11 Secrets to Staying Productive and in Control

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). The hallmark of emotional intelligence is self-control — a skill that unleashes massive productivity by keeping you focused and on track.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, self-control is a difficult skill to rely on. Self-control is so fleeting for most people that when Martin Seligman and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed two million people and asked them to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in the very bottom slot.

And when your self-control leaves something to be desired, so does your productivity.

When it comes to self-control, it is so easy to focus on your failures that your successes tend to pale in comparison. And why shouldn’t they? Self-control is an effort that’s intended to help achieve a goal. Failing to control yourself is just that — a failure. If you’re trying to avoid digging into that bag of chips after dinner because you want to lose a few pounds and you succeed Monday and Tuesday nights only to succumb to temptation on Wednesday by eating four servings’ worth of the empty calories, your failure outweighs your success. You’ve taken two steps forward and four steps back.

Since self-control is something we could all use a little help with, I went back to the data to uncover the kinds of things that emotionally intelligent people do to keep themselves productive and in control. They consciously apply these behaviors because they know they work. Some are obvious, others counter-intuitive, but all will help you minimize those pesky failures to boost your productivity.

1. They focus on solutions. Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions which hinder self-control. When you focus on the actions you’ll take to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

2. They eat. File this one in the counter-intuitive category, especially if you’re having trouble controlling your eating. Your brain burns heavily into your stores of glucose when attempting to exert self-control. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses. Sugary foods spike your sugar levels quickly and leave you drained and vulnerable to impulsive behavior shortly thereafter. Eating something that provides a slow burn for your body, such as whole grain rice or meat, will give you a longer window of self-control. So, if you’re having trouble keeping yourself out of the company candy bin when you’re hungry, make sure you eat something else if you want to have a fighting chance.

3. They forgive themselves. A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.

4. They don’t say yes unless they really want to. Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.

5. They don’t seek perfection. Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of moving forward excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

6. They stay positive. Positive thoughts help you exercise self-control by focusing your brain’s attention onto the rewards you will receive for your effort. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well and your mood is good, self-control is relatively easy. When things are going poorly and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, self-control is a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, or will happen, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the past and look to the future. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative, so that you don’t lose focus.

7. They avoid asking “What if?” “What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry, which are detrimental to self-control. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend taking action and staying productive (staying productive also happens to calm you down and keep you focused). Productive people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want — or need — to go. Of course, scenario planning is a necessary and effective strategic planning technique. The key distinction here is to recognize the difference between worry and strategic thinking.

8. They sleep. I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and maintaining your focus and self-control. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough — or the right kind — of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present, which are a major productivity killer. Being busy often makes you feel as if you must sacrifice sleep to stay productive, but sleep deprivation diminishes your productivity so much throughout the day that you’re better off sleeping.

When you’re tired, your brain’s ability to absorb glucose is greatly diminished. This makes it difficult to control the impulses that derail your focus. What’s more, without enough sleep you are more likely to crave sugary snacks to compensate for low glucose levels. So, if you’re trying to exert self-control over your eating, getting a good night’s sleep — every night — is one of the best moves you can make.

9. They exercise. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. If you’re having trouble resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door to let somebody have it, just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back.

10. They meditate. Meditation actually trains your brain to become a self-control machine. Even simple techniques like mindfulness, which involves taking as little as five minutes a day to focus on nothing more than your breathing and your senses, improves your self-awareness and your brain’s ability to resist destructive impulses. Buddhist monks appear calm and in control for a reason. Give it a try.

11. They ride the wave. Desire and distraction have the tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. When the impulse you need to control is strong, waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control. When you feel as if you must give in, the rule of thumb here is to wait at least 10 minutes before succumbing to temptation. You’ll often find that the great wave of desire is now little more than a ripple that you have the power to step right over.
Bringing It All Together

The important thing to remember is you have to give these strategies the opportunity to work. This means recognizing the moments where you are struggling with self-control and, rather than giving in to impulse, taking a look at these strategies and giving them a go before you give in.

Source : 11 Secrets to Staying Productive and in Control

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The best 15 states to live in if you want to get rich

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut

Where do the wealthiest Americans live?

