Seattle Will Now Be Taxing Its Rich. Should Philly Be Doing the Same?

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Looks like the city of Seattle’s at it again.

Despite a recent independent study conducted by the University of Washington that found that the city’s planned $15-per-hour minimum wage is already driving away small businesses and reducing employment, the town’s elders are still not satisfied. So last week, Seattle’s City Council approved a new measure that would impose a 2.25 percent income tax on the “wealthy” — those making $250,000 per year individually (or $500,000 jointly).

“Seattle is challenging this state’s antiquated and unsustainable tax structure by passing a progressive income tax,” the city’s mayor was reported as saying by Fox Business. “Our goal is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness, while ensuring Seattle stands up to President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare, and social services. This is a fight for economic stability, equity, and justice.”

Ah yes, it’s Trump’s fault. Read more »

It’s Time for Single-Payer Health Care

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I frequently travel around the country meeting and speaking with business groups about issues affecting their companies. The business groups I speak to are located in places like Montana, Ohio, Nebraska, and Texas. Many of the attendees are farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers. Most of them don’t live in big cities. And yes, like me, the majority of them lean to the right. Some even fall over.

Of course, health care is a major part of those discussions. And you know what I’ve found? We right-leaning conservatives actually have a whole lot in common on that issue with our left-leaning friends. OK, not with Lena Dunham. But more than you may realize. Read more »

Forget Trump and Macron — We All Suck at Handshakes

President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels on May 25th. Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

If you’re honest with yourself, you know this: You suck at handshakes. I totally do. And so does Donald Trump. I sympathize.

Trump had a few, very type-A handshakes with French president Emmanuel Macron this week that caught the world’s attention for their comic vigor. And this wasn’t our president’s first handshake drama: He famously avoided shaking hands with Angela Merkel at a White House meeting in March, and had a bizarre yank-and-move interaction with Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau in February. Read more »

Nordstrom Rack’s Roving Cashiers Are Exactly What We Want

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C’mon, admit it: You hate people like I do, right? OK, maybe not hate hate — but the fewer of them around, the better. Well, here’s a secret the next time you go shopping.

At the Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street, you don’t have to wait in line with other annoying people to purchase an item any longer. You can if you want. But instead, just find a store employee on the floor and ask to checkout. Chances are that the floor employee will be able to ring up your purchases and take your credit card with a smartphone that they’re now carrying around. They’ve only been doing this for about a month. Unfortunately for the employees at Nordstrom, this will ultimately result in fewer cashier jobs. That’s bad for them. But it’s reality. And it’s our fault. Read more »

Actually, There’s a Very Simple Way to Protect Yourself From Ransomware

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So, now you know what ransomware really is.

For the past year, I’ve been talking to my clients about it. I’ve been speaking and writing about it. I’ve watched it turn into an enormous, profitable, underworld industry. Now you’ve seen the effects. You read the reports over the weekend about how the WannaCry virus found a flaw in Windows XP and infected something like 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals in more 150 countries, even risking lives by shutting down Britain’s National Health System. You now know how real (and dangerous) it is. Read more »

If Pennsylvania’s Drinking Age Were Lower, Timothy Piazza Would Be Alive

Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

I have a niece who is British. A couple of years ago she visited and stayed with my daughter, who attends a large out-of-state university. Both had a great time together. But when I asked my niece what she thought of the social scene at my daughter’s college, her response wasn’t as great — in fact, she was kind of shocked. “The Americans drink way too much,” she told me. “It’s like their whole life revolves around alcohol.” My niece was 19 years old at the time.

Setting aside some Muslim countries where drinking isn’t allowed at all, the drinking age in the United States is, at 21, among the highest in the world. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a push to reduce the drinking age to 18 to coincide with the draft age and the recently lowered voting age. Those were the days of Vietnam, and the sentiment was Hey, if you’re old enough to risk your life in a firefight, you’re old enough to have a beer afterward. Read more »

This Is Why You Should Respect the People Who Voted for Trump

Photo by ginosphotos/iStock

Photo by ginosphotos/iStock

“The first 100 days used to be a honeymoon period for presidents, but not for him. Everybody’s hammering him, especially the news media, but he’s doing the best he can.”

That was said by Jack Bednarksi in this recent Philly.com article. Bednarski is a small-business owner in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. I don’t know him. But I’m going to bet, like most people, he’s a pretty good guy. And yes, for Pete’s sake, he’s a Trump supporter.

Can you still respect him? Of course you can. Read more »

Bill O’Reilly’s Firing Wasn’t “Capitalism at Work”

Photo via Fox News

Photo via Fox News

Capitalism: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. — Merriam-Webster

Ellen Gray, who is an excellent TV critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a commentary last week in which she said that Fox News’s recent dismissal of Bill O’Reilly was just “capitalism at work.”

“Make enough money for a company, and allowances get made,” she wrote. “Threaten the bottom line, and even the most understanding bosses get antsy.”

From a business owner’s perspective, I really don’t agree. O’Reilly’s firing had nothing to do with capitalism. Read more »

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