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Small Businesses To Tackle Long List Of Challenges In 2023



Small Busniess

NEW YORK – As 2023 begins, small businesses will face a mix of old and new challenges. A looming recession, high (but easing) inflation and labor woes are just a few issues that small businesses will have to deal with after 2022. There are also new rules, such as a proposal to change how gig workers are classified and the fact that more states are making it a law that pay must be made public. After three difficult pandemic years, what happens in 2023 will significantly impact whether small businesses across the country can stay afloat.


In some ways, whether or not the economy is headed for a recession is less important for small businesses than day-to-day operations.

According to Nela Richardson, chief economist for payroll company ADP, small business owners should concentrate on larger issues such as Labor and wages.

“For the most part, the recession is an academic question,” she said. “We won’t know for several months until it happens, and no one on Main Street makes that call. It has nothing to do with hiring and turnover.”

Given the economic uncertainty, small businesses will need to keep costs under control and operations running as efficiently as possible, according to Ray Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Technology, according to Keating, can help with efficiency, and one way to keep costs low is to cast a wider net in terms of suppliers.



Businesses must keep a tight grip on costs because inflation appears to have peaked last summer but remains high. According to the most recent government data, consumer prices rose 7.1% year on year in November, down from 7.7% in October.

According to experts, inflation is unlikely to return to pre-2020 levels owing to higher wages and low employment. According to the monthly employment report released on Friday, wages increased by 4.6% year on year in December, with the unemployment rate remaining at 3.5%.

“We want unemployment to rise because if it doesn’t, wage growth will slow, and not only is there no evidence of that happening, but wage growth is about to get rocket fuel this time of year when wages rise,” said David Lewis, CEO of HR consulting firm Operations Inc.

He expects inflation to remain in limbo.

“I don’t see inflation falling significantly… but I don’t see it is rising above that 8% level,” he said.



Hiring and retaining employees is a constant challenge for small businesses. The situation is especially bleak at the start of the year. Because companies typically give raises or bonuses at the end of the year, many employees use mid-January to mid-April to determine whether they need to change jobs.

“Everything we’re seeing or hearing suggests that companies need to look at increases that are double what they used to do in the last, on average, 15 years to keep up with everyone,” said Lewis of Operations Inc. “Unfortunately, smaller businesses have the fewest resources to contribute.”

Because small businesses need help to keep up with raises at larger corporations, they will need to find new ways to retain employees in 2023.

According to Keating of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, more extensive on-the-job training could be one solution for small businesses in 2023.

“Not that they don’t train them now, but they need to go deeper than they have in the past and train across the board. “That’s one of the solutions to these labor issues,” he said.



The Labor Department has proposed a rule that would make it easier to classify independent workers as employees, contributing to a long-running debate over whether gig workers such as Uber drivers or Instacart delivery workers are contractors or employees.

According to the Labor Department, the proposal will protect workers and “level the playing field” for businesses that correctly classify their employees, reducing the number of misclassified employees.

Employees are eligible for benefits such as the minimum wage and Social Security. However, critics of the proposed rule argue that gig workers only sometimes want employee status and that the new rule will burden small businesses.

The proposed rule is “much too broad, unwieldy, arbitrary, and confusing,” according to Karen Kerrigan, CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “If enacted, it will drag countless numbers of independent contractors and freelancing individuals into the misclassified pit,” she added.

The proposal only applies to Labor Department-enforced laws, such as the federal minimum wage. Employers and courts, however, frequently use Labor Department rules as a guideline for larger issues.

The final Labor Department decision is expected this year, likely in the first quarter.



Finally, small businesses should be aware of upcoming regulatory changes, particularly state regulations, that will take effect in 2023.

In 2023, 27 states will raise their minimum wages. In Michigan, for example, the minimum wage is set to rise from $9.87 to $10.10 per hour. California has set the minimum wage for all employees, regardless of employer size, at $15.50 per hour. This is shifting from $15 for employers with 25 or more employees to $14 for employers with fewer than 25 employees.

Pay transparency legislation is also taking effect. California began requiring employers with 15 or more employees to list salary ranges on job postings on January 1. In New York, a salary transparency bill requiring pay ranges on job postings is set to take effect in September.

Minimum wage and pay transparency laws vary greatly by state, so small businesses should stay current on any local laws changes.



