Archive for the Category ◊ Business ◊

Ridding Ourselves of the Obama Residue
Thursday, August 31st, 2017 | Author:

What do we like best about Trump?  He’s not Hillary!   And more importantly, he’s removing many of the inane and illegal policies of the Manchurian Marxist Moslem:

A great example is “Operation Choke Point.” I’ll bet good money 99% of Americans have never heard of it. You didn’t know President Obama created it. And you didn’t know President Trump killed it only days ago.

….

“Operation Choke Point” was a program dreamed up by Obama to cut off bank accounts, credit, loans and credit card merchant accounts to LEGAL businesses in America. Yes, the federal government tried to strangle and “choke” LEGAL business that Obama deemed “undesirable.” Even liberal lawyers called it a terrible violation of the United States Constitution

Source: Proof Obama Wanted to ‘Choke’ Every Business Owner in America

The Hypocrisy of ‘Diversity’ as a Business Objective
Wednesday, August 09th, 2017 | Author:

Update

I think the title of this article in the Washington Examiner sums it up best:

Google is more afraid of liberal outrage than federal law

In other words, the leadership at Google likely recognizes that they are violating federal law in terminating the employment of the ‘manifesto’ author.  Yet they’ve calculated (using their version of logic and mathematics) that it will be less costly than absorbing the wrath of the leftists.

 

August 8, 2017

The political correctness of the Left is coming back to bite them… The notion that a company needs to have a ‘Vice President of Diversity’ shows you how far they’ve traveled into the outer limits.  Any successful executive managing a business knows that having employees with a diversity of experience, expertise, and thought processes (these attributes of diversity are what is important to a business) represents the best portfolio to manage risk.  This recent incident at Google is evidence that some corporations are all about ‘virtue signaling’ and not really sincere about their policies:

The catch-22 here is that Google, which states that they value all forms of diversity, political, lifestyle, gender, sexuality and otherwise, was faced with one of its own exercising his stated right to diversity. It just so happens that his opinion did not align with the progressive worldview consistently voiced inside young tech firms. So what does Google do when presented with an opportunity to show real tolerance for others’ opinions?

They fire the person.

By lopping off the head of the person who dared express this worldview, even if that worldview was offensive to others, Google willfully proved the engineer’s point: Namely that the company itself is using the diversity card as a straw man and it does not engage in the practice of true tolerance, which can be defined as acceptance of others’ opinions, even when you disagree with them.

Source: The Company That Knows Everything About You Is Now Punishing Thought Crimes

In this day and age when hard-copy printed media is disappearing, the Dayton Daily News shares an article about investing $64M for a new downtown library. The story is subtitled “What taxpayers are getting for their money.”  While the facilities are likely very nice, you have to question this amount of investment in brick & mortar to enable ‘book browsing’ (Bear in mind that there was another $100M spent to build other new libraries around the county).  I would be willing to wager that it is not the best expenditure of funds, especially in light of underfunded areas such as pensions for county workers.  How long will we have to wait until they come back to the citizens of Montgomery County for more money?  It’s inevitable.

Because it has four times the public space as the old library, the new building will be able to put all 200,000 of its circulation books and other media on the shelves whereas previously much of it was stored. This means more books to browse…

In 2012, voters approved a $187 million bond issue to pay for library renovations…

The Dayton Metro Library last passed an operating levy in 2009 and has an operating budget of around $30 million. Kambitsch said the library may need to revisit that at some point, but there are currently no plans to go back to the voters.

Source: A sneak peek at Dayton’s $64M downtown library

Is Greece the “Canary” for Economic Decline?
Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 | Author:

The continuing saga of economic decline in western democracies…  Is Greece the “Canary in the Coal Mine” for how these events unfold?

 

Update

From today’s US Today, an update on the situation in Greece:

Two years after an international bailout that was supposed to lead to an economic revival, conditions here have only worsened and life for Greeks has become one of constant misery.   

The economy is stagnant, unemployment hovers around 25% and is twice as high for young adults, taxes are rising, and wages are falling. Half of Greek homeowners can’t make their mortgage payments and another quarter can’t afford their property taxes, according to the Bank of Greece.

On July 5, 2015, voters soundly rejected the terms of a proposed bailout with international lenders because the plan demanded too much austerity. Yet, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his left-wing Syriza Party ignored the referendum results and signed a third bailout deal that would provide nearly $100 billion in loans the country desperately needed to avoid collapse.