According to a recent report by GOBankingRates, Connecticut is the nation’s richest state.

The personal finance site determined the most financially successful states by analyzing seven factors: the average income of the top 1%; the average income of the bottom 99%; poverty rates; the percentage of the population in the upper, middle, and lower classes; the number of millionaire households; the percentage of millionaire households; and the number of billionaires.

Of course, we can’t promise you’ll strike it rich if you move to — or live in — one of these states, but you’re bound to be surrounded by financially successful individuals.

Here, we’ve highlighted the top 15 states, according to GOBankingRates. Read on to see if yours made the cut.

15. Colorado

Average income of top 1%: $1.1 million

Population in upper class: 22%

Percentage of millionaire households: 5.5%

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado

14. Hawaii

Average income of top 1%: $690,073

Population in upper class: 17%

Percentage of millionaire households: 7.2%
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii M Swiet Productions | Getty Images
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

13. New York

Average income of top 1%: $2 million

Population in upper class: 19%

Percentage of millionaire households: 5.8%
New York City Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

12. Minnesota

Average income of top 1%: $1.04 million

Population in upper class: 24%

Percentage of millionaire households: 5.6%
St. Paul, Minnesota Culbertson | Getty Images
St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

11. Wyoming

Average income of top 1%: $2.12 million

Population in upper class: 21%

Percentage of millionaire households: 5.2%
Jackson Hole, Wyoming Price Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

10. Virginia

Average income of top 1%: $987,607

Population in upper class: 26%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.6%
Richmond, Virginia Richard Cummins | Getty Images
Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

10

9. North Dakota

Average income of top 1%: $1.28 million

Population in upper class: 25%

Percentage of millionaire households: 4.6%
Fargo, North Dakota Daniel Barry | Getty Images
Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

8. Alaska

Average income of top 1%: $833,117

Population in upper class: 25%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.8%
Ketchikan Harbour in Alaska Loop Images | UIG | Getty Images
Ketchikan Harbour in Alaska

Ketchikan Harbour in Alaska

Ketchikan Harbour in Alaska

7. California

Average income of top 1%: $1.41 million

Population in upper class: 19%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.0%
Los Angeles David Sucsy | Getty Images
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

6. Washington, DC

Average income of top 1%: $1.53 million

Population in upper class: 34%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.1%
Washington, D.C. Allen Baxter | Getty Images
Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C

Washington, D.C

5. New Hampshire

Average income of top 1%: $1.01 million

Population in upper class: 23%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.50%
Portsmouth, New Hampshire Loop Images | UIG | Getty Images
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

4. Massachusetts

Average income of top 1%: $1.69 million

Population in upper class: 28%

Percentage of millionaire households: 6.7%
Paul Revere in Boston, Massachusetts Paul Giamou | Getty Images
Paul Revere in Boston, Massachusetts

Paul Revere in Boston, Massachusetts

Paul Revere in Boston, Massachusetts

3. New Jersey

Average income of top 1%: $1.45 million

Population in upper class: 25%

Percentage of millionaire households: 7.5%
Jersey City, New Jersey Getty Images
Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey

2. Maryland

Average income of top 1%: $1.02 million

Population in upper class: 26%

Percentage of millionaire households: 7.7%
Downtown Baltimore, Maryland Greg Pease | Getty Images
Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

1. Connecticut

Average income of top 1%: $2.4 million

Population in upper class: 27%

Percentage of millionaire households: 7.3%

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut

3 Keys to Creating Engaging Content

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a piece of content that you hope shines after publication, only for its message to be overlooked by your readers. To optimize your reach and ensure that readers really connect with the messages you have to offer, your content has to be fresh and exciting to read.

Like a novel that’s hard to put down or an engaging piece published in a trendy magazine, your content should pull readers in so they want to follow through with their read to the end. Luckily, you don’t have to have any special training or experience in order to make your content exciting enough for your readers to stay engaged through the last word. Here are a few tips and tricks to consider implementing for maximized success:

1. Be conversational
Whether you are offering insight into a technical topic, providing your opinion about new software, explaining a how-to project or putting together an informational piece, it’s always best to structure the content in a conversational way so that it’s easy to absorb and retain for the average reader. Use everyday language that reads as if you were speaking to your audience in person.

