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This Section Contains Commentary From Bob Meyer Which Has Appeared In Various Issues Of The Tuesday Barter Report.


From the desk of Bob Meyer.... 2006 to Present
December 2, 2014 NATE's 31st Annual Convention Scheduled For Las Vegas
November 11, 2014 New Barter Exchange In Nashville
October 28, 2014 "Do Barter" Founder Passes
October 7, 2014 Expanding The World Of Barter
September 23, 2014 Student Debt Curbs Housing Market
September 2, 2014 David Siegel, King of Timeshares, Updated
July 9, 2014 Americans View Of Saving Sees Dramatic Change
June 24, 2014 Active International Platinum Sponsor For IRTA's 35th Annual Convention
May 20, 2014 IRTA Convention Slated For Cancun September 25-27
April 15, 2014 Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Broadcast TV
April 8, 2014 Eat Your Veggies?
March 25, 2014 NATE Names Platinum Sponsors For 30th Annual Convention
March 11, 2014 'Lone Eagle' (One Person) Businesses On The Rise
February 25, 2014 Marketing Changes To Expect This Year
February 18, 2014 Guaranteed Financing For Independent Hoteliers
February 11, 2014 "The world is better than it has ever been."
February 4, 2014 Major Weapons Makers Cut $400 Million Barter Deal With U.S. Government
January 28, 2014 A Look Back (from 2005) ... The Rich & Famous Used Barter To Get Started
January 21, 2014 Global Inequality Staggering
January 07, 2014 Billionaire Barters For Pipeline Business
From the desk of... 2014
From the desk of... 2013 From the desk of... 2012
From the desk of... 2011 From the desk of... 2010
From the desk of... 2009 From the desk of... 2008
From the desk of... 2007 From the desk of... 2006

From the desk of Bob Meyer... 12/02/2014

NATE's 31st Annual Convention Scheduled For Las Vegas
The most popular venue for barter conventions (for both of the commercial trade associations) is Las Vegas; attendance figures over the years substantiate this statement.
The NATE Board of Directors has announced that their 2015 annual convention will convene May 3 thru 5, the iconic Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. More information will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars now for these dates.
Bartering On Craigslist
Like to trade direct locally? There's several ways to generate and grow your list of potential trading partners by consulting the Craigslist barter category. Here's a link to quickly learn the six steps you'll want to follow for exploring and engineering your deals:


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 11/11/2014

New Barter Exchange In Nashville
Grand Central Barter is a relatively new exchange in Nashville (TN). According to one of the partners, Adam Bowie, they have 150+ members and are adding 30 more every month. Bowie reported that his organization is a member of both NATE (National Association of Trade Exchanges) and IRTA (International Reciprocal Trade Association).
For more information, click here.
Learn More About The Hotel Barter Network
On Saturday, November 15, at 11a.m. EST, you can learn more about The Hotel Barter Network — where trading among hoteliers and vendors will be the objective. Creator Adam David Wagner will be interviewed and aired via Bartertown Radio. You will be able to call (347) 989-8557 and ask questions. (Their site isn't active yet.)
For more info on Bartertown Radio e-mail Sandra Harshman at
For-Profit Colleges Under The Gun
The Education Department guidelines are intended to weed out programs that rely heavily on taxpayer subsidies but don't follow through on promises of career training. Changes in the rules will penalize companies that saddle students with high debt relative to their incomes after graduation. For example:
19% — The share of for-profit college students who default on federal student loans after three years.
44% — The share of student loan defaults traced to for-profit colleges, which enroll only 11% of all college students.
1,400 — College employment programs that probably won't meet new debt-to-income rules.
840,000 — The estimated number of students enrolled in programs that probably will violate debt-to-income rules.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 10/28/2014

