Latest Viewpoints

On Health Care, Let's All Take a Deep Breath

The political posturing on the landmark health care bill has been entertaining to say the least, but when emotions run this high, hyperbole usually comes into play.

The bill, officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has momentarily replaced job creation as the 800-pound gorilla in the political cloakroom, but let's do ourselves a favor and ... chill. Let's take a moment to figure out how this will impact the business community, especially small businesses, before we go off half-cocked.

Google, a Business Game Changer
submitted by Michael Gay

The opportunity to be the chosen city for Google's ultra high-speed fiber network will be the ultimate "game changer" for the successful applicant. I hope the leadership behind Madison's application finds a way to become the "chosen one." Not only would Google's investment put us on par with international frontrunners (i.e. the Asian dragons of Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore, and cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, India), but it will also help reposition the Midwest as the true third coast in our country, help brand the IQ Corridor and Thrive Region, and make Madison the most wired city in America with the talent, legacy, and know how to maximize Google's ROI.

Heart Feldt Service: Genesis Turn-Around Begins in Earnest

Mary Feldt feels a sense of urgency, but she's trying not to panic.

Feldt, president and CEO of Park Towne Management, which has been named receiver for the financially troubled Genesis Enterprise Center, kept reminding IB: "This isn't going to be an overnight turn-around." That's true, but there is an important date on the calendar in a few months, one she probably has circled. It is Sept. 1, 2010, the day the GEC's delinquent 2007 property taxes are due.

Communications: It's Not Just the Words We Use

In his book, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, Dale Carnegie talks about how we are all judged as communicators. He mentions four areas: what we say, how we say it, how we look, and how we treat others (what we do). The point he makes again and again is that the actual words are often but a minor part of the flow of ideas.

Dear President Obama
submitted by Torrey Jaeckle

Dear President Obama,

On the anniversary of your much hyped "Stimulus Package," your "Organizing for America" campaign at sent me an e-mail titled "Have You Seen This?" with the following graphic highlighted in it:

RTA Begins Work
submitted by Jennifer Alexander, President, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Thrive

The newly created Dane County Regional Transit Authority (RTA) meets for the first time on March 4. The public is encouraged to actively participate in discussions about the scope, cost and deliverables of an integrated transportation system designed to provide regional transportation for workers, visitors, and residents. These decisions are not just about addressing our present transit needs, but also planning where we will be 50 years from now.

Taken for Granted: Still a Long Way to Go for Rural Broadband

Andy Lewis is not the kind of guy to look a gift horse in the mouth.

But the UW-Extension professor takes a realistic view of the recently announced federal grant to expand fiber optic broadband in Wisconsin. While he's pleased the state will get $28.7 million in federal stimulus money to expand broadband infrastructure in rural schools and libraries, he knows it amounts to a down payment.

Playing It Cooley

City economic development director worries about fiscal sustainability in an era of stiff suburban competition.

RIP Congressman Murtha, and Good Riddance

The death of an elected official is usually time to bestow praise for the worthy things he or she has done, but in the case or Marine-slandering, pork-pounding, debt-piling Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, I'll make an exception.

"Lost Decade?" That depends on the definition of markets.

I've grown increasingly tired of the media and misinformed talking heads stating we lost a decade of investment returns. It's simply not true.

Unless, of course, you were not diversified in your portfolio or you failed to rebalance to your risk tolerance. Then, of course, as always, you lost. Nothing has changed when folks think they are smarter than the aggregate capital markets.

Proposed Beer Tax Hard to Quaff Down

Give State Representative Terese Berceau credit for having some guts. No political radar, but plenty of guts.

We're in the beginning stages of an election year in which State Assembly and State Senate seats, not to mention the governorship, are up for grabs. Our economy is struggling to gain traction. About the last thing incumbents should be doing any more of is proposing more tax increases, especially on an iconic industry that employs thousands.

Can we have some truth in labeling for not-so-high-speed rail?

Okay, okay, it's nice (I think) that Wisconsin will get $810 million in stimulus money for the proposed "high-speed" rail line between Milwaukee and Madison. I wanted to smile along with many of you when Mayor Dave and Governor Jim were exchanging high fives, but I can't help but think the reality will be a little less exhilarating than the anticipation.

Call me a buzz killer, but can we at least ditch the label high-speed rail when mediocre-speed rail would be more appropriate?

Difference Between Earning and Making Money | submitted by Jeff Cull

The economy is down, and we have been bleeding good jobs for years. The government's domestic priorities seem to be health care, and to spend its way into a better economy. I don't know where these people learned economics, but I figured someone should try to clue them in to what is simple and real. Let me see if I can explain this as eloquently and simply as my grandpa explained it to me when I was a kid.

Health Care Defeat May Be Silver Lining For Obama

For President Obama, the sudden and stunning realization that his health care reform bill is a no-go, thanks to an out-of-the blue electoral result in Massachusetts, is no doubt a bitter pill. But when you think about the number one issue on people's minds, job creation, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

So T. Wall incorporates in Delaware? Big deal.

Last week, an urgent tickler arrived via e-mail from the State Democratic Party, one that commanded our immediate attention. It was titled: "Terrence Wall the Tax Dodger."

It appears that the State Democratic Party is in a full orgasmic tizzy about Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terrence Wall (who would like to unseat incumbent Russ Feingold) having allegedly incorporated multiple businesses in the State of Delaware, thus avoiding his civic duty to be taxed back to the Stone Age. Of course, in the vernacular of class envy, politically correct modern politics, Wall (the dirty no-good) is referred to as Multi-Millionaire Real Estate Magnate Terrence Wall, which we will try to remember.

7 Steps to Effective Delegation

Last month, "Barriers to Effective Delegation" was the topic. Included in those barriers was the fact that some managers do not know how to delegate effectively. Whether through no or poor training, or a mentor who passes on bad habits, managers who do not have the ability to delegate effectively are a negative influence in their organizations.

What Are We Teaching Our Children? | submitted by Torrey Jaeckle

My daughter has been watching me. Shave, that is. She loves to watch me shave in the morning, and frequently requests some of my extra accessories so she can "shave" along with me. Thus was the impetus for my purchase of a five dollar child shaving kit for Christmas for her this year.

In Business magazine