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Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99




OMAHA, Nebraska – Charlie Munger, who assisted Warren Buffett in transforming Berkshire Hathaway into an investment juggernaut, died in a California hospital. He was 99.

Berkshire Hathaway confirmed in a statement that Munger died Tuesday morning at the hospital, just over a month before his 100th birthday.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said. The legendary investor also paid respect to Munger in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders earlier this year.

Munger acted as Buffett’s sounding board for investment and business choices and helped run Berkshire Hathaway for more than five decades as its vice chairman.


Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99

Munger had needed a wheelchair for years to move around, but he had stayed mentally alert. That was evident as he handled hours of questions at the annual meetings of Berkshire Hathaway and the Daily Journal Corp. earlier this year and in recent interviews with an investing podcast, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.

Munger liked to remain in the shadows and let Buffett be the face of Berkshire Hathaway, and he frequently downplayed his contributions to the company’s extraordinary success.

On the other hand, Buffett has always credited Munger for pushing him beyond his early value investing tactics to acquire wonderful businesses at low prices, such as See’s Candy.

“Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and human nature,” Buffett stated in 2008.

Buffett’s early success was founded on lessons learned from former Columbia University professor Ben Graham. He would buy stock in companies selling for less than their assets were worth and then sell the shares when the market price rose.

Munger and Buffett began purchasing Berkshire Hathaway stock in 1962 for $7 and $8 per share, respectively, and bought ownership of the New England textile factory in 1965. Over time, the two brothers molded Berkshire into its current conglomerate by reinvesting profits from its businesses in companies such as Geico Insurance and BNSF Railroad. They also kept a high-profile stock portfolio, including big Apple and Coca-Cola stakes. The stock reached $546,869 on Tuesday, and many investors became wealthy by holding on to it.

Munger gave a lengthy interview to CNBC earlier this month in anticipation of his 100th birthday, and the business network aired parts from that discussion on Tuesday. In his characteristically self-deprecating tone, Munger summarized Berkshire’s achievement as avoiding mistakes and working well into his and Buffett’s 90s.

“We got a little less crazy than most people and a little less stupid than most people and that really helped us,” remarked Munger. In a special letter he published in 2014 to commemorate 50 years of helping manage the company, he went into greater depth on the reasons for Berkshire’s success.


Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99

Buffett and Charlie resided more than 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) apart for their collaboration, but Buffett stated he would phone Munger in Los Angeles or Pasadena to confer on every major decision he made.

“Many will miss him, perhaps none more than Mr. Buffett, who relied heavily on his wisdom and counsel.” I envied their friendship. “They challenged each other while also seeming to enjoy each other’s company,” Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan said.

Berkshire would probably do fine without Charlie, according to CFRA Research analyst Cathy Seifert, but there is no way to replace the role he served. After all, Munger was one of the few people ready to tell Buffett he was incorrect about something.

“The most pronounced impact, I think, is going to be over the next several years as we see Buffett navigate without him,” he said.

Charlie grew raised in Omaha, Nebraska, only five blocks from Buffett’s current home, but because Munger is seven years older, the two men never met as youngsters, even though both worked at the grocery shop owned by Buffett’s grandfather and uncle.

When the two men met at an Omaha dinner party in 1959, Munger was a Southern California lawyer, and Buffett headed an investing business in Omaha.


Buffett and Munger hit it off right away, according to the biography in the canonical book on Munger, “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.”

During the 1960s and 1970s, the two men traded investment ideas and occasionally invested in the same companies. They became the two largest shareholders in one of their mutual investments, trading stamp maker Blue Chip Stamp Co., and purchased See’s Candy, the Buffalo News, and Wesco. Munger was appointed vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in 1978 and chairman and president of Wesco Financial in 1984.

Berkshire’s legions of devoted shareholders who frequently filled an Omaha arena to hear the two men will recall Munger’s curmudgeonly comments when addressing questions alongside Buffett at the annual meetings.

Charlie was well-known for saying, “I have nothing to add” after several of Buffett’s lengthy responses at Berkshire meetings. However, Munger frequently provided crisp responses that cut to the heart of an issue, such as his advice on finding a solid investment in 2012.

“If it’s got a really high commission on it, don’t bother looking at it,” he told me.

Whitney Tilson, an investor, has attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings for the past 26 years to learn from Charlie and Buffett, who shared life lessons and investing advice. Tilson stated that Charlie taught that after attaining some success, “your whole approach to life should be how not to screw it up, how not to lose what you’ve got” because reputation and integrity are the most valuable assets and can be lost in an instant.

