Guest Post

HR, S&P and the Downgrade of the U.S. Economy @DriveThruHR

I was once again a guest on the famous DriveThruHR daily a few weeks back (Aug 8, 2011). We had scheduled my appearance about 2 weeks before and how funny was it that on the Monday they asked me the question “What keeps you up at night?” that Standard and Poor’s had just announced the downgrade of United States from AAA to AA. Ahhh… well here we are; William Tincup, Bryan Wempen and I discussing Work, Business and the affects of the S&P downgrade. I am no economist but I am aware!

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

(A short commercial may run before the interview begins)

Listen to internet radio with Bryan Wempen on Blog Talk Radio

The Debt Ceiling Story – An analogy (From the

The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Few people know how much money that is so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let’s put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:

  • U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent budget cut: $38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)

It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to. Let’s remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family.

  • Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700
  • Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200
  • Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Amount cut from the budget: $385


The S&P Downgrade – Background: AAA to AA+ 

  • Standard & Poor’s – AA – remember that this group also helped hurt the markets with their AAA ratings of the mortgage backed securities
  • Moody’s - AAA
  • Fitch - AAA
  • The highest rating for the first time in 70 years
  • The rating change is and should not be a surprise but there are 2 main reasons: (1) We spend more than we have coming in and (2) politics (It is clear that the rise of the Tea Party and the pledge of Republicans in general to never raise taxes, along with the Democrats unwillingness to cut Social Security, produced the downgrade)
  • We should not be worried but we should definitely become aware.
  • More than just an indicator of US politics, business practices and personal debt

So there will be two things we will need to focus on

  • Employee Motivation
  • Leadership Challenges (99% of the company looking for 12 people to decide)

Business (Leadership Challenges): China complained but is still buying US Treasuries. Why? Out of safe bets we are still the safest.

  • I am not an economist - China keep its currency value artificially low
  • One way they do this is by buying US treasuries
  • This low value of the Yen keeps their goods and services low and marketable globally
  • Being able to sell your goods globally at a much lower rate than other competitors keeps you more competitive.
  • This affects US companies in their ability to be and stay competitive
  • High Competition leads to the potential of Lower margins and possibly an increase in operating costs
  • This affects a business’s ability to maintain staff leading to the situation we are in now.

S&P Work (Motivation – Physiological and Safety):

  • On average countries with lower ratings have higher interest rates.
  • So borrowing costs of not only the U.S. gov’t but also American consumers is likely to go up, even if not significantly at first.
  • What’s more, Treasury bonds, long one of the most stable securities in the market, are likely to get more volatile.
  • Stock and retirement will definitely be affected in the short term
  • Consumer and employee confidence (leading to speculation) which is the main reason we went into a depression (Oct of 1929)

Healthy Travel: Fitness Program For The Corporate Road Warrior

Well everyone it is beginning to get warm out. The rain is bringing taller grass as a result of all of us travelling more and more for work and conference season. With that, I like to work out at least 3 to 4 days a week. Between swimming and weights, I don’t like to stay a way from the gym to long. But, like many, the travel makes it harder and harder for any of us to even get to a gym much less go mall walking around the hotel parking lot. So to help you all get fit even when you are travelling is my friend and work place fitness guru Danielle Korb.

 Healthy Travel: Fitness Program For The Corporate Road Warrior

Danielle Korb


Exercise while travelling

You want to stay healthy while you travel with an exercise routine that is fun, simple, challenging, & effective…… you are a Fit Traveler! Here are 3 exercise routines to help you stay in shape and burn calories while you are on the road.

Exercise while traveling presents it’s challenges with new gyms & equipment, no gym, and limited time. With fitness on the road I have designed 3 exercise plans that help you burn a lot of calories, work in the gym/outside/in a hotel room, & are full of effective exercises that optimize your time.

Monitor your heart rate

Monitoring your heart rate while you workout can help you keep the workout more of a fun challenge while burning more calories at the same time. When you do each exercise your target heart rate should be 85% of your maximum heart rate. Your Maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. If you are 30 years old: 220 - 30 = 190 beats per minute. Your Target heart rate of 85% of your 190 Maximum Heart Rate is 161 beats per minute. You can measure your heart rate after an exercise by taking your pulse for 10 seconds and multiplying by 6.

If you travel a lot you may want to consider investing in a heart rate monitor or a wrist heart rate monitor. These are great because they act like a little personal trainer. They remind you to keep your workout intense and they keep you reaching to your 85% target heart rate goal for the entire workout.

Exercise Program
Preform each exercise for 30 seconds & rest for 15 seconds between each exercise. Do the routine 5 times through for a 20 minute workout. For these workouts I’m your online personal trainer with links to videos of me demonstrating how to do some of the exercises. Have Fun with your Fitness….Go Fit Traveler!

Number 1: Healthy Travel Exercise Program
1. Squats
2. Push Ups
3. Jumping Jacks
4. Alternating Lunges
5. High Knees in Place

Number 2: Healthy Travel Exercise Program
1. Full Sit up
2. Glute Kick in Place (heels to booty)
3. Lunge Jumps
4. Tricep Dips
5. Squat Jumps

Number 3 with Equipment: Healthy Travel Exercise Program
1. Overhead Press
2. Alternating Step Ups
3. Bicep Curl
4. Jump Rope
5. Chest Press

About your contributor: Danielle Korb is the owner and founder of Sweat Training, Downtown Cincinnati’s Urban Loft Style Gym catering to the Urbanite that Works Hard, Trains Hard, & Enjoys the Social Scene. You may take part in the Indoor Urban Boot Camp & consultations for Personal Training. Train at Sweat! your Online Personal Trainer. Click For More Fitness & Healthy Food Ideas!

You may also Follow Or Like Sweat Training.

Where have I been? GCHRA!

So you wonder where I have been.
Well I was over at the Greater Cincinnati SHRM Blog late last week. Check it out!

Be a one year old!

HR & Social Media is featured on

I believe that it is the time for Human Resources. The time that many companies, people, employees, vendors and executives are seeing the need of the people who represent and lead the roles to add value to the overall effectiveness in the organization.

mashable logo HR & Social Media is featured on Mashable.comHR is showing up more and more. This is evidenced through publications like and other national papers and blogs. Mashable is no exception and they have talked about Social Media in the workplace context for awhile.

I am happy we as a profession are getting more recognition. It is just more reinforcement for us as professionals. We have more tools and encouragement to be champions for our function as well as advertise that passion. I am very excited to be included in an article on It was written by a great advocate for the field Sharlyn Lauby and includes some great contributors to the convo! I invite you to add to the discussion in the Mashable article entitied ”The Future of HR & SocialMedia - Leave your thoughts.

Twitter: BenjaminMcCall


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