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Take This Job and Shove It


3/1/2003

 

Employees today increasingly feel like saying, "Take this job and shove it.

Almost half of workers surveyed nationally have strong negative feelings about work. They feel overworked, underappreciated and anxious about the future. Many of the 40 percent upset with their jobs say they are frustrated with the amount of work theyve had to pick up due to lay-offs and that their contributions arent valued or recognized.

One third of the malcontents are actively looking for other jobs, according to the survey by Towers Perrin, a New York human resources consulting firm.

Whats Your Letter?
Small businesses could reap tax savings by changing their legal structures if President Bushs tax plan passes Congress.

The plan would eliminate dividend taxes, making C-corporations, which pay corporate income tax, more attractive for small business that would benefit from lower corporate tax rates and other perks.

The alternative S-corporations pay no corporate taxes, instead disbursing profits directly to owners who then pay taxes at their higher personal rates. S-corporations greatly outnumber C-corporations and the prospective tax benefit could prompt millions of small businesses to switch to "C.

Cash-Strapped States Turn to Tough Tax Hikes
Having taken the easy steps of tapping reserves and hiking cigarette taxes, many financially-strapped states and local governments are now turning to tougher measures.

In New York City, a 19 percent boost in property taxes was approved, and now theres talk of reinstating the commuter tax. Connecticut and California are eyeing the revenue and probable fall-out from proposed income tax hikes. 

2003 May Prove to be Tough for Commercial Landlords
The national office rental picture is dim for this year since were coming off a fourth quarter that saw vacancies tick upward.

Rents are expected to continue falling, meaning a tough 2003 for landlords. Two years ago office buildings were the growth stocks of the real-estate world. Now theyve gone from growth stocks to being junk bonds, one analyst said.

Economy Update: Now Its Reflation?
After getting a good grip on inflation and its rising prices, suddenly we were asked to worry about deflation and falling prices.

Now comes a new watchword for the economy: "reflation.This describes the attempt by the government to pump up or re-inflate the economy with a flood of money. The aim is to ward off deflation by boosting demand and underpinning prices. Economists worry about deflations downdraft in prices and because its tougher to curb than inflation.

No Rate Hike From Fed
Surprising some analysts who expected an interest rate cut, the Feds 12-member policy committee voted unanimously to stay the course during its Jan. 28-29 meeting. It said risks are balanced between economic weakness and inflation, meaning theres no hike in the foreseeable future. Lackluster retail sales early this year had argued for a reduction in rates.

Ahh...Workplace Injuries Are Down 8 Percent
The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses dropped 8 percent in 2001, (the latest year reported), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is the lowest rate in the 30 years the Bureau has been collecting such data. Injuries were higher for mid-sized establishments, those with 50 to 249 workers, than they were for smaller businesses.

Flexible Work Hours Gain in Popularity
Flexible work hours are winning fans among employers and workers.

Two-thirds of all companies now offer this low-cost benefit, which helps reduce stress and raise productivity among workers. Also gaining in popularity are compressed workweeks. Another inexpensive morale booster casual workplace dress, which is going full-time at firms where the staff rarely sees outsiders.

Consumers Pare Debt, But Business Bankruptcy Runs Rampant
Consumers are currently more fiscally prudent than business, cutting their debt load even as more firms go belly up.

Consumers reduced their debt obligations for the first time in nearly five years in November, which was the latest month reported. Consumers were less inclined to spend, preferring to control their debt in the latter half of 2002, using cash from home-mortgage refinancing.

But the bankruptcy run continued for business with last year recording half of the 10 largest business bankruptcies in history. And Business Week (Jan. 13) warned: "Dont expect 2003 to be any better. "

Business Spending Expected to Lead Recovery
After having relied on just the consumer to keep the economy afloat, finally business is expected to help lead a modest recovery this year.

Fifty-five economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expect businesses to pour their recuperating profits into investment after two years of cost-cutting. The Kiplinger Letter forecasts a 4 percent business spending hike this year, following two straight years of 5 percent drops. Then the outlook is for even healthier gains by 2004. However, all bets would be off with an extended war in Iraq or new rounds of terrorism.

The stimulus package submitted Jan. 7 to Congress by President Bush would cut taxes by $670 billion over the next 10 years. Key provisions of the package are: accelerating to this year, cuts in income-tax rates now scheduled for 2004 and 2006, and eliminating dividend taxes. The Federal Reserve could play a part, and some forecast it will hike interest rates by year end, pushing prime to 5.25 percent.

Who Are These People!?!
Sometimes you have to wonder just who these people are who are being surveyed.

For instance, there is the recent USA Today study that found half of Americans surveyed dont think their federal income tax is too high. Thats a remarkable turnaround from just two years ago when two out of three people complained they were paying too much.

One bit of fallout from this: President Bush probably will not be able to count on the tax resentment to help pass his economic stimulus plan, which is focused heavily on tax cuts.

Also fighting against Bushs tax cuts will be state officials who say the cuts will cause tax revenues to fall in those states with income taxes. Most states base their tax on federal income. Many of them, if the Bush plan passes, could respond with state tax hikes, or the states may decide to separate from the federal tax system.















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