Latest Viewpoints

Government-Run Health Care: Vaccine Shortage Inspires Dread

I'm not enough of a futurist to predict whether current health care legislation, if enacted and signed and not repealed later on, will lead to a complete government takeover of health care. (I'd be happy if they found ways to cover everyone, bend the cost curve through competition, and help make it more affordable so that small businesses could provide health insurance to their workers).

Turning the Corner: Look at Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

What comes first — consumer confidence or robust job creation?

It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg argument, but many people think we'll know the economy is coming back with consistently improving consumer confidence numbers. So much of our economy is predicated on consumer optimism — as much as 70%, according to some economic gurus — that before we see enough hiring to bring down the unemployment rate, they say we need to see people head back to the stores.

Solving the Health Care Riddle | submitted by Don Higgins

Health care reform is sure getting a lot of attention these days. Everyone seems to want to throw out or "fix" the current system. I support health care reform, but now President Obama is calling for health insurance reform. My health insurance is not my health care, and I don't understand how people, including our legislators, keep getting that mixed up. Insurance is nothing more than a way to finance health care. It does not create an unlimited pool of money to pay claims. Insurance premiums simply reflect the cost of health care claims. To reduce health insurance premiums, you must either reduce the cost of health care, or reduce the amount of health care a person can use. Sounds a bit like rationing, doesn't it?

Patent Envy Is Not Pretty

They say no good deed every goes unpunished, and there is a lot of validity to that old lament. I have a new public policy spin on that: No good law ever goes unchallenged.

The latest example of this is an attempt to weaken patent protections on genetic research, something that strikes at the heart of work being done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Investment Considerations if You Feel Inflation is a Concern

It's no secret that U.S. Government and other world governments have injected huge sums of money into the global economy. It is relatively well-known that when governments print too much money, it inflates asset value. The question now is whether the amount the respective governments around the world have printed is enough to cause larger than expected inflation. Consideration of exposure to inflation protection becomes important.

Coaching for Results

In the last 5 to 10 years of business-speak, the word and concept of coaching is one that has almost become overused. If you, like me, have been to many seminar events, it is very difficult to go for a full day without a reference to Vince Lombardi, Lou Holz, John Wooden or Pat Summit. In fact, all these individuals either have written books on their success in athletic coaching or have had books written about them. If you somehow have missed these more professional references, speakers will also refer to their daughter or son's soccer or basketball coach. So, why all the emphasis on successful athletic coaching and relating that focus to the world of business? Maybe, because the principles are quite transferable. Here are five.

Sovereign No More: What is Obama thinking?

Until recently, I have been guardedly optimistic that the economy soon would turn a corner. Now, I'm not so sure.

My chagrin has nothing to do with the discouraging September jobs report, which said a higher-than-expected 263,000 jobs were lost. That could be just a bump on the recovery track. It has everything to do with the United States' willingness to transfer a piece of its financial decision-making sovereignty to foreign interests.

Madison is Becoming a Hole in the Doughnut

On the same night that it was rejecting a $300,000 TIF loan that would have accommodated a major expansion at Danisco USA, the Madison Common Council passed a resolution declaring the pink flamingo as the city's official bird.

Maybe they should have selected the Dodo.

The Fallacy of the Old Golden Rule

I recently had the opportunity to do a workshop with a group of small business owners and managers on motivating their people in these interesting business times that we are in. The environment was interactive and everyone got involved in the programmed activities in the first half of the meeting. Then at break time, a department manager in a mid-sized service company came up to me with the following comment ...

Looks like Diny's Jewelers is Going to Make It

I have a confession to make. Even though I was rooting for them and even bought a nice piece of jewelry from them (an anniversary gift that — whew! — went over very well), I didn't like the survival chances of Diny's Jewelers. Indeed, in these economic conditions, the smart money on their whole Bank Demand sale, the purpose of which was to move inventory, pay off debt, and save the business, was on the side of failure.

The Doyle Legacy: Advancing the Knowledge Economy

Okay, I was wrong. A few weeks ago, I speculated that all the speculation about Gov. Jim Doyle not seeking a third term could well turn out to be nonsense. The Governor has made me look bad on several occasions, so his recent announcement that he will not seek a third term doesn't come as a complete shock.

Follow the Money on Governor's Train Purchase

Have you ever noticed that the two major political parties take turns wearing out their welcome?

After their historic victory in 1994, it took Republicans 12 years to do that — a bungled war based on a false premise certainly helped — but Democrats may be fast-tracking their next demise. Nationally, the President's health care reform plan may have "Blue Dog" Democrats nervous, but closer to home Governor Jim Doyle is busy making himself a target-rich environment.

Selling Your Ideas: Leadership in Action

In a discussion with the CEO of a large Wisconsin corporation, our focus began to narrow down to the effectiveness of his leadership team. As we got into the heart of the meeting, I asked: "If there were one thing that your managers and supervisors could start doing now that would have the most positive and dramatic impact on your company, what would it be?"

His answer may surprise you, as it did me: "If everyone in a leadership position in our company acted more like a professional salesperson, life would be much easier."

Letter to the Prez: Time to Yank Some Chains on Health Care

An open letter to President Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,

Your poll numbers are dipping. Your credibility is eroding. As you no doubt know, your health care reform plan is in big trouble and did not make it out of the House or Senate by the August recess. Now you'll be lucky to sign meaningful reform by year's end.

UW Hospital Discovery Raises

The current push for health care reform has its origins in more than a few events and circumstances, including a devastating 1999 report on hospital errors.

While I'm not prepared to characterize what happened recently at UW Hospital as a medical error, the incident raises "best practice" questions.

Dubis Counterpoints Dubis: Imputed Rent: When a home is an investment.

The last article seemed to strike a chord with some readers. The primary source of contention from my last piece was a matter of semantics, not necessarily a real difference of opinion. My goal for the last piece was to simply offer readers a way to segment a home purchase decision from their investment considerations.

A few readers asked for me to expand on the idea of imputed rent. I glazed over it in the last article because it is an abstract concept, but I submit here with the right mode of thinking, a home could be an investment.

In Business magazine