Economist Arthur Laffer discusses tax policy, economic growth

first_imgNatalie Weber | The Observer Economist Arthur Laffer spoke on the keys to a flourishing economy and the need for a flat tax system and lower economic regulations Tuesday in a lecture hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom.Sound money, spending restraint and free trade are also key ingredients of a flourishing economy, Laffer said. Additionally, he said, a government should minimize regulations and allow the economy to operate as freely as possible.“You need regulations, but what you want to make sure is that these regulations do not go beyond [the] specific purpose at hand and create a lot of collateral damage to the economy,” he said. “So you want regulations, but you want low or minimal regulations to achieve your objective.”Laffer discussed the relative growth and decline in Gross Domestic Product per adult over the years, which hit a significant high during former president John F. Kennedy’s administration. This peak, he said, was a direct result of Kennedy’s sweeping tax cuts.“The economy growth in that period was called ‘go-go 60’s,’” Laffer said. “If you look at real Gross Domestic Product per adult de-trended, the thing goes right through the ceiling under John F. Kennedy.”Both former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton also created tax policies conducive to growth, Laffer commented. During Laffer’s time as an advisor to Reagan, the administration enacted sweeping tax cuts, which Laffer said dramatically increased economic productivity.“We cut the highest marginal income tax rate in the U.S. from 70 percent to 28 percent,” Laffer said. “We cut the corporate rate from 46 percent to 34 percent. We cut the capital gains tax rate, deregulated the economy, proposed and wrote NAFTA. If you look at the real Gross Domestic Product per adult de-trended it just [explodes] — not quite as good as Kennedy, but it really did well.”Compared to these policy changes, the Trump administration’s recent tax reforms have brought about similar levels of economic growth, Laffer said.“What Trump did in this tax bill, which I worked on with him a lot, is he cut the highest [business tax] rate from 35 percent to 21 percent,” Laffer said. “He cut the personal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. He cut the pass through tax rate from 39.6 percent to 28.6 percent. … It is the best tax bill I have seen in any administration of the U.S. in the president’s first term. It’s amazing and it bests Kennedy’s [tax bill] as well.”Laffer also discussed the tax reforms of 1986, when Congress began moving towards a flat tax model, creating similar tax rates for citizens regardless of income.“We got rid of all these deductions, exemptions and exclusions and loopholes,” Laffer said. “We made it exactly revenue neutral. We cut the highest rate from 50 to 28 [percent], cut the corporate from 46 to 34 [percent], raised the lowest rate to 15 percent. We had two [tax] brackets … and that’s it.“Can you imagine that tax bill today in Congress. No? Not a chance. There wouldn’t be a Republican or a Democrat who would vote for that today. There really wouldn’t. Guess what the vote was in the Senate in 1986? The vote was 97 to 3.”Still, Laffer said he remains confident in the U.S. economy.“When you look at the state of the U.S. economy today, my view is you are going to see an enormous expansion of the U.S. economy within the next 50 years,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a real explosion of upward growth and employment and I just want you to all to know that the best, in my opinion, is yet to come.”Tags: Arthur Laffer, supply side economics, tax policy, Tax Reform, The Trump Administration Commonly known as ”the father of supply-side economics” and creator of the Laffer curve, economist Arthur Laffer advocated for a flat tax system and lower economic regulations Tuesday during a lecture hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom.To create a prosperous economy, a country should implement a low tax rate and ensure people are paying similar rates regardless of income bracket, Laffer said.“You want a low rate, broad base flax tax system,” he said. “You’ve got the low rate to provide people with the least incentives to evade, avoid or otherwise not report income and you want a broad base tax to provide people with the least number of places they can put their income and avoid taxes.”last_img read more

