ago we heard about a movement by atheists to remove Gideon Bibles from Navy lodges. These Bibles were provided for the comfort of sailors staying at the lodges. The removal of the Bibles created a furor when it was reported in the press. So much so, the Navy ordered the Gideon Bibles returned back into the lodge rooms.

Make no mistake, Christianity is under attack here, not Judaism, Islam, or even witchcraft, and it appears to be a concerted effort. Some contend it is intended to undermine the country as Christianity played an important role in the founding of America. Whatever the reason, we must beware of such attacks and be prepared to repel them.

If by some chance, our opponents are successful in eradicating God in the federal government, I am one of those who believe all federal employees should work on Christmas Day, particularly postal workers.

Is there really a separation of church and state in the Constitution? No, but it will be necessary to bring a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to overturn their 1947 misinterpretation.

I pray we do not become a Godless country. Without God, the country will fall.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Even Sky Masterson read the Gideon Bible, as did Rocky Raccoon.

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY – Why should I pay for somebody else’s mistakes?

LAST TIME:  BECOMING AN EDUCATED VOTER  – How to become conversant in politics and government.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Religion | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

BECOMING AN EDUCATED VOTER

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 3, 2017

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– How to become conversant in politics and government.

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

In 1835, noted historian and political commentator Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman, published his famous book, “Democracy in America,” which was an analysis of our young country as compared to those in Europe. This was based on his travels through America in 1831 and 1832. The book, which is frequently referenced even to this day, contains his observations on the young country, everything from its geographical layout, to its culture, and particularly its new political system as a democratically elected republic as opposed to a monarchy.

Tocqueville was particularly taken by the American public education system. He was amazed to see children as young as second grade be completely literate, something normally reserved for the aristocracy in Europe. He was also taken by how knowledgeable children were in the workings of the government as defined by the U.S. Constitution. He wrote, “It cannot be doubted that, in the United States, the instruction of the people powerfully contributes to the support of a democratic republic;”

When you compare the America of the early 19th century to today, you will find students, even college graduates, who have no sense of history, no sense of the mechanics of our government at any level, and no sense of current events. Somehow we dropped the ball along the way. We now have a couple of generations of Americans who are content to limp along as apathetic sheeple. The second graders of the 1830’s are mental giants by comparison. Not surprising, the politicians of today appeal to the voters through emotion rather than logic. It has become too easy to deceive and misdirect the under informed public.

However, for those who want to get back on track, to learn about the government and current events, there are plenty of resources available.

1. Discuss – learn to discuss such subjects with your family, friends and colleagues, but be careful, political discussion can lead to arguments and disrupt harmony. If you can find such people though interested in participating in discussions, it can make for some interesting mental gymnastics.

In schools, it would be nice to see government and history courses reintroduced, and, No, not just from the 20th century forward. How about the 18th or 17th centuries instead?

Understand your rights as a citizen and the the mechanics of government by becoming familiar with our governing docs.

Two books come to mind which can help:

“The 5000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen, is an excellent primer to describe why our government is organized the way it is. As far as I’m concerned, this should be on the reading list for every high school student.

For those who wish to be a little more ambitious, let me suggest Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” which provides interesting insight as to the differences between the United States and the rest of the world. The book is rather thick, but stimulating nevertheless.

Learn to read and watch the news. More importantly, challenge the accuracy of the news and beware of newscasters trying to spin it.

2. Write – Want to do more? How about writing your Congressman? Whether you voted for them or not, these people are charged to represent you. Do not hesitate to ask questions or discuss your views on certain subjects. Remember, they work for you, not the other way around. You can also write the President of your concerns. Also learn to contact your local and state officials.

While you’re at it, post your views in your local newspapers in the “Letters to the Editor” section.

You may also wish to contact the various political parties to pose a question or comment, such as the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Libertarian Party.

Linking to such political and news organizations via social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, is also a good way of staying abreast of news stories, and opinions.

3. Activism – finally, volunteer your time in various political and nonprofit organizations, thereby allowing you to rub elbows with people of similar interests and help push forward those items you feel are important. As we approach the mid-term elections, and you are interested in party politics, you may want to hold a sign or walk a neighborhood in support or your favorite politician or cause. Just remember to maintain your composure, especially when doors are closed in your face.

