Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Not Too Late!

More and more Americans are working into their 70s and 80s not because they love to work but because they are forced to work in an ever increasingly oligarchic America.
In order to squeeze any and every possible greedy penny out of a business owners have taken advantage of a ruined economy to turn the once great and thriving middle class workers of this country into slaves for life.
The current feudal system was caused by a perfect storm of corporate greed and governmental complicity that allowed jobs to be shipped overseas putting more and more loyal American workers on the unemployment lines.
There was no tariff placed on the increased profit made by undermining the middle class and producing inferior and occasionally dangerous products in Asia.  In fact Congress acted to reward corporations for the unpatriotic practice with tax breaks!
And those tax breaks continue even as millions of Americans who played by the rules their entire lives are struggling to pay their bills.
And the bills these duped workers are forced to pay are to the same corporations who put them in their financial predicament.  The banks who ruined the housing market with countless bad decisions and were bailed out lest those millionaires lose money have come back as though nothing happened.
Oil companies that spilled their black death onto our shores in their wanton haste to find more pollutants and higher profits still receive subsidies from our tax dollars.  This while America’s infrastructure, our nation’s life giving arteries continue to deteriorate at alarming rates without any proper funding in sight.
The wealth gap between what once was the middle class and the top richest few in America is the widest it has ever been and still one political party refuses to ask the greedy sect for an extra penny to help the country get back on its feet.
One always has to wonder which group is worse, the evil greedy few who bribe officials to continue the ruination of America or the hypocritical politicians who accept the payments and turn a blind eye to the people who naively elected them.
Perhaps the under educated electorate deserves a piece of the blame but that can change in the blinking of an eye if they wake up to the facts that are staring them in the face and pocket book.
Every November we are allowed to choose the people we think will advocate for our best interests.  Then within months we see the results in the actions of those elected to office.
One thing should be painstakingly clear to anyone with a brain.  The Republican Party has consistently stood with the greedy evil wealthy would-be owners of America without a thought to the grief they are causing the very people who elected them to serve.
This must change!
Sadly the Democratic Party has not been the total knight in shining armor they proclaim to be but in a choice between the two they are light years ahead of their opponents.
Even if a so called super majority of Democrats are elected over the next few Novembers our country’s woes will not soon end but it would at least FINALLY be a step in the right direction.
And maybe, just maybe our nation’s 90 year olds will finally be able to retire with a modicum of dignity and a tiny nest egg with which to enjoy whatever’s left of their golden years.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The ABCs of Conservatism

Today’s lesson:
What Conservatives HATE!

Aliens (honorable mention – Atheists)
Everyone not them!
Gun Control (honorable mention – Gays)
Niggras - especially
Talking (to Lame Stream Media)
Xtra math
You (you are not them!)
Zit faces

Thursday, March 14, 2013

America's New Normal

As the Dow Jones and other stock markets continue to reach new record highs and corporations report insanely high profits unemployment numbers should still alarm any intelligent economist.
Even as new workers are hired they are receiving far lower salaries and fewer benefits than ever before.  This at a time when their so-called fixed costs continue to rise.

So here is a quickie economic explanation for those who don't like to read long winded posts by way of an updated old adage:






Friday, March 8, 2013

Ford Vs Walton

As I read about New York City's latest successful attempt to block a new Wal*Mart store from opening in another city neighborhood I had a random thought.
Many people out there seem to think that Congress should take their cues from the Walton family and run America as they run their company.
After all, as the argument goes, look how successful they are and what tremendous profits they generate. Imagine doing that on a country level!!
I did and broke out in a cold sweat.
I am not telling those of you who shop at Wal&Mart to stop.  I realize the prices may be tempting and the perceived savings too great to pass up.  Just understand they are not the selfless philanthropists you may think they are nor are they really helping the American economy as much as some think.
Forget that they share their humongous profits with China and import inferior products.
Forget that they turned blind eyes to working conditions over there until watch dog groups blew whistles.
Forget the sub-human working conditions in their 'behind the public eye' warehouses in the states
Remember only this, as the wealthiest family in the world they pay and treat their workers like scum.
Henry Ford was not the nicest man alive back in his day but one thing he did was pretty cool!
He famously paid the workers on his assembly lines more money than was the norm of the day but he made sure it was enough so that they could afford to buy the cars they helped produce!
The Wal*Mart famously pays their workers just enough so that they can only afford to buy at Wal*Mart.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


There is a wall between Republican speak and reality and until we remove it we will never be well!

