Austin Hill

Tumultuous economy? What tumultuous economy?

If you’re in one of America’s wealth creation epicenters – Seattle, Boston, Dallas or D.C. as examples – you might not be feeling the brunt of a brutal labor market. But most of us are keenly aware of the lack of job creation.

There seems to be no end to Americans’ acceptance of destructive, job-killing government policies these days, so hoping for a quick course-correction in Washington is probably not realistic. But here are a couple of things we can all start doing – now – to help ensure a brighter future for ourselves and our families.

Understand the basic economic dynamics of your profession or industry: It is sad to realize how many highly-trained and well educated professionals nonetheless don’t understand cash flow at their place of employment. Ask them “how do you get paid?” and you’re likely to hear “through automatic deposit” or “I get a check every 2 weeks.”

If you earn a living at, say, a local restaurant, then the cash flow equation is pretty obvious. Your restaurant will probably need some specific number of cash-paying customers to spend some specific amount of money every month in order for the restaurant owner to keep the doors open.

But with other occupations the equation isn’t so obvious. Years ago my local public school district made a big push to get voters to approve higher property taxes, supposedly so local schools would have more money. The campaign slogan was “vote YES for education,” but the implication was that if voters rejected higher taxes then teachers would have to be laid-off.

During the campaign I was visited by a teacher at my door saying “I’m worried about losing my job; will vote yes for education?” In response I asked a very simple money question:“why is it that the school district needs more money when student enrollment has been declining for fifteen years?”

We talked for a few brief minutes. The lady had absolutely no clue about the taxpayer funded personal cars,and hotel, air travel, and dining expense accounts being paid to the big-salary “administrators” at the school district office – money that never went to teachers or classrooms -and worse yet, she seemingly had absolutely no interest or inclination to learn about them. “All I know is that I love teaching children, and I want to keep my job” she said as she stormed off. The threats about losing her job were probably disingenuous and un-warranted, but without taking the time to understand the economic dynamics of her work, she lived in fear – and became a pawn in other people’s selfish politics.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.