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August 2011

July 2011

Affiliate Summit East Right Around The Corner

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Marketing is one profession that moves at the speed of light. This year in particular, with the Google panda updates, the surge in online coupon use, smart phone proliferation and the continued growth in ecommerce, it's more important than ever to get out at least once a year and catch up on the industry.

There is no better time to do this than at Affiliate Summit East 2011 scheduled for August 21 - 23 at the New York Hilton. It's the one show I recommend to every on-line marketer.

This year promises to be even better than last year with Wil Reynolds, the seer of all things SEO keynoting the conference.  Other highlights includes the Sunday afternoon meet market which provides direct access to the companies and people setting the direction of affiliate marketing.

Still not sure if you should go?  it's been estimated that 20% to 30% of on line commerce moves through an affiliate channel.  A good part of this total is due to the efforts of the attendees at the Summit.

Now for the sake of full disclosure, I'll be sharing the speaker podium with Affiliate Merchant ABCs Guru, CEO  and Podcaster Deborah Carney (Loxly) on Monday August 22 where we'll be reviewing best practices for launching a merchant program.  It's the session I wish I had when launching the program. We'll start with the basics including how to sell in a program to management, network selection, OPM (outsourced program manager) selection and how to make a program successful post launch.

If you are planning to attend, be sure to say hello. Note that this show sells out every year, so be sure to register soon.

This is a business that is fuelded by ideas, Affiliate Summit is a place to refill the tank. 

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A Simple Proposal for Balancing the U.S. Budget

Charts depicting US federal debt (nominal and ...Image via Wikipedia

Congress is at a stalemate, with the American tax payer caught in the cross hairs. Right now congress is playing a game of chicken.  Republicans refuse to raise more revenue via taxes to pay our debts, while Democrats refuse to cut social service/entitlement spending and would prefer to tax the rich. 

The Risk of Doing Nothing

If the government goes into technical default on the $14.3 trillion dollar debt. interest payments on government T-Bills and other forms of debt are delayed until the government pays.  While there would be little doubt that the government would pay, any delay would create some doubt, which could cause bond holders to sell at a discount.  For example, if China decides to sell U.S. bonds our of fear of non-payment, the price of bonds decline, including those held by U.S. Taxpayers.   

Like the failure of Lehman brothers, who knows how much U.S. government debt is held by banks around the world? Banks that hold our debt or businesses that have collateralized loans with this debt would then have to write down the value of these assets. Since collateral levels are not being met, all would have to provide more collateral if they have it.  If they can't, the loans are called. As loans are called, businesses can no longer function and fail, reducing employment and the downward cycle begins.  Throw in fragile economies such as Greece and Italy, and the world quickly falls into recession or some type of depression.

So what do we do. Failure to act is not an option, as raising the debt ceiling will just lead to bigger deficits, higher interest payments and a problem that is even harder to solve.

The Plan for a Fair and Balanced Budget

Maybe I'm a bit naive, but perhaps the answer is to both raise revenue and reduce spending. While that is stating the obvious, the question is how.  Let's also say that the complexity of both are politically charged and fairly impossible to accomplished (as demonstrated by the current impasse).  With layers of subsidies, tax loopholes and social entitlement programs all developed over years of negotiations in congress, it is naive to think that any one type of spending can be cut without a fight. 

So there is only one short term conclusion.  Do what American's are known to do, own the problem. There is no other choice then to share the burden equally, across tax payers and those that benefit from government spending.

The Simple Plan:

1. To avoid instability, all cuts and revenue increases will be phased in over 5 to 10 years.

2. 50% of the budget gap will be closed with spending cuts, and 50% through increases in revenue.

3. All cuts and revenue raising activities will be implemented in proportion to current levels of spending or revenue/taxation. 

In terms of cuts, if defense is 25% of the total U.S. budget, then defense should undergo a cut of 12.5%, representing its fair share of the cuts (25% of 50%), to be phased in over 5 to 10 years.  Subsidies for farming, education etc will all be cut in the fair share percentage.

Taxpayers will have to shoulder the same, with tax increases applied based on current tax rates.  Yes this will impact the poor and rich, but fair is fair.

Beyond these levels, congress can fight it out after the fair budget plan is put into place.  We got ourselves into this mess, and as American's we all own the debt, Democrats and Republicans alike. And like any debt, we need to pay for it.  Not through magic, not through disproportionately harming the poor, or the subsidized, but through a plan where the burden is shared by all. 




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