Interestingly, I just had a good friend of mine return from Greece and share his thoughts on the situation in Athens… While tourism is still relatively strong, it’s not a very pretty economic environment for growth.

 

June 6, 2007

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a recent Pew Research poll showed that 98% of the residents of Greece view their current economic situation as “bad.”  As a contrast, 40% of Americans consider the current economics as bad.

 

May 3, 2017

It’s a never-ending story.  It appears to be the proverbial “kicking the can down the road”.  They’re throwing more money at Greece once again for the promise of more austerity measures:

The preliminary deal with international creditors would allow Athens to receive emergency funds in exchange for promises of higher taxes and lower social spending.

As far as I know, the real solutions are: a) a major write-down of the debt, b) significant steps for economic growth.  I haven’t seen either of these in the plans for the Greek empire.

 

February 7, 2017

It’s now 2017 and there is still no clear path to stability for Greece… and no one appears to have an answer. The economists are now saying that Greece cannot ‘grow’ out of their economic malaise:

The new report was prepared by IMF staff ahead of a February 6 board meeting to discuss the fund’s participation in an EU-led €86bn bailout of Greece and signals the continuing hard line the IMF is taking on debt relief for Athens. It offers a bleaker view of Greece’s economic dilemmas than an analysis prepared last year, warning that the debt load is “highly unsustainable” and would not improve even if it implemented further reforms recommended by the fund. . . .

“Even with these ambitious polices in place, Greece cannot grow out of its debt problem,” IMF staff warned in the report, seen by the Financial Times and drafted as part of the fund’s annual review of member economies. “Greece requires substantial debt relief from its European partners to restore debt sustainability.”

This is a good assessment of the real challenge:

The deeper problem is that Greece does not produce like a developed country, but its citizens expect the level of services and pensions normally associated with a developed country.  That’s why there is so much hostility to Greece in the middle-income countries of Eastern Europe, where benefit levels are lower.

 

June 25, 2016

From the Wall Street Journal, there is no end in sight for the economic decline in Greece…

Mr. Tsipras’s statist ideology is as hostile as ever to the supply-side reforms Greece needs, and both the IMF and other creditors seem to be giving up hope that any other Greek politician could enact such reforms. Which means Greece’s crisis will drag on no matter what happens next with Greece’s debts.

 

May 8, 2016

The drama continues as the government of Greece passes additional austerity measures:

Greece’s parliament has passed a package of tax and pension reforms, ahead of a crucial meeting of Eurozone finance ministers… Before the vote, protesters in Athens threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas.  Trade unions say the country cannot bear another round of austerity… Three days of a general strike paralysed public transport and slowed the public sector and the media.  Speaking before the vote, the leader of the Greek Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, said the Greek people would “not tolerate nor accept” the measures and would “show their true power” in the event of a yes vote.

 

April 16, 2016

This article in the Daily Mail should give you an idea of the recent economic progress (or lack thereof) in Greece:

The Greek government fears it could be subjected to terror attacks if a taxpayer-funded mosque is not constructed in Athens.  Officials claim it would allow Muslims to practise their religion under the auspices of a centrally-appointed imam that would ensure it does not stray into extremism.

Hmmm… the country is broke, yet it’s using ‘taxpayer’ (in Greece, the word taxpayer should always appear in scary quotes) money to payoff potential terrorists.

 

January 25, 2016

From the analysts at investors.com, the latest status and outlook:

In protracted and bitter negotiations last summer, the country promised to raise the retirement age, cut pensions, liberalize the energy market, open up closed professions, raise taxes and sell government assets.

There have been encouraging signs. In December, the Greek Parliament narrowly passed overhauls needed to get the next $1.1 billion segment of the bailout negotiated over the summer with the IMF, the European Central Bank and European Commission, known as the troika.

Standard & Poor’s raised its long-term sovereign debt rating to B- from CCC+ with stable outlook, citing the country’s compliance with its economic program.

But the country is a long way from recovery. Third-quarter unemployment was 24% and the economy contracted 0.1% from a year earlier.

Analysts with Deutsche Bank said earlier this month that they expect Greece to slip into deep recession later this year.