"Do Barter" Founder Passes

Paul Dragon, the founder of Do Barter software, service died this week on Monday, October 27, after spending his last couple of weeks under hospice care. Bobbie Vickers, who also assisted Paul at the end, will be taking over the Do Barter software business having been trained by Dragon over the last several years.
IRTA Executive Director Ron Whitney Airs On Bartertown Radio
Ron Whitney, IRTA's Executive Director, will be the only guest on the Bartertown radio ( show Saturday, November 1, at 11a.m. EST. 
(You can participate and asking questions by calling 1-347-989-8557.)
Exchange Auction Board Will Be In Tulsa December 3, 4 & 5
National Marketing Systems will hold its Exchange Auction Board at the Tradewinds Central in Tulsa (OK) this December 3, 4 and 5.
ITEX's White Attends Money2020
Steve White, CEO of ITEX, will be attending the Money2020 financial services event for the third consecutive year since its inception in 2012.  Seven thousand attendees, including 675 CEOs, are registered for the occasion this year, which will be held at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas from November 2 thru 5.
Money2020 is the world's largest event for payments and financial services innovation. It's the catalyst that has enabled the growth and development of the evolving ecosystem connecting commerce.
At last year's event NATE sent both Ric Zampatti (The Barter Co.) and Gary Oshry (New England Trade). BizX also had two representatives, including Bob Bagga, in attendance.
Thomas Greco Appearing In San Francisco Bay Area

On Thursday, October 30, Thomas Greco will present The Evolution of Money & It's Potential To Improve Humanity at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Petaluma (CA) from 6-9p.m.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 10/07/2014

Expanding The World Of Barter

The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) continues to provide an expanding weekly list of items (products, services, and travel opportunities) available for trade exchange owners who are members of the BANC.
For more information on this program call Raye at 617-763-3311 or e-mail
Radio Station Veteran Dave Wagenvoord Passes
BarterNews recently learned of the passing of long-time radio station veteran Dave Wagenvoord, a master of old school bartering — he exchanged airtime on his radio stations for various products and services, which he then used for promotions. Wagenvoord passed away earlier this year in April of neuroendocrine cancer, at the age of 81. He was living in Florida at the time.
ITEX Annual Holiday Fair Announced
ITEX, which has the largest West Coast attendance for their barter holiday fairs, revealed that this year's trade fair would take place Sunday, November 23, at the Fairplex building #6, in Pomona (CA).
For more information, call 909-592-7727 or click here.
Bartertown Radio Show Available
A live radio talk-show is now underway every Saturday morning at 11AM EST. You can call in and ask questions (347-989-8557). For more details, e-mail or click here


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 09/23/2014

Student Debt Curbs Housing Market
A new study reports that 414,000 houses will not be bought this year by people under age 40, because of booming student debt levels. That is equivalent to roughly 1 in 12 home sales this year, denting the housing industry by $83 billion, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
Not only is this considered a lowball estimate, but there's a big chunk of households over 40 who have student debt as well.

On-Board Extras Help Airlines' Profits Climb
The nation's airlines posted $3.6 billion in profits from April through June this year, a 64% increase compared with the $2.2 billion earned in the previous year's period.
About 25% of the $44.6 billion in revenues in the second quarter came from bag and other passenger fees, according to transportation statistics. Experts attribute the strong numbers to high-seat fulfillment (87%) and collecting fees for a long menu of on-board extras.
Insider Stock Selling Rises
A total of 7,181 insiders bought their own stock this year through Sept. 12, and 23,323 sold shares. The ratio of buys to sells is near the lowest since 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Washington Service.
Corporate repurchases reached $275 billion at the same time, the second busiest since S&P Dow Jones Indices began tracking the data in 1998. "It doesn't say anything very good about the growth prospect for the business," claims CIO McMillan at Commonwealth Financial Network.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 09/02/2014

David Siegel, King of Timeshares, Updated

Fifteen years ago BarterNews interviewed the CFO of Central Florida Investments (CFI), parent company of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held timeshare-company in the world, and a company started in the garage of founder, CEO David Siegel. The interview showed how CFI astutely used barter to cover many of their on-going expenses.
Now, some 15 years later, a new film titled Queen of Versailles is in the movie theatres. It graphically illustrates how the housing balloon explosion of 2008 affected the Siegel family's fortune, and the lives of some 7,000 Westgate Resort employees who were subsequently laid off. 
 The title of the movie refers to the 90,000 square-foot home David and his wife Jackie were building (modeled after the famous French Versailles palace) prior to the real estate downturn. Hailed as the largest private residence in the U.S., their unfinished $100 million home is now in foreclosure.