Ask open ended questions of your readers that inspire them and encourage them to think outside the box. Pretend like you’re talking to a friend as you piece together your outline, and put yourself in the shoes of your audience to gain some insight into what follow-up questions might be asked so that you can address them in your initial piece.

2. Implement calls-to-action
An awesome way to create more engagement and make your content more exciting for readers is to implement calls-to-action once or twice within most of your pieces. A call-to-action doesn’t have to be treated as a sales tactic. In fact, your calls-to-action should spark thought and interest in your readers.

Asking your readers to try a specific technique at home, referring them to books they can check out at the library for extra information and offering invitations to sign up for free online seminars are all effective ways to encourage action and engagement among your audience. Don’t save your calls-to-action for the end of your content. Engage readers with actionable communication throughout to enrich the overall reading experience and ensure that those who start reading your content are enthralled enough to stay tuned and keep learning until the last word is read.

However, be sure to consider how often you steer your audience away from the basis of your content in order to find further information or complete a project, as this can actually drive potential customers away from your words. A good rule to follow is to use question-based calls-to-action throughout the heart of your content that don’t encourage readers to steer away from what they’re reading, and to use verbiage that requires taking action not associated with the article itself near the close.

3. Make use of visuals
Visuals are an extremely useful tool when it comes to making content more exciting for readers and ensuring that the whole story you’re trying to get across is thoroughly told and absorbed. Statistics say that roughly 40 percent of online users respond more positively to content with visuals as opposed to plain text, and posts with videos embedded in them receive about three times the inbound link exposure that posts without videos do.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to include at least one high quality photo in each piece of content you produce. Any videos you can find to correspond with your topic will really help to enrich the piece and establish yourself as a knowledgeable brand that knows where to find valuable information and doesn’t mind sharing it. You’ll find that you can significantly increase your profit margins by including review videos for products you are promoting within pieces too.

You should find that these techniques are easy to implement and won’t interfere too much with the fluidity or insight that you want to leave behind within each piece of content you create.

Source: 3 Keys to Creating Engaging Content

The 20 most common hobbies of the richest people in the world

Golf
When billionaires have free time, they have the means for extravagant hobbies, whether it’s collecting classic cars or jet-setting across the globe. But the most common hobby billionaires pursue isn’t a display of wealth – it’s philanthropy.
Wealth-X, a company that conducts research on the ultra-wealthy, recently released its annual billionaire census, which explores the trends and habits of the world’s richest people. The census tracked billionaires’ passions, interests, and hobbies, providing us with a peek into how the super wealthy spend their free time.

Philanthropy proved the most popular hobby, with more than half of all billionaires pursuing charitable activities. This generosity comes as no surprise, though, thanks to the rise in recognition of endeavors such as The Giving Pledge, a promise started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge have instilled a sense of humanitarian responsibility in billionaires to use their vast wealth to make a difference in the world,” Wealth-X notes.

From art and fashion to hunting and fishing, read on to see the 20 most common hobbies and passions of the world’s richest people, as well as the percentage of billionaires who participate in each.

20. Skiing — 7.2%
20-Skiing-7-2

19. Watches — 7.7%
19-Watches-7-7

18. Fishing — 7.8%
18-Fishing-7-8

17. Jewelry — 8.1%
17-Jewelry-8-1

16. Hunting — 8.8%
16-Hunting-8-8

15. Dining — 10.9%
15-Dining-10-9

14. Golf — 11%
14-Golf-11

13. Cultural events — 12.1%
13-Cultural-events-12-1

12. Reading — 12.3%
12-Reading-12-3

11. Football/soccer — 13.1%
soccer-13-1

10. Collectibles — 14.1%
10-Collectibles-14-1

9. Automobiles — 14.5%
9-Automobiles-14-5

8. Health and exercise — 14.8%
8-Health-and-exercise-14-8

7. Boating — 14.9%
7-Boating-14-9

6. Wine and spirits — 15.9%
6-Wine-and-spirits-15-9

5. Politics — 22.2%
5-Politics-22-2

4. Fashion and style — 25.2%
4-Fashion-and-style-25-2

3. Art — 28.7%
3-Art-28-7

2. Travel — 31%
2-Travel-31

1. Philanthropy — 56.3%
1-Philanthropy-56-3

Source : The 20 most common hobbies of the richest people in the world

11 awesome ways to enjoy giant N.J. balloon festival

Craig Turpin | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Craig Turpin | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Up to 125 hot air balloons were scheduled to take to the skies over Hunterdon County at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in 2006. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

Up to 125 hot air balloons were scheduled to take to the skies over Hunterdon County at the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in 2006. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

One of the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning's attractions is a balloon glow on Saturday night. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

One of the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning’s attractions is a balloon glow on Saturday night. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

Balloons take to the sky over Hunterdon County at the 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning held at Solberg Airport. Readington on July 24, 2015. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

Balloons take to the sky over Hunterdon County at the 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning held at Solberg Airport. Readington on July 24, 2015. (NJ Advance Media file photo)

For the 34th year, tens of thousands of people will descend on Hunterdon County to watch over 100 pilots take off at what is North America’s largest balloon festival.

The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning takes place at Solberg Airport in Readington Township on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival is much more than just balloons – there’s music, rides, entertainment and lots of food.

Here are 11 insider tips on how to make the most out of your visit to the festival:

Balloon launches

There are five balloon launches over the festival’s three days. Three take place each day at 6:30 p.m. and two are at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If you want to avoid the crowds and heat, come to the early mass ascension to see the more than 100 balloons that will take flight.

There are a number of special shape balloons from around the world that take part in the festival, as well as local pilots.

If you’re planning on arriving for Saturday night’s mass balloon ascension at 6:30 p.m. and the KC and The Sunshine Band concert and nighttime hot air balloon glow, come earlier in the day as crowds are at their peak late Saturday afternoon.

Fireworks

Another reason to catch the evening mass ascension on Friday is the fireworks show to follow at 9:30 p.m. There will also be a crowd-favorite night-time balloon glow on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Music

The balloon festival always provides a wide-range of music, and this year’s lineup is no exception. There are two ways to enjoy the concerts, either buy a ticket to sit in special stage-front seating, or take your chances with the lawn seating, which fills up early.

Third Eye Blind performs on Friday night. Premium and platinum tickets are sold out, but gold tickets ($59) are available.

The Girl & The Dreamcatcher featuring Dove Cameron & Ryan McCartan perform on Saturday at 1 p.m. Premium tickets are gone, but there are platinum and gold tickets available ($40-$55).

KC and The Sunshine Band perform Saturday night and John Kay & Steppenwolf with special guest Foghat take the stage Sunday afternoon. Tickets for both shows are available ($79-$99).

Food

There’s plenty to eat at the festival. In addition to vendors throughout the festival, QuickChek will have its 2,700-square-foot air-conditioned “pop-up” store. It will also have its Hospitality Tent with baristas who will custom make more than 60 varieties of handcrafted hot and iced cold drinks.

If you come early on Saturday or Sunday, you can enjoy “Breakfast with the Balloons” catered by Black River Barn of Randolph.

Then there’s the Hot Air Balloon Funnel Cake – An Oreo cookie dipped in sweet funnel cake batter, fried to a golden brown, topped with powdered sugar and served with either strawberry, chocolate or blueberry sauces.

World-traveling balloons take part in festival

Take a flight

A unique way to take in the festival is by becoming part of the mass ascensions. Balloon flights are offered at each of the five launches. The cost is $225 per person for morning launches, and $250 per person for evening launches. Tethered balloon rides are also offered if the winds are calm at $20 per person.

Jennifer ‘The Cannon Lady’ Smith

A highlight of the festival is seeing human cannonball Jennifer “The Cannon Lady” Smith take flight. She takes flight at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Friday, at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. She will also serve as the starting “gun” for Sunday morning’s 5K run.

Smith will also hold meet and greet photo sessions during the weekend.