 

September 21, 2015

The malaise continues… a good analysis from Strategy Page:

We know how Greece got here. Greek productivity could not pay for the lifestyle its citizens desired. The productivity of other Euro-zone nations financed Greek good times and kept Greek politicians in power.

Greece lied to obtain the largesse. When the Euro-zone officially formed in 2001, Greece claimed it had a GDP deficit of 1.5 percent. In 2012, former Greek budget minister Peter Doukas said the real 2001 figure was 8.3 percent. Over the years, Greek governments violated fiscal agreements, borrowed money they could not repay and managed to hide the lies. European Union monitoring systems failed to detect the buildup in Greek debt.

The Greek people, who supported these lying governments, enjoyed “other people’s money.” Now German, French and even Italian workers say no more. Italians complain that Greek government worker pensions are far more lavish than theirs. No la dolce vita on our euros.

As for selective law enforcement: Systemic crookedness stymies economic growth. Greeks know it. A June 2010 poll found that 78 percent of the Greek people “accept the view that many or all in government are corrupt.” That same year, a Greek finance ministry investigation uncovered extensive tax evasion, corruption and bribery in its tax collection offices. Greek tax evaders cost the country an estimated $27 billion to $30 billion a year.

Here’s the big story. In Greece, we witness another hard example of an old lesson. Economic reality shakes and eventually shatters political fantasy. Fantasy may fade, but denial tends to die hard. All too often, it dies violently.

 

June 28, 2015

The saga continues… The Greeks elected a Communist leader that promised economic miracles for the citizenry (sound familiar?); and everyone has discovered the harsh reality of running out of other people’s money.  It’s now widely reported that the Greek government is shuttering the banks for a week:

Greek leaders planned to shutter their banks on Monday amid last-ditch discussions about their nation’s economic future, as panicked citizens tried to pull their money from their accounts while they still were able.

I still don’t know enough about macroeconomics to predict the eventual end game…  I suppose the other EU countries will be coming to Athens to repossess the Parthenon.

greek-economy

 

January 6, 2015

Well, three years later and we have not yet closed the loop on the outcome…  Today’s BusinessWeek discusses Greece considering its options:

The current Greek situation is particularly troubling since by as early as mid-year it could constitute Europe’s Lehman Brothers moment. Whatever the outcome of the Jan. 25 parliamentary election, it is difficult to see how Greece can avoid a major policy collision with its European partners. Greece is showing every sign of austerity and economic reform fatigue as its economy remains mired in the deepest of depressions.

 

February 3, 2014

Yes, the story continues more than two years later, but the plot and results remain the same… As noted at ZeroHedge, Europe pretends to bail out Greece… and Greece pretends to reform and comply with austerity reforms when it merely continues to spend as before until the money runs out…

At this point, I would be willing to say that Victor Davis Hanson has been the best prognosticator (see earlier posts below)

 

May 9, 2013

The Greek government began its first mass-firing of public-sector workers in more than 100 years this week, part of an effort to lay off 180,000 by 2015 under Europe-imposed austerity.

via Greece starts firing civil servants for first time in a century.

 

August 20, 2012

More bad news about the Greece economy…  They have debt coming due and the country needs to issue more bonds.  The Greek GDP shrank by more than 6% over the last 12 months.

I still have that lingering question:  How does Greece break out of this continuous decline?

 

July 24, 2012

The Prime Minister of Greece declares that his country is in a depression (any surprises here?):

Greek GDP is expected by the end of this year to have shrunk by about a fifth in five consecutive years of recession since 2008...

 

May 11, 2012

You may have missed the Greek elections, but the results are foretelling — the citizens cast quite a few ballots for the Communist and the Nazi parties…  the real takeaway that can be generalized for many western countries is that nobody wants to hear about austerity measures.  Given a choice between a leader who says “you’ll have to tighten your belt and go to work” versus a prospective leader who proclaims “the government should continue to support your lifestyle”, well, the answer is pretty obvious.

The saga about bankrupt western countries continues to unfold…

 

May 2, 2012

It’s not getting any better in Athens…

image

 

April 5, 2012

It appears that the financial markets are not convinced that Greece has overcome its problems.  The Greek 10 year bonds are now hovering around a 20% yield rate (in contrast, US 10 year bonds are approximately 2%).

