“A key issue is that we’re a more unequal society than all of the countries we looked at, and that creates a different work environment where people feel they may be penalized for taking time off,” Schmitt said in an interview.
In the states, that fear at least partly reflects the widening gap between what top corporate managers earn and what rank-and-file workers bring home, Schmitt suggested. In the U.S., where corporate culture often seems to equate taking time off with slacking, many employees feel they are effectively penalized for going on vacation, as promotions and other rewards go to people more able and willing to work around the clock.
Source: When it comes to vacations, the U.S. stinks – CBS News.
This is probably one of the saddest things to happen to our country. In my younger days we all used to thoroughly enjoy our annual vacations. Now we seem to be pretty much at the bottom of the list in this regard. We no longer have union representation to get us a few more paid days off as we used. Let’s face it, our employers just don’t see much sense in paying us to not come to work.
There are just too many of us who are so insecure in our current employment to even dream about asking our bosses for a few days off. We are afraid if we do that he will start looking around for a less demanding employee. From the graph above most of the rest of the OECD nations get about three times the vacation/holiday time off as we do.
I’m sure that the upper echelons of the business world still get their vacations. After all they have all those vacation homes they have to visit. But the grunts at the lower levels had vacations stripped away years ago. Since teachers are primarily a publicly funded occupation and have strong, probably too strong, unions they still manage to get huge amounts of time off but they are about the only ones but that will likely change in the not too distant future. The private sector threw vacations out the window when they jettisoned our pension funds, healthcare and even our sick days.
They say that we Baby Boomer are probably the last to see our work environment to be better than our parents. How those who followed us let that happen I have no idea. I salute all those countries from France to Canada who have managed to keep hold of more than two weeks off a year. Good for them….
A Senate panel late Monday accused Apple (AAPL) of using what it called a “complex web of offshore entities” to dodge billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes.
via Lawmakers say Apple dodged billions in taxes – CBS News.
If we could just manage to get a Centrist party in control of those folks in Washington one of the first things I would want them to attack is our bloated tax code. The 10,000 plus pages of rules are at the core of the above article. Of course businesses want to minimize their tax load in order to increase their profits. That is, after all, what the free enterprise system is all about. Profits are the sole driver.
One of my major themes in my life lately has been around the word “Simplify”. Our world is just getting too complicated when it doesn’t have to be. Let’s throw out those 10,000 pages and replace them with just a handful. Let’s take away the means for corporations to move massive amounts of their income into tax exempt entities.
Let’s just make income well, income. If it comes in it is income and you pay a certain percentage of it as taxes to support our government and its business. For the individual that means you pay the same rate for income for profits from your investments as you do from the sweat of your brow. That means if you inherit income you pay your taxes on that amount in order to pass part of your windfall on for the common good. You didn’t earn it so it is taxable income to you. For corporations money coming in is income; doesn’t matter if it was from a foreign sale or one in the U.S.
Lets Get a Centrist party in power and direct them to simplify our tax code. After they accomplish that then I would want them to give us “real” universal healthcare; not that pretend extremely watered down version called Obamacare. But first things first I guess and that is getting centrists into power in our government. Click on the logo below to see more about that.
“The bottom line is, this lack of insurance coverage is just consistent with the overall lack of responsibility we’ve seen from the fertilizer plant, starting from the fact that from day one they have yet to acknowledge responsibility,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he expects the plant’s owner to ask a judge to divide the $1 million in insurance money among the plaintiffs, several of whom he represents, and then file for bankruptcy.
He said he wasn’t surprised that the plant was carrying such a small policy.
“It’s rare for Texas to require insurance for any kind of hazardous activity,” he said. “We have very little oversight of hazardous activities and even less regulation.”
Source: Fertilizer plant that exploded in Texas carried $1M policy – CBS News.
I have long known that Texas is the execution capital of the world but didn’t know about its dismal lack of oversight until I read the above. For six years I was a sole-proprieter cabinet maker. I sold a few thousand dollars worth of furniture and cabinets each year; not enough to make a living on but it did supplement my pension. In that small non-hazardous (except maybe to me) business I carried a $1 million insurance policy. That is just standard in this part of the country.
When I learned that a large fertilizer plant near such a dense population carried no more than I did I was just astounded! How could oversight body have allowed this? They say there were no inspections of the plant in several years due to the lack of taxes to fund them. I’m sure that the hundreds of people who were killed or maimed or their families now regret allowing such disgraceful oversight by their government officials.