So here are some simple easy to do must fixes for the American economy today!

Remove the income limit on Social Security deductions.
            This is a tax that only hurts the poor and middle class but benefits everyone once they retire. Having a limit on income is inane and counterproductive in a modern society.

Get rid of the death penalty across the country.
            We spend or rather donate obscene amounts of money to attorneys who argue with each other for years and years in order to stop any executions of convicted capital crime criminals and fill their own coffers with the rewards!
            Instead these dangerous criminals should get the choice of execution in 6 months (to allow them to get any affairs in order) or life in solitary imprisonment with 23 hours in a cell and 1 hour of humane solitary walking around a yard.  No lawyers allowed after the six month period ends!

Institute a Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax just like the one on people my friend.
            Last year alone a 20% C-AMT on JUST THE PROFITS AT EXXON would have garnered just under $1Billion – They paid ZERO.
            Not only would this put more money into our hurting economy but it would make accountants happy as they would have to figure corporate taxes two ways and be able to charge more for their services.

Create an “Income is Income” rule and reduce or get rid of loopholes such as earned income tax credit and lower taxes for capital gains.
            I, like many Americans in the middle class will be hurt somewhat by the elimination of some of these loopholes. But I, like many Americans feel that we must all be a part of this great nation or we will all be a part of a once great nation that has fallen into an Oligarchy or worse!
            When a man such as Mitt Romney can earn millions upon millions of dollars because he lives in this country and invests in stocks and bonds and is able to hide the income legally while millions suffer daily and wonder IF they will have a meal tomorrow the law must change!
            When wealthy people can buy a second home or a huge luxurious yacht and call it a second home and get a legal tax break or write off the law must be changed!
            When a hedge fund manager or Wall Street speculator who does nothing to help move America forward or produce any product that makes lives better for more than 6 or 7 of his closest friends and investors can make billions in profits while artificially causing gas prices to rise and legally not pay as much tax as an ordinary lower middle class worker does the law must change!
INCOME IS INCOME and unless you eliminate ALL income tax which would be disastrous for America these loopholes must end!

Stop the wars and start cutting back on our absurd overkill defense budget.
           Start making serious cuts to the vast military industrial complex that was first proposed by Republican war hero and Military General turned President Dwight David Eisenhower!

End the ridiculous drug war!
           Too many are placed in jail for minor infractions such as possession of marijuana.  And most of these are young African Americans who are then forgotten by society.
           And to make matters even worse and obtuse too many end up in private prisons in States run by their cronies on the right (but definitely wrong) side of the aisle!
          The cost to prosecute this absolutely stupid drug fight is staggering in both dollars & cents and lives.

There are many more simple fixes but these could make a big dent in our current troubles and go a long way toward getting our financial rating back in the eyes of the world.

The bottom line is the tax code and just about every rule that controls the way money is made, spent, and kept is slanted toward the wealthiest Americans.

And finally stop calling them job creators.  If they really were job creators we would have 100% employment because they have NEVER been as wealthy as they are today!  And they legally pay next to nothing in taxes as it is.

The New Hammer

Instead of hammering out a deal
Mr Boehner is hammering
our heads into the ground!
Boehner & co. keep saying the President got his revenue increase, AKA tax hike in January and now it is time for the spending cuts or the taking away of money from programs aimed at helping the middle class and poor.

Why does no one call him out on this obvious lie?

