Posts tagged with "costs"

Presidential candidate illustration

Presidental Campaign Money

By Hannah DiPilato

Both President Donald Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden have splurged a fair amount on their 2020 presidential campaigns. Biden’s campaign along with his allies have spent an estimated $600 million while Trump’s campaign and his supporters have spent a little over $400 million. 

Over $1 Billion has been spent between the campaigns on TV advertisements in only 13 states alone according to an NPR analysis from the tracking firm Advertising Analytics. This money is being used to target six states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona. TV ads may be playing a larger role in the presidential campaign this year because of the pandemic keeping so many Americans at home watching TV. 

Tracked by Ad Age Datacenter, for the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races, campaign spending has now surged past $3 billion. This hefty amount includes TV, radio and digital ad spending. The digital ad spending includes Facebook and Google properties only for presidential candidates. 

This is “the most expensive election in history,” according to CNBC. The expected total spending for the 2020 election is predicted to be a whopping $10.8 billion according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This prediction takes into account both presidential and congressional races. CRP has recorded the election has already cost $7.2 billion, so the $10 billion milestone isn’t far out of reach. 

“The 2018 election smashed fundraising records for midterms, and 2020 is going to absolutely crush anything we’ve ever seen — or imagined — before,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of CRP, said in a statement. “This is already the most expensive presidential election in history and there are still months of election spending to account for. The unanswered question is whether this will be the new normal for future elections.” 

So far Biden has topped the charts for his advertising spendings. Between September 28 and October 11, Biden estimated spendings have been $55,928,770 and his ads have aired about 80,452 times. Trump trails Biden with estimated total spending of $31,796,960 and 32,011 airings in the same time period. 

The Biden campaign has been able to air ads in 17 states, even though there are many fewer states considered a close race. The campaign cost continues to grow over the expected TV budget of $280 million. “If we didn’t have the resources we had now, we’d be having to make [some] hard choices right now,” said one Biden campaign official.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, said the campaign has “more than sufficient air coverage.” He also stated that the campaign has spent more than the Biden campaign in different areas such as Facebook ads. 

The Biden is not shying away from spending and they plan to keep spending as much cash as possible until the campaign concludes. However, in the event the result of the race is contested, the Biden campaign is reserving money for legal fights.

Things to Look for Before Shopping Medical Supplies Online

Aside from the expertise in the medical field, one of the other most important aspects of any medical practice or business is the equipment and supplies. Shopping for these tools can be a hassle when you are not sure what to look for or where to look for, but that is a problem easily solved. The most important part is knowing what you need and what is going to help take your medical business to the next level.

Aside from the actual supplies themselves, you need to figure out what goes into the buying process. Making the right decisions can save you time and money that can be used for other areas of your business or practice. Check out these tips to learn what to look for.

Reliability and Trustworthiness of a Seller

Finding inexpensive medical supplies might seem like a blessing while browsing around online but it could end up hurting you in the long run. Cheap supplies or unreliable sellers could end up costing you more time, money, and headaches than sticking with trustworthy sellers. You want to find a reliable, and trustworthy source for supplies. This means one that has reviews and extensive research on products too. The legitimacy of your business can hinge on the quality of the tools you use. Similarly, if you want to be seen as a medical business that people would love to do business with, then you need to provide them with the care they need and this comes with finding sellers that are only providing the best supplies.

Costs and Expenses 

As mentioned, costs still play a factor. Whether they are too high or too low, there is always something to consider. Paying for quality is usually a fairly true statement, especially with medical supplies, but it does not always mean you need to go broke trying to get everything you need. On the flip side, you cannot expect to find everything you want for well under your budget. It is best to understand that there is a good middle ground between paying the right price (or a little more in some cases) to get what you need but to also set a budget and plan exactly how much you need. Consider cross-referencing prices of products from different suppliers and getting things in bulk that can allow you to cut down on paying on a per-product basis.

