Business Leaders Soothe Public’s Anxiety

October 27th, 2014

Are business leaders taking over the role of government?

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It will come as no surprise that Americans are feeling anxious about the state of the nation.  In our most recent survey, two-thirds of Americans feel that the country’s major problems are increasing, and even more (69%) believe that Americans’ anxiety about those problems is getting worse.  Almost half report that it is harder to get by now than a year ago, and 78% are pessimistic that things will be any easier next year.

Further, Americans are skeptical of our government’s ability to safeguard us from a variety of threats, ranging from Ebola to terrorism to unemployment.  (For detailed data, click here.)

All of this indicates a vacuum of authority at a time when Americans are feeling ever more anxious about the state of the nation and about their own futures. It is small wonder, then, that billionaires such as David and Charles Koch, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg, are creating foundations to help address problems in education, health and human services, and the arts and sciences. When the government won’t or can’t address our fears or protect us from threats, others – beholden not to a constituency but to their own personal sense of duty – will step in to attempt fill the void.

Survey data was collected online October 10-20, 2014, from a national sample of 526 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

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8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

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Americans Not Confident in Government Ability to Protect from Major Threats (October Poll)

October 27th, 2014
Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our recent national poll, Americans were asked to rate their confidence in the government’s ability to protect its citizens from current threats.

Each threat asked about received a median rating that landed squarely in the middle of the confidence scale, with the exception of unemployment.  For that measure, respondents were even less convinced of the U.S. government’s competence in facing the threat.

 

Business_Leaders_Table

 

Survey data was collected online October 10-20, 2014, from a national sample of 526 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

 

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8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

 

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Full Work Force Utilization

September 22nd, 2014

Production of goods and services increases, unemployment decreases, and inflation accelerates

Dr. Philip M. Hauser’s and Dr. Leo J. Shapiro’s goal in writing the paper titled “Labor Force Measurements” is to provide the government with measurement methodologies for securing statistics needed to create programs that can achieve full utilization of the nation’s work force.

Read the full report here.

Don’t Confuse Income with Need

September 9th, 2014

Discussions of income inequality must take into account the relationship between a person’s income and their ability to meet financial needs.

People who talk about “income inequality” are often talking about two different things. Some are talking about the number of dollars a person makes, while others are talking about whether a person’s income is adequate to meet their needs.

In America, people in the lowest income group—under $30,000—include 7% who say they have more money than they need to buy what they want. And people with the highest incomes—$100,000 or more—include 11% who say they have less money than they need.

This is an important distinction, because people tend to associate a higher income with an ability to meet financial obligations and buy what they want—but this is not necessarily the case. Relative income is only one measure of inequality.

Survey data was collected online August 1-12, 2014 from a national sample of 543 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

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8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

The Housing Market is About to Boom

August 27th, 2014

Pent-up demand for homes that better meet people’s needs will drive the next big real estate boom.

 Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of a hou...

Obsolescence Drives the Housing Market Boom

The increasing obsolescence of current housing stock and people’s dissatisfaction with their current homes—particularly when it comes to technology—is driving demand for new housing.

Our August survey asked respondents to respond to a hypothetical question: If their house was destroyed and insurance covered its replacement value, would they rebuild it in the same location, with the same design?

41% of respondents said they would rebuild in a different location, and 80% said they would change the design of their new house, not rebuild the same one. Among those who would change the design of their new house, 70% said those changes would involve new technologies.

When asked about the technologies they would want to include in their new home, 80% had a spontaneous answer about which technologies are on their shopping list. Their desired technologies, in order of preference:

Solar power: 17%

Improve alarm system/security: 15%

Energy efficiency: 12%

Smart home: 11%

Smart appliances: 9%

Wireless communications: 7%

Heating/furnace: 6%

Cable: 6%

Central air/cooling/AC: 6%

Better wiring/outlets: 5%

Wi-Fi: 4%

*Full list available on request

If most Americans would change the location, design, and/or technology of their current home, given the opportunity, then current housing stock is not sufficiently addressing people’s needs. Demand for housing that better meets people’s needs will boost the housing market for many years to come, and may well fuel the next big housing boom.