HOUSTON — As school districts across the country consider placing more police officers in schools, youth advocates and judges are raising alarm about what they have seen in the schools where officers are already stationed: a surge in criminal charges against children for misbehavior that many believe is better handled in the principal’s office….
Such criminal charges may be most prevalent in Texas, where police officers based in schools write more than 100,000 misdemeanor tickets each year, said Deborah Fowler, the deputy director of Texas Appleseed, a legal advocacy center in Austin. The students seldom get legal aid, she noted, and they may face hundreds of dollars in fines, community service and, in some cases, a lasting record that could affect applications for jobs or the military.
Source: With Police in Schools, More Children in Court – NYTimes.com.
As if we needed more opportunities to put our citizens into the prison system; we are far and away already the number one incarcerater in the world. Now it seems, especially in Texas that we are dipping into the youngest generation for additional fodder.
I don’t know how the NRA feels about our prison system. Since they seem to have so much sway with our government representatives maybe they should chime in here with their opinions. I know that our prison systems were severely privatized by Mr. Bush and most Republican governors in the last decade or so. I also know that those corporations are among the most profitable in America. But to increase profits, and isn’t that the sole purpose for corporations, means more prisoners. I know there are documented cases of judges getting kick-backs for sending more people to prisons but I just don’t know how wide-spread this is.
Lets get back to the core of this post. More police in our schools as the NRA is advocating is adding to misdemeanor tickets in a serious way. Is that a necessary requirement for protecting them from a nut job with a legal assault weapon? Maybe there is some grand conspiracy that I am missing out on here.
“Most big corporations trade well above book value,” Warren said, referring to the measure of a company’s assets minus liabilities. “But many of the Wall Street banks right now are trading below book value. And I can only think of two reasons why that would be so. One would be because nobody believes that the banks’ books are honest, or the second would be that no one believes that the banks are really manageable.”
Warren’s comment on bank accounting came after she repeatedly — and apparently rhetorically — asked a panel of top regulators to cite the last time they had hauled a big Wall Street bank into court rather than settled. There were mostly halting responses and promises to get back to Warren with more information at a later time.
That question — why there has not been more accountability for top bankers in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown — taps into a deep vein of public anger on both the left and right. And it is Warren’s most potent political weapon.
Source: Elizabeth Warren strikes fear into Wall Street – Ben White – POLITICO.com.
I don’t think I am the only person who is shouting hooray for Elizabeth Warren, the new senator from Massachusetts. Ms. Warren is a former Harvard Law Professor who is currently taking the banking sector by storm or maybe I should say tornado. She is striking fear in the banking sector of both the big bank CEOs and the regulators. It is about time someone struck back for the people.
When the financial sector did an almost meltdown in the last year of the Bush administration there was rage throughout the country. Especially when the government had to fork over billions of bucks to keep them afloat. It seemed the “too big to fail” tag put on them by both the Bush and later the Obama administrations varnished over the severe faults found in the banking sector. No one was prosecuted or otherwise punished for the gross risks they took in the pursuit of profits or for the regulators who were derelict in their duties in allowing them to do so.
People screamed about the “too big to fail” mantra for a few months and then our government seemed to move on to the next disaster without really addressing this one. Within a year the CEOs and upper management of the big banks were back at the trough getting their million dollar bonuses. It was not until this Harvard law professor went after them that anyone seemed to notice.
I loved the way Senator Warren chastised the regulators who were supposed to protect the taxpayers for not doing their jobs either before or after the meltdown. When she asked them how many Wall Street banks were prosecuted in court they were too ashamed, or maybe a better word was embarrassed, to say that none were; they settled all the matters out of court with usually a slip on the wrist. To me and I hope many of you, I don’t see any difference between what these guys did and a guy who goes into a local branch and robs it. That guy is probably behind bars for the next twenty years while all the bankers are back to doing almost the same things they were before.
Here is to you Senator Warren. Keep up the attacks. I hope you can land some of these guys in jail. That would be the only way that future bankers would learn that actions have consequences and those consequences are jail time for them.
How did we get into the problem of insane pay for U.S. corporation leaders? The problem basically originated from the title above. Every board of directors wants to pat themselves on the back for selecting that exception person who will lead their company to outperform all the others. They need to do that so that they can somehow rationalize their board being paid thousands of dollars per hour for their time. So the statement is made:
Our CEO is exceptional so we must guarantee him a paycheck in the top 20% of all CEOs.