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Hurry Up & Find Your Seats! Ushers: The Front of House Musical Will Transfer to the West End

first_imgI beg your pardon, ladies and gents, but we think you’re going to enjoy this one! Ushers: The Front of House Musical is transferring to London’s Charing Cross Theatre for a limited engagement, following its celebrated premiere at The Hope Theatre in Islington. Directed by Max Reynolds, the uproarious musical comedy will begin performances March 7 at the West End theater. Opening night is set for March 12 and Ushers will run through April 19. Ushers features music by Yiannis Koutsakos, lyrics by James Oban and Koutsakos, and a book by James Rottger. The production also includes additional lyrics by James Rottger, choreography by Russell Smith and musical direction by Michael Riley. Starring Ralph Bogard, Ross Mcneill and Liam Ross-Mills, Ushers is set in a West End theater and follows a working shift in the lives of the stagiest people in the theater—the front of house staff! A preview performance of a new jukebox musical is due to take place, a three-year workplace romance is on the rocks, an untrained newbie is working her first shift and the manager is under pressure to cut costs. What could possibly go wrong?center_img View Commentslast_img read more

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Mace completes financing with Cleveland group

first_imgMace Security International, known primarily for its pepper spray and other personal defense products, has announced that it has completed a multimillion dollar financing led by The Ancora Group in Cleveland, Ohio.  After the financing, Ancora and its investment partnership, Merlin Partners LLC will have achieved an approximate 35 percent ownership in Mace. Mace Personal Defense Products division is based in Bennington, Vermont. At the same time Cleveland businessman, Richard Barone, Chairman of The Ancora Group, has been elected Chairman of Mace. Other Clevelanders elected to the board include Denis Amato, Chief Investment Officer at Ancora and Larry Pollock, Managing Partner of Lucky Star Partners and former President of Cole National.In 2009, Barone was elected to the Mace board to help resolve a variety of problems that the company was facing. Mace’s problems arose when it leveraged its balance sheet through the purchase of unrelated businesses such as car washes and an internet marketing company. At the same time, Mace became embroiled in an EPA matter at its pepper spray division in Vermont. The company was also accused of employing illegal aliens at its car washes.  In addition, Mace lost a substantial sum in a Ponzi scheme inFlorida.According to Barone, “During the past two years we have resolved all of these issues. We are no longer in the car wash or internet business. We have settled all matters which could affect our balance sheet.  Our two remaining divisions, wholesale remote monitoring of homes and warehouses and pepper spray security products, are doing well.  The recently completed financing provides Mace with the financial strength to grow its personal defense product lines.”Mace intends to build its reputation and brand as a personal security company with the introduction of new products and services. The recent bear attack on a group of teens in Alaska might have been averted if the victims had been able to use Mace bear spray at the time of the attack. After the attack, the injured waited nine hours for help to arrive.  Mace is also expecting to introduce a GPS product which, when activated, will send a signal to its monitoring division in Anaheim, California. Local authorities would then be immediately notified of a victim’s location.Mace is publicly traded under the symbol MACE.For more information about The Ancora Group, visit www.ancora.net(link is external).  For more information about Mace, visit www.mace.com(link is external).SOURCE Mace CLEVELAND, Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

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The Best Small Mountain Town

