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David Morse of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Notes discuss what the United States’ tax response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be. This …
David Morse of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and Martin A. Sullivan of Tax Notes discuss what the United States’ tax response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be.
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Watch the shortened video here. For the full interview, watch the video below.
Robert Goulder: Hello everyone. I’m Bob Goulder, contributing editor with Tax Notes. Welcome to the April edition of In The Pages, where we take a closer look at some of the recent content from our print and online publications.
This month we have two featured articles. The subject matter will be familiar to you. We’re looking at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Should the package of U.S. economic sanctions extend to tax policy? Specifically, should the Biden administration terminate the U.S.-Russia tax treaty?
To help us sort through this, we have some exceptional authors. First we’ll talk to David Morse, tax policy director with the Coalition for a Prosperous America. His piece is titled, “Going Beyond a Simple Treaty Withdrawal.” Later in the segment we’ll be joined by Martin A. Sullivan, economics contributor to Tax Notes. His piece asks the question “Can Cypriot Conduit Companies Provide Treaty Benefits to Russians?”
With that in mind, let’s get started. David Morse, welcome to In The Pages.
David Morse: Thank you very much, Robert.
Robert Goulder: The readers of Tax Notes are going to think that tax treaties are pretty important things. So do the corporate multinationals who rely on them. They can reduce withholding taxes, they can relieve double taxation, and in our little world these are important things. Something tells me that Vladimir Putin just doesn’t care about tax treaties.
With that in mind, what is the argument for terminating the tax treaty? If it’s not going to deter Putin’s aggression, why do it?
David Morse: I have to agree with you. It’s not going to affect Putin.
If you look at what he’s been willing to sacrifice for a military victory and the unfortunate and horrific death on the part of Ukrainian civilians, to think that a simple tax treaty withdrawal will even blip on his radar is incredible. I don’t think it’s something that will have an effect on him, but that doesn’t mean that we have to fund Putin’s war.
You’re absolutely right, as you explained it. Tax treaties smooth the system, they make trade and financial transactions easier between the two countries. But in my opinion, it’s like a trade benefit. And certain trade benefits don’t need to stay around when you have an aggressor, a nation that invades an ally, destabilizes a region, and commits atrocities.
If you look at it, you’re looking first at the idea that you’re signaling the rest of the world. You’re telling them we do not accept this, even if we have a preexisting agreement. There is something that we expect out of you, out of that agreement. There was a promise, it’s implicit. In the Russia-U.S. tax treaty, the promise was that Russia would be a peaceful partner in the global economy. We encouraged production in Russia, by American companies, to produce goods that ended up getting sold back to the United States.
Now, I have my own issues regarding that, considering reshoring. But we thought that would be enough to check the authoritarian tendencies. Obviously, we were wrong and you have to deal with those consequences.
If you go beyond that symbolism, as the end of the treaty comes around, the tax benefits on U.S.-source dividends and related-party interest will end for Russians. Now, when you think about who in Russia is actually investing in our country, these are probably the kleptocrats; they are the most likely beneficiaries of these tax benefits as they currently stand. We’re not talking about the Russian middle class mostly. That’s a rare thing for economic sanctions.
Many times, unless you specifically target and name a person, the generalized economic sanctions hit the everyday person. Geopolitically, I think this is a wise policy. It means less money flowing into the upper echelons of the Russian government. I think that’s a good thing.
Robert Goulder: Right now today, if you had President Biden’s ear, what would you tell him about countering Putin’s aggression in terms of tax policy? One thought.
David Morse: My temptation here is to immediately run sales-factor-apportionment by him, and to argue that taxation on a pure destination-based territorial system would remove most of the underlying issues for tax policy.
Realistically, Ukraine is not a problem that will be resolved with just tax or trade policy. I’m not sure Russia is ready for a prolonged NATO war. I will admit that I’m worried the U.S. isn’t ready either. Ukraine needs a strong U.S. and a strong NATO to keep them armed, and to help the Ukrainian refugees supplied, fed, and housed.
