By Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: Since taking office, President Joe Biden's economic policies, commonly referred to as "Bidenomics," have been a subject of intense debate. While democrat politicians argue that his approach aims to address income inequality and promote sustainable growth, Americans have expressed concerns over the negative consequences of his policies on the American people. In this article, we will focus on some key areas where Bidenomics has been criticized, including the depletion of oil reserves, excessive spending, rising inflation, and the impact on American households.
Depletion of Oil Reserves: One of the major criticisms of Bidenomics is the impact it has had on the country's oil reserves. The Biden administration's push towards clean energy and its commitment to combating climate change has led to policies that restrict oil exploration and production. While transitioning to renewable energy sources is essential for a sustainable future, critics argue that the rapid shift has come at the cost of depleting oil reserves that could have provided a buffer during times of crisis. This depletion has raised concerns about energy security and may lead to increased reliance on imports, potentially impacting energy prices for American households.
Excessive Spending and Lack of Benefit: Another significant concern surrounding Bidenomics is the immense level of government spending without commensurate benefits to the American people. The Biden administration has pursued expansive economic policies, including large-scale infrastructure plans and social programs. While these initiatives may have noble intentions, critics argue that the associated costs and potential tax burdens may outweigh the benefits. The increased spending threatens to saddle future generations with a heavy debt burden while leaving many Americans questioning the tangible impact on their daily lives.
Rising Inflation and Financial Strain: Bidenomics has also been the main reason of rising inflation, which has a direct impact on American households. As the government pumps money into the economy through stimulus measures and increased spending, the purchasing power of the dollar diminishes. This leads to higher prices for goods and services, putting a strain on household budgets. Food costs for households are being purchased with credit cards creating more credit card debt, wages have been short to pay these bills. Inflation erodes the value of savings, affects retirement plans, and increases the cost of borrowing, exacerbating personal credit card debt. Debt on cars have created a risk to the banks as Americans are 90 days late in paying their car loans and are losing their cars to the repo man. Credit to purchase cars has almost vanished as interest rates go up and some banks leaving the auto loan industry, it is harder to get credit to purchase a car and auto prices are out of control and inventory is not moving. The resulting financial pressure leaves many Americans struggling to make ends meet and diminishes their quality of life.
While the full consequences of Bidenomics are still unfolding, it is clear that some aspects of the economic policies pursued by the Biden administration have raised concerns and caused hardships for American households. The depletion of oil reserves, excessive spending without clear benefits, and the impact of inflation on everyday Americans have all contributed to a sense of economic uncertainty. It is essential for policymakers to carefully consider the long-term implications of their decisions and strike a balance between addressing pressing challenges and safeguarding the financial well-being of American households. Only through thoughtful and well-informed economic policies can we hope to achieve sustainable prosperity for all.
Banks have two things that will hit them hard. Auto loans and commercial real estate. Buildings are now being repossessed by the banks. With the increase in interest rates, owners that have loans are making the decision to just giving back the properties to the banks because loan payments are not supported by rental income, office buildings are empty. The work from home has hurt the commercial renting market. And with no one in downtown anymore, small businesses and major retail businesses are shutting down. In major cities where crime has become out of control, many businesses have given up.
When we look at the economic numbers of America, we have to look at the entire picture. It is not just the CPI, GDP or employment numbers. The economy is not just wall street. But there is a whole big world of economic data that all affect each other. It's easy to report just the good numbers, that may not be so good because there are other factors that affect the American economy.
Bidenomics has and is a big failure to the nation. That is why Americans do not support Bidenomics. Bad economic policies, a corrupt political agenda, Americans just feel a totally different economy then what the President is bragging about. Americans have had enough of Bidenomics.
By Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: The impeachment process is a vital mechanism within the United States Constitution that allows for the removal of the President, Vice President, and other civil Officers from office upon impeachment and conviction for specified offenses. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution outlines the grounds for impeachment, including treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. In recent times, there have been claims and allegations surrounding President Joe Biden, asserting his involvement in bribery and other misconduct. This article aims to explore these claims in light of the constitutional provisions for impeachment.
Understanding Article II, Section 4: Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states, "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." This provision provides the framework for initiating the impeachment process and outlines the grounds on which an elected official can be impeached and removed from office.
Claims of Bribery and High Crimes: Congress and the Senate have been able to show evidence through IRS and FBI sources, banking documents, and have accused President Biden of engaging in bribery by allegedly accepting bribes from Ukraine, China, and other countries. These claims also implicate his son, Hunter Biden, in arranging pay-for-play schemes during Joe Biden's tenure as Vice President and President. Proponents of these allegations contend that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have documented evidence of the alleged bribery schemes.
Assessing the Allegations: It is crucial to note that allegations of wrongdoing do not automatically equate to guilt. Impeachment is a serious and consequential process that necessitates a thorough investigation, examination of evidence, and adherence to the principles of due process. While claims of bribery and high crimes can be grounds for impeachment, the burden of proof lies on the accusers to provide substantial evidence of the alleged misconduct. In the various hearings before Congress they have accumulated bank records, shown FBI documents that stated bribery of several million dollars from Burisma/Ukraine, and other alleged sources of funds moving from Hunter Biden's LLC to LLC laundering money from various countries. Perhaps the Congress and Senate have the proof to charge bribery.
The Role of Congress: As the branch responsible for impeachment proceedings, Congress plays a pivotal role in assessing the validity and credibility of such allegations. The House of Representatives has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings, while the Senate holds the responsibility of conducting a trial to determine guilt or innocence. The process demands a fair and impartial evaluation of the evidence before taking any decisive action. They must also ask the question, is America compromised from the bribes taken by the Biden family? Has the President compromised the country?
The impeachment of a President is a significant event in the political landscape of the United States, and it should not be taken lightly. While allegations of bribery and high crimes have been made against President Biden, it is essential to follow the constitutional process and thoroughly investigate the claims before drawing conclusions. The burden of proof lies with the accusers, and Congress must act responsibly, ensuring a fair and impartial examination of the evidence. Only by upholding the principles of due process can the nation ensure that accountability is maintained and the integrity of its highest office is preserved. However, each day more evidence is found. More people keep coming forward.
The Congress can't wait much longer, if they have the evidence then present it to the American people in an ethical and legal manner. It is time to initiate impeachment. There can be no more political party, it is now based on the evidence and the constitution.
Concerns Arise as Some Academics Urge President Biden to Disregard Judicial Rulings: Is Biden A Threat to Constitutional Integrity?
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: Business requires a rule of law to protect contracts and other legal concerns of law suits from government on businesses. The Constitution is very important to small and all sizes of business, without it, we are unprotected. In recent weeks, a vocal group of law professors from liberal schools and political academics have emerged, urging President Biden to bypass the lower courts and Supreme Court rulings, effectively ignoring the constitution and established laws. This controversial call to action has raised concerns among Americans, who argue that such a stance undermines the principles of the constitution, the rule of law, and the delicate balance of power between the three branches of government. We have even seen members of Congress supportive of ignoring the courts and the constitution, even though they have taken an oath to support and uphold the constitution. While these calls have triggered heated debates, it is essential to evaluate the situation objectively and consider the implications for the nation's legal and political landscape.
The Constitution as the Foundation of the Nation: The United States Constitution is the bedrock of American governance, embodying the principles and ideals upon which the nation was founded. It establishes the framework for the separation of powers, ensuring a system of checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power in any one branch of government. The founders designed this system to protect individual liberties and guard against tyranny.
The Role of the Judiciary: The judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, plays a crucial role in interpreting the Constitution and ensuring the constitutionality of legislation and executive actions. The Supreme Court's decisions are binding and have far-reaching implications for the entire nation. The principle of judicial review grants the court the authority to strike down laws or executive actions that are deemed unconstitutional.
Academic Perspectives: Questioning the Status Quo: Within the realm of academia, it is common for scholars to challenge established norms and propose alternative interpretations. Some law professors and political academics, primarily associated with liberal-leaning institutions, have argued for an approach that questions the authority of the judiciary, advocating for a more executive-centric interpretation of the Constitution.
Americans argue that this perspective is problematic as it undermines the authority of the judiciary, an essential pillar of the American legal system. By disregarding judicial rulings and the principles of the constitution, they argue that a dangerous precedent is being set, one that could lead to an erosion of the rule of law and the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution. This reverts us back to the old British rule where the king made the decisions and citizens had no rights. America was formed on the basis of the rule of law empowered by the constitution and the courts to be the last word in determining the law. Not the President.
