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No Action is the Best Action on Sequestration Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
No Action is the Best Action on Sequestration

This week I'd like to get out in front of the story we will all be sick of by the end of next week – the latest installment of our impending fall off the fiscal cliff. This chapter is about the automatic federal spending cuts (sequestration) scheduled to take effect March 1 in order to help rein in our deficit. On the line is $1.2 trillion in cut-backs over 10 years, to be split between defense and discretionary domestic programs.

Failure to take meaningful deficit reduction action is what got us into this mess, and it may just be what forces our hand to get us out of it. I, for one, am not persuaded that intervention to halt the clock, postpone the inevitable or shrink the parameters of sequestration is in the country's best interest.

Our country has a serious problem. We spend more than we take in. There is not an enterprise in history that has succeeded under this formula. It's really very simple. We cannot sustain current spending. Nor do we have any hope of reducing our record deficit without either cutting our budget or raising receipts to the federal coffers, or both.

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Customer Service: The Uber Destination Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Customer Service: The Uber Destination

Every once in a rare while a product or service is created that not only delivers what it promises but in fact wildly exceeds our expectations. One such service is the UBER app developed by Uber Technologies, Inc. of San Francisco. Let me tell you how I came to learn about UBER and what it does.

Late last fall my family and I moved into New York City to live full time. Having lived on Long Island for most of my life, I expected there would be an adjustment period in acclimating to city life. One of the biggest adjustments was transitioning from a life of driving a car almost everywhere to one in which you almost never drive your own car but rely instead on mass transit, taxis, car service or just good old fashion walking. I actually love to walk, so my transportation of choice is my own steam whenever possible. I can probably get 95% of what I need in life (other than work) within a 5-block radius of my apartment. For that other 5% and for work-related activities, until recently a taxi was my default. For those of you who know me, I'm sure you're not surprised that subway and bus wasn't one of my preferred choices.

As every New Yorker knows, trying to hail a taxi between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on any given day in NYC is like waiting for snow in Miami. It's a historic occasion if it ever happens. The height of rush hour is when all the taxi drivers in New York have a tacit pact to change shifts, or go on their dinner breaks. On a rainy or very cold day, the sea of yellow cars that normally flows on city streets (except at rush hour) just evaporates altogether. As they say in Brooklyn, fuggedaboudit.

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How Are You? Really. Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
How Are You? Really.

When I attend industry conferences, I hear a lot of discussion about the different ways that companies are engaging with their employees, from social media groups to flexible work schedules. One of the biggest topics under the umbrella of engagement is employee wellness.

There is a good reason for this: employees' health and well-being is a bottom line issue both for them and for their companies. 

Employee wellness is about more than just health. It is an indicator of an employee's overall well-being inside the company and how that well-being translates into productivity and profitability. It includes not only how employees feel, but the correlations between how they feel and (a) their job performance and (b) the very real and growing cost of helping them to be healthy.

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Mayor Bloomberg's Largesse Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Mayor Bloomberg's Largesse

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now officially the most generous living donor to the field of education in the United States. Last week, the Mayor and Bloomberg News magnate stepped out from behind the curtain of quiet philanthropy to announce a $350 million gift to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater. This extraordinary gesture brings Mr. Bloomberg's total contributions to Johns Hopkins to $1.1 billion to date. And he's not finished yet.

Mayor Bloomberg is reportedly worth in excess of $25 billion, which puts him in the top 1% of the 1%. He has committed to donating his entire fortune during his lifetime, as a member of the Giving Pledge, an initiative created for that noble purpose by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. It's a staggering proposition that is almost impossible to truly visualize.

Try to imagine the incredible good that Mr. Bloomberg and his fellow billionaires can do with that much money. More of those lucky few are stepping up to the challenge. Patrice Motsepe, founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals and South Africa's first black billionaire, became the first African to join the Giving Pledge fraternity this week. He plans to use his contribution for education and health programs in his country.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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