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Terry Braverman and Company

Let's Cut the Crap and Trim the Government Fat


According to a recent National Employment Law Project (NELP) report, U.S. taxpayers must cover an enormous bill in the form of public assistance programs to fast-food industry workers who are paid less than a “living wage”. McDonald’s alone cost taxpayers $1.2 billion last year. The top seven fast-food companies combined for $3.3 billion in taxpayer funds. Whether you work in the fast-food business, eat fast-food, or even avoid eating it, this government-subsidized industry is costing you big time. As explained by NELP policy analyst Jack Temple, “The low wage business model that this industry is based on drains resources from the economy by forcing low-pay workers to rely on public assistance in order to make ends meet.”


These public assistance programs include the earned income tax credit, SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The largest of these is Medicaid. “Almost 90% of workers in the fast-food industry do not get health insurance," Temple said. "In addition to being a low-wage business model, it is also a virtually no-benefit business.”


Temple noted that while these companies are trying to save money by paying their employees less, they may in fact be saving much less than they think. One such cost may come in the form of the industry’s high turnover rate. Training even low skill-level workers saps time, resources, and productivity. “Companies are just churning workers, and that’s due to low wages. When you invest in higher wages, you actually get significant savings in the form of reduced employee turnover.”


But is high turnover a strong enough incentive for these companies to raise wages? Certainly these corporate behemoths have crunched numbers vis-à-vis turnover rates, wages, and cost control. NELP asserts that these companies, given their growth and considerable profitability, are in a position to compensate their workers more without hurting their bottom line.


I believe there is a better solution, based upon a choice we all can make – dramatically minimizing our consumption of fast food. I hear the excuses: "I don't have the time to cook a healthy meal;" "I don't have the time or money for a healthy restaurant meal." Think about what it costs your health by eating fast food – sluggish energy, sick days, visits to the doctor, chronic illness, and how that affects your pocketbook and productivity. A decline in fast food joints means a shift to sustainable jobs that promote sustainable lifestyles which require more job training and better wages. It will also reduce bloated government assistance programs and empower workers with more skilled positions that create more benefits to their communities and the greater society.


What would greatly propel this transition is a concerted public health campaign, similar to the “Stop Smoking” crusade witnessed in the 1960s and ‘70s. Where there is a will, there is a way…if we demand it!

The After Lunch Energy Drop

“We don’t need sugar to live, and we don’t need it as a society.” - Dr. Mehmet Oz


You’ve been working like a dog all morning long and it’s time to unwind and replenish for a hearty meal. Perhaps you feel that a sinful treat is in order as a topper; after all, you earned it with your professional diligence, yes?


The problem, of course, is that the food choices made for lunch lead to that all-too-familiar energy crash in the afternoon.  The culprit in this dietary drama that can wildly swing from exhilaration to exhaustion is sugar. And dessert is not the only accomplice. Savory foods like pizza, pasta, or bread are all high in sugar. White flour and white rice are both sugar-packed. Even when whole grains like wheat and brown rice are stripped of their fiber, what’s left is a simple carbohydrate that is rapidly absorbed by your body just like pure white sugar.


Current studies have shown similarities between the over consumption of sugars and drug addiction. One report suggested that sugar cravings were even more demanding than cocaine cravings. What is it about these simple carbs that make them so difficult to resist? Sugar consumption releases opioids and dopamine into the body. Both of these chemicals send pleasure signals to your brain and actually help your body block pain. The narcotic effect makes you feel happy, which is why so many reach for it again and again.


Minimize foods that will pique your craving and cause you to eat even more sugar or starchy carbohydrates. These include foods made with white flour, starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, and winter squash, and high glycemic fruits like bananas, pineapple, and watermelon. Instead eat green leafy vegetables and high fiber fruits like citrus, apples, and blueberries. Consume a lunch that is protein-rich, by ordering fish or chicken.


Here are some other tips for slaying the sugar beast: 

Banish all artificial sweeteners (Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet ‘n Low, Splenda). Typically they appear in food and beverages cleverly marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including sodas, chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candy, fruit juice, ice cream and yogurt. Artificial sweeteners are 200-700 times sweeter than regular sugar and cause an imbalance in your palate, causing you to need more sugar, real or artificial, to be satisfied. Aspartame, the active ingredient of Equal and NutraSweet, and a component of many diet sodas, has been linked to cancer in some clinical studies;


Honey supplies the body with some valuable nutrients and can help with pollen allergies if it’s organic. However, it also raises blood sugar levels and is high in calories;


Agave nectar, despite being a natural sweetener, is high in fructose and calories. Besides the triglycerides issue, some research indicates that fructose doesn't shut down appetite hormones, so the impetus to overeat may be intrinsic;


Pure maple syrup is a good source of manganese and zinc, but it is shown to boost blood sugar levels, and is definitely off limits to diabetics;


Stevia is a plant-based alternative that is about 300 times sweeter than sugar, but contributes zero calories and may actually help lower blood sugar levels, according to some studies. The availability of Stevia in granular form makes it easy to carry in packets. Its potency in minute quantities makes it inexpensive.



“I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex." — Erma Bombeck


"When people you greatly admire appear to be thinking deep thoughts, they probably are thinking about lunch." — Douglas Adams


"The scientific name for an animal that doesn't run away from or fight its enemies is 'lunch.'" — Michael Friedman


"I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon." — Ronald Reagan


"Note on a door: Out to lunch; if not back by five, out for dinner also." — Unknown


"Having your lawyer pay for lunch will be very expensive in the end." — Unknown

Is There Life After Debt?

“Last week I spent $425 to fly to Florida, $140 to rent a car, $50 on gas to drive to a $375 a day resort to attend a $795 seminar called 'Money Isn't Everything.'" - From the book Accent on Humor, by Cindy Chamberlain   

In the documentary film Marx Brothers in a Nutshell, writer Norman Krasna reflects on an encounter with Groucho at the New York Stock Exchange: "One day in 1929 Groucho lost $230,000 in the stock market. Years later, he took me to the VIP gallery at the stock exchange. At the top of his lungs in a vaudeville voice, he starts to sing When Irish Eyes are Smiling. The whole stock exchange froze like a painting. He sang two lines, then stopped and said, 'Fellas, I lost $230,000 one Friday afternoon in 1929. I am now going to sing two more choruses of When Irish Eyes are Smiling. And he started again.

Now, the (ticker) tape is coming in blank from all over the world. Investors must think there's an earthquake in New York. So Groucho finishes the song and everyone gives him a tremendous hand. He looks down to the floor of the exchange and says, 'Don't just stand there, you could be wiping someone out in Beverly Hills,' and does five more minutes of schtik. They were roaring at every joke, and the market went up several points that day. I don't see why they didn't keep Groucho there permanently." 


Resurrection Road

“When we honestly ask which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our moments of powerlessness…makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters.”

– Henri J.M. Neuwen



As someone who is hired to help fix problems in the workplace and geared to assist loved ones to cure various ills, the above quote was a revelation. Not that fixing and curing isn’t helpful, but being fully present for another human being who is under dark skies and in dire straits is perhaps the greatest gift of all. In fact, being fully present for another is a prerequisite for effectively fixing and curing. It may even be the most challenging part of the process – turning off all the noise between our ears and truly being there for someone, becoming a 100% listener and an open vessel by which the person in need can pour their concerns into with trust.


Recently, I had an experience of such loving support. One night, after three weeks of travel, I hit the wall of exhaustion. Earlier that day, my computer was usurped my malware that paralyzed the operating system; the hard drive had to be wiped clean to remove the invader, and then reloaded. Several programs were missing, including an entire contact directory, and my external backup was thousands of miles away at my office. I received a Skype message from a young lady and we proceeded to video chat. Initially I planned to cut the call short as I could barely muster the energy to lift my head. I shared with her the exhaustion I felt, and the difficulties with the computer. It looked as though her face and the screen were separated by a hair as she listened so intently, even smiling heartily. She said virtually nothing for long periods but maintained her attentiveness. No fixing, no curing, just the warmth of her presence restored energy to my voice, rejuvenation to my body, resurrection to my spirit.

A Better Way Than Planning, Passion & Hard Work?

(Reprinted from an article by Richard Gabel)


All this planning, passion, blood, sweat and tears are over-rated when it comes to entrepreneurial success. Obsessive compulsive worry-wart planning fanatics really need to chill out. For God’s sake, trading your freedom for success is a line no one should cross. If you can’t just go with the flow, but must march to some predetermined plan, what kind of success is that? Passion has its place, but for the life of me, I just don’t see it in business. That’s how people have heart attacks. Not advice I’ll be giving out anytime soon. As far as blood, sweat and tears are concerned, when’s the last time you saw a picture of a CEO on the cover of Fortune or Forbes breaking out in a sweat, crying or covered in blood. Correct, never happens. What you see the big boys doing is golfing, sailing and pontificating with their feet up on the desk.


Let me offer up a couple real world ways of achieving entrepreneurial success without really trying:

Success is always a function of where you’ve set the bar. Hello, lower the bar. Wake up in the morning, success! Give yourself a gold star. Make toast without burning it, you are a sensation. Go to a networking event and convince someone you’ve actually ever sold anything, you’re a phenomenon. Don’t sweat the big stuff, savor the sweet smell of success with the best of them. Get that bar down to a point you can walk over it. Let the rocket man next door shoot for the stars. Be smart and keep your feet on the ground and your goals too.


If you’ve made it through life without really trying so far you probably already know the next best thing to success is having good reasons why failure wasn’t your fault. You actually succeeded, but someone else screwed it up. Just the right spin and it’s sweet success. Just don’t reach for the tab after pulling this one off at the local watering hole. Let Mr. or Mrs. Rugged Individualism pick that one up. Self-reliance and personal responsibility will keep you awake at night. Give your business a try, but the smart money always has their excuses lined up and ready to go.


What a wonderful segue into the ultimate formula for success. Forget the Horatio Alger stories. The one sure fire way of avoiding failure and guaranteeing success is to not try in the first place. Far more fun to sit back and make fun of those that crash and burn and discount the success of others. You’ll always know that had you tried, you would have done it right and have shown all those clowns a thing or two. Visualizing success is far easier than putting it all on the line.


There you have it friends, three solid alternatives to risking your money, dignity and easy-going life style pursuing some entrepreneurial dream. Don’t try, claim success if not for the unfortunate intervention of people and events beyond your control or set your goals for a no lose proposition. I’ve shared with you the secrets of success, if you screw-up don’t come cry on my shoulder.

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