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Rich Paulsen - What’s Up

Looking forward to 2018 which is only four days away

A big “Thank You” to everyone for making 2017 a good year. We really do appreciate all our readers and business partners around the area. Without all you folks we would not be able have a daily paper. Not a lot of towns our size have a daily paper. Hopefully everyone had a great Christmas. New Year’s Eve being on a Sunday seems kind of strange. But with the Monday holiday off for many people it should work out OK for those that welcome in the new year celebrating on New Year’s Eve. 

Bananas

I read an article on bananas talking about how the cavendish variety that the majority of us eat is experiencing a bad fungus that is cutting into the production. Almost 30 percent of the crop was lost last year alone. So far there is no way to slow down the disease. So if you are a real banana fan you may be in for some large price hikes over the next couple of years. Problem is there are not any real suitable replacements for the cavendish. 

Taxes

I see that Congress passed a new tax law that should help out many people across the country. The biggest problem for Iowans will be the elimination of the state and local tax deduction. High-tax states like Iowa will not come out as well. Our income tax rate and threshold of $70,785 is basically the highest in the county. Maybe our legislative people could work on this (hint-hint)! It’s not hard to figure out why people don’t move here for jobs or stay here after they retire. Iowa currently has a growth rate that is about half the national average. 

Stock Market

The stock market sure has done well in 2017. It’s up almost 25 percent this year. Lots of folks have 401(k)’s and mutual funds that have done well this year. Hopefully it continues on into 2018. Someday, sometime there will be some kind of correction. As long as it is not as bad as 2009.

Life span

I see that the average life span in America is going down due to the number of people dying from opioids. Over 64,000 people died from opioid overdose this last year. It is two years in a row that the average age has come down. It was 78.9 now it is 78.6. I always knew that drugs would be a large killer in the USA. Too many people have problems coping with life anymore and don’t seem to be able handle life’s stresses. 

Bowl season

Both Iowa and Iowa State play this week in bowl games. The Iowa State fans have been pretty excited and have helped sell out their bowl game. The Iowa game being played in New York City doesn’t seem to have as much enthusiasm. Of course having a bowl game in 20 degree weather doesn’t seem like as much fun as playing somewhere warm. Plus the price of going to New York will set you back several paychecks. Room rates alone take a big hike due to all the people coming to the city for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

Unemployment

The unemployment rate in Iowa dropped below 3 percent for the first time in 17 years this last month. The rate for the U.S. is 4.1 percent. We need to find some people to take all those jobs that keep getting added each month. 

Thanks again

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. The two Monday holidays should give most people a good chance to catch up with many family and friends. I always look forward to calls and cards from many of my friends that take the time to reach out at this time of year. Happy New Year to all!

Thought for the week: “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” — Brad Paisley

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