So, I think that I’d start with the following: Mr. President, you campaigned on Build Back Better. You realized there was inherent weakness in our capabilities and COVID-19 proved you right with the bridled supply chains.
Please prioritize a return to the arsenal of democracy. Tax policy, trade policy, and economic policy that prioritizes domestic companies and domestic production.
Arsenals are not just weapons. They’re also the support structures for food, supplies, and the supply chains for critical resources. Right now, we do have inherent weaknesses if we were cut off from critical resources. We’d have to prioritize ourselves over Ukraine.
Now that would be my statement. I think the administration actually sees these issues. I think they’re actually working on them, but I think they’re also trying to resort to half measures, and not jolt the system.
If a recession is coming, as people are predicting, higher domestic production with a purpose can only be a good thing. Increasing American production to provide for Ukraine seems like a strategic and beneficial investment to me. I’d advise them, and the rest of Congress, to emphasize and speed up reshoring of critical supply chains, especially from potential adversaries.
Robert Goulder: David, thank you for joining us. Moving on to the second of our featured articles, I am joined by economics contributor Martin Sullivan. Marty, thanks for being on the show.
Martin A. Sullivan: Thanks for having me, Bob.
Robert Goulder: Marty, all this news about Russia and Ukraine. It’s terrible stuff. What can we do? Terminate the tax treaty, right?
But the first time I mentioned that to somebody they shook their head and said, no, you don’t get it. It’s not going to do any good because the Russians use conduit entities. They’ll go through some other nation, maybe a host nation that’s a member of the European Union. Maybe a host nation with its own U.S. tax treaty.
Now, you sat down and did some research. You crunched some numbers, as you typically do. What did you discover when you scrutinized the data?
Martin A. Sullivan: Two things. One is that the Cyprus economy and the Russian economies are very intermingled. You can’t really talk about one without acknowledging the other.
The second thing is that a lot of it is just conduit activity, not real economic activity. That was a real eye-opener for me. I must have read 50 posts on the internet about Cyprus being “Moscow on the Mediterranean,” and how the two economies are intermingled. But until I saw the data, it didn’t really hit home. It’s absolutely incredible.
Robert Goulder: Why Cyprus? Does it have strange tax rules, or lax banking rules? Does it have a light touch in terms of the regulatory environment? You could say that about a lot of countries, but is there something here where Russia got their hooks into Cyprus, and Cyprus became dependent and fell into the Russian sphere of influence?
Martin A. Sullivan: Well, I can’t answer your question of why Cyprus. But I can give you some background, which is that Cyprus used to be a dependency of the United Kingdom and in 1960 it became independent. Take a look at a map of the Mediterranean when you have nothing else to do. Cyprus is all the way on the eastern side, close to Syria. So, that’s one thing.
Their agricultural sector is not very well developed. As you know, when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the Soviet Union came apart. That’s when the Russians came to Cyprus with lots of money, buying real estate, buying yachts, in some cases buying citizenship. It transformed that little Cypress economy from agrarian, tourism, and shipping into more of a financial hub.
Then, what made it even more attractive, was in 2004 Cyprus became part of the European Union. In 2008 it adopted the euro, and don’t forget that they use British law. Apparently, from some sources I’m reading, what really attracts Russians to Cyprus is that the legal system gives them property rights they may not enjoy in Russia or other jurisdictions. And you mentioned the light regulation. And, of course, Cyprus has very low tax rates.
It has a not-undeserved reputation of being a little bit dicey when it comes to the rules and regulations. There are other things. It’s sort of like Naples, Florida, is to a Minnesotan. I imagine Russians really enjoy living in Cyprus. There are an estimated 40,000 Russian residents in Cyprus.
Robert Goulder: There you have it. Stay tuned for more coverage of this issue in future editions of Tax Notes. Marty, thank you for joining us.
Martin A. Sullivan: Thank you, Bob.
‘No Chips, No Music’ Says GM And BMW As Semiconductor Shortage Silences Apple CarPlay And Android Auto
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The Automotive News Europe reported last week that BMW car buyers are finding their expensive new vehicles can’t connect to CarPlay or Android Auto, the two leading smartphone standards.
Lost connection is a perfect metaphor. Investors should lose most legacy auto stocks.
Modern cars and trucks are supposed to come with all of the modern conveniences. Sophisticated navigation, advanced driver-assistance systems and state-of-the-art infotainment have become entitlements.
CarPlay and Android Auto are software platforms developed by Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL). They let car owners link their smartphones, and run familiar applications like Google
The ongoing chip shortage is exposing the biggest weakness of the legacy automakers: They are not technology companies.
For most of the last two decades that skill set didn’t matter.
Traditional automakers were good at making cars and trucks the old-fashioned way. General Motors
Then the Covid-19 pandemic occurred.
Expecting slower sales, executives at legacy automakers cut orders for the semiconductors that power navigation, advanced safety, and infotainment systems. Chip suppliers obliged, and then moved on to orders from customers in the consumer electronics sector. Automakers lost their place in the queue. They are paying for their lack of foresight to this day. That’s not reason to avoid shares of most legacy automakers. It’s worse.
Most auto firms are still not focused on integrating software engineering talent. Almost two full years into the shortage the industry is still dependent solutions from third party software firms. It’s a mess with no easy fix because auto execs believe outsourcing is an industry strength. It’s not.
The Austin, Tex.-based company has become a vertically integrated vampire in the automotive world, to switch metaphors. Elon Musk, chief executive, maintained chip orders in 2020 and has since accelerated purchases. When supplies ran short in 2021 he had company engineers rework the vehicle codebase to work with microcontrollers, according documents filed at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Independence is a theme at Tesla. Its electric vehicles have never directly supported CarPlay and Android Auto. While Google Maps is licensed, the Tesla infotainment platform is proprietary. Smartphones connect via Bluetooth, an open standard outside the control of Apple, Alphabet, and chipmakers.
A statement from BMW last week revealed that to maintain its production schedule, the company was forced to change to a different chip. The Automotive News notes that silicon does not currently support CarPlay and Android Auto. The platforms have come as standard equipment since 2020 in most new BMWs.
CarPlay and Android Auto are the link to the modern digital world.
Auto company stocks have been weak in 2022, yet the worse may be yet to come. The industry is drowning in debt. Interest rates are rising. The economy is set to contract. Production at the leading legacy automakers will surely follow.
Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, BMW and GM owe $211B, $185B, $154B, $127B and $114B respectively, according to the latest financial filings. Tesla has only $13B in longer-term debt.
Investors should be especially careful with shares of GM, down 32.4% year-to-date. Ironically, executives have pushed the company all-in on EVs at a time when sales of internal combustion engines cars are needed to service soaring debt levels.
A statement from GM in 2021 promised to only produce EVs by 2035. And the Detroit, Mich.-based firm has 30 new EVs planned by 2025, at a cost of $27 billion.
Although GM shares are down 32.5% in 2022. Existing GM investors should consider selling into strength to protect capital.
There are crises that government rallies to solve—usually because surveys of the population show rising anger and concern and elected officials like to retain that first half of the descriptive term. …
There are crises that government rallies to solve—usually because surveys of the population show rising anger and concern and elected officials like to retain that first half of the descriptive term.
But there is a host of issues that are deemed less important because they don’t necessarily cross the consciousness of most voters. This is where policy—while at least partly political in nature, because, again, elected officials have to requalify for their careers on a regular basis—begins straying across an aisle. Not one of party, but of conscience and governance.
A new bill introduced by Ohio’s federal senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman is an example. Called the Savings Penalty Elimination Act, it would modify limits on how much in assets beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, can hold and still receive their payments.
SSI is a federal program “to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income” and provide ” cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.” While managed by the Social Security Administration, general tax revenues, and not Social Security payroll taxes, fund it.
As the bill’s sponsors explain, there is a significant problem:
The current SSI program hasn’t been updated since the 1980s, and punishes these Americans for working, saving for the future, and getting married. Right now, individuals getting SSI are limited to $2,000 in assets; for married couples it’s $3,000. The average current monthly benefit is $585 for individuals. For approximately 60% of recipients, SSI is their only source of income.
In one sense, this seems like an unnecessary limit. A Federal Reserve study from 2019 found that many people are far from rolling in assets: if faced with an unexpected $400 expense, 27% of people would borrow or sell something to cover it and 12% lacked the resources to pay it at all, for a total of 39%.
Those in such a position know the anxiety and fear it can regularly create if anything goes wrong. But even reserve funds of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple are low, probably because Congress set the limits in 1984. What if someone was disabled after years of work and had modest savings? They’d have to get rid of them, presumably, to be eligible for what might be their only income.
There’s been no adjustment for inflation since in mid-1980s, let alone falling support in so many ways. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $2,000 in 1984 would be equivalent to about $5,500 today. Even that is a ridiculously low cap, as happens so often in relief plans that are almost universally drawn by wealthy people in Congress who frequently have never experienced anything like most of the population does.
Start with the federal poverty levels for the continental U.S. (higher in Alaska and Hawaii) that serve as the indication of when someone is officially poor. For a family of four, that’s $27,750 a year, or $131.41 a week per person for housing, food, transportation, clothing, and so on. All the basics. For a single person, $13,590 ($261.34 a week), or $18,310 ($176.06 per person) for a couple.
The poverty levels are where you can first start the see the bigger issue facing SSI recipients: a benefits cliff. If someone’s income grows past a certain point, they can start losing benefits faster than they can make additional money to make up for the loss. Or, as the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta puts it:
Due to the loss of these programs, career advancement opportunities can result in the family being financially worse off (a benefits cliff) or no better off (a benefits plateau) than before the wage increase.
This loss of means-tested public assistance is an effective marginal tax rate on income gains. High effective marginal tax rates mean that some workers have a financial disincentive to invest in their own human capital and advance from lower-wage work to jobs that lead to economic self-sufficiency.
The country should be working to see people establish themselves at a more sustainable and stable level. But instead, the design of programs kicks the financial legs out from underneath them. A metaphor could be the construction of a house. Immediately after some of the wall framing is initially standing, supported by braces because not everything is in place, a building inspector would come by and unscrew the supports while congratulating the builders on their work. The walls that are up immediately fall.
The approach is beyond “penny wise and pound foolish .” This is an example of egregious systemic policy guaranteed to undermine progress. Whatever the original intent, the ongoing approach without modification causes poorly off people with more common sense and financial understanding than their representatives to avoid making enough to set themselves back. What an insane sounding phrase in a supposedly capitalistic country. But then, if people could make progress, who would fill the lower-paying coffee counters, warehouses, grocery stores, and other businesses the better off consider essential.
The web is turning 30 on Tuesday, but its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, is already looking ahead to the next 30 years. In his annual letter on the web’s birthday, Berners-Lee spent …
The web is turning 30 on Tuesday, but its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, is already looking ahead to the next 30 years.
In his annual letter on the web’s birthday, Berners-Lee spent less time reflecting on how the web has developed over the past three decades, and instead expressed optimism about what can be achieved in the next three.
‘Given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30,’ he said. ‘If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.’
It was March 12, 1989, when Berners-Lee, who was working at CERN, published ‘a universal linked information system‘ to help academics from across the globe run a complicated particle accelerator. Since that day, the web has evolved to allow billions around the world to connect to the internet, and with each other.
But like any 30-year-old, the web still has its problems. In his letter, Berners-Lee identified three specific sources of dysfunction: deliberate misuse (state-sponsored hacking, criminal behavior and harassment), system design flaws that allow people to earn money by spreading misinformation and clickbait, and unintended consequences of benevolent design that enable outrage and polarized discourse.
And yet, he remains upbeat about our combined ability to quash these threats — if we focus and don’t get distracted by individual threads of problems.
‘You can’t just blame one government, one social network or the human spirit,’ he said. Simplistic narratives risk exhausting our energy as we chase the symptoms of these problems instead of focusing on their root causes.’
Berners-Lee reiterated the opportunity he saw for citizens, companies and governments to all commit and be held accountable for establishing principles to govern the web, which he first described at Web Summit in Lisbon in November when he launched his ‘Contract for the Web.’
The discussion about what the contract will contain is ongoing – he encourages anyone to contribute – and will yield a result ‘later this year,’ he said. Berners-Lee warned against it being a list of ‘quick fixes,’ but said that instead it must be a process.
‘It must be clear enough to act as a guiding star for the way forward but flexible enough to adapt to the rapid pace of change in technology,’ he said. ‘It’s our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible and inclusive future.’
It’s rare that I write about something personal, but I am making an exception here. I just spent the last five days as the sole caregiver for Jenny, a friend from …
It’s rare that I write about something personal, but I am making an exception here. I just spent the last five days as the sole caregiver for Jenny, a friend from childhood who lives in a very small town in the mountains of California. Jenny is 70 and has a rare form of cancer. Her condition is terminal and she knows it. At this point in time, she is mostly confined to a hospital bed in her living room. The cancer and the aftermath of some of the treatments have proved so painful that she is often unable to elevate herself to walk the 15 steps to the bathroom. Sitting is the most painful position for her and Jenny is a large woman, so the toilet isn’t her friend.
What “Care” looks like
When I say “caregiving,” I’m talking about the full gamut: bedpans, urine bags, and frequent linen changes in addition to preparing and serving meals, washing dishes, doing laundry, and maintaining upkeep of the small house in which she lives. Her cancer is in her pubic region, which is also where most of her pain comes from. This has necessitated a catheter and considerable care of that whole area of her body. She can do some of the medicating and hygiene herself, but much of it falls to the caregiver.
She also has to travel, by car, several times a month to a cancer center that is almost two hours away. In addition, she has to travel to a second medical professional in a different town that is also two hours away. This is extremely difficult for her, but she takes extra pain medication for the ordeal and this is yet another task for which she is dependent on friends, family, and/or neighbors.
Jenny is a solo ager. She has no partner or children to help with any of this. She does have a large family of siblings, nieces, and nephews and I am on an informal rotation with the female members of the family and other friends who love her and have volunteered to travel, by plane or car, to help out.
Jenny has been fiercely independent all her life and I’m certain she is not happy to be so dependent on others for help, but up to now she has been unwilling to pay for any professional help. Recently she made one concession and now has an aide who comes in for four hours a day, Monday through Friday, which is a great relief to whomever is serving as caregiver on the days she comes in.
Jenny lives modestly, but she isn’t poor. She is a bright, talented, degreed professional. She had a career as a scientist and saved enough money to retire when she was 62, assuming she would live at least another 20 years and possibly make a few more bucks doing some consulting and writing. Her social security payments are ample and she has a small pension from the work she did. The reason she is so adamant about not spending the money she has on her own care is that she wants to leave it to her nieces and nephews as part of her legacy. The nieces and nephews in question are doing okay on their own. They are taking an occasional turn with caregiving for their aunt and, if asked, might happily wish for Jenny to spend the money for an outside professional to do the heavy lifting described above.
Having studied, written, and spoken about Solo Aging for the past ten years, I was compelled to ask myself what I would do in this situation and how I would advise other Solo Agers to anticipate the need for this level of care. In my mind, it comes down to a rather crude question: do you really want your friends and extended family members emptying your bedpan and wiping your butt? Do you want this activity to be the last memory they have of you? My personal answer to both questions is a resounding NO!
Could this Scenario have Been Prevented?
Whether you are a Solo Ager or someone with family support, you may not want these kinds of personal hygiene tasks carried out by family members or close friends.
How did this happen to Jenny? She made several strategic choices in her life that made a big difference in how she ended up in this situation. The initial choice was to live her life in a remote location. Small towns are often quaint and quiet and lovely, but they typically do not have medical specialists readily available and may not have more than a small health clinic for medical support. Hence, Jenny’s cancer was rather advanced before it was detected.
Jenny lives alone and has chosen to be solitary much of her life. She hasn’t gotten to know very many people in town. She also chose a town that is rather isolated in location. The nearest city of any size is almost two hours away by car. Her closest family members are her three sisters. They all live in the urban area where Jenny grew up, which is 4 hours away, by car.
This kind of isolation is risky for anyone in later life, but especially for Solo Agers. Jenny’s only alternatives at this point are a skilled nursing facility closer to her sisters or round-the-clock home care by professionals, which may not even be available in her small town. Her current situation is unsustainable. Two of the sisters, who take on the lion’s share of the work, are both getting burned out and have lives of their own a long way from Jenny’s town. Friends are also getting weary of the rotation and are coming up with more and more reasons why they can’t fill in to relieve the sisters. Jenny expresses great thanks for the care she is receiving, but at the same time seems oblivious to the harm she is doing to her relationships by imposing this on friends and family.
I realize that a sizable number of people in this country are not financially secure and will be completely dependent on family for care, if and when they become ill. However, most people have choices and my recent experience with caregiving made me acutely aware of the importance of those choices. It is unclear what will happen to Jenny in the next few months as she continues to battle this cancer, but those of us who have been part of this story have gotten a glimpse of the kind of end-of-life we don’t want. We may not be able to avoid an ending that includes intense caregiving, but by careful planning and making healthy choices we can control who provides the care.
The World’s Largest Factories Where do our airplanes, vehicles, and spacecraft get built? Like many other modern goods, they get made in manufacturing plants that are designed to produce at scale. …
The World’s Largest Factories
Where do our airplanes, vehicles, and spacecraft get built?
Like many other modern goods, they get made in manufacturing plants that are designed to produce at scale.
However, the factories pumping out the world’s cruise ships and electric cars are anything but ordinary. Most of them take up many city blocks, while a few of them have the size, workers, and amenities of an actual city.
From Hyundai’s Ulsan Factory in South Korea to the Boeing Factory near Seattle, today’s infographic and list from Futurism shows the world’s biggest factories. Many of the usual suspects can be found on this list such as Tesla or Airbus, but there is one outlier that may be surprising: one of the world’s largest factories is a 115,000 m² plant that produces lingerie lace in Latvia.
It’s also worth noting that Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 is not included on the list, because it isn’t opening until July 2016. Once completed, it is projected to dwarf many of the factories on this list at the impressive size of 1.3 million m² (13.6 million ft²) based off of the latest estimates:
That’s an expansion of roughly 40% from it’s previous expected size of 929,000 m² (10 million ft²).
Ranking The World’s Largest Factories
10. NASA Vehicle Assembly Building
Located in Florida, this 32,374 m² facility was built by NASA in 1966 for the assembly of the Saturn V rocket. It’s doors are 456 ft tall.
9. Meyer Werft Dockhalle 2
Owned and managed by the Meyer family for six generations, this is the largest shipbuilding hall used to construct cruise ships. It’s located in Papenburg, Germany, and is 63,000 m² in size.
8. Lauma Fabrics
An unexpected entry on this list, this factory produces raw materials and lace for lingerie. It’s about five football fields long, and two wide. Located in Latvia, the facility is 115,645 m² in total area.
7. Jean-Luc Lagardère Plant
It’s no surprise that aircraft assembly plants are among some of the world’s largest factories. This Airbus plant is in France, and is 122,500 m² in size.
6. Mitsubishi Motors North America
For automotive companies, size means economies of scale. This plant was set up in 1981 in Illinois to oversee Mitsubishi’s manufacturing, production, sales, and R&D in North America. This 220,000 m² facility ended production in late 2015 because of the company’s shift to focusing on Asian markets.
5. Belvidere Assembly Plant
Also located in Illinois, this factory is owned by Chrysler. It was constructed in 1965 and takes up a whopping 330,000 m² of space. It’s where the Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, and Dodge Dart get assembled.
4. Boeing Factory
Just outside of Seattle is the world’s biggest aircraft assembly operation by size. At 398,000 m², this is where the 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner get built. It’s also the largest building in the world by volume.
3. Tesla Factory
Not to be confused with the Gigafactory, this is Tesla’s current principal production facility for its cars. It uses 10 of the largest robots in the world, and has a 510,000 m² footprint in Fremont, California.
2. Hyundai Motor Company Ulsan Factory
This is 10x bigger than the Tesla Factory, located in South Korea. It’s over 5 million m² and is Hyundai’s main production facility. Amazingly, it employs 34,000 personnel, while having facilities often reserved for entire cities. The factory has its own hospital, port, and fire station.
1. Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant
Weighing in at #1 on the “World’s Largest Factories” list is Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. It edges out Hyundai’s entry by about 1.5 million m². It’s the biggest car plant in the world and also Volkswagen AG’s headquarters. It’s so big, at 6.5 million m², that floor workers use bicycles to get around.
By Jared Atchinson, co-founder of WPForms, a drag-and-drop form builder for WordPress that’s used on over 4,000,000 websites. Do you want to use a day planner but aren’t sure how to …
By Jared Atchinson, co-founder of WPForms, a drag-and-drop form builder for WordPress that’s used on over 4,000,000 websites.
Do you want to use a day planner but aren’t sure how to maximize its effectiveness? If so, you’re not the only one.
Day planners are a great tool to use to keep you organized and plan the upcoming weeks and months. They help you take the steps required to reach your goals and become better at whatever it is you set your mind to.
But if you don’t know how to use a daily planner, it won’t prove useful. You need to know how to work it so it helps you keep track of your time and check tasks off your to-do list.
If you want to learn more about using a day planner, here are four simple tips to help you get started.
Write Down Everything
What makes a planner so useful is that it’s a designated spot for everything you need to keep track of. Appointments, hangouts, work assignments, goals, quotes and more can go in your planner to create a cohesive plan for your time, which can prevent burnout.
No matter what it is, if it’s important to you and you need to remember it, write it down. Your planner is more than just a way to keep track of time. It’s also a tool you can use to inspire you and keep you motivated when times are rough.
Research also shows that writing things down on paper helps your brain retain that information better. If you have a lot going on, writing it down can help you remember things that typing on a computer wouldn’t. So give longhand a shot and jot down whatever is important to you.
Keep Your Planner Near You
For many people, unless their day planner is physically near them, they’ll forget to use it. This is especially true for those who aren’t used to using any type of journaling to plan their days.
Make sure you keep your daily planner in a spot where you’re guaranteed to see it every day, especially in the morning. This will allow you to remember to use it so writing in it becomes a daily habit and part of your morning routine.
Looking at your planner first thing in the morning mentally prepares you for the day ahead. You know what to expect, what to do and where you need to be so you’re ready to get started.
Set Time To Make To-Do Lists
To stay on track with your set goals, it’s crucial to maintain a to-do list for your everyday activities. What’s great is that creating a to-do list doesn’t take much time and helps you focus on what you need to do for the upcoming days or weeks.
You can take it a step further by color-coding your tasks into different categories if you’d like. You can designate different colors for work tasks, entertainment, appointments, etc. so that a quick glance tells you what you have prepared for the day.
Make sure you’re putting actionable tasks on your to-do list instead of stating goals. For example, instead of writing “lose two pounds” you could put “exercise three times this week.” This gives you something to do to accomplish your goals instead of stating what the end goal is.
Your day planner isn’t only for tracking your time and setting a schedule. It can also be a source of inspiration when you’re low on motivation and struggle to complete your tasks.
It’s normal to hit roadblocks and face challenges when working toward your goals. But what’s important is recognizing these struggles so you can push forward despite the hardships.
Use your journal to add inspirational quotes and pretty images or drawings that make you feel good. Adding colors, stickers and images spice up your planner and make it more inviting.
Over To You
Maintaining a day planner can help you stay organized, reach your goals and remain motivated. It’s a great way to align with your goals and see professional and personal growth, which is an amazing reward in itself. How will you keep a daily planner that inspires you?
Lollipop, an online grocery shopping app founded by a former Monzo executive, has raised £5 million. The London-based start-up, led by Tom Foster-Carter, the former COO at the UK fintech mainstay …
Lollipop, an online grocery shopping app founded by a former Monzo executive, has raised £5 million.
The London-based start-up, led by Tom Foster-Carter, the former COO at the UK fintech mainstay and a co-founder of Curve, is a one-stop-shop for people to plan their meals and do their grocery shopping.
The seed round was led by Octopus Ventures with Anterra Capital, Maki VC, Plug and Play, JamJar and Speedinvest participating.
Lollipop centralizes meal planning, shopping and cooking in one app and is chiefly aimed at busy families with children. It helps users to construct their shopping lists for the meals they want to cook and provides a means to shop and have their grocery baskets delivered through its partnership with Sainsbury’s.
Foster-Carter said that the idea for the app formed after the birth of his son and the challenges in managing the “chore” of the weekly grocery shop.
Lollipop takes cues from Foster-Carter’s previous roles at Monzo and Curve. Both put a great deal of focus on design and user experience to improve people’s banking experience. Lollipop is trying to replicate that for meal planning, shopping and cooking.
“You pick your meals, you press a button, filling your basket with the products that are attached to that recipe,” Foster-Carter explained.
“The job is not done until the family is fed. We see our overall goal here is getting the family fed effortlessly, so we actually get in the kitchen with you and support you with that part.”
Lollipop has partnered with Sainsbury’s to list its products in the shopping portion of the app, with 30,000 stock items.
“Our technology maps the ingredients to Sainsbury’s products. You can book the slot through us. Then you check out and the goods arrive. Obviously we will add further partners,” he added.
Lollipop’s revenue model is a commission charged on every order but Foster-Carter sees that expanding into branded and sponsored content on the app as well as a subscription model for “power users”.
“Because we’re a recommendation engine, you can see that we’ve got an amazing opportunity here to work with brands. For example, you could be the vegetable stock of choice for our mapping on our recipes. We’re very transparent so we’ll highlight that that’s been sponsored, but allowing people to sponsor those slots in the recipe mapping is also going to be a really good route for us.”
With the £5 million in tow, Foster-Carter said Lollipop intends to double its team from 20 to 40 by the end of the year.
“This is a seed round and we will basically use this to, first of all, build out the product,” he said.
“We are starting the marketing journey … we’ve been in our own bubble and now we’re starting that marketing journey, so I’m just pushing on advertising, pushing on our PR and also building a community.”
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin A misguided group in Congress is trying to hammer out a scheme to levy tariffs on such imports as steel, cement and …
A misguided group in Congress is trying to hammer out a scheme to levy tariffs on such imports as steel, cement and aluminum, whose production in certain countries supposedly causes a higher output of carbon dioxide.
This episode of What’s Ahead explains why this idea is bad. Imposing such a carbon tax is fraught with complexity. It won’t fight “climate change.”
What it will do in the real world is make certain things more expensive.