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Fareed Zakaria nails the climate change, entitlement spending asteroid connection: They’re both about our preference for instant gratification.

Join us on Tuesday, January 14th for “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE.

Fareed Zakaria has an answer to the question of why, if the science is not really in dispute, it is so difficult for us to actually do something about it? It also explains why economic reforms are so hard to make. It’s because we don’t delay gratification well anymore…

“It wasn’t always thus. The great sociologist Daniel Bell once wrote that the best way to describe the Protestant ethic that produced capitalism and the industrial revolution and the Rise of the West was one phrase, two words – delayed gratification. But there are few Calvinists left today, and the spirit of our age might be better described with one word change – instant gratification.”



Adam Davidson @TED: Surprisingly we agree on entitlements and it’s a “solvable math problem”

We hope you’ll be joining us for the continuation of our “Asteroids Club” season? The dinner is Tuesday, January 14th “FEARS: Where not everyone shares your pain” – get details and reserve your seat HERE. It will be a conversation on entitlement spending and climate change like none other. In the meantime, here’s a video from Planet Money’s Adam Davidson that offers hope we can “deflect” the climate change asteroid.

Davidson: “a tiny tiny percentage of ancient economists and misrepresentative ideologues have captured the process… but they don’t represent what our views are.”



The Crier: News from the Village Square

Read the current newsletter online here.

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A primer on playing “Beat the Clock” with the fiscal cliff when America needs the win

In the Washington Post this week, Jonathan Haidt and Hal Movius offer up their expertise to help the President and Congress succeed at unwinding their complicated impasse while we perch teetering atop the fiscal cliff. Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, we know you’re very busy so here’s the (aptly named) Cliff Notes version:

1. Describe progress in terms of packages rather than single axis wins or losses – that way “the base” can find a margin of success somewhere in the details.

2. Call for shared sacrifice. People are powerfully good at rising to this call (think WWII and immediately following 9/11).

3. Break impasses with contingent agreements. With dueling experts and statistics, partisan projections about the results of certain actions take wildly different directions. Solve this problem by structuring “if…then…” statements in the agreement to cover their worst fears.

4. Don’t say “compromise” too often. The base is likely to see compromise on what they view as moral issues as immoral.

5. Invoke the virtue of humility, a staple of our founding fathers.

Now, if you don’t have to personally get back to the fiscal cliff negotiations, you must now read the whole piece as it involves untying shoelaces, throwing tomatoes and some exceptionally cool founding father quotes.



Amendment 11: Additional homestead for low-income seniors in home for 25 years

Amendment 11Learn all about the pros and cons of Amendment 11, who supports it and who is opposed by clicking on our wiki page on Amendment 11. You can also listen our panel discussion on amendment 2, 9 and 11. The wiki page on each amendment is fully editable by you, simply register then add information, links, and sources. Or you might want to add to the pro/con list for the amendment or even write an op-ed!  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



Amendment 9: Property tax exemptions for military widows/widowers

Amendment 9Learn all about the pros and cons of Amendment 9, who supports it and who is opposed by clicking on our wiki page on Amendment 9. You can learn about all the amendments HERE and register for our FREE amendments-made-(relatively)-painless Amendments 101 forums on October 16 and 23 HERE.

The wiki page on each amendment is fully editable by you, simply register then add information, links, and sources. Or you might want to add to the pro/con list for the amendment or even write an op-ed!  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



Amendment 4: Property tax limits vs. local government resources

Amendment 4Learn all about the pros and cons of Amendment 4, who supports it and who is opposed by clicking on our wiki page on Amendment 4. You can learn about all the amendments HERE and register for our FREE amendments-made-(relatively)-painless Amendments 101 forums on October 16 and 23 HERE.

The page on each amendment is fully editable by you, simply register then add information, links, and sources. Or you might want to add to the pro/con list for the amendment or even write an op-ed!  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



Amendment 3: “Smart cap” or taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR)

Amendment 3Learn all about the pros and cons of Amendment 3, who supports it and who is opposed by clicking on our wiki page on Amendment 3. You can learn about all the amendments HERE and register for our FREE amendments-made-(relatively)-painless Amendments 101 forums on October 16 and 23 HERE.

The page on each amendment is fully editable by you, simply register then add information, links, and sources. Or you might want to add to the pro/con list for the amendment or even write an op-ed!  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.



Today’s Tallahassee Democrat: Florida leaders slated to discuss financial crisis

(Click here for more information about the program or to reserve your seat.) Most of us would agree that America’s fiscal crisis has been difficult, anxiety provoking and way too long. It’s also been confusing.

Economics has become so politicized that it’s hard for the average citizen to know what to believe. Is the answer intervention by the government as the spender of last resort? Or is it all the spending that’s damaging the economy, with taxation creating a burden for the businesses that would otherwise drive a recovery? Each argument has its own think tanks, its own facts, and its own version of American history.

Former Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and 2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Alex Sink and Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson will join The Village Square on Tuesday, April 24, for an important conversation about the crisis — specifically how it’s playing out in Florida. What innovations do we need to make in our state to adjust to changing circumstances and what is the role of government and private business in a recovery? We’ll discuss how well our state has responded and what still needs to be done. Read the article online at Tallahassee.com.



Ed Morrison: Civility grows the economy

Read the whole article HERE. Here’s a snip:

“Incivility destroys a community’s capacity to generate wealth.

Here’s why.

In a networked, knowledge-driven economy, collaboration drives wealth creation. And collaboration can only thrive in a stable environment of trust. The corrosion of our civil society –– the alarming growth of incivility and pervasive lying –– undercuts our economy’s productivity and our capacity to innovate.

Incivility — fraudulent concealment (“hiding the ball”), lying, manipulation, and associated behaviors — can work well to redistribute wealth. We see almost endless examples from MF Global to the subprime mess. Yet, these behaviors do not generate wealth. Indeed, they erode capitalism’s capacity to generate wealth. That’s why corruption slows economic growth and why trust is associated with higher rates of economic growth.”
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Thanks to Tony for the heads up on this great article.



Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair: California and Bust

If there is such a thing as Village Square required reading, this is it. It describes a reality coming to a city near you that we either grapple with now or we live its consequences later. I guess we pick. Please share this one on social media. Michael Lewis argues (convincingly) in November’s Vanity Fair that it is ultimately America’s hometowns and states who will bear the brunt of the Congressional failure to govern either by raising taxes or cutting spending or both. I hope I live in a city and state that gets this sooner rather than later. Read all »



BB&T gifts to colleges promote Ayn Rand’s ideas: Tell us what you think

This morning’s Tallahassee Democrat ran an op-ed by Kent Miller and Ray Bellamy describing the details of a gift made to FSU’s Colleges of Business and Economics by BB&T that has very specific requirements about course content that promote the ideas of Ayn Rand. Apparently they’ve made similar gifts to colleges across America. Read the specifics here then tell us what you think. Here’s another informative article on the topic of gifts to colleges and universities with strings.



According to Luke: The right kind of populism

For the past month or so, a small group of people protesting corporate wealth and greed on Wall Street has grown into a national movement spreading the “occupy” message to some of our nation’s largest cities. Even Tallahassee has an “occupy” group.

Many on the right are condemning the protestors as nothing more than a mob of unemployed, lazy young people. At the same time, proponents on the left are trying desperately to turn the group into the “Left’s Tea Party.” The truth is the protestors are neither. Read all »