Entertainment

There’s plenty to do while in between balloon launches. The Jeep Family Fun Pavilion will have entertainment throughout the day, from jugglers to musicians to other family-friendly performers. There’s also a Theater of Magic performance tent, music at the QuickChek Hospitality Tent and on Saturday and Sunday NJ 101.5’s Big Joe Henry Live radio broadcast taking place.

Also, check out the vendors. And don’t forget the free giveaways – you can always use another tote bag or Frisbee.

Run with the balloons

A recent addition to the festival is the Advil Running with the Balloons 5K Cross-Road Challenge.

Combining the elements of cross-country with a traditional road race, the USATF-NJ certified course features a mix of surfaces including grass, pavement, gravel and dirt roads. Runners race past the balloon launch field while Sunday morning’s mass hot air balloon ascension takes place, and finishes in the heart of the Festival at Solberg Airport.

Check out the Midway

For thrill seekers, check out the rides at the festival’s unofficial Midway. It’s best to get ride tickets early to avoid long lines later in the day.

KC & The Sunshine Band still enjoy the ride

Be a Blue Sky VIP

All general admission tickets are $35 ($15 for kids ages 4-12). Another option is the Blue Sky Club, which includes general admission, prime viewing spots for the mass ascensions in the Blue Sky Club Tent with catered food (at an additional charge). Also get a reserved concert seat to one of the three major concerts.

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A major plus – private restrooms with running water, vanity mirrors and air conditioning. VIP parking is only available to those who purchased Blue Sky Club tickets before July 22.

Plan ahead

Plan on arriving early. Backpacks, bags and personal items are subject to inspection before you enter the grounds.

Pack only the basic essentials and leave valuable items at home. Coolers, bottles and food are not permitted on the festival grounds. Only guide dogs and service animals are permitted.

Wear comfortable, light-colored clothing and comfortable shoes. Bring sunscreen and wear UV protective sunglasses. Baseball caps and wide-brimmed hats are recommended to protect your eyes and head from the summer sun.

There are a limited number of customer service golf carts which are available to transport patrons to the parking lots from various points throughout the festival grounds. The main parking lots are outfitted with patron trolleys designed to help get people back to their vehicles.

All handicap parking areas, as well as senior and handicap courtesy shuttles, are made possible this year by Hackensack University Health Network.

Source
11 awesome ways to enjoy giant N.J. balloon festival

What is the best way to redistribute income?

What is the best way to redistribute income?

What is the best way to redistribute income?

ECONOMISTS have two contradictory impulses when analysing policy. The first is to ignore its effects on the distribution of income or wealth, and argue that policymakers should shoot for efficiency and worry about redistribution later. This instinct often surfaces in discussion of policies like carbon taxes. These increase efficiency by raising the price of pollution, a harmful activity that, without intervention, comes too cheap for the polluter. But carbon taxes tend to hit poorer people, who spend a higher fraction of their income on fuel, the hardest. We should introduce the tax anyway, economists say, and re-distribute by other means.

This first impulse is loosely based on the “fundamental welfare theorems”, which say that whatever the initial distribution of wealth, trade will lead to an efficient outcome. The best way to redistribute is not to interfere with trade, but to divvy up “endowments”—peoples’ initial wealth. On this view, inequality can be dealt with in isolation, after figuring out how best to lubricate markets.

The second, opposing impulse, which is on display in many DC think-tanks, is to examine forensically the distributional consequences of every policy in isolation. This is becoming more common, partly because computing advances have made simulation models, which estimate how much a proposal will change the income of each social group, easier to run. As a result, few policy analyses omit to mention the “distributional benefits” or “distributional costs” of whatever is being proposed. In Britain, new policies come with an “equality impact assessment” which scrutinise their impact on specific groups.

A good example is student debt. Many young Americans feel it is an acutely stressful burden, which holds back their ability to save to, say, buy a house. Yet when politicians like Hillary Clinton propose measures to reduce student debt, economists are quick to point out that doing so would not, on the whole, help the poor. Graduates earn more than the population at large; those with the most student debt tend to be law-school graduates with lucrative careers ahead of them. Similarly, economists love to point out that higher minimum-wages do not benefit the poorest households most, because they relate to hourly pay rather than overall household income. Such polices are, economists say, “poorly targeted”.