The Need for Prudent Consideration: While it is important to engage in debates and consider alternative viewpoints in any democratic society, it is equally crucial to exercise caution when discussing potentially radical departures from established legal norms. The principles laid out in the Constitution have stood the test of time, providing a stable foundation for the nation's governance.
Impeachment: A Constitutional Remedy: The impeachment process is a constitutional mechanism provided to address concerns related to the conduct of a sitting president. If there are legitimate grounds to believe that a president has acted unlawfully or violated their constitutional duties, impeachment becomes a viable option. Article II, Section 4: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. However, it is important to emphasize that impeachment should be pursued based on clear evidence and a constitutional process, not as a reactionary measure to differing policy opinions or interpretations of the Constitution.
Preserving the Constitution and the Rule of Law: The United States has long prided itself on being a nation governed by the rule of law, with the Constitution serving as the guiding document for its legal and political systems. It is essential to acknowledge the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Any attempts by President Biden to undermine the authority of the judiciary or disregard established legal principles must be approached with great caution and a thorough understanding of the potential consequences.
Calls from certain law professors and political academics urging President Biden to ignore the SCOTUS and the constitution should be deemed a threat to the rule of law. The President, any President, should be stopped. Congress needs to use their powers to challenge the President and uphold his oath of office that says, ""I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Every politician from the President, executive branch, the courts, the congress, all must preserve, protect and defend this great constitution. Not go against it.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: The United States Supreme Court, as the highest judicial authority in the land, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the fundamental principles upon which the nation was founded. With a total of nine justices, the Court serves as the guardian of the Constitution, ensuring that the nation's laws remain consistent with its guiding principles. An independent judiciary, free from political influence, is essential to maintain the integrity and fairness of the American legal system. This article explores the importance of a nine-member Supreme Court, its role as the third branch of government, and the significance of preserving its independence.
The Importance of Nine Justices: The nine-justice composition of the Supreme Court is vital for several reasons. Firstly, an odd number of justices prevents the occurrence of tie votes and ensures that a majority opinion can be reached. This enables the Court to provide definitive interpretations of the law rather than leaving important issues unresolved due to a divided bench.
Secondly, having an odd number of justices enhances the diversity of perspectives within the Court. Each justice brings their unique background, experiences, and legal expertise to the table (no politics), leading to a more comprehensive and nuanced analysis of complex legal issues. This diversity helps guard against biases and promotes a well-rounded decision-making process.
The Independence of the Judiciary: The framers of the Constitution established three separate branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The independence of the judiciary, as the third branch, is crucial to maintain the system of checks and balances that prevents an accumulation of power in any one branch. The Supreme Court, as the apex of the judicial system, must remain impartial and free from external pressures. Currently the Senate sits in hearings on mandating more ethics rules onto the court, politically driven, not constitutionally driven.
By design, the Court is meant to be insulated from political influence, safeguarding its ability to interpret the law objectively. Justices are appointed for life to protect them from the pressures of partisan politics and ensure their decisions are guided solely by legal and constitutional principles. This independence allows the Court to serve as a critical counterbalance to the other branches, acting as a guardian of individual rights and liberties.
Preserving Independence and Ethical Integrity: To maintain its independence, the Supreme Court must adhere to its own set of ethics rules, which govern the conduct of justices and protect the integrity of the judicial process. These rules prevent justices from being swayed by external forces, be it political pressure from Congress or the president, ensuring that decisions are made solely based on legal merit and constitutional interpretation.
Furthermore, it is crucial that politicians refrain from attempting to corrupt the Court with political agendas or partisan motives. The judiciary's integrity relies on the respect and trust it commands from the public, eroding that trust by politicizing the Court undermines its authority and impartiality. The Court's decisions must be guided by the Constitution and the rule of law, rather than the whims of political expediency. Political beliefs are not the law, the constitution and the duty of each Justice to protect and defend the constitution. The court must never be corrupted by politics of politicians and special interest groups. Hands Off!
By Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com I have spent the last two days watching two congressional hearings. The first was the IRS whistle-blowers and the second on the government silencing free speech on social media. Both times the Democrats in the hears attacked, brought up Trump, racism, and other subjects not even associated with either subject in the congressional hearing. They appeared angry, and hateful at everyone and everything. They attacked the whistle-blower’s integrity and then tried to censor RFK Jr. and lied about his statements. There was not one sign from the Democrats that they wanted to hear the testimony of the witnesses, instead they tried to trick them up, scold them, hamulate them. Democracy was not represented in the hearings by Democrat's.
Country Above Party: Kennedy was asked what happened to his party? It certainly is not the party of the Kennedy's. And he was right when he talked about his uncle’s inviting the other party leaders to his home and into his administration. They worked together for the betterment of the country, not the party. I will give you a good example of what he was talking about. Henry Cabot Lodge, a Republican, lost his seat to a Kennedy in Congress. However, Lodge went on and served various Presidents on foreign affairs issues. Lodge was then a running mate of Nixon against John F Kennedy and lost. However, Kennedy invited Lodge into the Whitehouse to advise Kennedy on the UN and other foreign issues. Lodge also went on and served under President Johnson as Ambassador to Vietnam. The old Democratic party under the Kennedy's reached out and worked together with the Republicans on important issues, it was clearly a different time. Reagan worked with Tip O’Neal and had a good working relationship. However, today's Democratic party is angry and unable to work with people across the aisle. It seldom happens. There seems to be a party wall that divides cooperation. It needs to change. It's time to tear down that wall.
Animosity is not a policy. Henry Cabot Lodge. Both sides of the aisle need to start acting like adults and do their job for the American people.
In recent months, serious allegations have been made regarding possible criminal tax fraud and legal misconduct by Hunter Biden and President Joe Biden. These allegations have raised concerns among the American people, who are now demanding action, accountability, and a fair investigation into the various matters. It is vital that the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wholeheartedly support IRS whistleblowers and take measures to ensure that no retaliation is directed towards the investigators involved. Upholding the principles of the investigative process and the rule of law is essential to uncovering the truth and restoring public trust in our legal system. Moreover, it is imperative for Democrats in Congress to prioritize the facts over political affiliations and demonstrate ethical conduct when determining the need for action or improvement. The American people are calling for swift and transparent accountability, as their faith in legal fairness for all citizens has been severely shaken. The need for trust in our government, from top to bottom, is more crucial than ever.
Protection of Whistleblowers: Whistleblowers play an indispensable role in uncovering potential wrongdoing and safeguarding the integrity of our institutions. In the case of the Biden tax allegations, individuals who have come forward with information regarding possible criminal tax fraud must be protected from any form of retaliation. The DOJ, FBI, and IRS must ensure that these whistleblowers are shielded under existing whistleblower protection laws. It is imperative that these agencies guarantee the anonymity and security of these individuals, as it allows for a thorough investigation into the allegations and prevents any undue influence that could compromise the integrity of the process. Whistleblowers should feel confident and safe in their decision to come forward, as their courage and cooperation are crucial to upholding justice.
Respect for the Investigative Process and Rule of Law: Regardless of political affiliations or positions of power, it is vital to respect the investigative process and adhere to the rule of law. This principle applies to all individuals who are subjects of investigation, including Hunter and President Biden. The DOJ, FBI, and IRS must conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the allegations, ensuring that no influence or bias hampers the process. The integrity of these institutions is at stake, and any perception of political interference or favoritism could undermine public trust in their ability to carry out their duties effectively. To restore public confidence, these agencies must demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the rule of law by conducting a thorough and transparent investigation, free from any political pressures or undue influence.
Supporting Facts and Ethical Decision-Making: The responsibility to uncover the truth lies not solely with law enforcement agencies, but also with elected officials. Democrats in Congress have a duty to prioritize the facts presented before them, rather than blindly following party lines. It is essential that they support a comprehensive investigation into the allegations against President Biden and his son and on the issue of censoring of Americans by Government. By doing so, they would demonstrate their commitment to ethical decision-making and show that they prioritize justice over political expediency. Upholding the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability is crucial to restoring faith in our legal system and ensuring that no one, regardless of their position, is exempt from facing the consequences of any wrongdoing.
Demand for Action and Accountability: The American people have lost faith in the fairness of our legal system, and rightly so, given recent events. To rebuild trust, swift action and accountability are necessary. Investigations must be respected by members of Congress, Senate, Executive Branch. If it leads to a criminal issue, it must be resolved through the legal channels. Congress refers it to the Justice Department, and they have the ability to impeach a President. But do it non-politically because the American people have had it. They see Americans being charged for lesser crimes but serving time, and when politicians or the elite are in criminal trouble the American people see nothing happening. The American people have had it and their frustrations are running high. The government has to stop playing politics and enforce the rule of law at every level of the government.
