Category Archives: Business

UPDATED: Kill #Amtrak For It Will Kill AGAIN

Business, Economy, Labor, The State

Amtrak is a government-run entity. As such, it answers not to the consumer but to politicians and union bosses. Nor does the National Railroad Passenger Corporation respond to the laws of economics. Despite running at an annual loss—is it more than half a billion dollars annually?—it never “fails” or goes belly up, for the taxpayer is forced to fund it.

Whether you use it or not; approve of it or not—government takes from you to give to the Amtrak financial and operational train wreck. In fact, the worse it does—the more people it kills—the greater its rewards: the louder the calls for Amtrak’s funding. Whereas a business that squanders lives and money would go under; a state enterprise will only grow under the same conditions. Let me put it this way: Try and withhold your fungible tax dollars, and you’ll be staring down the barrel of a gun.

In state-run entities liability is socialized and limited by the power of legislation—isn’t it great to be able to legislate yourself a Get Out of Jail Free card? Socialized liability means that the costs of any criminal or tort action will be borne by government, which is funded by YOU, its victim; the taxpayer.

These are just some of the inverted incentives that make Amtrak go off the rails, again and again.

Amtrak can no more be reformed than the Soviet Union’s communistic economy could be. It can only be liquidated, wrote Gregory Bresiger.

The latest on the “catastrophic train derailment near Philadelphia this week that killed at least eight passengers and injured more than 200 others,” via the New York Times.

UPDATE: It is true that the Dutch, for example, have tremendous pride in their infrastructure. So do the Germans. But this too will pass once European sense of nationhood is dissolved beyond repair by the supra-state, the EU.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: By Mistake, Maureen Dowd Said Something True

Business, Economy, Hillary Clinton, Left-Liberalism, Media, Taxation

To borrow from Camille Paglia (who was once interesting, but no longer), Maureen Dowd is a “catty, third-rate, wannabe sorority queen; empty vessel. One pleasure of reading online is that one never has to see anything written by people like Maureen Dowd [Kathleen Parker, Eugene Robinson, Thomas Friedman, Cynthia Tucker, on and on]. I ignore their hypertext like spam for penis extenders.”

Ditto.

However, I heard another sorority queen, the likeable, lovely but celebrity courting Megyn Kelly, mention that Dowd had penned an unfavorable piece on Hillary. So off I trundled to suffer through the tedium of “Grandmama Mia!” which is without one original or insightful idea.

By mistake, Dowd does say something true when commenting about “the ostensible and obscene $2.5 billion that [Hillary] is planning to spend to persuade us to make her grandmother of our country.”

She should give the kids some of the money, suggests Dowd. If Dowd liked Hillary she would, however, want Mrs. Clinton to keep the cash so that she could do all those “wonderful” things once elected.

Dowd is a dumb-dumb. She doesn’t understand that any politician makes the world a better place by giving money allotted for buying votes to privately run charities, instead of spending these billions on buying votes so as to get into office and pass programs, ostensibly for the poor, that ensconce bureaucracies that consume the lion’s share of the revenue stream coerced from taxpayers, in perpetuity.

UPDATE (4/15): Even better: Start a real business—as opposed to a foundation—with all those billions of dollars. Disinvest from politics. As Maimonides, I believe, instructed, it is better to give a poor person a job than a donation.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Carly Fiorina Kills It

Business, Economy, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Politics

Former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina, soon to be a presidential candidate, comes across as a genius compared to the low IQ Hillary Clinton (as Ann Coulter diagnosed The Hildebeest).

As libertarian economist Murray Rothbard reminded, there “are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth”—the economic means is honest and productive, the political means is dishonest and predatory. … but oh so very effective. Democrats, who respect only the predatory political way of making a living—will hammer Fiorina for her business career.

Fiorina is eloquent in this candid interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Amid a crowded 2016 Republican field, the challenge now becomes finding a way to stand out. If she runs, former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina would have no trouble doing that as the only woman in the GOP field. In recent weeks, she has also become a leading critic of Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Fiorina, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”

CARLY FIORNIA, FORMER HEWLETT PACKARD CHIEF: Great to be with you. Happy Palm Sunday.

WALLACE: Well, thank you.

What are the chances that you’re going to run for president?

FIORINA: Very high.

WALLACE: You’re a former businesswoman. Give me a number.

FIORINA: Higher than 90 percent.

WALLACE: Really?