Protection and Warranties

A lot of expensive and delicate supplies or equipment is intended to last as long as advertised, but that is not always the case. In an ideal world, we would be able to buy one product than not have to replace it for a very long time. This does not happen so it is good to get the warranties offered for shipments and products. For the products themselves, it is a good idea in case the product is defective, breaks, or is generally not as listed. It is also important to hold shipping and delivery companies responsible for their part in providing the supplies you order in a safe manner. Hospitals and other medical practices need supplies fast and in good condition, so there should be no room for error when it comes to this and you should see if this is something you can get.

Contracts and Other Potential Partnerships

This depends a lot on the size and scope of your medical business or practice, but a lot of suppliers offer products and deals through contractual agreements or partnership programs. This is just meant to ensure that they have you as a dedicated customer and can supply you for a determined amount of time. This may be a reliable alternative to buying supplies from different companies and can help you develop a strong relationship with a reliable seller. The benefits are great and they can offer you deals on many products or help you find the best possible options. The earlier tip about reliability and trustworthiness is furthered by this as these vendors can help review products in support of your business goals and budget concerns.

Before purchasing any kind of medical equipment or supplies, you need to make some very important considerations. All of the points listed are things that you need to consider before purchasing because they can help you stay within budget, ensure that you are getting the proper supplies, that they are in good quality, and the vendor/seller is of good reputation. With this information, you can make informed and smart decisions that will help you and your practice succeed.

California Dips to 43rd in Highway Report

California Dips to 43rd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness The 24th Annual Highway Report, based on data that states submitted to the federal government, ranks each state’s highway system in 13 categories, including traffic fatalities, pavement condition, congestion, spending per mile, administrative costs and more. California’s highway system ranks 43rd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report published today by Reason Foundation. This is a one-spot decrease from the previous Annual Highway Report, where California ranked 42nd overall.

In safety and performance categories, California ranks 18th in overall fatality rate, 19th in structurally deficient bridges, 48th in traffic congestion, 47th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 45th in rural Interstate pavement condition. On spending, California ranks 40th in total spending per mile. “The traffic congestion in California’s large cities hurts the overall ranking, but, in addition to reducing congestion, the state could significantly improve its ranking by reducing fatalities on rural highways, improving its pavement conditions, and lowering its administrative costs,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Compared to nearby states, California’s overall highway performance is worse than Arizona (ranks 29th), Nevada (ranks 27th) and Oregon (ranks 12th). Compared to the other most populated states in America, California ranks ahead of New York (45th), trails Florida (40th), and ranks well behind Texas (ranks 23rd).”

California’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate (18th) and structurally deficient bridges (19th). California’s worst rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition (49th) and urban area congestion (48th). California’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 15th largest highway system in the country. Utilizing data that states submitted to the federal government, Reason Foundation’s 24th Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-owned roads in 13 categories, including pavement condition on urban and rural Interstates, deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, administrative costs, and spending per mile on state roads.

North Dakota ranks first in the Annual Highway Report’s overall performance and cost-effectiveness rankings for the second year in a row. Virginia and Missouri, two of the 20 most populated states in the country, are second and third in overall performance and cost-effectiveness. Maine and Kentucky round out the top five states. The highway systems in New Jersey (50th), Alaska (49th), Rhode Island (48th), Hawaii and Massachusetts rank at the bottom of the nation in overall performance and cost-effectiveness. The full Annual Highway Report, complete rankings in each category, and historical data from previous editions are available here.