As Tocqueville suggests, citizens have an implicit civic responsibility to become educated in the workings of government and to maintain a sense of history. Becoming a sheeple is not conducive for improving government.

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  ARE WE BECOMING A GODLESS COUNTRY? – What the “separation of church and state” really means.

LAST TIME:  THE MYTH OF EQUALITY  – More than anything, equality is about ego.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

MY TALK ON CITIZENSHIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 8, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Some thoughts on how to promote citizenship in America.

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

In the Masonic world, we recently observed “Citizenship Month” here in Florida. Because of this, I was asked to give a talk on the subject for a local Lodge. Drawing upon a couple of my past columns, I assembled the following short talk:

My biggest concern regarding citizenship pertains to how we teach history and civics in this country. In some High Schools, “American History” runs from World War II to the present. This means students are not learning such things as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Civil War, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Prohibition, the League of Nations, and much more. In other words, they only discuss the last 77 years, and not the events leading up to the founding of our country and the turmoils we had to endure. As an aside “World History” is now just World War I to the present. So much for the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Marco Polo, the Magna Carta, Ferdinand Magellan, Alexander the Great, et al. I presume they had no bearing on our civilization.

Such ignorance of our history caused famed historian David McCullough to observe, “We are raising a generation that is historically illiterate and have a very sketchy, thin knowledge of the system on which our entire civilization is based on. It is regrettable and dangerous.”

We are also not educating youth properly in terms of “Civics”; understanding our responsibilities as citizens, such as voting, serving on a jury, how legislation is enacted, or what is included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. No wonder young people do not grasp the significance of such things as the Electoral College, the structure of our government, or what their rights are.

Naivety and ignorance leads to apathy at the ballot box. In the 2016 elections, only 57.9% of the citizens voted (over 90 million didn’t vote at all). This is a pitiful figure when you compare it to other democracies like Australia, India, and the Scandinavian countries. Surprisingly, this was the highest voting percentage in the United States since 1968 (60.8%). The highest in recent history was in 1960 (63.1%) for the Kennedy/Nixon election. Even though Millennials (ages 18-35) are now the largest potential voting block, they continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any age group.

It is sad when legal immigrants understand the workings of the government and history than native born Americans. Maybe all citizens should take the same oath naturalized citizens do. Since 1778, immigrants coming to this country have had to pass a test and take an oath swearing their allegiance to the United States. The current oath is as follows:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Not surprisingly, immigrants coming through this program tend to appreciate this country and are more loyal than native born Americans. Another cause for this could be because there is less emphasis on teaching American government and history in the schools than in years past. In other words, the importance of being a citizen has not been impressed upon our youth.

So, as a proposal, how about administering a modified version of the immigration oath to all native born Americans, perhaps on July 4th? All that is necessary is to simply modify the first sentence of the Immigration Oath; to wit:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;”

Parents could give it to their children, thereby turning it into a family tradition; civic organizations and local governments could administer it in public group settings, or perhaps some other venue. Maybe even the media could get involved and administer it over the airwaves or Internet. It should be administered in some solemn way with a right hand raised and the left hand placed on either a copy of the U.S. Constitution or perhaps a holy book such as a Bible, Torah, or Koran.

The oath is certainly not the same as the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, this is instead a reaffirmation of our commitment to our country and would help promote citizenship and voting. Maybe this is something that should be given routinely as opposed to just one time; to remind people of their allegiance to this country. I cannot help but believe this simple gesture would have nothing but beneficial effects.

One last observation, during this past year, the talking heads on television recommended avoiding any talk of politics at the dinner table, particularly during Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. I disagree. We do not do enough talking at the table in a calm and reasonable manner. Instead of leaving citizenship to the school educators and MTV, parents should spend more time discussing it around the dinner table, not in a dictatorial manner, but in a frank and open discussion. I believe our youth would better understand the virtue of the Electoral College if it came from their parents as opposed to an entertainer or athlete.

Maybe then, youth will appreciate the need for “Citizenship.”

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILY RESTAURANT – It is more important than you think.

LAST TIME:  TRAINING MULES  – What to do when you have one in your class.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, History, Life, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

BEWARE OF REGIONALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Changing the shape of government.

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

While conservatives have been concerned with President Obama embracing globalization, a concept intended to develop a worldwide culture and set of laws, there is another concept quietly slipping in our back door, namely “regionalism,” which is also concerned with changing our view of government. It is from the progressive playbook for expanding government and exerting more control.

Historically, our country has followed the following precedence of power for government:

Federal > State > County > Municipal

Cities and towns are charged with managing their own affairs (Municipal), Counties oversee all of the cities and towns, States oversee counties, and the federal government oversees the states. This approach has worked effectively for over 200 years, but progressives now want to change it.

In a nutshell, regionalism looks to create metropolitan governments spanning multiple counties. For example, in the Tampa Bay area, it is concerned with combining Hillsborough County with Pinellas, and possibly more, such as Manatee, Pasco, and Sarasota. In California, the Bay area region could involve San Francisco, Oakland, and Sonoma County. In Western New York, it might mean combining Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Jamestown. In southwest Ohio, it would include Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana. This is a concept that has been tested in Europe (such as ithe Basque area between Spain and France).

By creating such regions, they are creating another layer of government bureaucracy and taxes. Translation: more big government that will usurp the power of municipalities and counties. Under this scenario, the ideal progressive power structure would then appear as:

Global > Federal > State > Region > County > Municipal

Whereas globalization represents a threat to the authority of federal and state governments, regionalism will do likewise to counties and municipalities. The real intent is to increase political power by reshaping the structure of government. Basically, it negates the need for legal and long-standing geographical boundaries, even going so far as to cross state lines.

How is this happening? Simple, infiltration and takeover of county governments. To illustrate, here in Pinellas County our municipal candidates are elected as independents. They do not have to identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans. However, the reality is the local governments are controlled by progressive Democrats, something the average tax payer is not aware of. Once in charge, they can reach out to other counties and municipalities to try and form regions. This nearly happened in the Tampa Bay area until the public was made aware of it.

Regionalism is just as insidious as globalization. Efforts are underway to implement both concepts which change our government and way of life. However, a push back may be happening as demonstrated recently by BREXIT in the United Kingdom where the people voted to leave the European Union, thereby rebuking the taking of orders from Brussels. Such an action implies people want to maintain government at the local level. They want smaller government, not bigger.

So, next time you hear the word “regionalism,” hold on to your wallet, for that is what they are ultimately after.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

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 40 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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHO SUCCEEDS HILLARY? – What happens if she becomes disabled in office?

LAST TIME:  MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF NO SMOKING  – As Stengel would have said – “Who-da-thunk-it.”

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

ARE GOVERNMENT WORKERS ENGAGED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 15, 2016

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– And what is it costing the taxpayers?

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

The Gallup organization has been monitoring worker engagement for quite some time. The purpose is to let companies know how many employees are stimulated by their work, and how many are not. Business can then use this to make changes in their management style. For example, in the United States, which is considered the most “engaged” in the world, has a rate of 31.5%. Surprisingly, Germany, which is often considered a model of productivity, enjoys only a meager 16% engagement rate. A lot of this can be attributed to the tendency to micromanage the lives of the workers as opposed to empowering them.

While Gallup’s studies have primary focused on business, on July (7th), they produced a report on the “State of Local and State Government Workers’ Engagement in the U.S.,” a first.

The report studied employee engagement for state and local governments of 43 U.S. states, and from it found:

29% – of government workers are engaged in their jobs
71% – are not.

They also reported the states where engagement levels were the highest were primarily in the South, and the lowest were in the Northeast and Midwest. Interestingly, most of the South includes “Right to Work” states, and the Northeast and Midwest are under union control.

The 29% government engagement rate is just slightly lower than the 31.5% business rate.

Engaged employees move their workplaces forward. Disengaged workers do the opposite, costing their states millions of dollars, interfering with government goals, thereby causing taxpayer dissatisfaction. The big difference is government worker disengagement costs the U.S. economy roughly half a trillion dollars a year. In a related Gallup report, “Unhappy State, Local Government Workers Cost U.S. Billions,” they reported…

“Local governments’ annual budgets from Lincoln, Nebraska, to New York City total about $2.0 trillion, while state governments annually spend an estimated $1.7 trillion. Combined, state and local governments contribute 11% to U.S. GDP. Considering the size of their workforce and budgets, disengagement is costing state and local governments, conservatively, up to $100 billion — more than the entire spending budgets of most states.”

