Former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner are all in agreement about what is ailing the U.S. and it certainly isn’t the fiscal policies being deployed by the executive branch: It’s the dysfunction in Congress.

Appearing together on a panel at the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills on Monday, Geithner cited the “appalling” ineffectiveness of Congress as a major obstacle to prosperity in the U.S. Paulson added that the political landscape in Washington will need to be reformed before any major progress can be made on entitlement reform. Meanwhile, Rubin blamed “the social media” for stoking some of the political dysfunction, which was an interesting take considering the panel was being moderated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Amid all the gloom and doom, it was Geithner’s furrowed brow and pessimism about … well … everything that became a hot topic at the conference throughout the rest of the day.…

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A few highlights and memorable quotes from Day One of the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference:

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin revealed that while he was in office he once had to explain to then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan that Jimmy Buffett was not the son of Warren Buffett. Apparently, Greenspan had no clue the Man from Margaritaville was not kin to the Oracle of Omaha.

Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, opened his comments during the Global Risk panel by apologizing that his English was not very strong. Nakayama explained that he taught himself English by watching movies like Beverly Hills Cop 1. Sen. Lindsey Graham then wise-cracked that he could understand Nakayama far better than one of their fellow panelist: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Bombardier Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin on the sometimes useless exercise of trying to predict geopolitical and economic trends and events.…

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This post is sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

U.S. businesses are increasingly discovering the rewards of exporting. DemeTech — based in Miami Lakes, Fla. — is one such company. Since 2000, DemeTech has grown to be one of the most successful surgical suture factories in the world. As it began to grow and increase its international sales, DemeTech had difficulty meeting its foreign customers’ demands to provide credit terms.

Export credit insurance from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (EXIM) equipped DemeTech to improve its business operations. With EXIM support, DemeTech was able to access capital from its bank and confidently provide credit terms to its foreign customers. Since starting to use EXIM in 2009, DemeTech has grown its revenue by 400 percent. In this Q&A, Luis Arguello, Sr., chief executive officer of DemeTech, talks about how export credit insurance empowered his business to grow.

Question: What was your main trade finance problem or challenge before working with EXIM?

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It’s budget and buying season for many schools and districts. April reflected this with several new product releases for the classroom. Here’s what SmartBrief on EdTech readers liked this month in Product Showcase:

Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. Scholastic and TV host Ty Pennington are working together to help students connect math with real-world careers through their new webisode series, Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. The 15-minute videos, available at no charge on Scholastic’s site, feature Pennington showing student builders how to apply math to projects such as installing solar panels and building a walkway for a home.

Studystorm. High-school students can use a new, free Android application to prepare for tests and college admissions exams. Studystorm, by Brightstorm, offers study guides and videos for 21 subjects, including ACT, SAT and AP tests. The mobile app is available now at no charge from the Google Play store.

Adobe Slate.

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Last month, I worked with a manager who was eager to develop her staff, but was overwhelmed by her senior management’s charge to accelerate top performance with highly ambitious goals.

In her company, performance standards directed employees’ efforts to be “excellent,” “exceptional” and “outstanding.” Sound familiar? These targets were intended to be aspirational and inspirational. Yet, for her employees who were continually striving to grow new skills and increase competencies, these targets failed to even be motivational.

On the path to growing new skills, establishing the standard of “good enough” gives employees a green light to move into action. Such a standard removes barriers that can stifle employees who feel the level of their contribution is not high enough or who are concerned about making mistakes. Having this testing ground to apply new skills is a crucial step toward true mastery and increases their understanding of what will be required to use those skills at the highest level.…

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