first_img A.T. Register RUNNERS UPDAVIS, W.VA.Davis is one of those mountain towns with so much going on, it’s hard to wrap your head around it, but this quaint West Virginia hamlet is best known for its world-class mountain biking. Ride out from town and in two minutes you can be on bomber singletrack like the rugged Plantation Trail or the appropriately named Moon Rocks. The opposite side of town features the trails of Blackwater State Park and the Dobbin House system and a great view of Blackwater Canyon. Literally everywhere you look there is a mountain bike trail, so stop by Blackwater Bicycles for all the beta before heading out.The Blackwater River and its tributaries are stocked with trout, so bring your rod in the spring and fall. In winter, hit the slopes at Canaan Valley or Timberline for alpine and White Grass for miles of backcountry cross-country skiing. No visit to Davis would be complete without resting those quads at Hellbenders with a Mountain State brew and a burrito as big as your face. The locals are very friendly so don’t be afraid to chat them up at the bar.LEWISBURG, W.VA.Lewisburg is the cultural center of West Virginia. Just a few miles from the Virginia/West Virginia border, it’s home to one of only four Carnegie Halls in the world. Its entire downtown is designated a National Register Historic District, so stepping into Lewisburg is like stepping back in time.It’s also fast becoming the outdoor center of West Virginia. The Greenbrier River flows just east of town and is a beautiful smallmouth bass fishery, and its tributaries run cold and clear, holding wild brook trout. From Lewisburg, you can easily hop on the 78-mile Greenbrier River trail or hike one of the many trails in nearby Greenbrier State Forest. Not into roughing it? Just down the road in White Sulphur Springs is the Greenbrier Resort, a luxury resort tailored to outdoor-minded folks.CLOSE CONTENDERSBREVARD, N.C.The gateway to Pisgah, Brevard is the capital of mountain biking in the Blue Ridge. Dupont Forest is just down the road, and hikers, trail runners, and anglers flock to the Davidson River.LURAY, VA.Surrounded by Shenandoah National Park, this valley town famous for its caverns has fishing and canoeing on the Shenandoah River to the west and cycling on Skyline Drive to the east.DAMASCUS, VA.Trail Town, USA is at the crossroads of the A.T., Virginia Creeper, and Iron Mountain Trails. One of Virginia’s best trout streams, Whitetop Laurel, and Mount Rogers are right outside town.BRYSON CITY, N.C.Tubing on Deep Creek, biking at Tsali, hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, running the Nantahala—what more could you ask for in a mountain town?FAYETTEVILLE, W.VA.There is more to this town than just anchoring one side of the New River Bridge. This funky paddling town bordering the New River is also the gateway to the new Arrowhead Trail System, a boy scout built mountain bike mecca.BLAIRSVILLE, GA.Blairsville is the closest town to the state’s highest point, and toughest cycling climb, Brasstown Bald, while Nottely Lake provides endless open water recreation opportunities.BLUE RIDGE, GA.A gem of north Georgia, the Trout Capital of Georgia is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest and is on the banks of the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. The Cohutta Wilderness is the largest in the East.CASHIERS-HIGHLANDS, N.C.Double dip with these twin towns inside Nantahala National Forest. Panthertown Valley, Whiteside Mountain and the Cullasaja River await your visit.OHIOPYLE, PA.What Ohiopyle lacks in population (60 people), it makes up with some of the best whitewater in the U.S. on the Youghiogheny River and hiking in Ohiopyle State Park.CHEROKEE, N.C.Cherokee has some of the best trout fishing in N.C. and is the southern gateway of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nestled beside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s an ideal hiking and backpacking trailhead.PEMBROKE, VA.Flanked by Jefferson National Forest, Pembroke is the take out for one of the most scenic sections of the New River—and also one of the most idyllic fishing spots, with abundant smallmouth and musky.WAYNESVILLE, N.C.Just west of Asheville, Waynesville has great access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and more rivers than you could fish.FRANKLIN, N.C.Seems all roads lead to this town smack in the middle of Nantahala National Forest, which is great for cycling or taking in the vast amount of area waterfalls like Bridal Veil.SYLVA, N.C.With the Smokies just north and the Tuckasegee River flowing just to the west, Sylva is a fly fisherman’s nirvana.ELLIJAY, GA.This gateway to Chattahoochee National Forest is quickly gaining a mountain biking reputation and is also close to A.T. terminus Springer Mountain.WHITESBURG, KY.Bad Branch Gorge and Breaks Interstate Park are both within easy driving distance of this art community.SLADE, KY.Inside Daniel Boone National Forest, Slade is the launch point for treks into the Red River Gorge and its epic hiking and climbing. • Lover’s Leap: The A.T.’s first trail town holds a special place in the heart of Northbound thru-hikers.Named for the only natural hot spring in the state, the town has long been a destination for those seeking its healing powers. In 1837 Hot Springs reached its zenith as a destination resort when James Patton built the 350-room Warm Springs Hotel on the site of the spring. When that hotel burned 46 years later, another was built in its place, complete with lavish marble-lined tubs, tennis courts and the Southeast’s first organized golf club and 9-hole course. Things were looking up for Hot Springs, until that luxury hotel burned down as well. Following several more hotel burnings and rebuildings, Hot Springs was almost forgotten as a tourist destination and virtually fell off the map.Today, however, Hot Springs is again attracting visitors from all over the United States and beyond, and not just for the 108-degree mineral water. Nestled in the heart of Pisgah National Forest, the town is located at the crossroads of two of the most important outdoor resources in western N.C.: the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River.