Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Today’s topic: Costco's decision to pull a conservative book
I’ve been a Costco member for at least 25 years. I know that you’re a fan (of both Costco and Consumer Reports are fans too).
I’ve tried to ignore the fact that their co-founder, Jim Sinegal, contributes a great deal of resources to supporting Obama (who, I feel, has been the most destructive president in history) and people like him. After all, first amendment rights apply to all. However, this latest stunt of actually pulling a successful book from Costco’s shelves (Dinesh D’Souza’s “America...”) while keeping Hilary’s much lower quality book, can be construed as nothing less than political interference. Regretfully, I’ve chosen to gradually decrease my participation with Costco. I’m curious about any thoughts, comments, etc. you might have.
Bottom Line: I’ll start with an update… Costco has reversed course on its decision stock America in its stores… You’ll find it inside its stores once again. It’s also endemic of the approach that I personally prefer.
I’ve never been a person who stands behind or will encourage boycotts. Despite being one who makes a living with my mouth, I prefer to let my money do the talking if I truly feel as though a company no longer deserves my business (which seems to be the approach you take as well). As a consumer I’m interested in the best products, services and value to suite my needs. As long as a company is delivering in those areas I generally won’t dwell on the political leanings of key executives. For that matter it’s nearly impossible in certain product categories to find conservative leadership (think most technology companies). It’s amazing how much power you have as a consumer by simply voicing your concerns directly to a company you patronize and voting with your wallet if needed. Look how quickly Costco changed its tune.
There is an additional facet to the Costco story. Like most large companies they are public companies. That means that there are shareholders all over the world who own the company. So the CEO is beholden to the shareholders and customers. The bottom line is that it’s his responsibility to make as much money as possible for the shareholders and provide the products, services, and prices that keep customers coming back.
There is only one company that I’ve personally decided to never patronize regardless. It’s a private company that uses resources to attempt to undermine something that’s more important than politics to me… my religion. To each their own – that’s the great thing about economic choice.
Florida's job growth shined again in June:
Bottom Line: ADP’s private sector jobs report for Florida is in. Here are the highlights
- By Industries
- Natural Resources/Mining and Construction 2,260
- Manufacturing -270
- Professional and Business Services 3,890
- Trade, Transportation and Utilities 5,400
So those are the raw numbers from the ADP report. Here’s the additional breakdown. There were 281,000 private sector jobs created nationally in June.
- The 22,620 jobs represented 8% of the national job growth
- Florida accounts for 6.1% of the population of the US
So in other words…
- Florida outperformed the average state by 31% for new jobs created
This has been the trend for nearly three consecutive years. The one negative was clearly in manufacturing. That makes the 2nd month of negative job growth in manufacturing in Florida in 2014.
A way to dramatically improve healthcare outcome and reduce cost significantly:
Bottom Line: For years I’ve been advocating for us to become more informed consumers of healthcare services. I still feel that’s a critical part of turning around the trend of unsustainable healthcare cost increases but if the insurance industry and health care providers change their ways for the better… Here’s the story.
United Healthcare found five oncology centers to agree to a three test project on a new payment system. The way it worked was that once a cancer patient was diagnosed, United Healthcare paid a flat rate upfront fee for the entire process of treatment for each patient (based on the lower end of the average cost of like cancer treatment). Over the three year period 810 patients were treated. Here are the results according to the Journal of Oncology Practice:
- The cost savings totaled 34%
- The outcomes of the patients were better
- The length of time of the treatment was shorter
The main improvement came in the form of fewer unneeded tests that were being performed. That sped up the process and saved significant money. Using the flat rate model could be a significant path forward in truly turning the corner in the cost of healthcare. It incentivizes the medical service provider to be effective and efficient. That’s good for everyone involved.
If you paid taxes last year... The Government gave out $1219 of your money to fraudulent claims:
Bottom Line: You may or may not have heard of the $100 billion of fraudulent payments made by Federal agencies due to clerical errors and poor enforcement. Even if you did come across the report it likely didn’t leave much of an impression with you aside from thinking that it’s more of the same. There was a time that $100 billion of your tax money seemed like a big number… It still is but in a country that has more than $17 trillion in debt, we’ve been desensitized to just how significant the number is and specifically how much it’s costing us. I don’t mean us as in Americans. I mean you and me and Federal tax payers per year. I’ll explain.
- 57% of American households paid net Federal income tax last year
- That comes out to nearly 82 million households
$100 billion spread out across those tax paying households comes to:
- $1219 per household per year
If you were mugged for $1219, that would be a significant and very negative life event. That in essence, is what took place. This is just in Federal benefits paid out. Imagine the waste and fraud across all Federal agencies. Going forward I’m going to be breaking out the figures in per household terms so we have a better picture of just how much of our money is truly being wasted and stolen at the Federal level.
Cash creep - how much cash you're handing out to your kids:
Bottom Line: If you don’t have a structured system for allowances in place with your kids… Perhaps you’ll want to rethink the idea. While it may only be $5 here or maybe a twenty there… It really does add up. According to research from vouchercloud.net the average amount of cash handed to each child per year is:
- $113 per month or $1360 per year
That’s significant, especially if you have multiple kids. So this is where structure could benefit your kids and you.
If you don’t have an allowance type of system in place and just hand over money here in there and instead went to a $20 per week allowance:
- The total cost per child would be $1040 per year
So you could save $320 per child per year and it’s likely that your kids may think they’re getting an even better deal. The bonus is that they could start learning how to budget for items they want and begin to plan accordingly.