Business & Economy
"Fiscal Cliff" Madness: Why It's All or Nothing PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Thomas L. Knapp   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:41
The other night (I was channel-surfing and don’t remember which network, show or host was involved), I caught House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talking about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans.

Paraphrased, the alternatives Pelosi posited in these negotiations were:

On one hand, raise taxes on “the rich” (Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, like every other Democrat I’ve heard on the issue, dishonestly characterized this approach as “asking them to pay a little more” — taxes aren’t something that are “asked” for).

On the other hand, run up more government debt and pass the costs on to the next generation.

The third alternative — cutting government spending — never made it on to the studio table.

The whining from both sides of the partisan aisle in Washington notwithstanding, there’s nothing “draconian” about the cuts required to balance the federal checkbook with no changes in tax policy. Based on 2013 revenue projections, reducing federal spending to 2008 levels would balance that budget. Reducing it to 2006 levels would yield a $300 billion surplus.

In fairness to Pelosi and the Democrats, that studio table isn’t the only table such a proposal is missing from. It isn’t on the real negotiating table either, because neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to put it there.

Politicians are capable of — indeed, given to — sweeping visions and great excesses. It’s hard to imagine a damn-fool scheme that someone in Washington won’t take seriously and make an effort to move through the bowels of the legislature for eventual deposit on the president’s desk.

But there’s one idea that’s deemed inadmissible in political proceedings: The idea that the size, scope and power of government could ever, in any particular or for any reason, be reduced by so much as an iota.

That idea isn’t just dreaded and despised. It’s literally unthinkable to the political class. So much so that politicians attempt to erase the concept from our political vocabulary by using words which would normally denote it for exact opposite purposes.

Thus when we hear of pending “draconian cuts” in this or that program, we can translate that as “slight reductions in the rate of growth” without fear of error. And we can know to a high degree of certainty that any reference to “austerity” applies only to the productive class and never, never, ever to the political class.

As other writers are fond of observing, political power is like a ratchet. You can turn it in either direction, but it only moves the socket one way. The back-turn is just an illusion. It’s really the politicians putting on a show while they work up some more leverage to tighten the nut down on your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Or proximately, in the case of the “fiscal cliff,” on your wallet.

Every state, from its founding, puts its feet on the path toward total statism. The nature of power is to harness itself — and its victims — to the accrual of more power. There may be fits and starts along the way, but never a departure from the path or a real reversal in direction absent popular rebellion and political collapse.

At this point, the United States is much closer to the end of that path than to its beginning. The “fiscal cliff” mugging is sham and theater, of no real import save to the extent that it masks the rea question: Do we take this government down, or wait for it to take us down with it? There is no third alternative.

Lt. Governor Simon: Federal intervention needed to preserve Mississippi River commerce PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 15:53

CARLYLE – December 5, 2012. At a quarterly meeting of the Mississippi River Coordinating Council on Friday, Lt. Governor Simon will call for federal intervention to address dropping water levels in the Mississippi River. The water level from St. Louis to Cairo is at record low levels and risks being impassable by barges.

“The Mississippi River is a vital economic resource, allowing goods to be transported around the country. Already barges are being forced to carry lighter loads, and unless we work together on a solution, barge traffic will halt completely,” Simon said.

Mississippi River levels – already low following the 2012 drought – are continuing to drop as a result of reduced flows from the Missouri River. Continued drop in water levels will expose rock pinnacles in southern Illinois, which will limit or even halt barge traffic along the river.

Lt. Governor Simon, as well as Governor Quinn, Navistar, Caterpillar, ADM, Great Lakes Dredge and Docks, and others have appealed to the federal government for assistance that will keep the river open. According to the American Waterways Operators, a potential closure preventing barges from transporting goods would jeopardize $7 billion in products during December and January alone.

Lt. Governor Simon chairs the Mississippi River Coordinating Council, composed of a diverse group of citizens, not-for-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies. The Council coordinates initiatives, projects and funding to promote the ecological health of the Mississippi River and its tributaries by addressing the issues in the watershed.

DATE: Friday, Dec. 7

TIME: 1:30 p.m.

PLACE: Carlyle Lake Visitors Center, 801 Lake Road, Carlyle, Ill.


Lt. Governor Simon: Illinois one step closer to fiscal stability PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:53

SPRINGFIELD – December 5, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement regarding pension reform legislation introduced by members of the Illinois House of Representatives.

“Today we are one step closer to strengthening our pension system and restoring fiscal stability to our state. Without action, the strain pension payments place on our budget will crowd out funding for other priorities like education, public safety and health care. I would like to thank members of the House for their work to come up with a solution, and I look forward to reviewing this proposal and bringing everyone to the table to move forward,” Simon said.

Today’s legislation builds on Governor Pat Quinn’s call for pension reform. The Governor has urged lawmakers to take action that will save the state’s critical programs and services while preserving the pension system for future generations.


IOWA: A Glimpse off the Cliff; Heritage Has the Numbers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Corrine Williams   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:27

Ever wonder what life would look like come January if Congress and the President failed to avert the now famous “fiscal cliff?”  Remember the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” The main character, George Bailey, is brought back from the brink by his guardian angel after a glimpse of what life would look like if he’d never been born.  A remake may be in order.  This time the plot falls in DC where Congress and the President get to see what their family, friends and many communities across the country would look like if they don’t extend the current tax rates and find meaningful spending reductions.

Would you believe a 47-year-old farmer from Des Moines, Iowa would see a $1206 tax increase next year? Economists and labor experts at The Heritage Foundation have the numbers on how your family budget and community (click here for interactive map) would be affected.

Raising taxes on any income level is a lose-lose situation for our economy.  According to the Department of Treasury figures, 1.2 million Americans who employ people are earning $250,000 or more a year and paying their taxes through the individual income tax.  They would be hit head-on. The amount that their taxes would go up could be roughly equivalent to one employee’s salary, meaning that’s one person they can’t hire in the new year. A study by Ernst and Young estimates that these tax hikes would kill 710,000 jobs.

The nation cannot afford the massive tax increases and continued levels of spending initiated under President Obama. The nation’s workers cannot afford the sustained additional upward pressure on unemployment that would follow from raising tax rates. The problem is government spending. President Obama and Congress should focus on the problem and forget these destructive tax-hike obsessions.

How You Can Use Kindle to Generate Free Business Leads PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 03 December 2012 10:14

Imagine Amazon sending you business leads regularly and even paying you to do so. Why would they do it?

“Amazon is desperate for reading material and you can publish your content for free as Kindle books,” says V. Michael Santoro, a managing partner with John S. Rizzo of Globe On-Demand, an internet technology company. The two are also the co-authors of, "Niche Dominance: Creating Order out of your Digital Marketing Chaos," (

“The twist is to use them as a generation system for sales leads.”

The audience is huge – Kindle is no longer just for people who purchase Kindle tablets. Amazon has also written Kindle Reader applications for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer including the Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, Santoro says.

“Most businesses hesitate to use Kindle to generate sales leads because they think they need to write an actual book,” says Rizzo, “But that’s not true. You can write and publish short reports -- as long as the content is original, of high quality and does not violate its Terms of Service (TOS), Amazon will publish your material.”

The key is to include a compelling free offer with a strong call to action and a link to a lead capture page – the page on your website where people can sign up for more information, special offers, your newsletter, etc.

And Amazon will even help market your book – for free!

When a new Kindle book is approved and published, Amazon will:

• Feature it in their new releases section.

• Email their customer base announcing it to those who have previously purchased a Kindle book in that genre.

• Offer the Kindle KDP Select Program for ongoing free promotion.

• Allow customers to highlight, make notes, and share your book’s content via Twitter and other social networks.

“By enrolling in the free Kindle KDP Select Program, you give Amazon exclusivity on a renewable 90-day basis,” Santoro says. “This program allows their readers to borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and when they do, Amazon pays you a royalty, as well as for book sales. However, the real benefit is that Amazon provides five days per quarter to give your book away for free.”

Why give your Kindle book away for free?

“Because, as a lead generation system, you want as many individuals as possible to download your Kindle book and visit your lead capture page, Santoro explains. Additionally, Amazon views each book download as a vote and rewards your book with higher page ranking. The more downloads, the better the chance of an Amazon Page 1 placement.

To create your Kindle report:

• Use Amazon to determine what current Kindle books or paperbacks are published about your topic.

• Decide what information will be helpful to your potential customers. Make sure it is original and offers value. Avoid information that is easily found on the Internet.

• Create your report in Microsoft Word and include images if appropriate.

• Include your call to action – a message that prompts readers to visit your website -- and link to your website’s lead capture page.

• Create a cover graphic.

Publishing on Kindle is fairly simple:

• Go to and sign up for a free Kindle account.

• Watch the “How To” Kindle publishing video.

• Fill out the Amazon Author Page to track your statistics.

• Reference the book on your website and link to your Amazon book page.

• Announce it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.

“The goal is not to sell books, but rather to generate leads from Amazon’s huge customer base,” Rizzo says. An additional benefit is that you will differentiate yourself from the competition by being a published author. If your content is excellent and helpful, you will also build trust which will help to increase sales from these new leads.

About John S. Rizzo & V. Michael Santoro

John S. Rizzo obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration and spent three years as a consultant for Amazon's publishing group. He has assisted several businesses with digital marketing strategy and has served in leadership positions for multiple initiatives for the Charleston, S.C., Chamber of Commerce.

V. Michael Santoro has more than 10 years in the digital marketing field. His prior experience includes international senior marketing positions in technology fields. He has a master's degree and was an adjunct professor with the computer science department of Western Connecticut State University.

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