So, what can be done to improve engagement? Normally, I would suggest minimizing micromanagement by “managing from the bottom-up.” This means training your people accordingly, articulating project assignments carefully, and empowering the workers to solve projects on their own. To do so, a good project management system is required to plan, estimate, schedule, report and control projects. This means managers should manage more and supervise less. However, in government the problem may be more deeply seeded due to the obnoxious bureaucracies involved. In other words, too much red tape can stall progress regardless of the best intentions of the workers.

Keep one thing in mind, the Gallup study only considers state and local government. Imagine what federal worker disengagement is costing the country. Kowabunga!

If desired, you can download Gallup’s complete report (click HERE).

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IS AMERICA ON THE BRINK OF FALLING APART? – A comparison between the 1960’s and the 2010’s.

LAST TIME:  IS THE POLITICAL SYSTEM RIGGED?  – What do you think?

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

WHO ADMINISTERS STATE GOVERNMENTS BETTER, DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 8, 2016

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– A new report from George Mason University says a lot.

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

Today we hear stories about the economic instability of state governments, rising taxes, potential bankruptcies, etc. Are these flukes of just bad policies and administration? According to a recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, it appears success is not by accident, and Republicans appear to do a better job than their Democratic counterparts.

The Mercatus report, titled “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” (June 1, 2016), examined the financial stability of the fifty states, plus Puerto Rico. The report considered debt and financial obligations, as well as state pension programs and health care benefits. Not surprising, Puerto Rico, with its pending bankruptcy, was rated dead last (#51).

The TOP 10 states demonstrating financial solvency include:

#1 Alaska
#2 Nebraska
#3 Wyoming
#4 North Dakota
#5 South Dakota
#6 Florida
#7 Utah
#8 Oklahoma
#9 Tennessee
#10 Montana

The BOTTOM 10 states not demonstrating financial stability include:

#41 Maryland
#42 New York
#43 Maine
#44 California
#45 Hawaii
#46 Kentucky
#47 Illinois
#48 New Jersey
#49 Massachusetts
#50 Connecticut
#51 Puerto Rico

Perhaps the most noteworthy observation made was that all of the Top 10 states are Republican controlled, meaning both the Governor and the legislatures are in GOP hands. Further, with the exception of Kentucky, all of the bottom 10 states, plus Puerto Rico, are controlled by the Democrats. In New Jersey, the Governor is Republican, but both houses of the legislature are controlled by the Democrats.

Let’s examine the differences between #1 Alaska and #50 Connecticut. According to the Mercatus report:

Alaska: “Given Alaska’s reliance on oil revenues, the state has between 22.46 and 23.44 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 55 percent, producing a surplus of $8,296 per capita. On a long-run basis, net assets represent 85 percent of total assets, and liabilities are 3 percent of total assets.”

Connecticut: “Connecticut’s fiscal position is poor across all categories. With between only 0.46 and 1.19 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities, Connecticut’s revenues matched only 94 percent of expenses, producing a deficit of $505 per capita. The state is heavily reliant on debt to finance its spending. With a negative net asset ratio of -0.88 and liabilities exceeding assets by 34 percent, per capita debt is $9,077. Total debt is $20.88 billion. Unfunded pensions are $83.31 billion on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $19.53 billion. Total liabilities are equal to 53 percent of total state personal income.”

The difference between the two states is rather obvious, one has developed assets and works to live within its means; the other relies on deficit spending thereby adding to the state’s debt.

Beyond assets and liabilities, the programs established for social services and employment varies. For example, with the exception of Alaska, all of the Top 10 are “Right to Work” states, and none of the Bottom 10 have a “Right to Work” program.

From the Mercatus report, you can conclude Republican states take their fiduciary responsibility more seriously. The Democratic states seem to possess a credit card mentality where they spend and spend on social programs and civic projects without considering how to pay for them, causing the states to lean towards a Puerto Rican bankruptcy scenario.

I invite you to examine the report and consider how well your state is managing its financial resources. Click HERE.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WILL TRUMP SUPPORTERS DEFEND THEMSELVES? – Who will pull the trigger?

LAST TIME:  TRUMP’S GOAL: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE  – The benefits from becoming the world’s energy merchants.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

RASMUSSEN: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TOO BIG

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 4, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– 60% of Americans think their government is too big.