California’s Complete Results Ranking (out of 50 states)   

Overall Rank (*see explanation below): #43

Overall Rank in Previous Report: #42

Ranking in Each Category  

Total Disbursements per Mile – #40

Capital-Bridge Disbursements per Mile – #30

Maintenance Disbursements per Mile – #44

Administrative Disbursements per Mile – #44

Rural Interstate Percent in Poor Condition – #45

Urban Interstate Percent in Poor Condition – #47

Rural Other Principal Arterial Percent in Poor Condition – #35

Urban Other Principal Arterial Percent in Poor Condition – #49

Urban Area Congestion* – #48

Structurally Deficient Bridges, Percent* – #19

Overall Fatality Rate – #18

Rural Fatality Rate – #47

Urban Fatality Rate – #21

*The Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2016 as well as urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2017. For more details on the calculation of each of the 13 performance measures used in the report, as well as the overall performance measure, please refer to the appendix in the main report. The report’s dataset includes Interstate, federal and state roads but not county or local roads. All rankings are based on performance measures that are ratios rather than absolute values: the financial measures are disbursements per mile, the fatality rate is fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles of travel, the urban congestion measure is the annual delay per auto commuter, and the others are percentages. For example, the state ranking first in structurally deficient bridges has the smallest percentage of structurally deficient bridges, not the smallest number of structurally deficient bridges.

Reason Foundation’s transportation experts have advised four presidential administrations, along with numerous state and metro transportation departments and planning organizations. Baruch Feigenbaum is lead author of the Annual Highway Report and his bio information is available here.

Majority of Recent Graduates Plan to Start a Business: AICPA Survey

The entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and well. As they prepare to enter the workforce, seven in ten (70 percent) young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) said they are likely to start their own business in the future.

This, according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment referred to as “young adult job seekers.” “It’s not surprising that the generation currently entering the labor market is looking beyond the traditional approach of rising through the ranks in a well-defined career path,” said Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Developments in technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to start a business. However, they have not necessarily made it easier to succeed.” Small Business Startups Don’t Need to Go It Alone Ambitious young entrepreneurs are not alone. Each month, approximately 540,000 people become new business owners. Contrary to the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail to gain any traction, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 80 percent survive the first year. However, the success rate of small businesses begins to fall sharply as time goes on. Only about half survive past the five-year mark, and beyond that, only about one in three get to the 10-year mark.

“I don’t know of anyone who sets out to start a business that closes in three years. But the reality is, the first few years are almost always the hardest. That means every financial decision needs to be well thought out, with a clear eye to the future.” said Teresa Mason, CPA member of the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee. “Working with a CPA helps small business owners ensure their business plan is structured to be as tax-efficient as possible. CPAs also partner with business owners to help them work out their cash flow consideration and opportunities for growth.”

For those looking to start a business, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission share these tips to help to set yourself up for success:

1. Start with a Solid Financial Foundation

“The stronger of a financial foundation you build early in your career, the more options you’ll have in the future. Paying off your student loan debt, getting a head start on saving for retirement and having an emergency fund affords entrepreneurs a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” – Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

“Being your own boss means looking only to yourself for the income you’ll need to meet your obligations and save for your goals. This means asking yourself some tough questions. Do you have enough set aside to cover your expenses during a potentially slow start-up period that new businesses often face? Do you have a ‘Plan B’ in the event that your expectations aren’t realized within a reasonable time frame? Address these scenarios proactively and have a plan in place.” – Neal Stern, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

3. Prepare for All the Costs Involved

“Before going out on your own professionally, it is important to compare your current budget with your forecasted budget. Know what you are currently getting versus what you may or may not have available if you start your own business. For example, if your current employer provides healthcare, retirement benefits and pays for out of pocket expenses you will now need to factor those expenses into what it is going to cost you to be on your own. These expenses can quickly add up which is why talking to a CPA about the costs involved in running your own business is critical.” – Michael Eisenberg, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

4. Keep Finances Organized & Build an Emergency Fund

“Maintain a bill-paying checking account where all your fixed monthly bills with a due date and a consistent amount are paid. Make sure that account always has at least 2 months’ worth of bill payment money in it, ideally 3+, and set up as many as you can for auto-pay on their due date. This not only helps eliminate late fees, but it’s an easier way to quickly see how much is ‘leftover’ to reinvest in your business. It can be tempting when you get a big check to take care of that month’s bills then spend the rest on wants, but until you can consistently keep 3+ months of expenses in that account, you have to resist the wants. This will give your business the chance it needs.” – Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

5. Take Advantage of Free Tools & Resources

For those who want help turning their idea into a successful business, the AICPA’s #CPApowered website provides free tools designed to help small businesses grow. Experienced CPAs share insight on a range of topics such as the risks involved in starting a business and how to acquire financing. And to help those who don’t know where to begin, there is even a small business checklist.The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website also features free resources including information about how to plan for a career change as well as a wide-variety of calculators on topics like loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.

Opinion: Will tariffs really raise consumer prices?

 
President Trump recently raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports and threatened to impose import duties on all Chinese goods coming into the United States.  Will American prices rise substantially as a result? This is a loaded question, because contrary to popular belief, tariffs don’t always raise prices.
 
One alarming study from The Trade Partnership, a think tank, estimates that an average American family of four may have to pay an extra $767. And if all Chinese exports are taxed, the cost could rise to more than $2,000.
 
However, the effects of tariffs on prices are not as straightforward as they may appear at first glance. Indeed, until the pioneering contribution by the late Lloyd Metzler, a University of Chicago professor, the question was not even explored. It was taken for granted that tariffs automatically raise the prices of imported goods. But Metzler’s article, known in the literature on international economics as the Metzler Paradox, changed this view once and for all. Let us analyze the problem without hysteria.
 
Tariffs have two effects on prices: one tending to raise them, the other tending to lower them. The overall impact depends on which effect is stronger.
 
It all comes down to supply and demand for goods in China. The United States is a large importer of Chinese products, so tariffs will cause a huge decline in American demand for Chinese goods because of the initial rise in prices. But as demand falls substantially, the prices of exportable goods inside China will also decline substantially. 
       
Assuming that transportation costs are minimal, as they are nowadays, the American price of a Chinese product is determined as follows: American Price = Chinese Price(1 + t), where “t” is the rate of tariff. From this formula, it is clear that there are two countervailing effects on the U.S. price of Chinese goods. A rise in the tariff rate initially tends to raise it, whereas the resultant fall in the Chinese price tends to lower it. The final effect depends on whether the Chinese price declines more or less than the rate of tariff.
 
As a simple example, suppose Walmart imports a shirt from China for $20, and then faces a 25 percent tariff on that import. If China’s price is constant, then the same shirt will now cost $24. But the Chinese price cannot stay constant. Since the United States imports a vast number of Chinese shirts, the demand for Chinese shirts will fall sharply, and that will lower the Chinese price. Say this price declines to $18, then a 25 percent tariff will raise its U.S. cost by one fourth to $22.50, which is still higher than its free-trade cost of $20.
 
At a Chinese price of $16, the tariff-inclusive price will be the same as the free-trade price. But if the Chinese price were to fall below $16, the cost to Walmart will be less than $20. Thus, it all depends on the forces of supply and demand inside China. 
 
The extent of the Chinese price decrease depends on the cost of producing a shirt. If this cost is low, then the price decrease can be large in the wake of declining demand, because a producer can still make some profit. Since Chinese wages are much lower than American wages, the Chinese cost of producing a shirt is likely to be very low, in which case the Chinese shirt price can fall substantially. If that happens, American prices of goods imported from China could actually decline.
 
Indeed, this may explain why thus far the U.S. tariffs that were imposed on Chinese exports in September 2018 have not been inflationary. In fact, even the Federal Reserve has been surprised by the recent cooling of core inflation and, as a result, pledged not to raise interest rates any further.
 
So the American consumer has nothing to worry about, especially when the consumer can easily switch to imports from other countries.
 
Large trade deficits with China have decimated American manufacturing and wages. U.S. industries need a revival, and tariffs are indispensable toward this purpose. In 1800, at the start of the American republic, barely 5 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in manufacturing; today, according to the Economic Report of the President, 2019, the share is about 8 percent — vastly below the 30 percent figure that prevailed in the 1960s. 
We are very close to where we were in 1800, and clearly, the manufacturing sector still needs a lot of support.
 