IRS Whistle-blowers Testify Before Congress on Hunter / Joe Biden: Concerns over Treatment and Political Distractions
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: In recent congressional hearings on July 19th, 2023, two IRS whistle-blowers came forward to testify regarding allegations concerning Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. While their testimony shed light on important criminal issues and national security matters, it is equally crucial to address concerns regarding the treatment of whistle-blowers by their managers at the IRS. Whistle-blowers play a vital role in exposing wrongdoing, and it is imperative that they are protected under federal law and not subjected to mistreatment or degradation. Additionally, it is disheartening that some members of Congress chose to prioritize political statements about Trump rather than focusing on the serious subject at hand.
Whistle-blower Protection and Federal Law: Whistle-blower protection is enshrined in federal law to encourage individuals with insider information about misconduct or illegal activities to come forward without fear of retaliation. The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) provides safeguards to ensure that whistle-blowers are shielded from adverse actions such as termination, demotion, or harassment. This protection extends to various sectors, including federal agencies like the IRS.
Concerns over Treatment: The treatment of whistle-blowers is a critical aspect of maintaining the integrity of the whistle-blower system. It is deeply concerning that the IRS whistle-blowers in question reportedly experienced mistreatment by their managers or fellow employees. Such behavior not only undermines the courageous act of whistle-blowing but also creates a chilling effect, discouraging potential whistle-blowers from coming forward in the future. The protection of whistle-blowers is not merely a legal obligation but also a moral imperative. The IRS needs to bakeoff these two whistleblower that are acting within their legal rights to report what they view as a crime. They need to be treated professionally and fairly by management. These are two good employees that the IRS should be proud of.
There were members of congress that attempted to degrade these IRS professionals. Instead of addressing the issues, asking professional questions of these two members of the IRS, members of congress tried to make them look unfit, they disregarded the Whistle-blower Protection act. Instead of asking questions on the subject at hand before the committee, they made it a political statements on Trump. This worthless actions by members of congress shows to be only political instead of address a crime and national security issues.
Respecting the Whistle-blower Protection Act: When whistle-blowers testify before Congress, it is essential that lawmakers respect the Whistleblower Protection Act and treat these individuals with the dignity and respect they deserve. Congress has a responsibility to create an environment that encourages whistle-blowers to share their information openly and honestly, without fear of being subjected to political grandstanding or personal attacks. The focus should be on the substance of the testimony and the national security implications it potentially holds.
Political Distractions and National Security: Regrettably, some members of Congress in the recent hearing chose to divert attention by using their allotted time for political statements about Trump, rather than addressing the serious criminal and national security concerns raised by the whistle-blowers. This kind of behavior undermines the importance of the hearing and distracts from the core issues at hand. National security matters should transcend political affiliations and party rivalries, warranting genuine and focused attention from all members of Congress.
The testimony provided by IRS whistle-blowers regarding Joe Biden and Hunter Biden is a matter of national significance that warrants careful examination. It is crucial that the treatment of whistle-blowers within the IRS aligns with the protections provided by the Whistleblower Protection Act. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that whistle-blowers are respected, supported, and shielded from retaliation. Furthermore, it is imperative that lawmakers prioritize the substance of the testimony over political distractions, recognizing the gravity of the national security concerns at hand.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: The scorching heat of summer has arrived, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of the most refreshing and invigorating activities known to mankind: swimming. As I recently embarked on my summer swim program at the local community pool, I discovered just how transformative this simple act can be for both the body and mind. Let me share with you the incredible benefits I've experienced and why I believe everyone should embrace swimming as a regular part of their lives.
When I glide through the water, all my stress seems to melt away. The weightlessness and soothing embrace of the cool water create a serene environment that allows me to escape from the chaos of daily life. Swimming acts as a therapeutic balm, washing away the worries and tensions that accumulate in our minds. The repetitive motion of moving my arms and legs in sync with my breathing brings a sense of rhythm and calmness that I can't find elsewhere.
Not only does swimming alleviate stress, but it also leaves my body feeling rejuvenated. The water's buoyancy reduces the strain on my joints and muscles, making it a low-impact exercise suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. As I move through the water, my entire body gets a gentle yet effective workout. The resistance of the water engages multiple muscle groups, improving strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.
Swimming acts as a natural form of meditation, allowing me to be present in the moment and fully focused on the sensations of my body. The rhythmic breathing, the sensation of the water against my skin, and the sound of my strokes create a harmonious symphony that drowns out the noise of the outside world. This meditative state promotes mental clarity, relaxation, and even sparks creativity. It's no wonder that some of the greatest minds in history, such as Albert Einstein and Friedrich Nietzsche, found inspiration in the water.
Starting my day with a swim has become a ritual that sets the tone for the rest of my day. The energy and revitalization I experience after a morning swim are unparalleled. It's as if the water washes away any residual fatigue or sluggishness, replacing it with a fresh burst of vitality. The newfound energy propels me through my daily tasks with greater enthusiasm and focus, making me more productive and fulfilled.
If you're yet to discover the joys of swimming, I urge you to find a pool for the summer and dive in. Whether it's a local community pool, a private club, or even a natural swimming hole, there are countless options available. Make a commitment to yourself to be consistent, allocating dedicated time each day to swim. Treat it as both a physical and spiritual practice, nurturing your body and soul simultaneously.
Swimming is an activity that transcends age, ability, and background. It's a universal language that unites people from all walks of life. So, grab your swimsuit, goggles, and towel, and embark on a journey of transformation. Immerse yourself in the water, move your legs and arms, and stretch your body out. Discover the pleasure of gliding through the water, the serenity of a stress-free mind, and the invigorating energy that accompanies each stroke.
This summer, let swimming be your elixir of life. Embrace the pool as your sanctuary this summer, a place where you can find solace, strength, and a renewed sense of self. In the water, you'll swim, be refreshed, and ready to face any day. Dive in and wim.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: In last couple of years, the prices of Ford and Jeep vehicles have skyrocketed, causing concern among potential buyers and industry observers alike. The automotive market has seen a notable shift towards higher price tags, particularly in the pickup truck segment. As Ford attempts to address the issue by announcing price reductions, it is clear that more needs to be done to make these vehicles accessible to debt-ridden Americans. Additionally, the sluggish sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and growing inventory levels demand a comprehensive reevaluation of pricing strategies and incentives in the auto industry. But let's be truthful, like myself, most Americans see car prices way out of line. Those that bought new cars during the pandemic when government was handing out free money, now are in default of their auto loans and we are seeing more bank reposed cars up for auction.
What has helped the car industry is fleet sales. All the car rental and corporate cars that were sold off are now being replaced.
The Rising Costs: The escalating prices of Ford and Jeep vehicles, especially their popular pickup trucks, have raised eyebrows and left many potential buyers in disbelief. A $70,000 price tag for a pickup truck is undeniably stupid steep, and it's understandable why some would argue that pursuing such a purchase might be financially reckless. Wait, don't buy now, these prices are going to have to drop.
Debt-Ridden Americans: Given the economic realities faced by many Americans, it's no wonder that consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford these vehicles. With stagnant wages and rising living costs, the burden of debt has become all too familiar for many individuals and families. In such circumstances, committing to an exorbitantly priced vehicle could potentially exacerbate their financial woes.
Ford's Price Reductions: Ford's recent announcement regarding price reductions is a step in the right direction, signaling an awareness of the affordability concerns surrounding their vehicles. However, it remains to be seen whether these reductions will be sufficient to make their cars and trucks accessible to a wider range of consumers. More comprehensive efforts are needed to ensure that the average American can realistically consider purchasing these vehicles without plunging into overwhelming debt. Ford is going to have to do better, their prices are still way to high.
Need for Lower Production Costs: Automobile manufacturers, including Ford and Jeep, must take a hard look at their cost of production. By identifying areas where efficiencies can be made, they can potentially reduce the overall price of their vehicles without compromising quality. Streamlining manufacturing processes, optimizing supply chains, and exploring innovative cost-saving measures can help bring down the prices and make these vehicles more affordable for consumers.
However, let's be honest again, Jeep wanted to change their business model and price their cars at luxury brand cars. So their prices went crazy because they now want to be known as a luxury brand. Go out and check their prices.