Which impulse is preferable? The first seems wrong-headed, because it is not possible in reality to redistribute endowments. Inequality often results from trade over time—some people do well in the market, others less well—and, as a result, redistribution must be an ongoing project. When pressed on their preferred measure of redistribution, economists will often cite policies like the earned-income tax-credit, which tops-up the wages of poor workers. Yet this does not look at all like the efficient, lump-sum redistribution of economic models. Because it gets less generous as income rises, the EITC discourages low-income workers from earning more (marginal tax rates for low earners, accounting for benefit-withdrawal, can exceed 80%). The scheme is wasteful: the IRS estimates that 24% of EITC payments are improper. And other workers must pay taxes to fund EITC payments. Those higher tax rates distort the economy, too.

The second instinct, though, does not seem much better. Take student-debt again. When the British government raised tuition fees in 2010, it was so keen to make its reforms “progressive” that it introduced a complex system whereby higher-earners pay higher interest-rates. Yet it seems bizarre to redistribute within one group—graduates—rather than in society more broadly. There is no convincing reason for making high-earning graduates, as opposed to high-earners in general, subsidise education.

Furthermore, policy sometimes rightly helps higher-income folk. One example is childcare. At a conference on tax policy I attended last year, one participant pointed out that the child tax-credit, which provides money to parents with incomes up to about $95,000, does not have the “distributional advantages” of the EITC. But presumably there is value to society in helping more than just the poorest parents and children. Similarly, policies to subsidise child-care—often supported by the left—help all single-earner households become multiple-earner households, including those where the single-earner already has a high income. That is no bad thing if it helps achieve other goals, such as increasing female participation in the workforce.

The lesson is that policymaking must be holistic; proposals cannot be judged fully in isolation. Sometimes, regressive policies and universal benefits are welcome, even if an unequal income distribution is not. At the same time, it is unrealistic to expect all corrective redistribution to happen through one idealised channel like the EITC, because concentrating redistributive firepower in one area can cause collateral damage to incentives. As usual, economists will do best if they cast their most unworldly assumptions—of whatever variety—aside.

Source –
What is the best way to redistribute income?

10 states in America with the best infrastructure

Building roads to prosperity

Building roads to prosperity

If you’ve ever been late for an appointment because you got caught in a traffic jam, you know the importance of good infrastructure. Companies searching for America’s Top States for Business want a place where they can get their people — and their products — where they need to be, on time. That means not just good roads and bridges but airports, seaports and rail lines. Good infrastructure also means sound utilities.

We measure all of those things and more in our Infrastructure category, worth 350 out of 2,500 points. You can see our complete study and learn about our methodology here. Only a handful of states have the infrastructure to be Top States. These are the top 10.

10. Florida

Florida

Florida

The Sunshine State is not only a major population center in its own right; it is the gateway to Latin America, and it is well-equipped for the role. The Florida Seaports Council says the state’s 15 ports generate $96 billion a year in economic activity. Florida is also the second busiest state (after California) for air travel, with 5.8 million takeoffs and landings at Florida airports last year. Roads and bridges are in good shape.

2016 Infrastructure score: 211 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 16 percent
Average commute to work: 26.1 minutes
Major airports: Miami International; Orlando International
20-year water system needs: $16.5 billion

9. Missouri

Missouri

Missouri

Strategically positioned in the nation’s midsection, the home of Kansas City Southern is a major rail link. Some 457 million tons of freight made its way through Missouri in 2014, the fourth-largest total in the United States. And with two major inland ports, in Kansas City and St. Louis, and two international airports, Missouri is a vital part of the nation’s transportation network.

2016 Infrastructure score: 214 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 26 percent
Average commute to work: 23.1 minutes
Major airports: Lambert-St.Louis International; Kansas City International
20-year water system needs: $8.5 billion

8. Kansas

kansas

kansas


Kansas is literally in the heart of the country, so if you’re traveling coast to coast, chances are at some point you will be passing through here. More than 367 million tons of freight traveled on Kansas railways in 2014. Bridges are in relatively good shape, and commuting times are more than manageable.

2016 Infrastructure score: 216 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 16 percent
Average commute to work: 19.1 minutes
Major airport: Wichita Mid-Continent
20-year water system needs: $4.2 billion

7. Ohio

Ohio

Ohio

With ports on Lake Erie to the north, Ohio River to the south and miles of railways and highways in between, Ohio is a crucial transportation hub. The state exported more than $41 billion worth of goods in 2012, the most recent statistic available. The 241-mile Ohio Turnpike, completed in 1955, carries roughly 50 million vehicles per year.

2016 Infrastructure score: 218 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 23 percent
Average commute to work: 23.1 minutes
Major airport: Cleveland Hopkins International
20-year water system needs: $12.2 billion

6. North Dakota

North Dakota

North Dakota

While the shale-oil boom that supercharged North Dakota’s economy has cooled now, it allowed the state to begin redeveloping its infrastructure in a big way. Water utilities are in sound shape, and commuting times are lightning-fast. Roads and bridges are in better shape than most states.

2016 Infrastructure score: 219 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 21 percent
Average commute to work: 17.1 minutes
Major airport: Hector International (Fargo)
20-year water system needs: $449.7 million

5. Minnesota

Minnesota

Minnesota


The 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis killed 13 people and called attention to the nationwide infrastructure crisis. Minnesota took the incident to heart. Within a year the state replaced the structure with the state-of-the-art St. Anthony Falls Bridge, and today Minnesota has the lowest percentage of deficient bridges in the nation.

2016 Infrastructure score: 224 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 9 percent
Average commute to work: 23 minutes
Major airport: Minneapolis-St. Paul International
20-year water system needs: $7.4 billion

4. Georgia

Georgia

Georgia


It might not be readily apparent while you are fighting Atlanta traffic, but Georgia’s roads and bridges are among the best in the nation. And that’s just the start. The Port of Savannah boasts the largest single container terminal in North America. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest in the world. When it comes to infrastructure, this state means business.

2016 Infrastructure score: 231 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 16 percent
Average commute to work: 27.2 minutes
Major airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
20-year water system needs: $9.3billion

3. (Tie) Texas

texas

texas


When they say that everything is big in Texas, they might be referring to the fact that no state ships more commodities based on dollar value. Or that it is one of the busiest states for air traffic, with more than 4.5 million takeoffs and landings last year. Or that the state carried more than 400 million tons of freight by rail in 2014. Texas does have some big issues with its public utilities, and commuters often encounter some big traffic jams. But this state has clearly come to play.

2016 Infrastructure score: 239 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 19 percent
Average commute to work: 25.2 minutes
Major airports: Dallas-Fort Worth International; George Bush Intercontinental (Houston)
20-year water system needs: $33.9 billion

2. (Tie) Tennessee

Tennessee

Tennessee


In the home of the Tennessee Valley Authority, public investment in infrastructure is a heritage dating back to the Authority’s founding in 1933. Twenty years ago the Tennessee legislature decided to take on the state’s infrastructure needs head-on, empowering a state commission to identify infrastructure needs and develop plans to meet them. Today, Tennessee’s infrastructure performs well across all our metrics.

2016 Infrastructure score: 239 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 18 percent
Average commute to work: 24.4 minutes
Major airports: Memphis International; Nashville International
20-year water system needs: $2.7 billion

1. Indiana

Indiana

Indiana

Indiana calls itself the Crossroads of America, and the state lives up to the name with the best roads in the country. But the crossroads are not just highways. The state’s extensive rail network carried more than 300 million tons of freight in 2014. Indiana is home to three major ports. Burns Harbor, on Lake Michigan, is Indiana’s gateway to the world. The ports at Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon on the Ohio River transport coal, agricultural products and auto parts to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

2016 Infrastructure score: 241 out of 350 points
Deficient bridges: 21 percent
Average commute to work: 23.3 minutes
Major airport: Indianapolis International
20-year water system needs: $6.5 billion

Source
10 states in America with the best infrastructure