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Seattle Will Now Be Taxing Its Rich. Should Philly Be Doing the Same?

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

Looks like the city of Seattle’s at it again.

Despite a recent independent study conducted by the University of Washington that found that the city’s planned $15-per-hour minimum wage is already driving away small businesses and reducing employment, the town’s elders are still not satisfied. So last week, Seattle’s City Council approved a new measure that would impose a 2.25 percent income tax on the “wealthy” — those making $250,000 per year individually (or $500,000 jointly).

“Seattle is challenging this state’s antiquated and unsustainable tax structure by passing a progressive income tax,” the city’s mayor was reported as saying by Fox Business. “Our goal is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness, while ensuring Seattle stands up to President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare, and social services. This is a fight for economic stability, equity, and justice.” Read More…

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Report: Pa. Is One Of the Worst Places To Start A Business

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently released its annual list of the best and worst states to start a business in the U.S. Pennsylvania ranked 45th on the list.

Are you surprised? I’m not.

I love this place. I’ve run a business here since 1994 and couldn’t be happier. I have driven countless times between Philly and Pittsburgh to visit my son at Pitt (a great state university), so believe me when I say that Pennsylvania is a huge and beautiful state with a rich history and plenty of great places to visit. Philadelphia is a super livable city with great food, sports teams, culture and people. OK, not the sports teams. But our location near the mountains, beaches and other major cities makes our area a perfect place to run a business and raise a family. Read More…

It’s Time for Single-Payer Health Care

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

I frequently travel around the country meeting and speaking with business groups about issues affecting their companies. The business groups I speak to are located in places like Montana, Ohio, Nebraska, and Texas. Many of the attendees are farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers. Most of them don’t live in big cities. And yes, like me, the majority of them lean to the right. Some even fall over.

Of course, health care is a major part of those discussions. And you know what I’ve found? We right-leaning conservatives actually have a whole lot in common on that issue with our left-leaning friends. OK, not with Lena Dunham. But more than you may realize.

Don’t believe me? Let’s try. Regardless of where you stand politically, don’t you believe that this great country should have a great health-care system? We all do. You likely think the system is broken, right? Yup. I’m also betting that you have little faith in our political leaders to figure this one out, true? Thought so. You could afford to lose a few pounds? Yeah, me too. See? Read More…

You Know Who’s Not Working This Summer? Teenagers.

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

Teenagers are not working like they used to.

New data shows that the number of teens with a job while in still in school has dropped to an all-time low, according to this report in the Washington Post. Back in 1991, almost 40 percent of high-schoolers worked during the school year or summer. It’s now down to 20 percent.

No, it’s not what you think. Today’s teens are no more lazy than we were. There are other things going on. Some blame increased requirements from colleges that encourage taking additional courses or programs to enhance an application. Others say that it’s tough for teens to get to and from work, particularly for late shifts in areas that discourage after-hours driving. Some blame the lack of low-wage jobs available for teens and employers who are unwilling to be flexible. Technology replacing jobs could be a factor. And then of course there are the increasingly extended calendars for things like sports and other activities that may help kids land scholarships to pay for today’s outrageous college tuitions.

But these are all just excuses. If your kid’s in high school, he or she should have a job. If they’re not, you’re mostly to blame. Read More…

Forget Trump and Macron — We All Suck at Handshakes

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

If you’re honest with yourself, you know this: You suck at handshakes. I totally do. And so does Donald Trump. I sympathize.

Trump had a few, very type-A handshakes with French president Emmanuel Macron this week that caught the world’s attention for their comic vigor. And this wasn’t our president’s first handshake drama: He famously avoided shaking hands with Angela Merkel at a White House meeting in March, and had a bizarre yank-and-move interaction with Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau in February. Read More…

Nordstrom Rack’s Roving Cashiers Are Exactly What We Want

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

C’mon, admit it: You hate people like I do, right? OK, maybe not hate hate — but the fewer of them around, the better. Well, here’s a secret the next time you go shopping.

At the Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street, you don’t have to wait in line with other annoying people to purchase an item any longer. You can if you want. But instead, just find a store employee on the floor and ask to checkout. Chances are that the floor employee will be able to ring up your purchases and take your credit card with a smartphone that they’re now carrying around. They’ve only been doing this for about a month. Unfortunately for the employees at Nordstrom, this will ultimately result in fewer cashier jobs. That’s bad for them. But it’s reality. And it’s our fault. Read More…

Actually, There’s a Very Simple Way to Protect Yourself From Ransomware

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

So, now you know what ransomware really is.

For the past year, I’ve been talking to my clients about it. I’ve been speaking and writing about it. I’ve watched it turn into an enormous, profitable, underworld industry. Now you’ve seen the effects. You read the reports over the weekend about how the WannaCry virus found a flaw in Windows XP and infected something like 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals in more 150 countries, even risking lives by shutting down Britain’s National Health System. You now know how real (and dangerous) it is. Read More…