Creating Incentives and Discounts: To encourage sales and alleviate inventory build-up, auto manufacturers should consider implementing robust incentive programs and discounts. These could include cash-back offers, low or zero-interest financing options, and lease specials. Such initiatives can entice potential buyers by reducing the overall cost of ownership and making the vehicles more financially viable. However, really, the only thing that will help them sell their cars - significant price reductions, and you are going to have to change your business model. Government isn't handing out more free money, and Americans bank accounts are drained. Maybe it is time to go back to the old days when Ford said, you can any color that you want as long as it is black.
Addressing the Electric Vehicle Challenge: Apart from the issue of high prices, the sluggish demand for EVs poses a unique challenge for automakers. As the industry transitions towards sustainable transportation, it is crucial for manufacturers to find ways to make electric vehicles more appealing and affordable to a larger customer base. Lowering the prices of EVs, expanding charging infrastructure, and increasing the availability of government incentives can help drive demand and reduce inventory levels.
Now is not the time to purchase a car or truck. Prices have to start dropping as cars become inventory sitting way too long on the car lots. They have to move them, but not with their current prices. If you buy now, you will have purchased a car, taken on more debt, and the value of the car as it leaves the lot puts you into an upside down financial position. Don't be stupid.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: Over the course of my business years I have started five businesses. From bottom - up. At this point in my life I would look for an established business that is in the area of business that I know and have the love for. When it comes to entrepreneurship, two primary options are available: starting a brand-new business from scratch or purchasing an established business. Both approaches have their own merits and drawbacks, and understanding the key differences between them is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs. This article aims to compare the advantages and disadvantages of starting a new business and buying an established business, focusing on the ability to start fresh, client base considerations, and cost implications.
1. Ability to Start Fresh:
Starting a New Business: One of the most appealing aspects of starting a new business is the ability to build everything from the ground up. Entrepreneurs have complete control over the vision, brand identity, products or services, and operational strategies. This freedom provides an opportunity to innovate, implement fresh ideas, and create a unique market presence. For you to build a successful business you must love what you are building. If you are just doing it for the money, you will fail every single time.
Buying an Established Business: Acquiring an established business offers the advantage of hitting the ground running. The new owner inherits an existing customer base, established brand reputation, and operational systems. This can save significant time and effort that would otherwise be required to build a customer base and establish market credibility. However, it may also limit the scope for radical changes or rebranding. Again, as in starting fresh you must buy a business that you would love doing, to bring your expertise into the business to enhance it's direction.
2. Client Base Considerations:
Starting a New Business: A new business typically starts with no existing customer base. Entrepreneurs must work hard to identify and attract their target audience, build brand awareness, and cultivate a loyal customer base. While this can be a challenging and time-consuming process, it allows for tailored marketing strategies and the opportunity to shape the customer base according to the business's vision.
Buying an Established Business: Acquiring an established business means gaining immediate access to an existing customer base. This can provide a head start in generating revenue and cash flow. However, it is important to thoroughly evaluate the quality and stability of the client base before making a purchase. A troubled business with a declining or unreliable customer base may present unforeseen challenges and require considerable effort to rejuvenate.
3. Cost Comparison:
Starting a New Business: Starting a new business typically requires a lower upfront investment compared to buying an established business. The costs primarily include market research, product development, marketing, infrastructure setup, and initial working capital. However, it usually takes time to generate revenue and achieve profitability, making financial planning and securing funding crucial.
Buying an Established Business: The cost of buying an established business can vary significantly depending on factors such as industry, profitability, brand reputation, assets, and intellectual property. While the upfront cost may be higher, there are potential benefits such as immediate cash flow, an existing customer base, established supplier relationships, and trained employees. However, it is crucial to conduct thorough due diligence to assess the true value and growth potential of the business.
Part of the process of starting a new business or buying an existing business is leadership. I have written a book on the basics of leadership call, "You Can Lead." You don't need a degree to lead, but you must know the basics of leadership and build from there. Find a good business mentor that can lead you through both processes of leadership in business. Books by Michael Lodge
Both starting a new business and buying an established business have their own advantages and challenges. Starting a new business allows for complete control, fresh ideas, and tailored customer acquisition strategies. On the other hand, purchasing an established business offers the benefit of an existing customer base and operational systems. The decision ultimately depends on factors such as personal preferences, risk tolerance, industry dynamics, and available resources. Regardless of the chosen path, careful planning, market research, and a solid business strategy are essential for success.
Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: I have the two following business podcasts. I like them because they tell a story and get to the heart of the subject. It's not boring like my podcast, did I just say that? lol But I enjoy these two and I listen to them at night and I always learn.
How I Built This: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1317-how-i-built-this-with-guy-28457179/?autoplay=true
Business Wars: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/272-business-wars-28868089/?autoplay=true
Assessing the Changing American Economy: A Call for Comprehensive Solutions and a Huge Concern For Small Business
"The economy that the government is reporting is not the economy that Americans are feeling"
Michael Lodge - The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: We have gotten off track and have focused on areas that have nothing to do with the economy or running businesses. Political leaders have focused so much on nonsense that they have not focused on the Economy. The economy has been ignored by the President on down to the local governments. Even in the corporate world they have not paid attention to how fast things now move in the economy, new ideas in other currencies, without regulation, environmental and social scoring, that the art of business has been destroyed. The reporting that is done by government is now bad data in and bad data in, in fact it is so bad that they can't make good decisions. We need a change.
The American economy has undergone significant transformations over the years, leading to both advancements and challenges. Today, we find ourselves grappling with a range of complex issues, such as the acceleration of money movement, soaring government debt, surging individual debt, outdated financial models, incomplete economic data, and distressing trends in sectors like commercial real estate and the auto industry. It is crucial that we examine these various facets collectively, rather than focusing on isolated fragments, in order to make informed and effective decisions for the future.
1. The Speed of Money Movement: One notable change in the American economy is the rapid acceleration of money movement. Technological advancements, particularly in the realm of digital payments and global financial transactions, have made it easier than ever for money to flow across borders. While this has undoubtedly facilitated international trade and investment, it has also introduced new challenges, such as the potential for increased economic volatility and financial vulnerability. With the fast movement of money it hurts the reporting and analyses of the data because the numbers change rapidly. The quality control on the money has been corrupted.
2. Rising Government Debt: Another significant shift is the alarming rise in government debt. Years of fiscal imbalances, coupled with factors like tax policy, increased spending, and economic downturns, have contributed to mounting levels of public debt. This trend poses long-term risks, including reduced fiscal flexibility, increased interest payments, and potential constraints on future economic growth. All levels of government have become so political and against each other, they refuse to work together to accomplish a goal - stop spending and creating debt. We never talk about the individual loans and debt created and what can be paid down. Starting with the smallest loans first and paying them down, instead the government keeps adding onto the debt. No one has gone through and sat down with the lenders and renegotiated terms. We see no plans out there from any form of government to address and attack the nations debt. Debt can destroy a family and it can destroy a government.
3. Escalating Individual Debt: The American economy has also witnessed a surge in individual debt levels. Factors such as easy access to credit, rising healthcare costs, stagnant wages, and a culture of consumer lower spending of consumerism have fueled this concerning trend. High levels of individual debt can hinder economic mobility, limit investment opportunities, and increase financial vulnerability for households.
Americans credit card debt has gone out of control because of the pandemic and inflation. The average American credit card debt is concerning. Generation X - ages 41 - 56 - has the highest average credit card debt at $7,070. Gen Z and Millennials saw their average credit card debt increase from 2020 to 2021 - by 11.5% and 5.2%, respectively - while averages dropped for those 41 and older. In total, Americans have an absolute mountain of credit card debt - $986 billion! This is a red flag for banks and could, or will, hit their bottom line. If bank do not become more aggressive in managing this risky debt, they will be hit with huge losses.
4. Outdated Financial Models: The fast-paced nature of economic change has outpaced the adaptability of traditional financial models. Many of these models were developed based on historical data and assumptions that no longer hold true in today's dynamic landscape. This has made it increasingly challenging to accurately predict and manage risks, leaving us susceptible to unexpected shocks and systemic failures.
5. Incomplete Economic Data: Accurate and comprehensive economic data is crucial for effective policy-making and decision-making. However, concerns have been raised regarding the accuracy and completeness of economic indicators such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and unemployment reports. Inaccurate or incomplete data can distort our understanding of the economy, impede effective policy responses, and erode public trust.