What happened in January was the Bush tax cuts that were created to expire by Bush and Boehner’s Republican Party and approved by them at that time expired!
These tax cuts were put into effect by this party’s leader as a gift to his base in the top 1%, financially speaking at the same time that he and they lied us into their illegal unfunded, unjust war that has killed far more than just thousands of our children, it killed our economy as well.
President Obama and the Democrats had to waste precious time fixing what the Republican recklessness cost, at least economically speaking as no amount of policy changes can bring back the lives of those brave soldiers Bush sent to their death in search of WMD he knew did not exist!
Now we are faced with an even more insidious Republican Party digging in and demanding more pain for the lower and middle classes in favor of their wealthiest friends.
When will this stop?
When will the media call out these self-serving hypocrites for their ‘oh so obvious’ lies?
When will the public finally understand that when Mitt Romney secretly, he thought, spoke to his friends about the hated 47% of Americans he was actually thinking about the party line of 98% hated Americans!
Because if you are not among the top tier of wealthiest Americans who can fund their life style YOU DO NOT EXIST FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!
And to that group of persona non-grata should be added minorities, gays, women, and anyone in the news media who reports facts!
And I beseech anyone with a brain to analyze the facts so that when November 2014 rolls around they will not be foolish enough to vote against their best interests and future ever again.
So no Mr. Boehner, the President did not get his revenue increase in January you did, and you know damned well you did!
And as always you are using lies to once again shield those who can most afford to chip in and aid the country’s recovery from ever having to open their wallets again.
Shame on you Mr. Speaker, shame on you!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The 49 Staples

Several years ago, 98 to be exact a great thriller was penned and turned into a 1935 movie.  72 years later it became a Broadway play.
All three were called The 39 Steps.
On the screen it was directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock and starred, at the time equally great actor Robert Donat.
On the stage the thriller became a comedic mystery and ran for 4 years. (I saw it and enjoyed.)

All the above has absolutely nothing to do with the following blog post except for the similarity in names.
But both have a touch of the slight of hand necessary in any successful story, joke or movie.

In the business world it has always been important to keep a watchful eye on the bottom line.  After all it is, well the bottom line!
If your company does not make a profit and continue to do so it will eventually fail.
As a business owner you may use the rationale of cutting corners to save your company and thereby saving the jobs of your employees but truthfully there's a bit more selfish than selfless going around in that community these days.
And why not?
After all they started the business to make money and employees are merely tools to help them do just that.
One way companies turn a profit is offering something the public wants and can afford.
Another way to have a healthy bottom line is to make sure costs are kept in line.
And still another is to get the cheapest labor available and pay them less than they deserve while charging them for any benefit still offered and pushing any healthcare costs onto their backs.  And should they complain, well as long as the unemployment numbers are favorable you can always find someone else!
The wave of the future, make that the now in the business world is to stop chipping in on any pension or 401K retirement plan.
They are also dropping any spousal or family coverage from health insurance plans.
Some companies are even watching what their employees eat and quietly demanding they make healthier choices.  They are not doing this out of any concern for the employee but rather to lower costs on insurance as required by their actuarial bean counters and pencil pushers.
And finally we get down to the minutia or mind bending mindless micro managing mania most businesses are getting into so as to maximize perceived profit.
The tools of the trade must be protected and employees must account for everything they use.

I have spoken with and listened to workers who have slowly been struck by this trend and in order to do their jobs some must:
* Bring in their own pens.
* One gentleman told me he steals pens from a bank because his company no longer supplies them and he doesn't have that many at home.
* Sign requisitions for any supplies including pens, post-its and legal writing pads.  This from a legal secretary!! 

* Bring in your own monitor and keyboard because the only one the company would supply is filthy and disgusting and in need of tossing out of a very high window. This from a new salesman in the company.

* Use the back sides of every sheet of used paper that comes out of the printer rather than a new sheet.  Of course this means you better know which side of the sheet is the important one.  You have to stop and date each side and cross out the old items after use.

What these businesses are missing is the proverbial forest in and among those trees they make believe they are trying to save.
Productivity suffers when tools of your trade are inferior or hard to use or your employees have to worry about how many pens they need per month.

So finally would you like to get back to the title of this post and its relevance with the body?
Funny you should ask!

A stapler being used to attach tickets to our product ran out and I was asked to get replacements.
Count how many & win a prize?
I visited our supply lady and her reply was:
“How many?”
“Excuse me?” I said shaking my head.  “Uh, 49!  Just give me some please.” 
She opened the box took out a strip.
I grabbed it.
I believe there are 210 staples per row and I was not going to wait around for her to count!

There is no Hitchcock-like mystery here.
What’s going on is the simple insidious re-education of Americans who ‘don’t have’ by those who do in how to help the wealthy make and keep more money!
Corporate profit above people’s lives, livelihoods, and sanity has become a staple of nearly every industry.
And it’s being done one step at a time.