 

February 13, 2012

A prognostication from Victor Davis Hanson:

There are only three scenarios likely for Greece: (1) In exchange for debt relief, a liberated Greece changes its ways, opens up its economy, redefines labor and capital markets and becomes a sort of Spain (unlikely). (2) It defaults and its drachma-based country reverts to what one remembered in the old days and what one would expect from a top-heavy, unproductive socialist state (somewhat likely). Or (3) it gets some half-relief, but soon reneges on its promised reforms and austerity, and thus like Greek cities in the 2nd Century AD, life goes on as weeds grow among the impressive, but crumbling infrastructure of the past (very likely).

 

February 5, 2012

The saga continues… Is the situation in Greece a microcosm of the western democracies and economic decline?  A recent issue of the Washington Times discusses how the Greek bailout cycle continues unabated:

The latest examination by international debt inspectors found Greece in such dire straits that it requires another $20 billion cash infusion. This would be on top of the $171 billion promised in October, which was on top of the $145 billion Greece received in 2010…

Greece is not going to escape this repeating cycle of near-collapse and bailout without doing something that sparks sustained economic growth and private-sector job creation. It’s well past time to try something new. The last two years of bailouts and broken promises to cut back on spending have resulted in a shrinking economy and what seem to be daily news of rioting on the streets of Athens. That’s not exactly the best advertisement for Greece’s most significant industry: tourism.

 

January 31, 2012

The German news organization, Spiegel, is sharing its thoughts on the situation in Greece…  They exclaim that European politicians are not facing reality:

Once again, Europe is arguing over a bailout for Greece, and it looks as though the result will be no different that it has been in the past… Europe’s politicians continue to battle reality. Everyone knows that Greece cannot repay its massive pile of debts, now at more than €350 billion ($459 billion). But instead of effectively reducing the financial burden, European politicians intend to approve new loans for the government in Athens and go on fighting debt with new debt.

 

January 29, 2012

The latest discussion is about Greece changing from using the Euro as its currency:

Germany and the rest of the eurozone can’t actually kick a country out of the euro for fear of investor panic and speculation against Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. But if Greece were to leave on its own…

 

January 25, 2012

The situation in Greece has many economists around the world concerned:

The rest of the world needs to sit up and take notice of what is going on in Greece right now. This is what can happen when you allow government debt to spiral out of control. Once it becomes clear that you can’t pay your debts, a financial collapse can happen very suddenly and you start losing your sovereignty to those that you must turn to for financial help.

 

January 15, 2012

I’ve been watching the situation in Greece with great interest.  It possesses all of the leading indicators of great decline associated with a western culture that has embraced Socialism.  These indicators include a very low reproduction rate among the indigenous population; huge amounts of entitlements showered among the citizens; and a government expenditure rate well out of line with the country’s gross domestic product.

When a country gets to this point what happens?  Do they declare bankruptcy and the creditor nations repossess the assets? Do they hyper-inflate their way out of debt by using their own currency?

Over at the Calculated Risk blog, they talk about the fact that everyone knows that the Greeks are not willing to adopt austerity measures.

At this point, it all sounds like a huge game of “kick the can” as a means to delay the inevitable…  of course, I still don’t have a clear picture of the eventual outcome.

 

Category: Business, Politics  | Tags: ,  | 4 Comments
Who’s Dispensing ‘Fake News’?
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 | Author:

Update

Here is a decent 5-minute summary video from Prager University:

 

May 24, 2017

Here is an interesting update from recent polling:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the mainstream press is full of fake news, a sentiment that is held by a majority of voters across the ideological spectrum…

That number includes 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

 

March 31, 2017

Today we call it fake news.  It was all fake news during the Obama Administration but there was a difference.  The media had transformed into something different, worse, and more insidious.  They became active Obama-collaborators.  They stopped conducting themselves as the fourth estate.  The media didn’t report on the most obvious corrupt administration in U.S. history, or the failures of Obama and his administration.  Instead, numerous reports indicated Obama had one the most scandal free administration ever.  The media and Obama were hand-in-glove, committed and organized to undermine the U.S. Constitution, destroy the rule of law, and attack common sense and American culture.

 

December 18, 2016

As a user of Feedly as my daily news reader, I am able to efficiently aggregate multiple news sources of my choosing.  Hence, I subscribe to over 200 sources (ranging from mainstream media to obscure special-interest blogs) from around the world.  This provides me with a wide range of viewpoints on newsworthy topics.  Over time, I’ve come to observe many common trends or ‘flavors’ of how these sources interpret events.