With bad data going in you get bad economic policy going out. We can't continue to look at these government reports on the economy because they have been corrupted by politics, no real economic value comes out of these outdated reports. Let's be honest, the unemployment number bragged about by government is so badly reported that it is not telling Americans the true unemployment picture of the nation. Will government try and fix it? Probably not, they really don't care.
6. Commercial Real Estate Challenges: This is a big red flag for the banking industry. The commercial real estate sector is facing significant headwinds, with increasing defaults and foreclosures. Changing consumer behavior, the rise of e-commerce, and the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model. The need to repurpose or reimagine commercial properties is becoming increasingly urgent to prevent further economic losses.
7. Auto Industry Troubles: This is a big red flag for the banking industry. The auto industry has experienced its share of difficulties, with rising loan defaults and repossessions. Factors such as subprime lending, stretched consumer finances, and economic uncertainty have contributed to this trend. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that includes promoting responsible lending practices, supporting consumer financial literacy, and fostering a healthy and sustainable auto market.
To navigate the complexities of the modern American economy, it is imperative that decision-makers adopt a holistic approach. Addressing bits and pieces of the economy in isolation will not yield sustainable solutions. We must acknowledge the acceleration of money movement, tackle rising government and individual debt, update financial models to keep pace with change, and to build to build new financial strategies based on good data.
The other area that government has failed at is in supporting small businesses throughout the United States. The government during the pandemic destroyed the existence of small businesses. Government policies and taxation has closed many businesses, their lack of enforcement of law on retail crimes on small businesses have destroyed the inner city business communities. Instead of protecting the business community and lead the attack on small businesses by allowing crimes to continue, no arrests made. This is not the fault of police, it is the fault of the leadership of city governments and bad district attorneys. Small business has been completely ignored by all levels of government.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, contributing significantly to job creation, innovation, and economic growth. However, in recent years, many small businesses have faced an uphill battle, grappling with increasing failure rates, bankruptcy filings, and a lack of access to adequate funding. Understanding the underlying factors behind these challenges is essential for policymakers, financial institutions, and the business community to develop effective strategies and support mechanisms. Let's look at other issues small businesses are facing without any concern by government.
1. Failure Rates on the Rise: The small business landscape has witnessed a troubling increase in failure rates. Numerous factors contribute to this trend, including fierce competition, changing consumer preferences, inadequate market research, and insufficient business planning. Additionally, external shocks like economic downturns, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic have further exacerbated the vulnerabilities faced by small enterprises.
2. Bankruptcy Filings and Legal Challenges: Mounting financial pressures often force small businesses into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy filings can stem from various causes, such as overwhelming debt, declining revenues, operational inefficiencies, or legal disputes. The process of bankruptcy can be complex and costly, leaving business owners with limited options and often resulting in the closure of the enterprise.
3. Limited Access to Funding: One of the most significant challenges faced by small businesses is the lack of access to adequate funding. Traditional lenders tend to view small businesses as riskier ventures, making it difficult for entrepreneurs to secure loans or lines of credit. This limited access to capital hinders business growth, restricts investments in technology and infrastructure, and stifles innovation.
4. Insufficient Financial Management: Inadequate financial management is a common issue plaguing small businesses. Poor bookkeeping, inadequate cash flow management, and limited financial planning skills can lead to significant challenges in sustaining operations and meeting financial obligations. Without a solid financial foundation, small businesses become more vulnerable to economic downturns and unexpected disruptions.
5. Regulatory and Compliance Burdens: Small businesses often struggle to keep up with the complex web of regulations and compliance requirements. Complying with labor laws, tax regulations, licensing requirements, and industry-specific regulations can be time-consuming and costly. Navigating these regulatory complexities diverts resources away from core business activities and can overwhelm small business owners.
6. Limited Technology Adoption: In an increasingly digital world, small businesses that fail to embrace technology risk falling behind their competitors. Limited technology adoption can result in operational inefficiencies, reduced productivity, and difficulties in reaching and serving customers effectively. The lack of technological infrastructure and digital skills among small business owners can hinder growth and limit competitiveness.
7. Lack of Mentorship and Support Networks: Small business owners often face isolation and a lack of guidance. The absence of mentorship programs, business support networks, and access to experienced advisors denies entrepreneurs valuable insights, opportunities for collaboration, and the chance to learn from others' experiences. Mentorship and support networks are critical in helping small businesses navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and foster resilience.
Conclusion: The challenges faced in this economy and by small businesses in the United States, including increasing failure rates, bankruptcy filings, and a lack of funding, demand urgent attention and supportive measures. Policymakers, financial institutions, and the business community should work collaboratively to alleviate regulatory burdens, enhance access to funding, provide targeted financial education and mentorship programs, and promote technology adoption. By addressing these challenges, we can foster a thriving ecosystem where small businesses can flourish, create jobs, and grow.
Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor - www.lodge-co.com: In recent years, concerns have been raised about the state of the economy, leading many individuals to question whether it is wise to take on additional debt. Rising car prices and auto loan interest rates, soaring home prices, and high mortgage rates have prompted individuals to reevaluate their financial decisions. In this article, we will discuss why having a conservative approach to personal finances, including paying off school loans and budgeting wisely, is crucial in an uncertain economic climate.
The Fragile Economy
The economic landscape is subject to fluctuations, influenced by various factors such as market conditions, government policies, and global events. While current economic indicators may suggest stability in some areas, it is prudent to acknowledge the potential vulnerabilities that exist in the bigger picture. Rising interest rates on auto loans can burden consumers and strain their monthly budgets, making it challenging to meet other financial obligations.
Similarly, inflated home prices coupled with high mortgage rates can discourage potential buyers from entering the housing market. This scenario can lead to a slowdown in the real estate sector, affecting both homeowners and the broader economy. Consequently, individuals may find it more sensible to delay purchasing properties until they are more affordable or until mortgage rates become more favorable.
Paying Off School Loans
One area where individuals can exert control over their financial well-being is by focusing on paying off student loans. These loans often come with varying interest rates and repayment terms, and carrying them for an extended period can restrict one's financial flexibility. By prioritizing the repayment of student loans, borrowers can reduce their debt burden and free up funds that can be redirected toward other financial goals.
Just remember. You wanted to go to college / university. You could not pay for the expense of school by yourself, so you asked the school for help by taking out debt, known as a student loan. You signed on the dotted line. You made the decision to accept this debt. You signed a loan contract. This means you have debt that is your responsibility. It isn't your fellow American, or the government, but it is your personal obligation and now you have to live with it. Now it is time for you to sit down and put together your budget. Money coming in, and money going out, and then stick to the budget until 100% of it is paid off. The ethics of signing those student loan contracts, is ethically you have to pay the loan off.
Budgeting and Financial Conservatism
In times of economic uncertainty, it is essential to adopt a conservative approach to personal finances. Creating and adhering to a budget enables individuals to monitor their income and expenses, prioritize essential needs, and identify areas where unnecessary spending can be reduced. By living within their means, individuals can avoid excessive debt and build a solid financial foundation.
Moreover, maintaining an emergency fund is crucial in protecting oneself against unexpected financial setbacks. An emergency fund acts as a safety net, providing enough liquidity to cover unforeseen expenses without resorting to additional debt. It is generally recommended to save three to six months' worth of living expenses in an easily accessible account. Start with $1,000 and build on that. Put it in a bank accountant that is not associated with your checking and savings account. This becomes a bank account all by itself.
Investing in oneself through continuous education and skill-building can also be an effective way to navigate a fragile economy. By staying updated with industry trends and enhancing personal skills, individuals can increase their employability and potentially secure stable jobs or promotions, even in uncertain economic times.
Do not create more debt. Now is not an economy that can support any debt. It may be a few years, so stay focused.
In an economy characterized by fluctuating interest rates, soaring home prices, and uncertain market conditions, it is crucial to approach personal finances conservatively. Prioritizing the repayment of student loans, creating and adhering to a budget, and building an emergency fund are all sound strategies to mitigate financial risks. By adopting these practices, individuals can protect themselves against economic uncertainties and establish a solid foundation for their financial future.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor, Greenville, SC www.lodge-co.com: During the pandemic Joe Biden sent you a lot of stimulus and unemployment money and you got greedy. You were encouraged by banks to go into debt. You took out car loans on over priced cars, with huge markups, with high interest rates that you could not afford.
19 - 29 year old consumers are now 90 plus days late in paying their car loans. They are now in default and walking away. Cars are now at auction with prices still too high.
Banks who were this greedy and stupid have hurt consumers. The consumer was also stupid for taking on cars and loan debt they could not afford. Now they are in a position where can't can't refinance it, they are upside down. They can't buy a lower cost car, their credit score is screwed up. They don't have money to put down on a different car, they have used up all of their cash.