Note that under Abraham Lincoln tariffs were as high as 60 percent. As a result, following the Civil War, American manufacturing became the envy of the world. By 1900 the United States was among the nations with the highest living standard. Even though tariffs were high, prices fell or remained stable for several years. 
 
Such price behavior helped raise the overall standard of living. When a 60 percent tariff rate could not harm the American consumer, how can a mere 25 percent? Free trade has been the holy grail of international economics for decades, but historically, the fastest growth in the American living standard has occurred under the umbrella of tariffs.
 
Ravi Batra is a professor of international economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He is the author of The Myth of Free Trade. His latest book is End Unemployment Now: How to Eliminate Joblessness, Debt, and Poverty Despite Congress.

Hotel Property Management Tips

5 Tips To Choose The Right Property Management System For Your Hotel

Hoteliers and their staff are busy all the time. Anything that can take some weight off their shoulders will help them to work on other important tasks. Property Management System is the solution as it removes repetitive tasks and takes care of time-consuming processes. But the problem is: choosing the right PMS tool to help manage your property. Making a wrong move will result in losing not only money but a great deal of your time too. Here are five tips to help you choose the right property management system for your hotel.

Mind the Costs

Look for what your business needs and then choose a PMS that will meet the requirement. Even though costs will play an essential factor, it’s important to have a system that works with your workflow and meets your needs. Take advantage of the free trial or demo, which in fact is something you should ask first, and see whether it’s suitable for your hotel.

Opt for a cloud-based rather than the premise-based system which is more costly. The cloud-based system will not require you to hire an IT service to manage it. You will only have your computer or mobile to deal with. Remember to find something that favors your pocket.

Security Should be of Concern

To safeguard all the information about your guests’ data and prevent any breaches, security should be your concern. In an era where customer privacy is of utmost importance, and you don’t want to lose them, you should ask for a hotel property management system demo from every provider to see what they have as far as security is concerned.

Security breaches in hotels can involve password theft, network compromise, personal data compromise, etc. All the breaches are dealt with individually. Some need an application firewall to solve the problem while others are more complex and require a closer look.

Form a Plan and a Team

Unless you have a small-home-turned-hotel where you and your spouse are the team, one of the critical things to do is forming an integration team consisting of managers and staff. The importance of doing this is to make sure that the PMS addresses most of the needs in your hotel and it’s evaluated from different viewpoints.

Creating a plan and a team will also allow you to involve the eventual users, who are the staff. For small hotels or lodgings, ma’ and pa’ sit down and discuss the plan because they are the staff. It’s a vital decision to make and not even the activities of the day should make you forget about it. It will make your life easier and allow you to make more money.

Look For a PMS Provider Offering Training

Hospitality is an ever functional industry running 24/7, and you should look for providers who can offer support whenever you need. That should also mean that they are available to troubleshoot any problems you might face. Go for a PMS that provides training for the first-time users and also provides a refresher course in case you need it later on.

Ongoing training and support will help you understand new features and integrations. It’s vital to find a PMS that offers assistance so that you can solve some of the issues you might have.

Find One that Can be Integrated with Other Apps

PMS should be able to perform all the tasks flawlessly with other apps, that means, data from PMS can be transferred to other apps seamlessly so that work can be managed better. Inquire to understand whether the app can communicate and integrate with other systems.

What does this mean? For instance, if you have been storing all your data as Microsoft Excel file then you adopt a new web-based app, the data can be copied accurately and correctly such that no one will have to type it all again i.e. PMS with csv import-export feature.

Think about yourself, your staff and your property. What could make their work easier and boost your profits at the same time? The answer is the Property Management System. Use the tips above to choose the most convenient one.

