Category Archives: Economics

State Street Hypocrites

The Wall Street Journal recently reported in one of those typical feel-good-right-side-of-history stories, written almost always by its female reporters, that financial firm State Street, based in, where else, Boston, is insisting that companies it does business with put more women on those company’s boards and that it would vote against board members who were insufficiently enthusiastic with such causes.

It’s giving companies a year to comply. Or else, I guess.

The CEO of State Street Global Advisors, one Ronald O’Hanley, not a woman, said, oddly,“If someone could convince us that the absence of diversity or gender diversity is not a problem, we’re leaving that open. Will they? I doubt it.”

So, Ronnie, would that little bit of business philosophy include State Street Global Advisors own “Leadership Team”? It’s a regular Boys Club — 23 men to 5 women. It’s parent company, State Street, features 62 men and 18 women in its “Leadership Team.”

Perhaps some of those chaps will be leaving and be replaced by someone with her sex organs on the inside? (An odd way to measure qualifications for employment in a financial company.)

No?

Hhhhmmmmm, the classic liberal behavior, do as I say not as I do; AKA hypocrisy.

What’s changing, increasingly, is that the liberals that have take over so much of American business are willing to employ those businesses as weapons against other Americans. They are also abandoning their fiduciary duties in service of liberalism, fascism and socialism.

But back to that March 7 story. It deploys the usual weepy statistics about the lack of women on boards and how those companies with women do so much better than the small handful that don’t have any; or at least they did several years ago when the “study” conducted by State Street (surprise!) said so.

The story has one last kiss — a picture of a Dega-esque statue that State Street planned to place in front of the famous Wall Street bulls statue. I gather she’s supposed to face them like that lone Chinese man faced the tanks in Tiananmen Square. Subtlety isn’t exactly a liberal specialty.

Historical accuracy isn’t one either. But then history doesn’t serve as history for history’s sake or to be learned from in the eyes of the liberal but rather slaved to the propaganda mission and if it has to be plasticized and recast into different forms as if it were Play-Doh, then so be it; it served its purpose.

Isn’t It Funny?

Isn’t it funny that socialists always insist that they are doing whatever it is they are doing for the benefit of the poor. Yet in case after case it is the poor that ultimately suffer the most under socialist leadership?

Pick a country, any country… Venezuela is a good recent example. They are practically starving to death and they spend most of their day trying to find food.

And to think of it Obama praised the genius behind the decline, Hugo Chavez, “Mi amigo…” And, of course, Bernie Sanders loves what Venezuela’s recent leadership has done with the place.

“Meet You in Hell” by Les Standiford

I’m constantly on the lookout for good business biographies, focused on the prime movers of the American economy — the men who built the modern world.

In that quest I recently finished “Meet You in Hell, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America.” The title pretty much says what it’s about.

The book isn’t bad but it’s not great either. It does avoid, mostly until page 300 or so, the usual lefty assault on these two great industrialists.

However, it could have been so much more. Instead of attacking them for being tough, calculating wealth and job creators it might have helped if Standiford had bothered to suss out how much the expansion of steel availability, increase in product quality and the subsequent drop in raw steel prices caused an economic explosion the world had never seen before.

Yes, working in an 1890s steel mill was probably pretty miserable but there was a reason people immigrated to America and took such jobs. The alternatives for many to such employment was starvation or working in an equally, if not more, miserable job like mining or lower paying occupations such as agricultural labor. Standiford sometimes gets a little too soft and seems to believe that steel can be produced without all that heat and molten mass.

In addition, I wanted to know more about the business side of things, especially relationships with men such as J.P. Morgan and Andrew Mellon.

The title refers to the acrimonious feelings (mostly on Frick’s side) that came from the breakup of their lucrative partnership. Frick felt Carnegie was duplicitous and had become a hypocrite — happy to enjoy the fruits of his wealth while pretending to be unaware of how they came about.

Around page 300 Standiford finally goes full liberal and whines for 10 pages that neither man paid the workers enough, especially considering how much money both of them made. The book could easily excise those pages and it would like be a smoother read.

Having said that, there was a lot to learn in the book and it was a worthwhile read as far as I was concerned.

Trumportunity: Start With E

One of the first things, if not the first thing, for Donald Trump to do after inaugurated is to “Drain the Swamp.” This is already a popular meme for The Donald. And he’s given an indication that he will relish swinging the hammer to destroy the weaponized elements of the federal government that are used to enrich liberals, power them and to destroy conservatives and other political enemies.

A good start, as I call it, would be start start with the Es: Education, EPA and Energy. Two cabinet-level departments and an agency of great power have been compromised and turned into nests of corrupt leftism enriching like-minded cronies, funding like-minded activists, expanding government control over the citizenry along with harassing businesses and taxpayers.