There will be no soft landing for consumer auto debt, just a big thump. And quite frankly, both consumers and banks will suffer as more and more cars become repossessed by the banks. Banks are now trying to get rid of their defaulted inventory of cars. These late payments will build and it will have to addressed in the financial reports submitted by banks. It has to be addressed, it is a big red flag.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor, Greenville, SC www.lodge-co.com: Over the past few years we all have been watching our world and the unethical side of it. It feels that the spiritual side of our lives have been taken over with the bad side of government, the unethical side, the political side, and the inability for some to make ethical decision. Their work ethics has been polluted by social media that promotes a political agenda of some kind. We have lot sight of our spiritual need to make good decisions, ethical decisions. God speaks a lot about how we should conduct ourselves in business, how we should treat others, and to be diligent in our work.
In the world of business, success is often associated with hard work, determination, and strategic planning. However, from a biblical standpoint, diligence in business goes beyond mere financial gains. Proverbs 10:4 states, "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth." This verse reminds us of the importance of being diligent in our work, not only for personal prosperity but also for the greater good of society. In this article, we will explore the significance of diligence in business as per God's teachings, emphasizing ethical work practices and the responsibility to help others.
1. Diligence as a Virtue: Diligence is a virtue that encompasses commitment, perseverance, and industriousness. From a biblical perspective, it is seen as a characteristic pleasing to God. In Colossians 3:23, it is written, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." This verse encourages us to approach our work with a sense of dedication and integrity, recognizing that our efforts are ultimately directed towards serving God.
2. Ethical Work Practices: Diligence in business involves more than just achieving financial success; it encompasses conducting our affairs with honesty, integrity, and ethical considerations. As Christians, we are called to maintain high moral standards in all aspects of life, including our professional endeavors. Engaging in fair trade, respecting the rights and dignity of employees, being transparent with customers, and adhering to legal and regulatory requirements are all crucial components of ethical work practices.
3. The Responsibility to Help Others: Businesses have the potential to positively impact the lives of individuals and communities. Diligence in business should not only focus on personal gain but also on how we can use our resources and influence to help others. Throughout the Bible, there are numerous references to generosity, compassion, and the responsibility to care for the less fortunate. By practicing ethical business conduct and actively seeking opportunities to aid others, we can contribute to the well-being and prosperity of society as a whole.
4. Building Trust and Reputation: Diligence in business fosters trust among stakeholders, including customers, employees, and partners. When we consistently demonstrate a strong work ethic, deliver quality products or services, and prioritize ethical considerations, we build a reputation of integrity and reliability. This reputation becomes an invaluable asset, attracting loyal customers, skilled employees, and potential investors, leading to long-term success and sustainability.
5. Balancing Diligence with Rest: While diligence in business is crucial, it is equally important to strike a balance between work and rest. God's design includes a rhythm of work and Sabbath, where we find rejuvenation and spiritual nourishment. In our pursuit of success, we must prioritize self-care, maintain healthy relationships, and honor our personal well-being. By finding this balance, we can sustain our diligence in business and avoid burnout.
Diligence in business, as per God's teachings, encompasses more than just financial prosperity. Ethical work practices and a commitment to helping others are essential aspects of conducting business in a manner that aligns with biblical principles. By embodying the virtues of diligence, integrity, and compassion, we can create a positive impact, build trust, and contribute to the betterment of society. Ultimately, through our diligent efforts, we can glorify God by how we conduct ourselves, our businesses, and in working with others.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor, Greenville, SC: Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides individuals and businesses with financial relief when they are unable to meet their debt obligations. Unfortunately, recent data suggests a significant surge in bankruptcies in the United States during the first half of 2023. This article examines the rise in bankruptcy filings, comparing the statistics of 2022 with the current year. In particular, we analyze the substantial increase in Chapter 11, small business bankruptcies, and individual Chapter 13 filings. Additionally, we explore the underlying reasons behind this alarming trend.
Comparative Analysis: 2022 vs. 2023: The bankruptcy statistics for the first half of 2023 have revealed a sharp rise in several key areas compared to the previous year. Notably, Chapter 11 filings have increased by a staggering 68% in the first six months of 2023. Chapter 11 bankruptcies primarily involve the reorganization of businesses, allowing them to continue operations while developing a plan to repay creditors.
Furthermore, small business bankruptcies have surged by 55% during the same period. Small businesses often face numerous challenges, including economic uncertainties, market competition, and limited access to capital, making them more vulnerable to financial distress. The significant rise in small business bankruptcies indicates the adverse impact of these challenges.
Individual Chapter 13 bankruptcies, designed for individuals with regular income, have also seen a notable increase of 23% in the first half of 2023. Chapter 13 enables debtors to develop a repayment plan to satisfy their obligations over a specific period, usually three to five years. The rise in individual Chapter 13 filings indicates that individuals are struggling to manage their debts and are seeking legal protection to address their financial difficulties.
Reasons Behind the Surge in Bankruptcy Filings: Several factors contribute to the surge in bankruptcy filings observed in the United States in 2023. These include:
1. Lingering Economic Fallout: The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on the economy, with many businesses and individuals still grappling with the financial repercussions. Loss of income, loss of jobs, reduced consumer spending, and increased operational costs have taken a toll on businesses, leading to higher bankruptcy rates.
2. Supply Chain Disruptions: The global supply chain disruptions and shortage of critical components have negatively affected various industries, resulting in reduced productivity, increased costs, and diminished revenues. Businesses unable to adapt or recover from these disruptions may resort to bankruptcy as a means of addressing their insurmountable financial burdens.
3. Rising Inflation and Interest Rates: Inflationary pressures and rising interest rates can significantly increase the cost of borrowing for both businesses and individuals. This burden can become unsustainable, leading to financial distress and bankruptcy filings.
4. Evolving Consumer Behavior: Changing consumer preferences and increased online shopping have placed additional strain on traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Businesses unable to adapt to these shifts in consumer behavior have faced declining sales and profitability, driving them toward bankruptcy. Consumer have also cut back on their spending, making tough choices on how to use their available cash.
5. Accumulated Debt Burden: Years of accumulating debt, including personal loans, credit card debt, and student loans, have reached unsustainable levels for many individuals. The burden of mounting debt, coupled with stagnant wages and limited job opportunities, has contributed to the rise in personal bankruptcies.
Americans continue to charge on their credit cards to cover cash flow problems from wages being eaten by inflation. They are almost at the $2 trillion amount of debt. U.S. consumers now owe $986 billion plus. That a 17% plus jump from a year ago, a record high. Credit card interest rates are also playing a role in the higher total debt, reaching their own record highs this year. The average credit card APR recently soared to 20.92%, higher than at any point since the Federal Reserve began tracking annual percentage rates in 1994, according to a study from WalletHub.
The surge in bankruptcies observed in the United States during the first half of 2023 is a cause for concern and needs to be part of looking at the economy as a whole. Americans are extending themselves to increased debt is out of control. Biden economic policies set into motion the inflationary economy that has hurt all Americans. The White House needs has individuals that have advised the President on extreme actions that created financial hardships on Americans. Over government spending continues, the Congress and the White House has not been proactive in lowering the cost of government and raised the debt ceiling that is not ethical in the world of finance. Even though inflation has come down in a small amount, it is nothing to rejoice about because there are too many red flags in the banking industry, commercial real estate loan defaults, car loan defaults and repo's. The green new deal mentality has also infused a red flag economy. The electric grid is not even close to support all the EV's that Biden wants on the road, and the price of an EV is too high for most Americans to afford.
America is now in the red flag zone where anything could happen to disrupt the economy even more. When it will hit, no one knows, we just know it is coming. Americans, always be prepared, be financially conservative, keep to your budgets. We will make it through this nonsense.
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor, Greenville, South Carolina: A few days ago I was listening to a speech that former President Obama was giving on censorship on the internet, social media at Stanford University. He made it very clear that censorship did not go far enough on social media to stop misinformation. Obama, ""But while content moderation can limit the distribution ... it doesn't go far enough... these big platforms need to subject to... regulation." This is troubling when a former President feels that freedom of speech on the internet needs to be regulated. We are getting very close to the use of regulation that Stalin used to keep control of his government and citizens of Russia.