“In the investment world, it’s the same thing is in your personal world, which is your main goal should be avoiding the catastrophic mistakes that could destroy an investment record, that can destroy a life,” he stated.


“Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and human nature,” Buffett stated in 2008.

Munger famously summarized the counsel, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so (that) I never go there.”

Munger was well-known for being an avid reader and student of human behavior. He used several models from fields such as psychology, physics, and mathematics to evaluate potential investments.

Munger attended the University of Michigan in the 1940s but dropped out to serve as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps during WWII.

He then acquired a law degree from Harvard University in 1948 despite having yet to complete an undergraduate degree. He co-founded a legal practice in Los Angeles that carries his name today, but he quickly realized that he preferred investing.

At one point, Charlie had a fortune of more than $2 billion and was named one of the wealthiest Americans. Munger’s fortune dwindled over time as he gave away more of it, but the ever-increasing value of Berkshire’s stock kept him affluent.

Munger has greatly contributed to Harvard-Westlake, Stanford University Law School, the University of Michigan, and the Huntington Library, among others. After his wife died in 2010, he also left much of his Berkshire stock to his eight children.

Charlie also served on the boards of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Los Angeles-based private Harvard-Westlake School. Munger also served on the board of Costco Wholesale Corp. and as chairman of the Daily Journal Corp. for many years.


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Trudeau Creates Tax to Solve Canada’s Housing Crisis, “Yes Another TAX”




Trudeau Creates Tax to Solve Canada's Housing Crisis, "Yes Another TAX"

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, under pressure over a lack of affordable housing, and his latest solution is to tax Canadian’s even more by introducing a tax on short-term

Many Canadian’s subsidize their already highly taxed income by renting our rooms in their homes through Airbnb and other short term rentals. Well now Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will put an end to that, she has unveil tax reforms aimed at reducing the use of Airbnb Inc. and other short-term rental services in areas of Canada where those platforms are prohibited.

According to reports in Montreal’s La Presse and the Toronto Star, Freeland’s fall economic statement will include the proposal. According to news outlets, the government will restrict property owners from deducting expenses for short-term rentals in places where those services are already limited by other levels of government.

According to the Star and La Presse, the tax reform, which would take effect on January 1, is intended to punish property owners who violate local restrictions. A lack of suitable rental homes is an issue in locations like British Columbia, where the provincial government recently enacted new regulations that makes it more difficult for owners to post vacant properties on sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and Expedia.

Last month, Freeland stated that the federal government was investigating what instruments it may use to combat short-term rental sites, which result in “fewer homes for Canadians to rent, particularly in urban and populated areas of our country.”

According to La Presse, the federal government’s housing agency, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., would be given C$15 billion ($10.9 billion) to offer low-interest loans to real estate developers for the development of rental homes as part of a new housing package.

Trudeau Raises Tax on Alcohol

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada frequently declares that he is “working to make life more affordable.” Instead of doing the one thing that would immediately make living more cheap – cutting taxes – he’s leveraging inflation to go on a drinking binge.

Trudeau intends to boost the federal excise tax on alcohol once again in 2024. This time, it was by 4.7%. Even a 4.7% tax increase, however, minimizes the amount of tax you pay every time you go to the liquor store.

In Canada, taxes already account for over half of the price of beer, two-thirds of the price of wine, and more than three-quarters of the price of spirits. That means a 24-pack of pilsner, a couple bottles of Pinot, plus a bottle of vodka will set you back around $120. Over $75 of it is tax.

In fact, Canadians pay five times the tax on a case of beer as our southern neighbors. The tax on a case of beer in Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador is higher than the total price of a case in half of American states.

While Canadians pay greater taxes, Americans benefit from tax cuts. Between 2017 and 2019, Canadian beer taxes increased by $34 million for large brewers, whereas American beer taxes decreased by $31 million.

Since the 2017 budget, the federal government has been on a tax rise spree. The Trudeau government implemented an automatic tax hike escalator that year. That means that on April 1 of each year, the federal excise tax automatically increases with inflation.

With inflation at a 40-year high, Canadians will face a significant tax increase in 2024.

The escalator tax was initially unpopular because inflation was low. However, even minor tax increases might add up to large costs over time. Because of the automatic annual tax raise that began in 2017, the federal government’s alcohol excise taxes will have jumped 19% after next year’s boost.