FIORINA: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: So what would prevent you? Why aren’t you willing to announce right here today, I’m a candidate for president?

FIORINA: Well, because, you know, we need — as other potential candidates are doing, we need to make sure we have the right team in place, that we have the right support, that we have the right financial resources lined up, just as all the other potential candidates are doing.

WALLACE: And when would you announce?

FIORINA: Probably late April, early May.

WALLACE: If you run, and it would be in a field of current and former governors, several current senators, why should Republican voters pick you?

FIORINA: Because I have a deep understanding of how the economy actually works, having started as a secretary and become the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world because I understand how the world works and know many of the world leaders on the stage today because I understand technology, a transformational tool, because I understand bureaucracies — how they work and how you need to change them and our government is a huge bureaucracy, and because I understand executive decision-making, which is making tough calls in tough times with high stakes for which you’re prepared to be held accountable.

WALLACE: OK. Let’s talk specifically about your experience as a business executive. Beyond the typical Republican talking points, not to say that they’re wrong, but what are your ideas that are different about the economy and about dealing with our national debt?

FIORINA: Well, I think we have two fundamental structural problems in our economy. One is that we have tangled people up in a web of dependence from which they can’t escape. We’re leaving lots of talent on the field. Secondly, we’re crushing small businesses now.

Elizabeth Warren is right, crony capitalism is alive and well. Big business and big government go hand in hand. But for the first time in U.S. history now, we are destroying more businesses than we are creating. And so, while we have 10 banks, too big to fail, now have become five big banks too big to fail, 3,000 community banks have gone out of business, and that’s where family-owned and small businesses get their chance. That’s important because small businesses create two thirds of the new jobs and employ half the people.

So, if we want mainstream and the middle class going and growing again, we’ve got to get small and family-owned businesses going and growing again. Washington, D.C. has become a vast unaccountable bureaucracy. It’s been growing for 40 years. We have no idea how our money is spent.

I think there are two things that would help tremendously. One, zero base budgeting, so we know where the money is spent. We’re talking about the whole budget and not just the rate of increase.

And two, pay for performance in our civil service. We have — how many inspector general reports do we need to read that say, you know, you can watch porn all day and get paid exactly the same way as somebody who is trying to do their job?

WALLACE: But, Ms. Fiorina, and you know this is coming, your record at head of Hewlett Packard, and you were the CEO for five and a half years, and you were the first woman to lead a Fortune 100 company, is going to be controversial. Let’s put up some of the things on the screen.

During your five and a half years, you laid off — the company laid off more than 30,000 American workers, many of those jobs went to India and China, and Hewlett-Packard stock fell 49 percent and the board of directors fired you.

Isn’t that a record that you’re going to get hammered with?

FIORINA: Well, I’m very proud of our record. We took Hewlett-Packard from about $44 billion to $88 billion in six years. We took the growth rate from 2 percent to 9 percent. We tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day. We quadrupled cash flow.

We went from a market laggard to a market leader in every product category and every market segment. And we grew jobs.

It is true that I managed through the worst technology recession in 25 years. You will remember the NASDAQ has only now recovered to its dotcom boom highs after 15 years. So, virtually, every technology stock was down over that same period.

And while it’s true that in a technology recession, we had to lay people off, many of those people were in Europe and elsewhere, and the truth is we outsourced more California jobs to Texas than we did to India or China, demonstrating we have to compete for every job.

WALLACE: But you know what’s going to happen. If you were the nominee, exactly what happened to Mitt Romney. There were 30,000 American jobs that were lost and they can get two or three or 200 people to go on and say, well, Carly Fiorina got a $20 million severance package, I lost my job. I mean, they’ll make you look like an unfeeling multimillionaire.

FIORINA: Well, first, I think you’re reading the Democratic talking points because it was not all American jobs. But of course, laying people off is the last resort. It’s a terrible thing to have to do.

But when you are managing through the worst technology recession in 25 years, sometimes there are tough calls that need to be made for the overall health of the enterprise. And in the end, we took a company that was really struggling and turned it into an exceedingly successful company where overall jobs grew.

WALLACE: You seem to take special delight in going after Hillary Clinton. And here is one of your greatest hits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment. I have met — I have met Vladimir Putin, and I know that his ambition will not be deterred by a gimmicky red reset button.

Mrs. Clinton, please name an accomplishment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That’s pretty good stuff. What is your basic case against Hillary Clinton?

FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lacks a track record of accomplishment. She is not candid, which suggests her character is flawed. And I think now in e-mail gate, we not only have a situation where she is clearly not being candid. I mean, her saying all those e-mails she erased were just her and Bill chatting is a little bit like Richard Nixon saying those erased moments on the tape were he and Pat talking. That’s ridiculous. There’s more than that.

But I also think there’s a confidence issue now. Anyone in 2015 to say you can’t have two e-mail accounts on a single device obviously doesn’t understand technology. When she talks about we had Secret Service agents guarding our server, for heaven’s sakes we’re not concerned about the server being stolen. We’re concerned about the server being hacked.

WALLACE: All right. Let me pick up on that, because Clinton’s lawyers, the latest development is late Friday, they told the House Benghazi committee, there’s no point going after the server because we have wiped clean all of the e-mails and so all of those 30,000 private e-mails, so-called private e-mails are gone. One, what do you make of it? Two, what do Republican investigators do now?

FIORINA: Well, I think it was part of the plan all along that the Clintons had. Look, I think it was very deliberate that they had a private server. I think it was very deliberate that she used a personal e-mail account. I think this clearly was a deliberate effort to shield her communications.

I don’t quite know what the investigators can do at this point, but I know this, we need a nominee who will bring this up in the general election. The reason Benghazi was not enough of an issue in the 2012 election is because, unfortunately, our nominee pulled his punches when he had an opportunity to remind the American people of the Benghazi tragedy and scandal.

WALLACE: So, what are you saying, you won’t pull your punches on Hillary?

FIORINA: Oh, I will not pull my punches — not now and not in a general election.

WALLACE: Some people have suggested, even as I ask it, it sounds sexist, you’re really running to be the running mate, that you would the person to lead the attack against Hillary Clinton. It would be easier for you as a woman attacking another woman and that you would in a sense neutralize the vulnerabilities the Republican Party has with women?

FIORINA: You know, I come from a world outside of politics where track record and accomplishments count, words don’t. If I run for president, it’s because I can win the job and it’s because I can do the job.

WALLACE: Would you even consider being the running mate?

FIORINA: Well, when you start asking all the other candidates that question, then maybe we’ll have that conversation.

WALLACE: Fair enough. Carly Fiorina, thank you for coming in. Always good to talk with you. And we will be following your big decision.

FIORINA: Thank you so much, Chris, for having me.

WALLACE: Please come back here, and let us know.

FIORINA: All right.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Boycott Bean-Burning Big Brother STARBUCKS (Corey DuBratha)

Business, Free Markets, Race, Racism

Unless you like your java beans burned, Starbucks makes crap coffee. You don’t burn your food; why would you burn the building blocks of a wonderful beverage?

Now there’s another reason to hate STARBUCKS: The company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, and his moronic minions—among them Corey duBrowa, the company’s Senior Vice President of Global Communications—suffer the kind of hubris that has allowed them to instruct their baristas (mere babes, no doubt) to lecture YOU the customer about race.

Corey duBrowa has since deleted his twitter account because, boy! did people talk to him about race. Using #RaceTogether, they gave duBrowa hell.

Patronizing. Condescending. Inappropriate. Unprofessional. Harassment.

Show bean-burning Big Brother STARBUCKS who is the boss in the only authentic democracy: the free market. Deny these busybodies your democratic vote. Put Starbucks in its place. Remind them of their role in your life.

STARBUCKS is supposed to please you, not preach to you.

The wonder of the market is that you have alternatives; there’s the competition. This corporate brain child is not legislation. It can and will be repealed.

May I suggest that you vote (with your dollar) for Tully’s. Unlike Starbucks, this coffee maker has mastered the art of roasting, not incinerating, its coffee beans. Tully’s coffee is rich, strong and sweet, just the way coffee is meant to be.

UPDATE: CEO Schultz’s minion, Corey DuBrowa, should change his name to Corey DuBratha, written in Ebonics, of course.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Blessed Are The Burgerflippers

Business, Capitalism, Economy, Labor

By Myron Robert Pauli

So I see that Portland OR has raised the minimum wage to $15/hour and the rest of the state may soon follow.