Joseph Stalin's regime is often associated with the suppression of free speech and the stifling of political dissent. As the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, Stalin implemented a series of policies that effectively ended free speech within the country. Under Stalin's rule, the state exercised strict control over the media, education, and cultural institutions. Censorship was pervasive, and any form of expression that deviated from the official party line was ruthlessly suppressed. Political opponents, intellectuals, and writers who dared to challenge the regime were silenced through intimidation, imprisonment, or execution. Stalin's reign of terror created an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship, effectively eradicating any meaningful freedom of speech within the Soviet Union.
Furthermore, Stalin's implementation of communism in the Soviet Union played a significant role in curtailing free speech. Communism, as envisioned by Marx and Lenin, advocates for a stateless society where all means of production are collectively owned. However, Stalin's interpretation of communism deviated from these ideals. Instead of fostering a society where diverse opinions and debates could flourish, Stalin's regime centralized power and established a totalitarian state. The Communist Party under Stalin's leadership became the sole arbiter of truth, and any dissenting voices were considered enemies of the state. The suppression of free speech was justified as a means to maintain the party's control and ideological purity. This resulted in a climate of conformity, where individuals were discouraged from expressing their views openly, leading to the erosion of free speech as a fundamental right. Over the past few years, the U.S. government wanted to be the sole arbiter of truth, and then we found out their truth were lies. The government turned against their citizens and tried to mute the voices of people asking questions and making statements that we then found out to be truths.
The actions of governments and the illegal censorship of free speech on the internet and social media platforms share striking similarities in their impact on the freedom of expression. Both stain the fabric of open discourse and limit the ability of individuals to express their thoughts and opinions without fear of repercussions. Whether through oppressive regulations, surveillance, or the suppression of dissenting voices, both state-controlled actions and unauthorized censorship on digital platforms seek to control the flow of information and restrict the fundamental right to freedom of speech. These shared characteristics underscore the importance of protecting and upholding the principles of free expression, both online and offline, as essential pillars of a democratic society.
Free speech is a fundamental pillar of any democratic society, and the internet has revolutionized the way we exercise this right. However, there have been calls for increased government control over online speech, particularly during the Obama administration. While the intention behind such proposals may seem noble, it is crucial to recognize the dangers inherent in granting the government the power to monitor and control speech on the internet. This article aims to outline the reasons why Obama's approach to regulating internet speech should be opposed.
1. Threat to Free Speech: Allowing the government to monitor and control speech on the internet poses a significant threat to the principle of free expression. The government's involvement in regulating online speech opens the door to censorship and the suppression of differing viewpoints. A healthy democracy thrives on the diversity of ideas and opinions, and any attempt to curtail this diversity undermines the essence of free speech.
2. Slippery Slope: Government control over internet speech is a slippery slope that can lead to further encroachments on civil liberties. Once the government gains the power to regulate online discourse, it becomes increasingly likely that it will extend its control to other forms of expression. History has repeatedly shown that granting authorities unchecked control over speech has resulted in the suppression of dissenting voices and the stifling of political discourse.
3. Chilling Effect on Innovation: The internet has been a catalyst for innovation, creativity, and economic growth precisely because it has provided a platform for unrestricted expression. By introducing government regulation, we risk stifling this spirit of innovation. Entrepreneurs, content creators, and individuals will be hesitant to explore new ideas or engage in controversial discussions if they fear government scrutiny, thereby hindering progress and limiting the potential of the internet as a tool for positive change.
4. Potential for Abuse: Granting the government control over internet speech opens the door to potential abuse of power. History has shown that when governments have the means to control speech, they often abuse that authority to suppress dissent, manipulate public opinion, and consolidate their hold on power. Concentrating such power in the hands of a few individuals or entities undermines the principles of democracy and poses a genuine threat to individual freedoms.
5. Alternative Approaches: Rather than relying on government control, alternative mechanisms can address concerns over online speech. Self-regulation by online platforms, user-driven moderation, and the promotion of digital literacy and critical thinking can create a healthier online environment. Encouraging platforms to develop transparent content moderation policies and empowering users to make informed decisions about the content they consume can foster responsible speech without compromising free expression.
While the intention behind efforts to monitor and control speech on the internet may be driven by concerns over harmful content, it is essential to recognize the inherent dangers of granting the government such power. Free speech is a cornerstone of democracy, and any attempt to limit it jeopardizes the principles upon which our societies are built. It is crucial to advocate for alternative solutions that promote responsible online behavior without compromising the fundamental right to free expression and protecting Americans from the over reach by government to cancel out free speech.
"Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin." - Henry Cabot Lodge
By Michael Lodge, The Business Advisor, Greenville, SC: When Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President of the United States, he promised a new era of economic revitalization and prosperity. His economic agenda, commonly referred to as "Bidenomics," aimed to address income inequality, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs. However, as we approach the midway point of his presidency, it is becoming increasingly clear that Bidenomics has failed to deliver on its promises. This article will assess the shortcomings of Biden's economic policies and explore the reasons behind their failure.
1. Inflation and Rising Prices:
One of the major concerns stemming from Biden's economic policies is the surge in inflation and rising prices across various sectors. The massive stimulus packages, combined with increased government spending, have fueled inflationary pressures. As a result, consumers are experiencing higher costs for essential goods and services, eroding their purchasing power. This has particularly impacted low-income individuals and families, exacerbating income inequality and hindering economic recovery.
2. Tax and Regulatory Burden:
Biden's proposed tax hikes, particularly on corporations and high-income earners, have raised concerns among businesses and investors. By increasing the tax burden on corporations, Biden risks stifling economic growth and discouraging investment. Moreover, the proposed regulations on various industries, such as energy and healthcare, have created additional uncertainty and hindered business expansion and job creation.
3. Labor Market Challenges and American's Personal Finance Challenges:
Despite Biden's promises to create millions of jobs, the labor market has faced significant challenges under his administration. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly played a role in the initial job losses, but the policies implemented to address the economic fallout have hindered job creation. The extended unemployment benefits and enhanced federal support have inadvertently disincentivized individuals from reentering the workforce, leading to labor shortages in several sectors, including hospitality and manufacturing.
RED FLAG - CONSUMER DEBT DEFAULT: This has created a serious debt situation for Americans. Inflation was growing faster then wages, Americans used up their savings and resorted to using their credit cards and placing them in debt. Americans now have an absolute mountain of credit card debt - $986 billion as of the first quarter of 2023. Americans are faced with default on their debt leaving the credit card banking industry challenged. Auto loan delinquencies and defaults are also on the rise in 2023. According to a report from Cox automotive, auto loan delinquency rates have climbed to their highest levels in over 15 years. Auto loans are considered to be "severely delinquent" when past due by 60 days or more. These are red flags that were set by government spending policy that have put Americans in a loan delinquent status, moving people from good credit scores to a hard money, high interest status for future loans.
RED FLAG - BANKING AND COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE DEFAULTS: The US banking and commercial real estate market are on a verge of loan losses and a disaster. Commercial real estate is now starting to turn their keys into their lenders because the asset is upside down and the commercial real estate industry are unable to meet their real estate loan debts, and the defaults have started to gain momentum placing the banking industry in a dangerous position.
4. Lack of Fiscal Restraint:
Bidenomics has been characterized by a lack of fiscal restraint, as evidenced by the massive stimulus packages and proposed infrastructure spending. While some argue that these measures are necessary to stimulate economic growth, the long-term consequences of the escalating national debt cannot be ignored. Excessive government spending without a corresponding increase in revenue places an enormous burden on future generations, potentially leading to higher taxes and reduced economic opportunities. Continued over spending on Ukraine and it's war with Russia is draining finances and the assets from our own US military. Just recently Biden stated we are out of bullets? Really, what commander in chief allows that to happen? His fiscal nonsense has sent billions of dollars to a corrupt nation of Ukraine with no audit trail to see how that money was spent. This is fiscal irresponsibility and dangerous.
5. International Trade and Competitiveness:
Biden's approach to international trade has been inconsistent and has failed to address the challenges posed by global competitors. While he has taken steps to reverse some of the protectionist policies of the previous administration, his administration's stance on issues like intellectual property rights, trade agreements, and China's economic practices remains unclear. This lack of clarity and proactive approach hinders American businesses' competitiveness in global markets.
Conclusion: Joe Biden's economic policies, known as Bidenomics, have fallen short of their promises. The surge in inflation, rising prices, tax and regulatory burdens, labor market challenges, lack of fiscal restraint, and ambiguous approach to international trade have all contributed to the failure of his economic agenda. The long-term consequences of these policies may further hinder economic growth, exacerbate income inequality, and burden future generations. As the Biden administration continues to navigate economic challenges, a reassessment of its policies is crucial to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic recovery for all Americans. Will that happen from Biden? Probably not.