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

I have been a follower of the Rasmussen Reports for quite some time. In particular, I study their “Right Direction or Wrong Track” poll which reflects how Americans perceive the direction of the country. According to Rasmussen, Americans believe we have been heading in the wrong direction since 2009.

Echoing this sentiment, Rasmussen recently produced another poll, “What America Thinks: Back Off, Feds!” (Sep 29, 2015) whereby they reported, “Most Americans feel the federal government plays too big a role in their lives and think, generally speaking, that there is too much government power and too little individual freedom.”

According to the study:

60% – thought the government was Too Big
08% – Too small
22% – About Right

Due to its size, the study showed, “Just 19% of voters trust the government to do the right thing all or most of the time.”

This analysis of the size of the government will be greeted as both good and bad news by people in this country. It will be welcomed by those who believe the American people are not smart enough to do what is best and require a massive government to regulate the populace. Those who support a larger government are likely to believe the government should take care of them, just as in a slave state. Fortunately, most Americans see the federal government as too intrusive in their lives and a genuine threat to fundamental liberty.

The fact we believe the federal bureaucracy has gotten too big, means we no longer think it can function productively to serve the citizens of this country, hence the 19% confidence vote as expressed by Rasmussen. Here’s the catch though, if we honestly believe the government is too big, why would we balk at cutting the federal budget to shrink it? The reality is, we still want most of the services and entitlements the federal government provides. Until such time as we get serious about cutting the budget, nothing will change and the government will remain massive. Then again, this may be the dependency our Congress and Executive branch want to preserve.

Back in the 1990’s Jack Welch embarked on a program to flatten corporate behemoth General Electric to rid the company of waste and get it to operate on a leaner and more productive level. This was done, in part, by slashing budgets, thereby forcing managers to make hard decisions as to what work and personnel were essential, and which were not. One by one he patiently waded through the many divisions of G.E. and flattened them down to size thereby earning him the nickname “Neutron Jack.”

Interestingly, Rasmussen concluded in their study, “Americans don’t believe the federal government of today is at all what the Founding Fathers had in mind.” No kidding!

I prefer President Calvin Coolidge’s interpretation of government when he said:

“I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.

Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty.”

Related articles:

Is America Too Big to Succeed? – Sep 02, 2015
Enterprise Engineering the Federal Government – Apr 27, 2011
Flattening Government – Jan 05, 2011

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE COUPON SHELL GAME – A clever way to conceal inflated prices.

LAST TIME:  THE PERILS OF NOT KNOWING YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES  – “Nobody is driving officer, we’re all in the back seat.”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

DEAR NY GOVERNOR CUOMO…

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 29, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– About those preposterous “START-UP NY” television ads of yours.

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

Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo,

Over the last two years I have watched your “START-UP NY” television ads encouraging companies to move to New York. As a Floridian, I am baffled by the ads. I understand your intent of providing dozens of Tax Free Zones near universities and schools, to entice businesses and stem the exit of 100,000 people and jobs leaving your state each year, but is your program really working? Your major incentive is to allow businesses to move to New York where they can work tax free for ten years. At the end of this period, the exorbitant corporate taxes will spring back into effect causing companies to exit again. You will also defer state income taxes for workers for five years, but here in Florida we have no state income tax whatsoever, plus we’re in a “Right to Work” state. There is also considerably more red tape and bureaucracy in your state as opposed to ours. Let us also not forget the differences in climate, where Florida doesn’t suffer from the Arctic weather conditions New York does. So please carefully explain to me why a Floridian would want to move to New York when more people, companies, and opportunities are moving to our state and not yours?

What has been the result of your campaign so far? I’m told “START-UP NY” claims 110 businesses participate in the program, pledging 3,150 jobs. Are these real jobs or just pledged? I read a report your State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, recently produced claiming the program is a disaster. His report follows a review by the Albany Bureau of “START-UP NY” which found the campaign cost $53 million since its inception in 2013, and produced a measly 76 jobs. The Associated Press (April 3, 2015) also reported, “The agency reported another 26 businesses have been approved so far this year, while 12 have withdrawn applications. The largest group of approved companies is 37 in Buffalo and western New York. Another 15 are on Long Island, seven in New York City and seven in the Southern Tier.”

For the millions of dollars New Yorkers are paying for this campaign, and the minimal results, this doesn’t sound very cost effective does it?