According to polls, the growing cost of living is the single most pressing economic issue confronting Canadians. Any government that cares about affordability will cancel the forthcoming tax hike and eliminate the automatic tax escalation system.

Brownie points for restoring alcohol taxes to their pre-automatic tax escalation levels. After all, the administration has boosted its tax take without MPs voting on it since Budget 2017. This is inherently anti-democratic.

Votes on tax increases are required for democracy. That is why we have a House of Commons full of MPs elected by their voters and paid $194,000 by the public. The automatic tax rises, on the other hand, make a mockery of our democratic processes.

In fact, the one time MPs had the opportunity to vote on the most recent alcohol tax rise, they decisively voted to repeal it. Trudeau just rejected the non-binding motion and Parliament’s democratic will.

Canadians require assistance. And the simplest and most straightforward way for him to demonstrate that he cares about affordability is to cease his alcohol tax spree.


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Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems




Kyle Vogt, the CEO of GM self-driving car division Cruise, resigned late Sunday. His retirement came the day after he apologized to the unit’s employees for issues that prompted state and federal regulators to take action following a string of mishaps.

It’s a quick turnaround for the business, which only three months ago received a license to run its driverless taxis 24/7 in San Francisco and announced ambitions to expand to other US cities. A month ago, it announced a collaboration with Honda to bring robotaxis to Japan.

However, pedestrian crashes and injuries caused the business to effectively cease its robotaxi service nationally at the end of October after California regulators revoked its license to operate driverless cars.

Despite the numerous issues and high-level turnover, GM said on Sunday that it stayed with Cruise and its efforts to produce self-driving cars. Aside from the safety issues at Cruise, the unit has cost the corporation $5.9 billion in pre-tax profit since the beginning of 2020. Ford and Volkswagen halted their cooperative attempts to build self-driving cars a little more than a year ago, as executives at those competing automakers questioned if robotaxis would be commercially feasible anytime soon.

The most catastrophic Cruise accident occurred on October 2 in San Francisco, when a pedestrian was critically injured after being hit by both a typical human-driven car and a Cruise driverless car. According to accident paperwork, the pedestrian was pinned under the Cruise car and dragged for 20 feet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced two weeks later that the collision and reports of additional accidents using Cruise vehicles and pedestrians motivated it to initiate a safety investigation into Cruise vehicles.


Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems

Following the NHTSA announcement, as well as the action by California authorities to revoke its license to operate driverless cars in the state, Cruise announced that it would suspend its driverless taxi service, though it would continue to operate with drivers in the car ready to take over for the self-driving feature.

Cruise recalled the vehicles earlier this month.

“I am sorry that we have veered off course under my leadership and that this has affected many Cruisers in a deeply personal way,” Vogt wrote in an email to staff on Saturday, according to Reuters.

“As CEO, I take responsibility for the situation Cruise is in today,” he said. “There are no excuses and no sugarcoating what has occurred.” We must increase our focus on safety, openness, and community engagement.”

Vogt launched the company in San Francisco in 2013 and 2016 sold an 80% share to GM for $581 million, half of which was paid in cash and the balance in GM stock.

Employees of the unit held the majority of the remaining 20% ownership in Cruise, and they had the option to sell their shares back to GM. Reuters reported last week that it had temporarily halted employee share sales owing to financial and safety issues, only to resume sales in response to staff complaints.

The corporation acknowledged Vogt’s departure on Sunday night. GM had previously taken steps to gain greater control of the unit, naming GM General Counsel Craig Glidden as co-president and chief administrative officer of Cruise last week. Mo Elshenawy, a six-year Cruise employee, was named the other co-president in addition to his duties as chief technology officer. As part of Vogt’s resignation announcement on Sunday, no new CEO was identified.


Founder And CEO Of GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit Resigns In Wake Of Safety Problems

“GM has made a bold commitment to autonomous vehicle technology because we believe in the profound, positive impact it will have on societies, including saving countless lives,” the automaker said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are firmly committed to Cruise’s mission and the transformative technology it is developing.” “We fully support the actions that Cruise leadership is taking to ensure that safety comes first and that trust and credibility are built with government partners, regulators, and the broader community,” the statement stated. “Our commitment to Cruise with the goal of commercialization remains steadfast.”


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