“The three pillars of the town are the hot springs and the Hot Springs Campground; the river with the rafting, canoeing, and kayaking; then the trails, the A.T., and all the side trails around here,” explained Wayne Crosby, owner of Bluff Mountain Outfitters.The A.T. literally runs right through downtown: the sidewalk outside Bluff Mountain is marked with white blazes. Hot Springs is the first major town hikers pass through when heading north from Springer Mountain, Ga. This first trail town designation is one reason why thru-hikers have a special place in their heart for Hot Springs: after a humbling 200 miles, that first hot shower can leave quite an impression. When asking locals how they ended up in Hot Springs, more often than not you’ll hear a story that begins with “Well, I thru-hiked the A.T.…” and ends with “…and then I moved back.” This is the story of Crosby, who thru-hiked when he was 19 years old and spent a couple weeks in town painting porches. This is also the path of Sunny Riggs, who hiked the A.T. in 2002 and returned to open ArtiSUN Gallery, a local art boutique and café in the historic Iron Horse Station Inn building.Randy Anderson, more commonly referred to by his trail name “Chuck Norris,” jumped at the chance to relocate to Hot Springs and give back to the town that buoyed his spirits and re-energized his aching legs during his thru-hike. He now manages the newly re-opened Laughing Heart Hostel, which sits a literal stone’s throw from the northern terminus of the A.T. as it comes into town. The hostel hosted over 850 hikers in its first spring, and Anderson says the draw of the town is just as powerful as ever.“In the hostel we have come close to coming up with a three-day maximum stay because hikers get to town and they decide they like it so much that four days have gone by and they’re still here,” he said. “So we have to nudge them along quite often because they start to make this home and they really like the small town feeling.”The small town feeling is definitely hard to escape when visiting Hot Springs, mainly because it only has about 650 permanent residents. The population swells in the spring as northbound thru-hikers come through town, and in the summer when the French Broad, Spring Creek, and Laurel River attract whitewater and tubing enthusiasts from around the South. Folks also flock to the town for section hikes like the 20-mile Max Patch to Hot Springs overnight, and day hiking loops connected to the A.T. near town like the Pump Gap Loop and Roundtop Ridge. The French Broad attracts anglers with its smallmouth bass and musky fishing, while the abundant small creeks in the area hold healthy populations of trout. Hot Springs is also gaining a reputation as a romantic weekend and wedding spot. With accommodations ranging from $15 campsites to plush lodges in the several-hundred-a-night category, there is something for everyone right within the town limits.Despite the influx of out-of-towners, the locals have embraced visitors and now designate themselves the ‘Most Welcoming’ town on the A.T. Hikers low on funds frequently trade lodging for yard work at places like Laughing Heart and legendary A.T. hostel Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn, or take part in town-wide Thursday night potluck dinners. The town also hosts several music and outdoor festivals that draw thousands on any given weekend.“Our focus is on nature and people,” says Sandy West, who manages the Hot Springs Spa with her husband, Rod. “We have no franchises, we have no red light, we are new to the cell phone world. Many people who live in Hot Springs do not have a car so they do not leave the area and yet, they are here and very open to people who visit.”The people of Hot Springs have embraced the town’s new identity as an outdoor destination at the crossroads of the A.T. and the French Broad. But it is the true small town atmosphere that keeps visitors coming back year after year.“We have figured out who we are and where we’re going. We’re pretty comfortable with that,” said Anderson. “This is a town that not only has a river that runs through it, but has the world’s most celebrated trail running through it. How cool is that?”Best Mountain Towns – Hot Springs from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.HOT SPRINGS QUICK HITS5 minutesFollow the white blazes across the bridge over the French Broad and get on the Lover’s Leap trail for great overlooks of the town and river. Finish with a soak at one of the streamside tubs at the Hot Springs Spa and a bite from Cliff at The Food Shack.15 minutesHead east out of town to Route 208 and fish the delayed harvest section of Big Laurel Creek. Hike or ride the railroad grade Laurel River Trail to the abandoned mining town of Runion.30 minutesVenture south to one of the most spectacular balds in the southern Appalachians, Max Patch. Grab a raft or kayak and paddle the Class III-IV Section 9 of the French Broad as it comes into town. Downtown Hot Springs The Laughing Heart Lodge and Hostel is a stone’s throw from the A.T. Trail town: The sidewalk of downtown Hot Springs is marked with the A.T.’s white blazes. Laughing Heart Lodge and Hostellast_img read more

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Member of NC rescue squad dies while searching for hiker who fell from Whitewater Falls

first_imgEldon Jamison, 71, a 40+ year member of the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad (GCRS), died Tuesday while searching for a person who had fallen into the water at the base of Whitewater Falls.  On Monday, May 4, Jackson County Emergency Management received a call about a person who had fallen into the water at the base of the waterfall. The victim, 24-year-old Chandler Manuel from Rockwell, N.C., had been hiking with a group of people, including his brother, on the Foothills Trail. At the time of the incident, the Whitewater Falls area was closed to the public, though the trail leading to the area below the falls was open. Photo of Upper Whitewater Falls – Courtesy of Getty Images Members of the GCRS responded to the emergency, including a rugged remote high line operations repelling team from GCRS. Jamison, a longtime member of squad, fell from a rope as he searched for Manuel. His body was retrieved from the bottom of the falls by the National Guard N.C. Heart helicopter team, Jackson County Emergency Management said in a press release.  Eldon Jamison was a “Great man,” one commenter said on the Jackson County Emergency Management Facebook page. “[I] worked with him for 35 years. Friendly, caring and so dedicated in helping others! He will be missed greatly!” Before his death, Jamison held many offices within the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad, including Captain and Assistant Captain, and he was one of the original employees of the Glenville-Cashiers EMS, joining the force in 1984. He was widowed and leaves behind three children. The search for Manuel continued on Wednesday. His body was located at 3:45 at the bottom of Whitewater Falls, where he was last seen.last_img read more

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Chile Seeks Planned Withdrawal of Its Troops in Haiti

first_img Chile wants to begin a “gradual and proportionate” withdrawal of the troops participating in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), starting in 2012 and lasting until 2016, Defense Minister Andrés Allamand said. “The idea is to establish a timeline for the Chilean military presence in Haiti. Along those lines, the plan that we’ve developed (…) is that next year, we should move forward on a gradual and proportionate withdrawal of our troops” in Haiti, Allamand said, when submitting his ministry’s annual report. According to the Minister, “if the current situation in Haiti is maintained, there will have been ten years of democratic normality by that date, and the second orderly transfer of power from one democratic administration to another will have taken place.” Chile has contributed troops to the United Nations peace mission in Haiti since 2004, alongside Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, and it maintains a contingent of around 500 military and police personnel in that country. In August, during a visit to Chile, Haitian President Michel Martelly expressed his desire that MINUSTAH become a “development” mission. Today, MINUSTAH has around 12,000 personnel, including 8,900 soldiers and 3,300 police officers, and is commanded by former Chilean Foreign Minister Mariano Fernández. MINUSTAH was created by the UN to replace the multinational force of 3,600 – composed chiefly of U.S. and French personnel – that arrived in Haiti in February 2004 seeking to reestablish security and facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid following the departure of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. By Dialogo December 22, 2011last_img read more

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JTF-Bravo Treats Indigenous Tribe in Panama

first_imgBy Dialogo August 07, 2012 Members of Joint Task Force-Bravo, partnered with Panama’s Ministry of Health and National Border Service (SENAFRONT), to provide medical and dental assistance to nearly 1,600 indigenous people during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), from July 17-20. The cooperative team provided medical and dental care to the Guna tribe who inhabit many small islands along the northeastern coast of Panama, between El Porvenir and Colombia. “Compared to all the other MEDRETEs I’ve been on, this was the first time that there were more host-nation providers than U.S. military providers,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel Bart Diaz, Medical Element (MEDEL) Commander at JTF-Bravo. “It all came together in an integrated fashion with our host nation providers, from the Panama Border Service and Ministry of Health working alongside U.S. military medical providers.” More than 350 patients received 651 immunizations, while the pharmacy dispensed 757 prescription medications. The medical team performed 18 pap smears and delivered three babies. Two Guna mothers were so appreciative of the team that they named their newborn babies after U.S. Air Force Major Brent Waldman and Dr. Wilmer Amador, both dentists with the JTF-Bravo MEDEL. “It’s really an honor that a mother would give her child my name,” said Maj. Waldman. “It’s really amazing.” JTF-Bravo partners with host-nation health agencies to conduct MEDRETEs throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. The exercises alleviate human suffering, develop relationships with host-nations and enhance medical capabilities in the region. U.S. Army Captain John Schlict, Panama Mission Commander, said the team succeeded in accomplishing its pre-deployment goals. “Having the MEDRETE combined with the Panama Border Service exercises, JTF-Bravo was able to meet our four mission objectives for this operation, which were to bolster SENAFRONT as a legitimate authority in the region, develop Panamanian medical capacity, execute mission command and improve expeditionary medical capabilities in the region to help the people of Guna Yala.” The opinion of the officer, major Waldman, is interesting, regarding a patient choosing his name for one of his children. Already at a distance, I remember being in the Northern Department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala; and an acquaintance claimed for his child the name of a character who will always be remembered, the first suggestion, right by the way, was: Ronald Reagan and so since then in this country it exists as a single name of the well-remembered American President. It is usual in rural villages especially but also urban region, to forever remind people that one way or another have made something for life and survival.last_img read more

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NAFCU to FCC: Clear up TCPA uncertainty for CUs

first_imgNAFCU asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clear up confusion surrounding the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) in light of recent court decisions so credit unions can contact their members without fear of inadvertently breaking the law.The association’s call for action and rulemaking was sent Tuesday to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, whom NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger met with in May to discuss the commission’s approach to Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rulemakings. The letter was also sent to Commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, and Jessica Rosenworcel.NAFCU’s letter, sent by Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt, explains that the FCC’s 2015 order “created an environment that produced absurd results and lined the pockets of plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking to take advantage of a vague statute and the Commission’s expansive interpretation.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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CECL cited top compliance challenge, CU relief still needed

first_img continue reading » Credit unions consistently cite the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard as one of, if not the, biggest compliance challenge they are facing, and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) should search for any opportunities to provide relief to credit unions, CUNA wrote Wednesday. CUNA’s letter was sent to FASB, who issued CECL, in response to a proposed delay of the standard for credit unions to January 2023.“We appreciate the Board’s recognition of the challenges entities—of all sizes and complexity—are encountering as they work to implement changes necessary to comply with these standards. Thus, we support the proposed changes to the effective dates, as such changes would be consistent with the Board’s proposed new effective date philosophy,” the letter reads.“However, it is important FASB be aware that CUNA’s longstanding position has been and continues to be that application of CECL to credit unions is inappropriate…underfunding of allowance accounts has not generally been an issue for credit unions. Further, the typical user of a credit union’s financial statements is not a public investor—such as with large, public banks—but instead is the credit union’s prudential regulator, the NCUA,” it adds. CUNAcenter_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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STOP strategic planning, START strategic doing