You are not alone though. Connecticut’s Governor Malloy raised taxes a second time, after he promised he wouldn’t, in excess of $1 billion, a new record. Between increases in real estate and corporate taxes, people are fleeing the Constitution State, and, No, they are not moving to New York to face the same financial burden.

However, Florida Governor Scott is visiting Connecticut and other states to encourage businesses to move to the Sunshine State. His selling points are simple: “Florida has no state income tax, and has cut taxes more than 40 times over the last four years. Unlike Connecticut, Florida is a right-to-work state, with no estate or gift tax. If you’re a business that wants to pay less taxes so you can earn more money, come to Florida.” No doubt he also mentions the lack of snow in our state.

Let me offer some simple advice; first, stop showing those ridiculous “START-UP NY” ads. They are demonstratively ineffective and waste the taxpayer’s money. Second, offer a business friendly environment, such as Delaware and Florida, where corporate taxes are reduced, income taxes are eliminated, and become a “Right to Work” state. Third, cut the waste and spending in your state and learn to live within your means. By doing so, businesses and jobs will return, or at least you will have stopped the massive desertions from New York. Sorry, but I cannot help you with the weather. I do not believe palm trees will survive your winters.

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  INDIFFERENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE – It’s bad business, but does anyone care anymore?

LAST TIME:  WHY THE LEFT HATES DONALD TRUMP  – And, No, it has nothing to do with his hair.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CIVICS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 24, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Is it gone with the wind?.

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

Something you don’t hear much about anymore in American classrooms is “Civics” which was intended to teach the basic duties and responsibilities of citizens. Sometimes the class was called “American Government” as well. Regardless, the intent was to teach the mechanics of our government and citizenship. Unfortunately, you don’t hear too much about Civics anymore, which is a pity as I believe there are a lot of people operating without even a basic understanding of what is going on in this country. This is why I believe everyone should be certified to be a citizen rather than just by birth right.

In my Civics class, we discussed the various branches and levels of government, how legislation was processed, serving on juries, and of course the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. The Declaration is a pretty impressive document, but to me, the Constitution is one of the most brilliant inventions ever devised by man, particularly when you consider the political climate of the time when it was written. Its three branches of government, with its checks and balances, was a bold experiment, yet, when you read it, you are struck by the simple common sense embodied within it.

James Madison is generally regarded as the “Father of the Constitution” as he took the lead in its development. Madison’s education concentrated on such subjects as languages, philosophy, and speech. His studies also included a few law classes, but he never gained admission to the bar. So, here you have the principal author of our government’s most important document who is more skilled in communications than in law. This is in sharp contrast to today’s Congressmen who are more likely to be lawyers as opposed to any other occupation. Consider this, the original U.S. Constitution was written on just four pages, less the Bill of Rights which was handled separately. Admittedly, these were rather large pages by today’s standards, but it was still four pages in length. Compare this to the recent Health Insurance Reform Bill which was over 2,000 pages long; even the summary was 121 pages. It kind of makes you wonder what today’s Congress would have produced had they been charged with Madison’s responsibility. I can’t help but believe I would prefer the simplicity and directness of Madison’s version instead.

As an aside, I find it rather strange the Constitution has become an icon associated with conservatism in this country. It should be a symbol for all of us.

One of the most important lessons stressed in my Civics class was the need for people to become active and responsible citizens. It didn’t preach disobedience, treachery or anarchy, although this was certainly described. Instead, it discussed the duties of the citizens such as enacting changes through peaceful means, e.g., the ballot box. When I go to my polling station today, I get the uneasy feeling that a lot of people do not know what they’re doing there and what they should be voting for or against. To me, this is downright scary.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, people take their civic responsibilities too lightly. Most are uneducated. In the absence of a bona fide Civics class, people should be required to at least pass the citizenship test as published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

More than anything, our Civics class taught us that citizenship is something to be prized, and not taken for granted. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s this way anymore, which is why we have a general flippant attitude towards government and a belief that “someone else is pulling the strings.” Interestingly, it is the American public that still pulls the strings, but with the passing of such things as Civic classes, we’ve forgotten how to do it.

Originally published: May 17, 2010

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY THE LEFT HATES DONALD TRUMP – And, No, it has nothing to do with his hair.

LAST TIME:  THE MEDIA’S SELECTIVE HEARING – And, No, it has nothing to do with his hair.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: