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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

How small businesses can keep up with the changing workforce

(ECONOMIC) Trade schools are booming as career outlook grows. College enrollment is down. The workforce is changing. How can small business keep up?



Trade employees in the workforce

College enrollment has dropped off by three million in the last decade, with a drop-off of one million due in the last several years as a direct side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. This phenomenon clearly does not bode well for the future of the United States’ economy and workforce, with students who attend low-income schools and come from low-income families being the most affected. These changes are disproportionately affecting students from low-income schools and families, the very people who need higher education the most, and are erasing much of the work done in the last decade to help close the income and race gap between students, colleges, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Enrollment in trade schools is skyrocketing.

Recently, trade schools have seen a 40% bump in enrollment across the board. Many students are enticed by the fact that trade schools are affordable and offer a quick turnaround, with students paying $16,000 or less for their program, and their training taking a year or less to complete. Beyond that, those who complete trade school is all but guaranteed a job on graduation day. Their earning potential is often two or even three times higher than the initial cost of attending the program. As many have found, the same cannot always be said about those who pursue a college education.

While the average cost of college at an in-state and public institution hovers at around $28,775 per year (according to Forbes) and takes an average of four years to complete means that trade students have a cheaper educational cost, (between $16,000 to $33,000 for the entire program, or about equal to just one year of a public college tuition) can get work in their field more quickly, and can usually make more than their educational costs in their first year on the job. Tradespeople make an average of $54,000 fresh out of trade school, which rivals the role average college student’s first salary of $55,000. It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to forgo a formal education for trade school!

The almost insurmountable cost of college combined with ever-growing inflation and a lengthy list of requirements just to get a post-college job, all for a low salary and with students having hefty loans to pay back, also play a key role in the downturn in the popularity of college.

The implication of fewer college-educated people, however, means that over time, the United States as a whole could face an economic downturn, as it gives rise to many more blue-collar workers. This can irrevocably alter the makeup of the workforce. Despite current unemployment rates being among the lowest they’ve ever been, the American people are already starting to see a shift in the labor market.

Already, we see a strain in the labor market when 25% of skilled workers in the U.S. exited the workforce following the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy has become so highly specialized that if the U.S. were to keep up the trend of losing college-educated workers, there could irreversible damage to the United States’ economy, deepening the ever-growing divide between the middle class and the working class, further reducing the ability to affect the global economy, knocking the United States out of the classification of a “global superpower.” To make matters worse, much of the United States labor pool is outsourced, and we are seeing the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics taking over many jobs, especially minimum wage jobs. While none of these factors alone vastly affect the U.S. labor market, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

So what can employers do when the makeup of the workforce starts to shift?

Employers could shift the focus on the years of experience rather than the type of education the potential employees have, as well as offering more extensive on-the-job training, which is already commonplace in some industries. Even for those with a college education, the requirements for entry-level jobs seldom match the salary, with many employers requiring a four-year degree, two or more years of experience, and fluency in different programs which vary from company to company. Employers, if possible, need to offer higher salaries with fewer requirements, as many young people are finding the pursuit of college, plus the various other requirements just to be considered for a barely above minimum wage job, while they’re drowning in student debt fruitless, so they forgo college altogether.

A post-pandemic society looks vastly different, and employers must adapt to keep up.

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Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.



Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement discrimination.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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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…

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