 From the desk of Bob Meyer... 07/09/2014

Americans View Of Saving Sees Dramatic Change
The 2007-09 recession was the worst downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and has wrought a similar effect on spending habits. In a recent Gallup poll, Americans said they preferred saving to spending 62% to 34%, the widest margin since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.
New California Law Accepts Alternative Currencies
A new law has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown that will accommodate the growing use of alternative payment methods such as Bitcoin. Prior to the new law people using digital currencies, community currencies and reward points (Amazon's Coins and Starbucks' Stars), were in violation of the law but not penalized.
In March, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service said it would treat Bitcoin as a form of property for tax purposes, rather than currency, making it subject to similar rules as stocks and barter transactions.
Student Loan Debt Now Tops Credit Card & Auto Loan Debt
Topping a trillion dollars with no end in sight, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says student loans in the U.S. are now greater then credit card debt and auto loan debt. Middle-aged Americans — those aged 40 to 49 — are struggling the most with their debt payments; their delinquency rate (making no payments for 90 days) is 11.9%. That compares with a rate of 8.7% for borrowers of all ages.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 06/24/2014

Active International Platinum Sponsor For IRTA's 35th Annual Convention

The world's largest corporate trading company, Active International, will be the Platinum Sponsor for this year's 35th Annual International Convention at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort. The dates of the International Reciprocal Trade Association's convention are September 25 through September 27.
Active International is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The company operates in 14 countries with a staff of 500+ experienced professionals. 
For complete details on IRTA's convention click here.   
Expanding The World Of Barter
The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) is doing a fine job with their weekly e-mails to the NATE Banc members. On successive days messages will provide inclusive presentations of products and services, followed the next day with exclusive travel offers. In both cases descriptive copy and photo’s accompany the Banc offers. is handling the program. For further information on NATE, click here


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 05/20/2014

IRTA Convention Slated For Cancun September 25-27

The International Reciprocal Trade Association will hold its 35th Annual International Convention at the beautiful, beachfront all-inclusive Grand Oasis Cancun Resort & Spa this September 25 through 27.

For more information on IRTA and the upcoming convention, click here.

Active International Celebrates 30 Years Of Excellence

Active International, the largest independent global corporate-trade company, has announced the launch of its advertising and marketing campaign. Titled "We Made the Trade," it's in honor of the company's 30th anniversary.

For more information, click here

Groupon Introduces "Groupon Bucks"

Groupon has a new service called Basics that is now selling over 100 products (from razors and vitamins to a myriad of consumer goods) in bulk, in an effort to grab more of the e-commerce market. The Basics service offers free shipping on orders of $24.99 or more from its warehouse.

As an introductory promotion, customers who place an order will receive a 5-percent rebate in Groupon Bucks, an online credit that can be used towards future Groupon purchases.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 04/15/2014

Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Broadcast TV

For the first time, marketers spent more to advertise on the Internet than they did for broadcast television in 2013. Investments in U.S. interactive advertising reached $42.8 billion in Internet advertising last year, up 17% from 2012, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Trading A Favor ... For A Favor

At, a web based skills exchange, users will be able to leverage their expertise and conduct business by doing one another a favor. The founder of this new site (now in beta) is a cadet at the U.S. West Point Military Academy, currently studying Engineering Management. (He's also a member of the Division 1 hockey team.)

Detwiler Says It's Time To Expand Inter-Trading

Fred Detwiler, founder and president of, says this year's focus at the NATE convention will be on how to expand trading among individual exchanges. Among the veterans in the industry, Detwiler will be remembered for his strong views and assertions at the 2000 IRTA Convention in Vancouver.

It was there the venture capitalists (VCs) descended upon the commercial barter industry, telling everyone they had the money and the business model to take the industry to the next, higher level. Detwiler was the brash one — the only outspoken person who, confidently and defiantly said BS. He pointed out that not only did they not understand the trade exchange business, but their business model was flawed.

The VCs moved forward anyway, operating on the golden rule: "We have the gold and we will make the rules." Unfortunately, the exchange business is more complex than the VCs first observations. And since they were unwilling to listen to those with experience, they blew tens-of-millions of dollars for naught — and vanished within a decade.