first_img 31SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Susan Mitchell Susan Mitchell is a passionate believer in making a difference! As the CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, a consulting firm that has provided over 5,000 credit unions innovative … Web: www.mitchellstankovic.com Details Strategic planning is impossible today! I know that is a bold statement, but if we examine the events of the last six months, it speaks the truth. The year 2020 will go down in history as constant scenario planning with real life ‘what if’ thought leadership requiring vulnerable collaboration between all team members, board members and member-owners to determine how best to survive. How to address the day-to-day health crisis. How to navigate with people who are on the front lines while also creating technology workarounds and temporary business practices that were supposed to be short term.Now, however, we find ourselves in an environment of permanent disruption and what has been coined the new norm, which may extend well into the future. We are stronger together became the mantra and created a feeling that the world was united in its quest for safety, security, love and belonging as people of the planet.On May 25, 2020 all that changed! For almost 9 minutes, we watched graphic footage of the murder of George Floyd, which exploded the myth that ‘we are all in this together.’ It was clear for the world to see that there is great disparity in our daily lives and that people are dying simply because of their race. Black Lives Matter is not a slogan or about kneeling; it is not something that we should just get over or politicize. It goes much, much deeper than that. We must examine the systemic roots of cultural racism and begin to make a commitment to change; stand up together to listen, learn and begin to build a long-term strategy that will make an impact on the lives of our members and our communities.Now is not the time to stand on the sidelines of the issue. I hear from some CEOs that their field of membership is diverse, their staff is diverse, and they do not have these issues. I call bullshit. Yes, there are two sides to every issue, but this is not about sides: It is about what is right. I believe credit unions must construct a new type of strategic planning with an entirely different mental attitude and process adjustment. Seek out ways to affect change. Everyone in need of help deserves a credit union. That’s why the not-for-profit, cooperative financial services model was established, and financial wellness is the foundation of economic prosperity. Doing the right thing is also good business, because it lifts everyone up and when people have food, access to education, buying homes and secure jobs, there is a level of safety and belonging that fosters financial security and hope for the future.For more than 25 years, we have worked with literally hundreds of credit union executives and boards to facilitate strategic planning and execute initiatives, I know that the premise of strategic planning is to be relevant and scrutinize why you exist today – not back when the credit union was founded – but here, now, today, in this terribly complex world we must tackle deep-seated, difficult issues deliberately.Anticipate potential risks and opportunities, delve into relevant information and data and innovate for solutions that transform ideas into action. It begins with your credit union’s ‘why.’ Why do you exist today in this world of real uncertainty? What is the purpose of the credit union?Disparity exists in the way we serve our constituents – racial and ethnic minorities, sexual orientation, gender, age and so much more. Diversity, equity and inclusion should be a pillar of every credit union’s value proposition. Afterall, credit unions were founded of, by and for the people – just like the USA! And we must work hard on both to remain relevant.We founded the Underground Community to promote discussion and debate on tough topics with our clients and then expanded it to be more inclusive to all forward-looking credit union leaders, to all those willing to share authentically and put ideas into action. The Underground’s purpose couldn’t be more relevant than in 2020. Check out the recording here!Examining Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs as it pertains to credit unions, employees and membersExploring social disaster planning and recovery – not your typical business continuity planModernizing credit union board governanceSetting the foundation for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, reaching deep into our hearts and minds to understand the impact of race on human’s livesEstablishing the safe environment for conversations that led to the creation of #CUPride, ready to ensure greater visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ volunteers, executives and membersAnd, it is having an impact exemplified by my volunteer work as Chair of WOCCU Global Women’s Leadership Network where we have pushed for 10 years to advance credit union women in leadership, www.cuwomen.org through local impact, and global connections. More than 3,000 women and men, HE for SHEs, engaged in GWLN from 82 countries, 110 Sister Societies formed, 64 scholarships given and 10,000 hours donated to local communities.After all that credit union leaders shared in vulnerable collaboration with the Underground, how can we possibly just sit and talk and not take action on social issues and demonstrate what a cooperative can mean today and for the future of society! So, stop strategic planning and start strategic doing. #StandUp!last_img read more

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