Years back, I did some minimum wage work at a chemical-spectroscopy lab in New York – not particularly lucrative or enjoyable but it paid money. The company mostly hired college graduates from the Philippines (probably with some H-1 visa) because they were cheap. Not surprisingly, companies pay workers at little as they can get away with. Workers, in turn, are right to grumble and are free to seek out higher paying work (or at least better conditions – that lab was rather unsafe). Most people do not work for some great satisfaction – most jobs range from somewhat stinky to complete stinky. Who the hell wants to pick crops in the hot summer or climb up cleaning gutters in winter? Workers primarily work for one primary motivation – money.

The $15 minimum wage will be a boon to developers of automated burger-flippers. Not only do they not get the $15, the robots don’t need Social Security, W-2 forms, OSHA inspectors, Obomney-Rombama care, paid vacations, sick leave, and those other things that raise “overheads.”

Anyone who has studied the history of labor in the 19th or 20th Century should be aware of the Luddites who went around smashing machinery. I would not be surprised if some restaurants not only take reservations online but orders as well – press the steak icon and it will ask rare through well-done. This should not be too hard to code and people can pick up their orders cafeteria style. Or a robot can probably deliver the gourmet food to the table. The chef can be well paid, but who goes to the restaurant for the waitresses (excepting, perhaps, Hooters)? Four star pre-ordered robot delivered gourmet meals with profits shared between consumer and restauranteur.

However, let me put on my Samuel Gompers hat when it comes to the anti-worker rant of Jennifer Harris. First of all, workers have every right to be greedy and should be free to strike (but not destroy property or resort to violence) – with the flip side that the employer can find replacements. If I choose to “refuse” to be locker-room attendant for the Russian Women’s Volleyball Team for less than $1500 an hour, perhaps the team owner can find someone who will work for less pay!

The second point of Harris’ rant is how the troops are “getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their collective asses on the line every day protecting your unskilled butt?” The first part about being shot in hostile environments is perfectly true. As to the second part: How are these “troops” protecting the butt of anyone, skilled or unskilled, other than the military brass and politicians who sent them in to be 21st Century IED-fodder? I know what benefits I get from the grocery clerk and the restaurant waiter and the guy who cleans my gutters. (Or from Edward Snowden.) Does the average American get protected when some troops “engage” Sunnis who are shooting at Shiites or Shiites who are shooting at Sunnis? Harris makes fun of “Sally McBurgerflipper” and “Johnny Fry-Boy,” but they enable Mom to save a day of cooking and let the brats play at the McSlides. What great “service” did anyone get out of Petraeus and that neo-con phony “surge,” other than some titillation concerning lover Paula Broadwell? Yet, “conservatives” deify Petraeus and sneer at the gardener.

In that sense, I can neither endorse the leftist desire to ignore the realities of labor markets, nor these rightists who extol senseless, pointless, endless killing over honest backbreaking work. Maybe the poor schlub mowing your lawn will motivate his kids to get a real education (not modern “liberal arts”), and that kid might invent a new “smart lawnmower.” Anyway, the poor shlub is doing honest work.

Blessed are the Burgerflippers – may they profit both themselves, their employers, and their customers for they are the Children of Peace.

******
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Evocative Ad That Wouldn’t Wash At The ‘Toilet Bowl’ Halftime

Aesthetics, Art, Business, Film, Music, Technology

It’s a beautiful and evocative ad, which explains why you didn’t see it during the ‘Toilet Bowl’ halftime.

Music makes an event, an ad, a movie, even a marriage. Who among us oldies can forget the sound track to the French film “A Man And A Woman,” directed by Claude Lelouch? Not me. This dates me—both as an oldie and an incorrigible romantic.

The fact that I identified the voice and song of Edith Piaf in “The Daring: No Regrets,” a new ad for the 2016 Cadillac CT6, dates me too. The text is good, the sound track beautiful—I can’t believe I used to mock Edith Paif’s overly emotional delivery. I guess it takes decades of Beyonces, Jay-Zs, Madonnas, Iggy Azaleas, Katy Perrys, and Coldplays; a Nicki Minaj, a Kanye West, and a Missy Elliott to make one appreciate a tune, a voice, instrumental proficiency; chord progression and composition, in general, to say nothing of the emotion music is meant to evoke.

Enjoy the music and the message. Steve Wozniak makes an appearance to drive it home. A shame that the slogan, “Dare Greatly,” comes courtesy of statism by FDR. To be expected, I suppose.

As expected, Cadillac has taken the next step in rebuilding its image by releasing a new ad entitled The Daring: No Regrets. First airing during the 87th annual Osca

BRAVO.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint