92: Year End Wrap Up 2016

The federal code of regulations grew to a record high 81,611 pages in 2015 but we’ll have to wait a few more months before we know where it stands for 2016.
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The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom has the U.S. at number #11 this year. We were #8 in 2010 and #5 in 2008

This will be the last episode of 2016. I’m going to take the next two weeks off to focus on preparing the show and my business for 2017.

It’s been an eventful year. We lost a lot of freedoms in 2016. Government grew and so did your share of the national debt which sits at $61,333, as of December 14, 2016. That’s how much every U.S. citizen owes, according to usdebtclock.org.

According to Just Facts, a non-profit research firm, the debt stands at $19.9 trillion. That’s 559% of total annual federal revenues. So, take your annual gross income and multiply it by 559% to put that number into perspective. If have an annual gross income is $150,000 then you’d owe $838,500 in debt.

Now imagine you have an additional $4,740,982 in long term debt. This is debt that you’ve already incurred and have to pay out over time. The federal government’s total liabilities, not including the current debt, these are unfunded future liabilities, is anywhere from $76.5 trillion to $104.4 trillion, depending on the source. Using the low figure of $76.5 trillion, that’s 3,160% of annual federal revenues. That is an incredible amount of money. Those debts will NEVER be paid in full – at least not with money that has any value.

So you’re making $150,000 a year and you owe $5.6 million to other people. At least it isn’t all due today, nope! But, you do have to borrow $49,500 every year just to make ends meet. What’s your exit strategy? How are you ever going to pay your debts?

I could go on but the figures become mind numbing very quickly.

In 2016 the NSA collected more of your personal data.

The federal code of regulations grew to a record high 81,611 pages in 2015 but we’ll have to wait a few more months before we know where it stands for 2016.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom has the U.S. at number #11 this year. We were #8 in 2010 and #5 in 2008. We are going in the wrong direction! We are losing freedoms and BO makes no bones about it.

In his final speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama said the United States has to give up some freedom in exchange for security. He said:  “We can only realize the promise of this institution’s founding to replace the ravages of war with cooperation if powerful nations, like my own, accept constraints,”

Thank you emperor Obama!

From an employer perspective, there were a lot of changes in 2016.

It was a very active year from a minimum wage standpoint. We saw a lot of new minimum wage laws take effect in 2016 – Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, and Virginia. And, 5 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, and Washington), plus New York City and Washington D.C.,  passed increases to their minimum wage for 2017 and beyond. Eleven other states have annual increases based on a cost of living index. Several paid leave laws took effect in 2016 and several others were passed which take effect in 2017.

CA  had a change take effect in 2016, OR’s new law took effect in 2016, Montgomery County, MD also had a new law take effect, Bloomfield, NJ, Plainfield, NJ, New Brunswick, NJ, San Diego, CA, Tacoma, WA and Los Angels, CA …. all had paid leave laws take effect in 2016. Nine jurisdictions have laws taking effect in 2017.

Your employee handbook needed a lot attention in 2016 as well. You should review it to make sure the new national labor relations board rules are not being violated (episode 87). Plus, five states passed medical marijuana laws and 3 passed recreational marijuana laws. As a result, you should review and update to your drug policies.  Episode 24 is about marijuana in the workplace so it’s a good idea to listen to that episode because I talk about the impact on terminations and workers’ compensation claims.

  • New Occupational Health and Safety Administration rules take effect in 2017.
  • If you offer a wellness plan there are new EEOC rules that take effect in 2017.
  • A new payroll card law goes into effect in 2017 for New York.
  • The new I-9 form has be used starting on January 21, 2017 and,
  • Seattle’s Secure Scheduling law takes effect in July 2017.

I’ve done episodes on all these topics and you can go to smallbizbrainiac.com/podcasts and search for the one you’re interested in.

It’s not all doom and gloom however.  I’m hopeful that the future will see a reversal of the trend in employment law. I’m encouraged by the potential new direction of the DOL, as I told you about in the last episode so, that’s something to be happy about. We’ll just have to keep up the good fight to regain our freedoms and turn the national economy around.

Business owners know the real financial situation. We don’t believe the economic propaganda the government pushes on us. Case in point, I just got an email claiming the unemployment rate dropped. The government uses a faulty formula, unless you’re trying to misrepresent the facts which, in that case, their formula is perfectly calibrated.

One of the things we need to do in the U.S. and around the world, is return to the gold standard and sound currency, not the fractional reserve system backed only by the full faith and credit of the government of whichever nation (or union in the case of the EU) happened to issue it. If you are at all interested in learning about money, and I hope you are, then I have two resources for you. One is a video series by Mike Maloney. He has six videos called the Hidden Secrets of Money. Just google it or search for it on YouTube. I guarantee you’ll love these videos.

The second resource is a book called The Creature from Jekyl Island. This is an incredible book that will blow your mind. It’s about the Federal Reserve….the creature. Which was formulated – crafted by a small group of bankers and politicians on Jekyl Island off the coast of Georgia.

I think it is incredibly important for everyone to know what money is and its history.

And finally, I just heard that Judge Andrew Napolitano spent an hour with Trump today and talked about the qualities of a good Supreme Court appointee. Just appoint Judge Napolitano, President Trump.

So, until next year. Have a very happy holiday and I will catch you on the flip side!

About the author, Thomas

I have 20 of years insurance industry experience in C-level management, focusing on all aspects of workers compensation, risk management, loss control, employee benefits, HR, payroll and professional employer organization (“PEO”) operations. Currently, I am the owner and CEO of Humanly HR, and founder and host of SmallBiz Brainiac; a podcast providing employer intelligence to small business owners.

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