Small Business Lessons

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In 1999, my family and I made an uncertain landfall in Vermont. Now, thirteen years later, we can look back on a turbulent adventure that has given us a quality family life and a profitable and fulfilling business. As 2012 begins, my business has become a muscular enterprise. I have learned much, since I first hung out my shingle, about … Read More

Political Instability In China

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Given that political and economic unrest have been so widespread this year, it should come as no surprise that there are political rumblings in the Middle Kingdom. China, the world’s most populous state, is watching its exports to the U.S. and Europe fall for the first time since it became an exporting powerhouse. Even as demand for its goods declines … Read More

Welcome To The Season Of Excess

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Thanksgiving is now a memory, and the party season has sprouted from the doldrums of November. My mailboxes, both real and virtual, are full of once yearly greetings from friends and family, including the ubiquitous one-size-fits-all one page letter with filtered family news, and the remaining spaces are crammed with catalogues trumpeting the newest, the best, the most humorous, and … Read More

The First Driving Lesson

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Without question, there are economic realities, both good and bad, associated with driving. Most of us immediately focus on the cost of the car, its maintenance, the gasoline, registration, and the ever-increasing price of insurance. My father, who is a font of wisdom in all things mechanical, used to say the total for each car was approximately $5,000/year. Looking at … Read More

Europe, Oh Europe!

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On January 1, 2002, the European Union debuted an ambitious new currency to rival, and even surpass, the mighty U.S. Dollar. This new money, dubbed “the Euro”, replaced schillings, francs, guilders, marks and markkas, punts, lira, escudos, pesetas and drachmas, relegating these national currencies to extinction. Nine years later, it appears that the Euro may be headed in the same … Read More

Class Warfare, Taxes, And The Social Contract

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Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, recently responded to Republican charges that President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy constituted class warfare: “You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired … Read More

Picking Apples In Vermont

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Apple picking in Vermont is a seasonal ritual, up there with summer vegetable gardens, lazy days fishing, hunting in season, and tapping the maple trees in the late winter. It’s part of what defines us as Vermonters, willing and able to hunt and gather beyond the grocery store. Unlike other parts of the country where collecting food at its source … Read More

The Accumulated Costs of September 11

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While previous generations know exactly where they were when Kennedy was assassinated or the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, few of this generation will ever forget what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Now we have passed … Read More

What Are You Prepared To Do?

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Judging from the composition of the Gang of Twelve appointed by the House and Senate leadership in the wake of the default crisis, the coming deficit-reduction talks will consist of a great deal of “my way or the highway” rhetoric, and little or no compromise. As a result, painful across-the-board budget cuts are coming, cuts that will bite hard into … Read More

Defaulting On The National Debt

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Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is known more today for widespread tax evasion, inefficient government bureaucracy, and a monumental national debt that now exceeds its annual gross domestic product (GDP). Austerity measures demanded by the European Union, including massive public service job cuts, huge tax increases, reductions in public pensions and wages, and selling off the country’s infrastructure to private … Read More