By Michael Lodge, Greenville, SC: I was a strange kid growing up, let's get that out of the way. Three things I loved as a kid were business, history and, yes, the constitution. I saw at an incredibly early age that this document was the beginning and the end of the rule of law of the United States and if we were to attack the constitution, we would see our freedoms corrupted by politics and power. The constitution was written to protect us from government infringing on our freedoms and it's overreach.
My first experience seeing how the constitution works was with my father when I was seven years old. My father worked for an oil company in Seattle, Washington where they wanted him to work on Saturday, his Sabbath. The union wanted him to work on Saturdays and my father said he could not. They threatened him with his job, they would recommend that he be let go, if he did not work on Sabbath. My father went to his church, who had a religious liberty department that took on cases where religious freedom was at risk by employers and unions. It went to court and the court cited that the constitution protected by fathers’ religious liberties and the union backed down and my father was able to keep his Sabbath. I remember it so well, I was only seven at the time, but it always stuck in my mind that the constitution guarantees us many liberties, we are protected from government and civil cases involving employment that infringes on our constitutional rights. A memorable lesson learned.
I learned very early in life from watching my dad’s religious liberty case, that the United States Constitution stands as a cornerstone of American democracy, providing a framework for the nation's governance and protecting the fundamental rights and liberties of its citizens. Among its many vital provisions, the Constitution's commitment to safeguarding freedom of speech and ensuring equality for all Americans has proven to be of paramount importance. By limiting the power of the government to dictate what citizens can and cannot say, the Constitution empowers individuals to express their opinions openly, fostering a pluralistic society that thrives on the exchange of diverse ideas. Additionally, the Constitution's guarantee of equality ensures that every individual is treated fairly and without discrimination. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why the US Constitution plays a crucial role in protecting these cherished principles.
Freedom of Speech: The First Amendment
The First Amendment of the US Constitution explicitly protects the freedom of speech, stating, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." This foundational principle grants individuals the right to express their opinions, ideas, and beliefs without fear of government reprisal. By ensuring that citizens can voice their dissent, criticism, and support, the Constitution enables the vibrant exchange of ideas necessary for the functioning of a democratic society.
Freedom of speech is not without its limits, as certain forms of expression, such as incitement to violence or defamation, fall outside its protections. However, the Constitution strikes a delicate balance, allowing for the regulation of speech only when it poses a direct threat to public safety or the rights of others. This protection extends not only to popular or widely accepted viewpoints but also to minority opinions and dissenting voices, fostering an environment that encourages innovation, progress, and social change.
We have learned within the last few years how the government tried to stop free speech of certain individuals who disagreed with government and their policies. We have heard testimony in Congress how various branches of government overstepped their boundaries and asked social media to remove statements of people, and the scary part is the social media did what the government said. They deleted or used other tactics to shut down tweets and other types of social media messaging systems of people expressing their opinion. They stomped on the constitutional rights of the American people’s freedom of speech. This is a dangerous situation, and the only way to resolve it is through the courts.
Politics is not the law; the constitution is the law. However, politicians that have a political agenda bypass the constitution, and feel their politics outweigh the constitution. If you see a politician going through their talking points on how mad they are at the court’s decisions, and are spinning only politics, but don't have a legal constitutional argument, they are normally always wrong because their politics are more important to them then the law. Remember, a politician sees American's only as a vote, so they spin emotional politics to get to your vote. Even though they take an oath of office to protect and defend the constitution, they run to the power wall and that becomes their law, not the constitution.
Equality and Non-Discrimination
The principle of equality is at the core of American democratic values, and the US Constitution plays a crucial role in ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and without discrimination. The Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, in particular, prohibits states from denying any person within their jurisdiction equal protection under the law. This clause has been instrumental in advancing civil rights, combating racial segregation, and dismantling discriminatory practices.
The Constitution's guarantee of equality encompasses various dimensions, including race, gender, religion, and national origin. It serves as a bulwark against discrimination and provides a legal framework to challenge discriminatory laws or practices. If affirmative action only protects a few groups of people, then the constitution steps in and says all individuals are to be treated equally, and the court makes a justified constitutional correction. The courts have the right to go back and listen to challenges to certain laws passed to see if it is constitutional, not political, and then make a correction. based on the plaintiff and defendants’ constitutional argument.
Protection from Government Overreach
One of the core purposes of the US Constitution is to establish a system of government with checks and balances that prevent abuse of power. By delineating the powers of the federal government and reserving certain rights to the states and the people, the Constitution safeguards against undue governmental interference in individuals' lives and protects against the erosion of freedoms.
The First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech acts as a vital safeguard against government censorship. It ensures that individuals can criticize the government, engage in political discourse, and hold public officials accountable without fear of retribution. The Constitution's commitment to due process and equal protection under the law also serves as a bulwark against arbitrary government action, guaranteeing that every citizen is entitled to fair treatment and the opportunity to be heard.
The next time to hear politicians yelling and screaming against the courts and the constitution, they are infringing against your rights to protect you from government overreach. Forget the politics, and focus on the constitution. Everyone needs to read the constitution, so you are reminded what it is for - it protects you:
CONSTITUTION LINK: constitutioncenter.org/the-constitution/full-text
By Michael Lodge, Greenville, SC: When leaders choose to withhold information, evade communication, and disregard the truth, the essence of effective leadership is lost, paving the way for an ethical problem. Transparent and honest communication is the cornerstone of successful leadership, fostering trust, accountability, and cooperation. When leaders fail to uphold these principles, they not only undermine their own credibility but also erode public trust and confidence. Without open and truthful communication, leaders become disconnected from the needs and concerns of those they are meant to serve, leading to a breakdown in effective decision-making and problem-solving. Ultimately, the absence of genuine leadership characterized by a commitment to communication and truthfulness reflects an ethical deficit, jeopardizing the welfare and progress of individuals and communities alike.
By Michael Lodge, Greenville, South Carolina: In a massive news story and turn of events, the Secret Service recently made an unexpected discovery in the hallowed halls of the Biden White House. Truth reporting has it that an undisclosed amount of cocaine was found in the most unlikely of places — the White House library (or some other room, it changes daily). Yes, you read that right, folks. The library. Apparently (or some other room), someone decided to add a little extra "spice" (blow) to the White House experience.
Now, before we dive into the details, let's address the elephant in the room: Hunter Biden and his well-known history with substance (cocaine) abuse. We all know that Hunter has had his fair share of struggles, but who would have thought that his escapades would possibly reach the White House library (or some other room)? Perhaps he thought he was just being an overachiever by contributing to the literary world in his own unique way. Who knows what he is thinking. We point at Hunter only because at this point he is the only one we know of that uses cocaine, and is in the White House.
Naturally, this revelation has left many Americans feeling a mix of embarrassment and disbelief. It's not every day that you hear about illicit substances mingling with the books in the library (or some other room). This incident has undoubtedly given new meaning to the phrase "getting high at the White House."
While we can't deny the comedic value of this situation, it's important to remember that the repercussions extend beyond a few chuckles. As the news spreads, it's no secret that other nations are having a field day at the expense of the President and the American people. They're pointing fingers, laughing, and questioning the strength and competence of the Commander-in-Chief. After all, nothing says "global power" like a library (or some other room) filled with more than just history and cocaine.
Now, some may argue that it's time to evict Hunter Biden, the wayward first son, from his White House privileges. But let's take a step back and remember that we're all human, and we all make mistakes. The pressure of the spotlight can be overwhelming, and it's no secret that the White House environment can sometimes be a bit stressful. So, let's cut Hunter some slack and hope that he finds his way back to a healthier path. On the other hand, Cocaine is an illegal substance and highly dangerous, and at this point, Hunters eviction from the White House is needed. Hunter Biden is a liability to Joe Biden and the American people.
In the meantime, we can all share a collective chuckle and use this incident as a reminder that even the most esteemed institutions can have their share of surprises. So, the next time you visit a library (or some other room), be sure to check between the pages of your favorite book. You never know what you might find.
The discovery of cocaine in the White House may be an embarrassing moment for the Biden administration, but it's also embarrassing to the American people because they put faith in their leaders. But if they are unable to take care of their family, how can they take care of a nation. To have anyone using drugs in the White House is not fair to the American people. It truly is a disgusting mess in the People House. This whole White House and President is a mess and we have lose leadership in a terrible way. No joking matter, it is serious.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.