5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought December 8, 2017

posted on Friday, December 8, 2017 in Blog

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Remember 5 on Friday is a two-way street: please send me recommendations on books, reports, articles, blogs, videos, or anything you're reading or watching that impacts business and the economy.

ONE: Chicago Fed on the Midwest Economy

The most recent Midwest Economy Index, from the Chicago Federal Reserve, measures nonfarm business activity in the Fed District's multi-state area of the Upper Midwest.

Midwest Economy Index (MEI), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, November 30, 2017

TWO: What NAFTA Means to Iowa

A still-hot topic is whether the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will survive, and, if so, in what form. This is a simple infographic that shows what NAFTA means to states. Spoiler alert: nearly half of all exports are headed for NAFTA nations. Tariffs would be damaging to our manufacturers and producers. Iowa is No. 7.

Which States Would Be Hit Hardest by Withdrawing from NAFTA?, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November 17, 2017

THREE: The Reconciliation on the Federal Tax Reduction Bill

There's a lot of discussion now about what a tax reform/reduction should look like. Each of us must decide our view on business tax, and then again how it impacts us at home. This is a good article about what the reconciliation process will look like as the Senate and House meet to smooth differences to the final bill.

Tax Package Next Steps: Reconciling Differences, Wells Fargo Economics, December 4, 2017

Four and Five: What Does A Blockchain Do?

The final two links of the day are about something called blockchain, a “distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record transactions with reliability and anonymity.” We see it starting in transactions of various kinds that require collaboration among parties, whether distance is an issue or not. I've been learning about it as a part of our emphasis on technology in our Greater Cedar Valley 2021 business development plan. Two of the better items I've read include the following. The IBM article is a detailed primer.

FOUR: Strategist's Guide to Blockchain, John Plansky, Tim O’Donnell, and Kimberly Richards, Strategy+Business, January 11, 2016

FIVE: Blockchain for Dummies, Manav Gupta, IBM Limited Edition, 2017