The Department of Education, part of Jimmy Carter’s legacy, should be simply shut down, rooted out. It serves no useful or Constitutional purpose. Its Obama administration takeover of the student loan market is a ticking time bomb. The federal government has no business in the student loan market.

Even scarier from the Dept. of Ed has been the political mischief it has foisted upon the American education system. At all levels from collegiate to kindergarten, there’s no segment that has escaped the Sauronic eye of Ed.

Particularly pernicious has been its “Office of Civil Rights” (or something like that. This nest of crazed leftie vipers has issued “guidelines” threatening numerous schools at all levels with defunding and prosecution if those schools do not accede to the hardcore leftwing dreams of the office’s bureaucrats and appointees. Implementation of “Title IX” alone would be reason to blow the building up and salt the ground.

It has also pushed the shocking decline of educational achievement and turbocharging of political correctness. The absurd surreality of our campuses with special snowflakes, along with the Kafkaesque behavior and academics who live in an alternate universe are all the results of the shadow of the department’s behavior.

It works hand in glove with the carcinogenic education/teacher unions and education credentialing schools while being the chief organizer and funder of the whole wasteful, counterproductive Education Conference Industry.

The savings would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Free the schools!

Another Jimmy Carter creation, the Department of Energy, actually has some uses. However, it has become pork barrel for politically-connected green energy rent-seekers while it has also been compromised by activists-cum-bureaucrats working against traditional and proven forms of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear.

Most of the department can be shut down with a few independent agencies offices created for any legitimate needs (e.g. like the old Atomic Energy Agency). But by and large, the federal government’s role in energy should be more like a chaperon rather than a funder and picker of winners.

Tens of billions of dollars a year could be saved while also stimulating energy research at state levels.

Free the energy!

Already good things have been mentioned about reforming the Environmental Protection Agency, a Nixon bribe to liberals (that was ineffective — they still hated him). Trump has named Myron Ebell to oversee his transition.

One could argue that EPA does have some legitimate tasks. But clearly the agency is out of control, often claiming control of seemingly every drop of water and molecule of air in the United States. It’s famous for trampling the rights of property owners and mandating behavior of business and citizens. It has forced business and citizens caught within its web of harassment to “donate” to favored liberal “environmental” groups and causes as part of a “settlement.”

Its workers are hardcore liberal activists and it is one of the more ideological bunkers.Besides its political powers it often acts as the propaganda arm of the green movement and at times acts like the headquarters of the green movement’s attempt to bring the American economy under its control.

EPA should probably be completely dismantled and then reassembled, in a much smaller form, with new staff and its mission tightly defined by Congress.

The savings would likely be a few billion a year but the effect would be greater as Americans would be allowed to use their property as they see fit and businesses could act safe that there was not a bureaucrat looking to put them out of business or turn them into lapdogs.

Free the environment!

Bonus “E”: Equity. All offices in all of the federal departments and agencies that have the word “Equity” in them are to be completely shuttered. These offices are nothing but hives of political correctness in addition to being sources of mischief and funding for extreme left groups and academics. Plus, the workers are highly compensated, contribute nothing to the fiber of the country and these people often use their appointments to obtain even-more highly-compensated employment in “Diversity” offices of large corporations or become lucrative “consultants” for government and businesses.

Equity” and “Diversity” has been a growth industry for the last couple of decades, taking a stratospheric path during the Obama years. People need to be judged by the content of their character and their performance not the color of their skin or sex. Those latter two criteria are the sole criteria that these offices pay attention to. They are unAmerican.

Free the Americans!

Taxing the Fizz Out of Us

Perhaps you’ve heard on the news about one of the latest bright ideas from our wise, Ivy League-educated governing mandarins — a tax on sodas.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg popularized the idea a couple of years ago and now the idea seems to be spreading to other locales. It might even be on the ballot in a couple of cities.

The one I heard about was a one cent tax on a soda (or “soda pop” as we said when we were young). It didn’t specify what size this soda was but the news reporter said it was being enacted to combat the “obesity epidemic.” This would categorize this tax as an old-fashioned sin tax.

So, a one cent tax is going to somehow discourage people from drinking sodas.

Seriously?

Think about that for a moment.

Now, draw an imaginary circle of say five miles from where you live. You’ll probably know half-a-dozen grocery stores within that range. If you are a soda purchaser you’ll know immediately that the price variance within those half-dozen stores can be 25 cents or more. Between sales and specials it can balloon even more. The difference between brand name and store brand can be almost 50%.

A one cent tax?

That will have the same affect as blowing against a stiff breeze. None at all.

And the people behind the tax know this. I should say, the cynical power-hungry fascist liberals behind this know that.

The tax isn’t about curbing behavior or even raising money (that’s a side-benefit) but it’s about control.

First the tax will seem low. Then it will be raised. It will be continuously raised to the point where it begins to somewhat affect sales, wherein it will settle.

Likely soda companies will push to get waivers or carve outs — adding in a certain percentage of a sugar substitute or dropping the sugar level to possibly avoid the tax or some of it. Of course they’ll be able to do this because they’ll be pumping large amounts of campaign dollars into politicians’ campaigns — mostly Democrats because they are the ones pushing the tax campaigns and they are the ones running the cities and counties where most of these taxes are enacted.

The large corporations making most of the sodas — notable Coca-Cola and Pepsi — will also be donating tons of money to “civic” projects (almost always run by Democrat cronies) in those locales in what are really passive bribes. There might even be replays of activities like Jesse Jackson’s famous shakedown of Coca-Cola wherein Jackson’s brother suddenly became a new distributor with a very lucrative and exclusive Chicago market segment. Cha-ching!

Anyone not playing along will find themselves under investigation by various authorities, have permits or whatnot denied by those same authorities and be under attack by media entities and Democrat activists and their auxiliaries such as unions and NGO/nonprofits.

And this is how businesses are captured and turned into tools for Democrats.

Is There Nothing the Kochs Can’t Do?

As a prime example of just how deranged the modern liberal movement is, check out this recent story — “Did the Koch Brothers Just Kill the Film and TV Business in Florida?

Is there nothing the Koch Brothers can’t do? (Or can’t be blamed for?) They even get blamed for being against tax breaks for the rich! (Assuming that they were actually behind any of this, which they weren’t beyond providing a lot of initial funding for a deregulation/taxpayer watchdog group many years ago and supporting like-minded politicians.)

Wait, a minute, according to smart people like Hillary Clinton, tax breaks for the rich have no trickle down effects. They only benefit the rich. But the union goons in the article talk about all the little who were helped by these tax breaks… I’m confused.

The article, clearly coordinated with the Democratic Party, liberal groups and unions, tries to argue several contradictory points — the tax incentives are small yet vast creating employment for thousands; very few projects actually used them yet without them all filming dries up instantly; and if there are no incentives no one would have any reason to film in Florida yet the incentives aren’t why people are coming to film in Florida.

Not surprisingly, the Florida legislature’s decision that giving taxpayer money to wealthy filmmakers (or betting on less-than-wealthy filmmakers) is a bad use of that money, is portrayed as a terrible idea. And it is implied that every Florida legislator that voted that way is a puppet of the Kochs and their group. They were incapable of making that decision otherwise.

So why are the Kochs doing this? The article doesn’t venture any theory beyond implying the Kochs are bad. It doesn’t even try to make a hypertenuous attempt to nebulously connect them to the film & TV industry.

Deadline just provided nothing more than Democratic Party propaganda. It’s just another tool of the party and no longer a legitimate journalistic venture. Treat it as hostile.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things #53745

Check this out – FCC’s Wheeler Proposing Set-Top Standards Enforcer.

Yes, the chairman of the Federal Communications Communications, the the increasingly ambitious and increasingly dictatorial federal government overseer of all things communication, wants to set up a whole bureaucratic authority to oversee set-top boxes, i.e. your cable box (and don’t be surprised when they decide to include your Roku or Sling Box).

WTF?

Despite somehow inventing and delivering perfectly functional cable boxes for decades, this overweening federal agency is edging towards a decision that somehow the cable box industry can’t work without the federali’s guidance.

The real gist of this is that the bureaucrats behind this want to control the content that goes through that box.

They may bray about “access,” as if it’s okay for people who don’t want to pay for the box have “rights’ to a box, but they are moving towards making the box just another “free” (subsidized and paid for by other people) “right” like an Obamaphone. Maybe it will be called a “Hillarybox.”

And the Hillarybox will have to distribute, under penalty of law, propaganda from liberal groups, free of charge because those groups (euphemistically called ‘stakeholders’) don’t want to pay to have their propaganda carried and many outlets don’t want to voluntarily  carry that propaganda.

Laugh all you want at my paranoia, this will happen if the feds get control of cable boxes.

There simply is no Constitutional reason for the federal government to have any say whatsoever in the hardware used in our private cable systems.

As I’ve said before, given their way, liberals will politicize everything, every minute of our life and every thing we do in life. They see Orwell’s “1984” not as a warning but as a manual and as a goal.