A Kinder, Gentler America

We’ve been through some tough years and many folks are still struggling. While recently we’ve seen signs of economic improvement and a decrease in unemployment, increased gas prices and little movement in home real estate values may still be weighing heavy on our minds.

 

So with this post we’re focusing on positive stories in the news lately. Some of these issues are highly controversial, but even in the wake of great debate, we should recognize the potential for what’s good and what’s possible.

 

Random Acts of Corporate Compassion

Corporations tend to give away money – at least partly for the tax deduction, but it’s appreciated nonetheless. And, most of the time, they’ll admit when they’ve made a mistake and compensate customers or shareholders in kind. So I enjoyed reading this news story about a compassionate clerk who works for bankrupt American Airlines. She realized a frequent flyer businessman would miss his flight – albeit by and large through his own fault. Regardless, she did some quick thinking to expedite his route to the boarding gate under the radar so as not to upset other customers. You can read about it here:

 

[CLICK HERE to read, “Is Kindness a Strategy?” at Harvard Business Review, March 22, 2012.]

 

Sure, her methods may be suspect, but her heart was in the right place. That might be something you could say about a lot of what’s going on in America today. Both the government and large corporations appear to be trying to balance the scales between helping people and still making a profit.

 

Take, for instance, Bank of America’s pilot plan to help curb the sting of foreclosure by renting houses back to their previous owners. On one hand, it may be aggravating to be a homeowner in this situation. But on the other hand – logistically – avoiding the expense of having to move, providing stability for a family to stay in its home, and the advantage of paying less each month than the previous monthly mortgage … that’s got to be worth something.

 

[CLICK HERE to read, “BofA Tests an Option to Foreclosure,” at The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2012.]

 

Now let’s consider the greatly debated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)–. The article below points out some interesting improvements underway regardless of whether or not the Act is repealed.

 

“This is probably the most transformative period I’ve lived through,” says Dr. David Longworth, chairman of the Medicine Institute at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic. He was referring to the number of insurers, hospitals, and doctors forming alliances and adopting new procedures to provide higher quality care and reign in exploding health care costs. According to the chief clinical officer at insurer UnitedHealthcare, “This changes the business model, changes the reward and payment system for better care and better health at lower cost.”

 

Granted, for every pro-PPACA article there’s a scathing repudiation, but for now we’re seeking examples of what good can come from what’s generally considered bad – in this case, exploding health care costs. Indeed, if insurers are working with medical providers to bring costs down in the spirit of the current law, well that’s a good thing, right?

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Obamacare Has Already Transformed U.S. Health Care” at BusinessWeek.com, March 22, 2012.]

 

And finally, even the IRS is doing its part to become a kinder, gentler government entity. It recently announced penalty relief for qualifying taxpayers through its Fresh Start plan. This latest announcement on the heels of our depressed economy does give one pause to ask, will wonders never cease?

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “IRS cuts penalties; but don’t forget the forms,” at MarketWatch.com, March 13, 2012.]

 

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss ways to make the most of your money in 2012.

 

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