Survey data was collected online August 1-12, 2014 from a national sample of 543 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

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Americans Want Hillary

August 21st, 2014

Hillary Clinton is the name mentioned most often as the person Americans want for president when Obama’s term ends.

When asked who Americans want as president after Obama’s term is finished, the overwhelming favorite is Hillary Clinton. More than 20% of respondents name Clinton spontaneously as their first choice, which is five times more than the second-place candidate, Mitt Romney, at 4%.

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

Clinton’s strength stems directly from her support from those who align themselves strongly with the Democratic Party. 50% of Americans are Democrats. Of those who described themselves as “strong Democrats,” 34.4% named Hillary as the person they prefer as the next president. Furthermore, 33.5% of respondents who describe themselves “independent Democrats”—that is, people who tend to lean Democratic most of the time but also think of themselves as independents—cited Hillary as their top choice.

By contrast, of the 36% of Americans who describe themselves as strong Republicans, only 11.2% name Mitt Romney as the person they want as the next president. The rest named a number of different possible candidates—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, etc.—none of whom rose above 2% mentioned.

8Sages will continue to survey Americans as they make decisions on how they will vote in the midterm elections (held this November) and in the 2016 elections. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sage’s RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

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Microsoft Is Positioned to Compete with Apple

October 28th, 2013

Get Tomorrow’s News Today…

In the past three years Microsoft has not only has achieved profit growth but also has acquired capabilities needed to grow in head-on competition with Apple.

With Steve Ballmer as CEO and Bill Gates as Chairman, Microsoft has developed  the capabilities required to compete with Apple by not only using their home grown talent and also by following the hobo’s recipe for chicken paprika which starts: “First you steal a chicken.”

Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device division gave Microsoft the ability to manufacture and market cell phones and related products as well as the patents, professional staff, market presence and the other resources needed to maintain and improve competitiveness.

In addition, Microsoft’s purchase of a 17.6% equity interest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook Division gave it a line of e-readers with substantial market share, and a professional staff able to keep up with competition. Also, and importantly, since the Nook functions as a store within Barnes & Noble stores, it provides Microsoft with access to a major segment of consumers shopping for books.

Pearson, a publisher of text books, has purchased a 5% interest in the Nook and is developing innovative ways to develop and market text-books.  Again, since the Nook functions as a store within college book stores managed by Barnes & Noble, Microsoft’s equity interest in the Nook gives it check-by-jowls access to college students.

Founded in 1873 as printing business in Wheaton, Illinois, Barnes & Noble has dodged threats to its survival for a hundred and thirty nine years by keeping up with changing times by innovating.  It is now the dominant book store chain.

Barnes & Noble opened its first book store in New York in 1917. Today its national chain of 723 bookstores, plus 639 college bookstores, cover the market for books in a fashion that Apple cannot quickly, easily or cheaply duplicate.

Thanks to moves made by Microsoft, Barnes and Noble is prepared to morph into Apple’s worst nightmare by displacing Apple stores as the dominant brick and mortar retailer of personal electronic devices.

By striking back at Microsoft’s new tablet by offering free software, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple tacitly acknowledges that Ballmer’s decision to resign will not interrupt or deflect Microsoft’s campaign to grow in the face of competition from Apple.

Microsoft’s growth strategy was developed by Steve Ballmer who has resigned and by Bill Gates who is staying in place.  With Ballmer no longer at Microsoft, Bill Gates who is a college dropout who never held  high executive office in a major company other than the one he co-founded will compete head-on with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple whose resume is impressive.

Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and serves on its Board of Directors.
Before being named CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Prior to joining Apple, Cook was vice president of Corporate Materials for Compaq and was responsible for procuring and managing all of Compaq’s product inventory. Previous to his work at Compaq, Cook was the chief operating officer of the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics.

Cook also spent 12 years with IBM, most recently as director of North American Fulfillment where he led manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM’s Personal Computer Company in North and Latin America.

Tim Cook earned an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn.

Disclosure:  Leo Shapiro, the publisher of 8SAGES.COM holds stock in Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, and Apple and has held such stock for some time.

Control of Republican Party Shifts to DeMint and Koch

October 18th, 2013

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In the upcoming mid-term elections, the Democratic Party gains seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Ironically, the Koch Brothers and DeMint will strengthen their control of the Republican Party but will weaken the Republican majority by purging Republican incumbents who fail to toe their line.

For background, read the 8SAGES article posted on October 17 that opens by saying: “The potential for intensified class warfare with increased chances for violence is developing as Republicans increase their efforts to cut spending on Medicare and food stamps, impose stricter limits on abortion rights as well as try to defund, delay or disrupt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

Led by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Performs Well

October 10th, 2013

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Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has a perfect right to feel pleased with the performance of Microsoft under his leadership, even though his achievements are not widely applauded by the financial press

During the past five years, under Ballmer’s management, Microsoft’s profits increased at an average annual rate of 9.20%, compared to S&P’s earnings growth of 5.70% and earnings growth of 10.40% for its industry.

More important, but largely unnoticed, Ballmer strengthened Microsoft’s ability to compete. In rapid succession, Microsoft acquired Nokia, an 17.6% interest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, and cemented relations with Dell by lending two billion dollars to help it go private.

These three companies have patent portfolios, product developer staff, access to the consumer, education and business markets, and brands that nicely complement Microsoft’s ability to create and launch new electronic products.

Microsoft is now in striking distance of challenging Apple retail stores by becoming Barnes & Noble’s preferred store-within-a-store vendor of e-readers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other personal electronic products.

The development of Barnes & Noble as a store selling electronics as well as print publications is described in an 8sages article titled “Barnes & Noble is Apple’s Biggest Threat,” posted on January 13, 2013 (click on article title to view).

The article opens by stating, “The investment community treats Barnes & Noble as a zombie company ready to follow the death path of Borders…Now Barnes & Noble is prepared to morph into Apple’s worst nightmare.”

Disclosure:  Leo Shapiro, the publisher of 8SAGES.COM holds stock in Microsoft and Barnes & Noble and has held such stock for some time.

Wealthy Lose Control of Federal Government

October 7th, 2013

Get Tomorrow’s News Today…

The potential for intensified class warfare with increased chances for violence is developing as Republicans increase their efforts to cut spending on Medicare and food stamps, impose stricter limits on abortion rights as well as try to defund, delay or disrupt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The longer the government remains disabled the greater the likelihood that control of the federal government will shift from the wealthy to the middle and poorer segments of the population.  Labor unions will benefit as champions of the middle and poorer segments of the population.

When the government resumes operating, stock prices and consumer spending will spike and holiday spending will start early.

 

Breaking News about Events Shaping the Future

New York Times (October 6, 2013)

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

DRIVING FORCES:  David Koch and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III (following DeMint’s quitting the Senate to head the American Heritage Foundation, met with more than three dozen conservative groups to derail the healthcare overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans – including their cautious leaders – to cut off financing for the entire federal government)

At a Nissan Plan in Mississippi, a Battle to Shape the U.A.W.’s Future

“[The United Auto Workers] has recruited thousands of union members in Brazil to picket Nissan dealerships…[and] sent a team of Mississippi ministers and workers to South Africa, where Nissan has an assembly plant, to try to embarrass the company with accusations that it violates workers rights in its Canton plant…[The U.A.W.’s president said] unions in Japan, Germany, Australia and Britain are backing the Mississippi fight.”

Prior Posts on This Topic

October 3rd, 2013

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