Night Owls Take Bigger Risks Than Early Birds

An extensive report from researchers at the University of Chicago found that there is a correlation between personal sleeping habits and the propensity to take risks, with night owls being higher risk takers than the early birds. Night owls have greater cortisol levels and higher levels have been connected with greater cognitive function.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 04/08/2014

Eat Your Veggies?

British researchers who studied 65,000 people over seven years found that people who ate 7 portions of fruits and vegetables every day have a 42% lower death rate than those who ate 4 or fewer servings. Eating farm fresh vegetables, freshly picked, have more nutrition, too.

In the U.S. the time from farm to your fork is 14 days and some 40% of all fruits and vegetables we eat are imported from other countries. For healthier food you can focus on sourcing local food production when possible.

For additional information, click here.

Business Travel Group Opposes Calls On Planes

The Global Business Travel Association is a trade group for the world's business travelers, and represents 6,000 travel managers.  It asserts that onboard phone calls are "detrimental to business travelers," and submitted its opposition to the use of cell-phones on planes to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

In 2012, business travel was responsible for $491 billion in spending, or 3% of U.S. gross domestic product.

NATE Programs Planned For 30th Annual Convention

Here's a brief look at two of this year's sessions for the National Association of Trade Exchanges' 30th annual convention:

For the owners, there will be a focus on competing against the Internet. Alternative Currencies: Competitors or Partners will explore ways to use today's digital world to one's advantage and better understand the new online currencies. 

For the brokers, there will be coverage on the always-popular subject of travel and how to improve it for your exchange. Learn how to simplify the procedures and improve communications between exchanges for travel, including the creation of a universal travel request form.

The top Platinum Sponsors for the upcoming NATE convention to be held in Orlando may 15-18, are TradeFirst ( and Trade Studio ( 

For NATE convention details, click here.

One-Third Of Americans Only Have $1,000 Saved For Retirement

A new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that only 36% of American workers have a measly $1,000 saved for their later years. And 68% of these same workers, who say they've saved less than $1,000 for retirement, reported annual earnings of $35,000 or less.



From the desk of Bob Meyer... 03/25/2014

NATE Names Platinum Sponsors For 30th Annual Convention

The top Platinum sponsors for the 30th Annual National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) Convention, to be held in Orlando May 15 - 18, are Trade First and Trade Studio. (Such sponsorships are an important part of a successful convention, according to convention planners.)

IMS Continues Progress In Building Infrastructure

The nationwide International Monetary Systems, a publicly traded company, has reported quarterly earnings recently and has made additional stock repurchases in addition to reporting higher earnings.

For more info, click here.

ITEX Continues Virtual Barter Focus With Coffee-Sleeves Purchase

Some 700,000 coffee sleeves are in circulation in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. On the sleeve ITEX asks the question: Virtual currency or barter — who wins?

Meanwhile, CEO Steve White is attending the Coin Summit conference in San Francisco — a two-day event connecting virtual-currency entrepreneurs, angels, VC investors, and others.

IRS Will Tax Bitcoin As Property

The IRS says it will treat and tax bitcoins as property, a decision that s part of wider efforts to bring more oversight to the digital currency. In its first major ruling related to virtual currencies, the agency noted that bitcoin "does not have legal tender status" and will be taxed under codes that apply to property transactions.

That means wages paid to workers in bitcoins will be subject to federal income and payroll taxes. Those who 'mine' virtual currencies — or create new bitcoins by solving complex math problems — will have to report their earnings as taxable income.

Bitcoins can also be treated as capital assets, regulated under the same rules that govern stocks and bonds, the IRS said.

Consumer Confidence Highest Since January 2008

Consumers are more optimistic about the economy than they've been in years, and that could help heat up the recovery after a deep winter chill. And when people are feeling confident, they spend more in supermarkets, restaurants and shopping malls and are more willing to buy new cars and homes.

(Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of all economic activity.)

