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Economic News

Freedom of the Press?



Controlling the Message

A poll reported on FOX News yesterday told America that over 60% of us are paying very close attention to the economy and the financial mess on Wall Street- this would be a great thing if the pundits on the issues actually had a clue what was going on.

Irresponsible Rhetoric

I’ve heard on a daily basis that you cannot get a home loan, and each day I’ve reached out to local lenders and asked if anything has changed. Over and over again, I am told that money is flowing fine, and not to listen to the news. Well, that’s great, but 65% of the country is listening to the news, and if it’s wrong, then over 65% of Americans will more than likely believe what they’re hearing.

Who’s in Charge?

I’ve heard over and over again after 9/11 when George Bush called on Americans to go shopping, to spend money, that the country did exactly that. I have to wonder, if the opposite is being said to 65% of Americans today- don’t bother, our economy is dead. Who’s in charge around here? The media? Who determines the course of America’s future- the press? After all, all we heard all weekend was to not to invest in the market, and it surprises me that folks were surprised when a massive sell off occured after the opening bell Monday morning.

Apparently They Control the Message

This isn’t an attack on the free press, but it is an attack on the pulpit they’re being given in a so called crisis. If you give the press enough room they’ll hang us all if no one steps up and leads on the issue. Someone needs to step up, someone needs to set the correct message, someone needs to set records straight, otherwise, the solutions being formulated will only be met in the end with a larger challenge- a paralyzed market.

Recession/Depression is the New Reality

It must be true, because I heard it on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, and on the radio. Why must it be true? Because no one is leading on this issue but the press and they’re leading with a Headline that says “DOOM!”

The credit crunch is real, the ability for businesses to get credit is a huge reality, but I’m not sure that scaring Americans into mattress stuffing is an answer that will help small, medium, nor large employers.

So I’ll Do My Part

Yes, you can get a home loan, yes, you can buy a house, and yes, you can save a ton of money when you buy one, and no, the quick flip is not a great idea, but the long term investment of home ownership is.

Help your local small businesses by doing some shopping, call your stock trader and see if there are any choice bargains and pick up a few shares, take your family out to eat, trade in that gas guzzler for something a little more efficient. I don’t care what you do, so long as you don’t allow your fears to overtake you.

I realize that what I am saying is not a gut wrenching analysis of the economy and financial problems in the market, but rather, a snapshot of a country that is gripped with fear that is being fed between each commercial break- by what we call “the free press.”

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Steve Simon

    October 7, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Understand the reason Mr. Benn;
    The press on a National basis is liberal to conservative over three to one.
    They, the left wing portion of this body knows that the crisis hurts the chances of the party of the President and helps the party which is challenging them.
    There has been almost non-stop blame for the already beaten to a pulp “GW”. It is absurd to blame this individual for this situation.
    I have written quite a bit on this over the last few years:
    The CRA,
    R. Rubin’s rules re-write in 1995,
    the 2.5% reserve for FNMA & FHLMC instead of 10%, diversity numbers, etc.etc.
    As you said private money would have picked through this enormous pile looking for bargains like a herd of shoppers at the “closeout” rack, had the Government not acted in the grandstand manner in which it did.
    The lobby efforts of the secondary players was huge and it worked…
    I would guess this propells the Big “O” to the Oval office; which was the goal of the media from the git go.
    Just my thoughts.
    PS Ironic though, the crisis and the bailout, the very factors that gets him in may make this one of the toughest four year sessions in that chair, ever… be careful what you wish for:)

  2. Missy Caulk

    October 7, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Benn, wow, this was powerful and I so agree. Thanks goodness, I don’t sit in front of my TV everyday and become a part of my psyche. I heard someone say today on a blog the banks should be nationalized. God help us if this happens.

    Steve, I am with you on you analysis.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    October 7, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Benn – Loved this! I’m tired. Tired of being made to believe the world in crashing in around me. Sure, things aren’t as great as they could be. I’m not saying that by any means. Of course, I’m also tired of hearing agents and brokers in my area insist there’s NOTHING wrong. No matter which side of the story you’re on (“the sky is falling” or “everything is just fine”), I don’t care…just stop feeding me crap (you referring to the world, not YOU as in Benn). I’m tired of spin. I’m tired of statistics that are pulled to justify ones position, but don’t paint the whole picture – just the rosy (or gloomy) part you want painted.

    I’m bored. I’m tired. And I’m happy…happy that someone like Benn can say this without making me feel like I’m being told what he’s been trained to tell me by someone else.

    If we could all speak this frankly to our clients everyday (not just when the world seems to going down in flames – according to the TV) I think agents just might finally remove some of the negative stigma that has been associated with them by people who feel we’re overpaid, sneaky, used car-salesman. This kind of honest talk, without sounding like you’re “above someone” is what the world needs. Thank you Benn…for giving me the feeling I have after reading this and also for making me know that I am on the right path.

  4. Mark Eibner

    October 7, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    we’re at it again Freedom of the Press?: Welcome to get our of your feedreader weekend!..

  5. Lisa Sanderson

    October 7, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Well said, Benn. And ditto what Matt said. I just want some spin-free information and I am sure everyone else does too.

  6. Mark Eckenrode

    October 7, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    from an objective standpoint, this is all following a great marketing process. unfortunately, it’s persuasion and influence in the hands of some bad people who are simply using the mass media as their communication channels.i wish it was just as simple as “damned media” but it ain’t.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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