I must say that I see tons of irony in hearing the mainstream media calling out “fake news”.  These ubiquitous organizations (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times) have been behaving as an American version of Pravda for more than 20 years.   As Bill Whittle recently observed:

Maybe all this fuss is to turn us away from the realization that EVERYTHING we hear from the main stream media, from the earth is dying hysteria to mom-and-pop bakeries in Oregon is ALL fake news, reported by, presented by, edited by and spun by the mainstream media, which has devolved into the publicity department for the Democratic Party in General and the progressive movement in particular.

I think it’s fairly safe to observe that the ‘democratization’ of information via the Internet is finally having the appropriate impact on the news monopolies.  The recent election results have shown these organizations that their spin on the news no longer has the influence that it once had.

Let the Blue States Form Their Own Country
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 | Author:

Perhaps the best plan for everyone is to let the States that embrace the Leftist mantra leave the union and form their own country.  I for one know that I don’t want to be hit with onerous taxes to bail out places like California that love the notion of climate change, but have no fiscal discipline.  Let California, Illinois, and Puerto Rico form their own bankrupt country…

Here are some relevant comments from a recent article in the Chicago Tribune:

llinois is like Venezuela now, a fiscally broken state that has lost its will to live, although for the moment, we still have enough toilet paper.

But before we run out of the essentials, let’s finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people’s money.

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The US Constitution is not based on Socialism
Friday, June 02nd, 2017 | Author:

If you understand anything about global politics, you realize that this ‘climate change’ clap trap is a convenient ruse to redistribute money from hard working people while centralizing government control over everything.  This Paris Agreement was an Obama farce and our US constitution does not allow for entering into treaties without the consent of Congress…  Thank goodness that Trump had the foresight to pull the USA out of this calamity.

From the Foundation for Economic Education:

This rhetorical trick reveals all you need to know about the desperate manipulation the climate planners are willing to engage in to realize their plot regardless of popular and justified skepticism concerning their regulatory and redistributionist policies.

And what are the specifics of that agenda? The Paris Agreement is a “voluntary” agreement because its architects knew it would never pass the US Senate as a treaty. Why? Because the idea of the agreement is that the US government’s regulatory agencies would impose extreme mandates on its energy sector: how it should work, what kinds of emissions it should produce, the best ways to power our lives (read: not fossil fuels), and hand over to developing world regimes billions and even trillions of dollars in aid, a direct and ongoing forcible transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to regimes all over the world, at the expense of American freedom and prosperity.

And you wonder why many people have doubts about it.

And now the money-quote:

The Paris Agreement is no different in its epistemological conceit than Obamacare, the war on drugs, nation-building, universal schooling, or socialism itself. They are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.

3D Printing Conference in Pittsburgh
Monday, May 15th, 2017 | Author:

I recently had the opportunity to talk about additive manufacturing at the RAPID conference in Pittsburgh…  A couple of photos of the downtown looking towards the baseball stadium along with a view of the conference exhibit hall.

 

Category: Business  | One Comment
Do Google and Yahoo Provide ‘News’?
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 | Author:

It’s amazing the drivel that covers the pages of the so called meaningful ‘news’ at the sites for Google News and Yahoo News.  Google is all about the mainstream media.  As you can see from the first screenshot below, they feature the usual suspects with articles from the Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, etc.

Meanwhile, the Yahoo news site is fairly useless.  It reminds me of the magazines lining the checkout aisle at you local grocery store.  A little of National Star and People magazine.  As you can see in the second screenshot, they feature inane articles about the Kardashians and the cast from an old movie.  To make it even worse, Yahoo intersperses stealth ads that intentionally appear to be news articles.

Thank goodness for Feedly and the multitude of other information sites on the web.

Google News Extract

 

Yahoo News Extract

More Young Americans Live With Parents Than With Spouse
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 | Author:

Interesting change in culture:

According to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau.“There are now more young people living with their parents than in any other arrangement.”

In 1975, 31.9 million Americans in the 18-to-34 age bracket were married and lived with their spouse… In 2016, only 19.9 million were married and lived with a spouse—while 22.9 million lived in their parents’ home.

Source: More Americans 18-to-34 Now Live With Parents Than With Spouse

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