Buffett Not A Fan Of Bitcoin

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the world's most astute investors, says, "I wouldn't be surprised if Bitcoin is not around in 10 or 20 years." Buffett called the virtual currency very speculative, a Buck Rodgers kind of thing — like the Dutch tulip mania in 1637.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 03/11/2014

'Lone Eagle' (One Person) Businesses On The Rise

More Americans are taking matters into their own hands by going to work for themselves out of their homes. Much of the growth we are seeing is in "lone eagle" service-type businesses. It is a reversal of the trend seen from 1960-1980, when there were steady reductions in the number of people who worked at home.

Service Veterans Desire Business Ownership

According to BizBuySell's recent study, both older and younger veterans are emerging as major players in the buying of small companies. And, thus, are shaping the business-for-sale market.

For the complete story on young veterans showing strong interest in business ownership go to:

ITEX Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend

The ITEX Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.05 per share on February 28. The dividend will be paid on March 20 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 10, 2014.

Prices Will Lower When Patients Start To Behave Like Consumers

We have a long way to go and there will have to be many changes, but here's a story about a beginning: With no health insurance, Vicki Burns, 62, of Mesilla Park (NM) needed a total hip replacement but balked at a local hospital's $45,000 quote for a two-day stay — which didn't include the surgeon's fee and other ancillary charges.

Then Burns found out about, an online service where doctors and facilities can bid for a patient?s business. Using the website, Burns accepted a bid of $13,400 from Jaron Anderson, M.D., of Glendale (CA) that included the surgery center, anesthesiologist, lab tests, X-rays — even house calls as she recuperated nearby.

(It should be noted that on its website MediBid encourages patients to do their homework and research doctors' credentials.)

Diners Are Tipping Less These Days's recent survey on spending habits shows that Americans' tipping on restaurant bills has declined compared with five years ago. The reason? They explained that they "couldn't afford to tip the customary 20% on top of the cost of a meal."

The survey revealed that only 23% of Americans tip their food servers 20% or more.

Small Talk Is An Extremely Important Skill

Nicholas Boothman, author of both How To Make People Like You In 90 Seconds Or Less and How To Connect In Business In 90 Seconds Or Less, says that small talk is an extremely and often undervalued and overlooked communicative skill.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 02/25/2014

Marketing Changes To Expect This Year

An excellent article on programmatic buying and other changes in the marketplace can be found at Active International's website, the world's largest corporate barter company. The article, published by CEO Magazine and authored by Active's Jim Porcarelli, is titled The Big Marketing Changes To Expect In 2014. Check it out on Active's website under "News."

Guaranteed Financing For Independent Hoteliers

Last week we ran this announcement. Unfortunately, the You Tube video didn't pick up.  So, if you are interested in learning more about "worry free FF&E, revenue guaranteed financing," contact Peter at

NATE's 30th Annual Convention Coming In May

The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) will be convening at the Double Tree Hotel in Orlando for its 30th annual convention, May 15-18.

The convention will include a CTB (certified trade broker) training program, availabilities for sponsorship, and vendor opportunities for displaying your merchandise.

For more information, contact Raye at 617-763-3311 or e-mail


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 02/18/2014

Guaranteed Financing For Independent Hoteliers

Worry free FF&E, revenue guaranteed financing. To learn more, click here.

NATE's 30th Annual Convention Coming In May

The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) will be convening at the Double Tree Hotel in Orlando for its 30th annual convention, May 15-18.

The convention will include a CTB (certified trade broker) training program, availabilities for sponsorship, and vendor opportunities for displaying your merchandise.

For more information, contact Raye at 617-763-3311 or e-mail

Do Words Equal Wealth?

Every person who has attained wealth, regardless of how they did so, had to speak to someone. And whether your aspiration is to start a company, acquire a promotion or seal a multimillion-dollar deal, it's skillful communication that will set you apart from the crowd.

A new book (Universal Talk Laws: How To Increase Your Net Worth With Words) covers the power of persuasion, the art and science of verbal communication — both personally and professionally —— and how to talk to yourself in a way that creates opportunity and going out on top.

More Women Are "Marrying Down"

Tying the knot with men less educated than they are is a growing trend for women, reports the Pew Research Center. Nearly 21% of married women in 2012 were better educated than their spouses, a threefold (300%) jump from 1960. In the 50 years of tracking this issue, it's the first time that a higher percentage of women than men have married down.

Talent Retention Now Top Priority For Business Leaders

PayScale Inc, a provider of cloud compensation data and software, reports that businesses of all sizes are concerned about their ability to retain top-performing employees as a result of the increasingly competitive talent market. (Retention was listed as a top business concern by nearly 60% of the companies surveyed, up from just 28% in 2009.)

The study was based on surveys of more than 4,700 human resources practitioners and business line and executive managers from small, medium and large companies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 02/11/2014

"The world is better than it has ever been."

– Bill Gates

According to the world's richest man and renowned philanthropist, "By almost any measure the world is better than it's ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, many people think the world is getting worse."  

To read Bill Gates interesting and informative take on today's world, click here.

Facebook Forms Small Business Council

The world's largest social network has won over 1 million of the smallest companies, which are regularly using Facebook in their marketing efforts. In March, a dozen small - and medium-size business representatives will attend Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters for its first Small and Medium Business Council meeting.

Facebook sees this market of small businesses as a potential moneymaker, given that some 25 million active businesses are on its site. Yet the lion's share of the business community is not yet spending ad dollars on Facebook.

Digital Currencies Usage Will Grow In Poor Countries

Digital money (Bitcoin) has been getting a lot of ink in the press for a variety of reasons. But the practical reason why digital money usage will grow is because of low transaction fees. In Kenya, for example, M-pesa is being used for almost half of all transactions. Their low transaction costs are great for the poor because they need to do financial transactions with small amounts of money. Over the next few years digital money will play a significant role in India and Africa.

Earning Are Widest In 48 Years

The growing value of a college education (despite tuition costs) is growing according to the latest findings. The Pew Research Center says those without a bachelor’s degree in today's economy are more likely to live in poverty and be dissatisfied with their job, if not unemployed. Young adults with just a high school diploma earned 62% of the typical salary of a college graduate. This earnings gap between young adults with and without college degrees is at the widest level in 48 years.

Simple Ways To Show Your Customers You Care

Showing appreciation for your loyal customers can go a long way toward cementing a positive relationship with them. A couple of low cost ideas might include: making phone calls to show your gratitude; forming a VIP club where you offer incentives and discounts; acknowledging their contributions on your website.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 02/04/2014

Major Weapons Makers Cut $400 Million Barter Deal With U.S. Government

Boeing and General Dynamics have agreed to provide the U.S. Government an in-kind payment (a barter arrangement) of $400 million. The consideration will close out a 23-year-long litigation. The payment concerned the A-12 bomber that was cancelled in 1991 because of massive cost overruns.

Worldwide, Millionaire Households Are Growing

According to the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, the number of millionaire households in major countries around the world will top 65 million by 2020, up from 38 million in 2011. Their wealth is expected to more than double in that period, to $202 trillion from $92 trillion.

Australian Barter Sales Phenom Tops 1,700 Signups

Stephen Mills, now a Bartercard franchisee in North Sydney, has passed the 1,700 number in new member signups (sales) over his noteworthy 13 year career with the world's largest trade exchange.

Mills is the top salesman in the company's storied history. Kudo's to Mills for his considerable accomplishments.

National Union Membership Holding at 11.3%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 14.5 million U.S. workers now belong to unions. While less than 7% of private sector workers belong to unions, unionization for public-sector workers is 35.3%. According to statistics, union workers earn $950 a week compared with $750 a week for those who don't belong to labor groups.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 01/28/2014

A Look Back (from 2005) ... The Rich & Famous Used Barter To Get Started

Barter Was Start For International Deal-Maker

Leslie Gonda, 85-year old founder of International Lease Finance of Beverly Hills, started his business career after spending a part of World War II in a labor camp in Nazi-occupied Hungary. From there he immigrated to Venezuela where he scored his first business success trading costume jewelry with Indians in the jungle.

He used the profits to invest in Venezuelan real estate and launch his own construction firm before expanding into the U.S. There he built International Lease Finance and now places orders in the billions for the latest in passenger jets, which are then leased to major international and domestic carriers.

* * *

Superstar Actor Used What He Had To Get What He Wanted

Decades ago when Hollywood superstar actor and producer Sidney Poitier first arrived in New York City, it was by bus with $3 in this pocket. He slept on the roof of the Brill Building and got a job washing dishes.

Then, with the help of a long-time waiter at the restaurant where he worked, he made a trade with the American Negro Theatre. They took him on as a student when he agreed to become their janitor.

* * *

Noted Analyst Bartered For Luxurious $500,000 Bus

The nation’s best-known "non-flier" is football analyst John Madden. Back in 1986, on a national TV program he discussed his aversion to flying, saying he was "thinking about getting a bus."

George Gravley, Greyhound Lines' public relations man, heard Madden's comments and spotted an opening to bring his company some valuable P.R. The result: Greyhound seized the opportunity, received millions of dollars worth of press coverage (at no cost), and secured Madden's services for the next three years in exchange for one of Greyhound's products — a bus.

Greyhound traded Madden the plush bus with special modifications for his cross-country travel, worth about $500,000 at the time. In exchange Madden agreed to give motivational talks to Greyhound employees in the major cities he passed through during the football season. Madden had to make 30 talks per year for three years ... and the luxurious bus was his free and clear.

* * *

Minnesota Man Became Billionaire With Barter Assist

In 1989 Forbes magazine estimated Marvin Schwan's net worth at $1 billion. Operating in almost total obscurity in Marshall (MN), Sales Enterprises was totally owned by the 60-year-old Schwan. He had built a national door-to-door frozen food delivery company, serving mostly rural households in 49 states.

He additionally owned three frozen pizza companies that sold to supermarkets, convenience stores, school lunch programs, hospitals, military bases, and the like. (A list of his many other enterprises would take several more paragraphs.)

It was during the 1980s that Schwan attacked the $500 million school lunch frozen pizza market in a very creative way. At the time, to work off huge stockpiles of cheese, the Department of Agriculture gave the nation's public schools the stuff ... free of charge. To Schwan, the cheese looked like an opportunity.

In 1984 he won hundreds of school lunch pizza contracts by offering discounts in exchange for their government cheese allotments. But by 1989 the federal cheese stocks were nearly exhausted. No problem. There was a flour surplus. So Schwan set up a pasta company and contracted to sell discounted pasta entrees to schools in exchange for the government flour credits.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 01/21/2014

Global Inequality Staggering

The combined wealth of the 85-richest people in the world is equal to that of all the poorest (3.5 billion), or half of the world's entire population. This incredible figure comes from a report titled "Working For The Few" by Oxfam, the development charity. Oxfam says the growing inequality has been driven by a "power grab" by wealthy elites who have co-opted the political process to rig the rules of the economic system in their favor. The topic of global inequality and its possible consequences is a major focus at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 21 thru 25.

Surprising FDA Study On Billboards

A new study by the Federal Highway Administration says that drivers actually avoid looking at billboards in order to concentrate on the driving task. Their research found that drivers looked at both digital and static billboards for an average of less than four-tenths of a second. However, the billboard industry's design guidelines suggest a driver's reading time is five to eight seconds.


From the desk of Bob Meyer... 01/07/2014

Billionaire Barters For Pipeline Business

Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett will trade some 19 million shares of Phillips 66 stock his company owns, for full ownership of the energy firm's pipeline-services business.  It's Buffett's latest move in expanding his bet on the oil transportation business.

Foreign Real Estate Investors Love U.S.A.

Although London now ranks as the tope city for a foreign real estate investment opportunity (according to the Foreign Investors in Real Estate Association) the next four top cities are all located in the United States. New York was second (down from last year's #1 rating), San Francisco ranked third favorite city, with Houston and Los Angeles coming in at fourth and fifth, respectively.

The U.S, remains the most "stable and secure" country for investment by a wide margin of more than 50 percentage-points over second-place country Germany.  This is the widest margin since 2006.

Canada's Revenue Agency Deems BitCoin Transactions Akin to Barter

The CRE (Canada Revenue Agency) considers a BitCoin transaction the same as a barter transaction, as opposed to a monetary transaction. Therefore, BitCoins either as barter (virtual payments) or as an investment commodity are subject to tax, according to the Canadian tax authorities.



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