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2011 – June

June 2011 Archives

1

Building an ownership society in a tax competitive world.
Like many fellow citizens of this great country, I listened to the President’s Inaugural Address on January 20th. It was interesting, but it just flowed over me with nothing really sticking out in my mind until I heard the words, “building an ownership society.” As my life pressed forward, those words stuck with me as great sounding but with nothing to connect them to anything until I read Glenn R. Simpson’s article, “As Europe Cuts Corporate Tax, Pressure Rises on U.S. to Follow” in the January 28th edition of the Wall Street Journal online. Those words came back to mind and I promptly went on line to find that section of the Presidents speech and offer it below:

“In America’s ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance – preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.”

I love the sound of the words, “ownership society,” but having recently written about how overhead burdens in this country are driving businesses overseas, I didn’t understand how this could happen until I read the Journal article and now my hope is soaring.

Simpson begins the Journal article with, “European countries have been steadily slashing corporate-tax rates as they vie for foreign investment, potentially adding to pressure on the U.S. for similar cuts as it weighs a tax overhaul.” Examples of what is happening in Europe can be seen in the following table:
Tax Rate Changes in the last few years.
BeforeAfterReduction
Ireland24.0%12.5%11.5%
Netherlands34.5%31.5%3.0%
Portugal37.0%27.0%10.0%
Austria34.0%25.0%9.0%
Germany56.0%38.3%17.7%
Poland27.0%19.0%8.0%
U.S.40.0%

The article points out that while many large U.S. businesses use loopholes and shelters to pay far less than the national rate suggested, even the effective rate is still as much as 10% above Europe’s average. The result is that Europe is addressing the overhead issue via tax reductions to woo U.S. companies to expand in Europe rather than at home. This potentially moves jobs and revenue offshore.

We truly are in a global economy and must compete in that global economy not only for customers and revenue, but now governments are competing for business and jobs in their countries. It’s a beautiful thing.

The last major rate reduction in the U.S. corporate rate came in 1986. Since then deductions and shelters have proliferated and businesses have become more adept at creating profits offshore rather than at home to avoid the high tax rates. For example, in 1999 U.S. Companies reported $13.3 billion in profits in Ireland. With the tax reduction in Ireland, profits in that country have jumped to $26.8 billion in 2002.

Europe is becoming much more business friendly and if the U.S. wants to increase jobs and tax revenues, they are going to have to become much more competitive from a tax standpoint.

The words “ownership society,” the journal article and my article, “The Overhead is Killing US” all merged together in my mind to paint a very different picture of a potential future for the U.S. and the World. If governments are awakening to the idea that businesses create profits and jobs (without which there are no tax revenues), then maybe there is hope that the world is changing and the resulting competition by governments will make the possibility of an “Ownership Society” a very real possibility.

? Copyright Bob Cannon/The Cannon Advantage, 2005. All rights reserved.

This article courtesy of http://www.cannonadvantage.com. You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.

 

About the Author

Bob Cannon helps visionary leaders make decisions that gain a competitive advantage. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at www.cannonadvantage.com . Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495 or mailto: bob@cannonadvantage.com

 

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Job interviews can be very stressful, especially if you are unprepared. But things can be made a lot easier, when you have some idea of the questions the interviewer is likely to ask. Each day thousands of individuals attend interviews, and more often than not, the questions asked are very similar, wherever in the world you happen to be. Knowing the questions is one thing, but knowing how to answer them is another. This article examines some of the most common job interview questions, and answers.

1. Tell me about yourself? When an interviewer asks this question, they are really looking for some specifics that would give an indication that you are suited for the job. Be sure to focus on positive traits that would recommend you as a good candidate.
2. Why did you leave your last job? A new employer is always curious about the reason you left your last job, of course there is no best answer, as it all depends on the particular circumstances. Possible answers include:
I was laid off due to a restructuring exercise, which resulted in my department being cut.
I recently upgraded my skills, so I am now looking for a job that is more suited to my qualifications.
Having been at my current job for a number of years, I am now searching for a job that will provide greater challenges, and move my career forward.
3. What was it like working with your previous supervisor? Never use this as an opportunity to speak ill of your previous boss, as this will be taken as an indication that you will probably do the same of a new supervisor. Instead, choose to highlight the positives, and downplay any negatives. A good response would be:
My supervisor was a very dedicated worker, and this made it easier for me to carry out my responsibilities.
4. What was your biggest accomplishment at your previous job? Make sure to give a specific example in answering this question. Also, try to highlight some of the skills you utilized in achieving that success, which would be pertinent to your new job.
5. Tell us what you know about our company? It is always recommended that you do some research about the company you are hoping to work with. This will indicate that you are very interested in getting the job.
6. How well do you work under pressure? Be positive when answering this one. A good response would be: When faced with several tasks that require my attention, I tend to prioritize them, so as to complete all tasks as quickly as possible.
7. What would you consider your best asset? This is the opportunity to highlight qualities that would make you an asset to the organization, perhaps you work well as a team member, or have the ability to motivate co-workers.
8. What would you consider your greatest weakness? Try to put a positive spin on this one. Usually the interviewer wants to be sure that you can answer difficult questions honestly, you can mention things you are not very good at, but are working to improve.
9. What salary are you expecting? This is never an easy question to respond to, so do some research beforehand that will give you an idea of the approximate salary for the position. Having done that, you would then be able to give the interviewer the salary range you expect.
10. Why would you be the right person for this job? Emphasize the assets you have, that would appeal to the interviewer, mention skills, experience, and adaptability, that are relevant to the job.
11. Do you work well as the member of a team? Always answer yes to this one, and if possible give an example of previous successes you have had as a team member, or team leader.
12. Are there any questions you wish to ask? Make sure to prepare some questions. This will impress the interviewer, and indicate that you are interested in the position, and are keen to take the initiative. This is the time to ask relevant questions based on the research you have done on the company.

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