Be Your Own Boss – Tips for Starting Your Own Business

It sounds great, doesn’t it? No more 9-5 hours, forget the daily commute, and just work when you feel like it, but the reality of being your own boss is often very different. While choosing when to work, or not, is possible for some, there has often been a lot of hard work for them to get to that point. But, with now more people than ever declared as self-employed, it has never been a better time to be your own boss. If you are dreaming of quitting the day job, starting your own business and becoming your own boss, this guide gives you some tips on what you need to do.

Find the Right Business Niche

You might have some idea already about what area you want your business in, and that is great, as long as you play to your strengths. Pick a business niche that you are already knowledgeable about, because if you already have the expertise, then you are far, more likely to achieve success. Also, make sure you choose a business idea that you are really passionate about also. Otherwise, you might see your enthusiasm dwindle after a few months.

When deciding on a business niche, it is important to do your research and identify a gap in the market that your business can fill. It will be much harder to make a successful business if you are just doing what your competitors do. Offer something extra, and you will stand out.

Create a Business Plan

Having a solid business plan gives you a focused look at what your targets are for your business and the strategies to implement. Your business plan will have detailed information about your target market, and how you intend to sell to them. Not only does a business plan to keep your project on track, but it is also a worthwhile document to show to possible investors.

If you are not sure how to create a business plan, there are examples and templates you can use online, as a way to get you started. At first, your business plan might seem a little basic. But keep coming up with ideas and flesh it out as you learn. The more you learn, the quicker you will be able to grow your business.

Learn New Skills

So you might have a great idea for a business, but if you don’t know how to run a website or have any marketing experience, then that is going to be a weakness. You will also need to learn accounting skills to keep track of your business spending and keep records for tax purposes. Learn the basics before you start, and it will make running your new business much easier.

Finances

Financing a start-up business can be hard, so make sure you know exactly what you need to spend money on and what you don’t. It is a good idea to save up some funds before you start your business, to get you up and running.
If finances are tight, you could consider bootstrapping which where you build a business by only investing the profits it makes and keeping costs as low as possible, rather than spending a lump sum of your own, or an investor’s, cash. This might mean keeping your business small until you have raised enough to invest in growth, but you won’t be getting into debt to fund your business. If you are bootstrapping, it is often worth having another source of income to keep you afloat until your business is making more money. Don’t forget that you still have everyday living expenses to consider, so it might not be the right time for you to completely give up your day job. Try to begin your business alongside your regular job, or at least work part-time, so you still have a source of income.

Sometimes, new businesses face problems with cash flow, so you might have to supplement it with your own money. Or, you might be putting much of your own money into funding your business that you might temporarily be finding it difficult financially. If so, a short-term loan can be beneficial, such as from Bonsai Finance.

Entrepreneurial Mind-Set

Your attitude is what drives your business, so you need to get into the mindset of an entrepreneur to get success. That means having the will to succeed even when times feel tough. It also means having discipline in your working day to get tasks done and to also have the confidence to make decisions.

It takes effort and hard work to achieve anything worthwhile, but if you show up ready to work consistently, you will soon see your efforts pay off.

Don’t Overdo It!

Remember why you wanted to be your own boss in the first place? It was to get that work/life balance you have always dreamed of. So while it might be tempting to work all the hours you can to make it a success, remember to take regular breaks and days off. Too much work and putting pressure on yourself can lead to stress, and that is not productive for your or your business.

If you find yourself under pressure, delegate what you can. If you have clients waiting, call them to rearrange a time for completion of a project, or consider outsourcing work if you have too much.

Being your own boss gives you the opportunity to manage your own time, rather than being dictated to by regular employment. However, it does come with risks. If you get sick, you won’t get sick pay, there is no paid annual leave, and if you don’t make it a success, you could stand to lose any money you may have invested in it. Treat starting your own business with caution, but don’t be afraid to try! Every successful entrepreneur had to start somewhere, and most experience failure as well as success. If you believe in yourself and have the will to succeed, then you have already won half the battle.