On the surface this is a rather innocuous statement that is bound to be true for some. But the problem is that almost every board now makes this statement and backs it up with a iron-clad golden parachute to match. So when 100% of the CEOs are to be paid in the top 20% of all CEOs it becomes an impossibility to actually occur. The only thing that can happen is that CEO pay goes through the stratosphere seeking a never-ending top 20%.
The impossibility that all CEOs can be in the top 20% seems rather easy for most people to understand so why can’t the typical board of directors figure it out? Again there is a again simple answer and that is most CEOs are actually on the board of directors for several other companies. So, when the above pledge is made they also guarantee an ever dramatic increase in their own pay. This is the typical “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”.
There is one simple solution to this dilemma and that is for the shareholders to put an end to it. That is where more greed comes into the equation. Everyone who buys stock in a company want the cost per share to increase dramatically so they can rake in some big profits. In order to do that they must think that the guy in charge is the best in the business. Or at least in the top 20%. You get the idea.
The only way to stop this ever escalating CEO pay is for the stockholders to cause it to end. It will not be an easy matters as the CEO and the board of directors will probably fight tooth and nail for their wealth. But it can and actually does happen once in a while. So, the next time you start complaining about CEO pay remember that you the stockholder are allowing it to happen. Even if you only have one share in a company you have power to cease this ridiculous practice.
But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know.
“Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” - Ronald Reagan
Sometimes when we look back at history we wonder how did we get to where we are. We often have trouble pinpointing a particular person or date to where it all began. On January 20, 1981 when Ronald Reagan uttered the words above he ushered in a new breed of Republicans. These particular words were the turning point to gridlock and jumping from crisis to crisis that we see today. It is also the specific moment that I turned away from the Republican party to look elsewhere.
No longer was government to do the people’s business but instead they were to just get out-of-the-way and let our corporate elite run the country as they had during the Robber Baron days a century before. Government had no meaning to those who swallowed those words hook line and sinker. The safety net for our citizens lost its meaning to them. This was the turning point where we backed away on our pledge to make sure our citizens would not starve. This was the point where “entitlements” to our poor or aged became a dirty word for some. Government became a hindrance instead of the benefit. The people’s business took a back burner to corporate interests or was actually thrown entirely off the stove.
I believe that any serious student of U.S. history knows that capitalism without regulation was a pre-cursor to the death of the middle class. It was a point where those trying to keep our food and drugs safe were stymied by lower and lower budgets. The agencies responsible for our banking system and financial sector were gutted. Taxes which were from that point on deemed almost evil were difficult to obtain to maintain our countries infrastructure and safety nets. Common sense and compassion took a back burner to greed and corruption. The people’s business suffered greatly.
Another turning point that compounded these same problems was the sudden popularity of the MBA program in this country. That was the point where employees changed from being an asset to be treasured and treated with respect to being a liabilities that needed to be removed or gotten at the lowest possible cost. I remember very distinctly when that happened in the corporation that I was employed. Up till that point most employees were very loyal to the companies that hired them. Chevy guys would never dream of buying a Ford and visa versa. Suddenly employer’s loyalty to workers disappeared. Benefits were taken away. Wages were stifled in order to increase corporate profits. What used to be a three-legged stool of owners/employees/customers was suddenly taken into severe imbalance.
These two events that created the “government is the problem” Republicans and “employees are the problem” business leaders caused a dramatic shift in our economy. When workers lost their living wages they were no longer able to buy the goods and services they had previously. To counter the loss of buying employers cut wages and benefits further. Anyone without an MBA could clearly see this cause/effect but it just didn’t seem to occur to those who now are on most rungs of the corporate ladder.
To end this post on an upbeat, I believe that the day is coming when a balance will be restored. The majority of us will realize that our government needs resources to keep us and our world safe. Employers will realize that without a living wage their workers will never buy an increasing number of the products they desire to make. I am an optimist. I believe this day will come. I just wonder if we will be able to pinpoint that particular point in time as easily as when Republicans became the party of “government is the problem”
source: Google says government surveillance is on the rise – CBS News.
Google also reported the number requests by governments for user data information, and the percentage of compliance. In the United States, the government requested data from Google 7,969 times, about 16,281 user accounts. The search giant complied 90 percent of the time.
I have stated before that I usually watch a couple of hours of TV almost everyday. One of my favorite shows now is “A Person of Interest”. That is a show based on the government having a super-computer that compiles all the surveillance cameras around the country to glean terrorist information. There are literally hundreds of millions of those cameras around now. In a new one-half mille stretch of road they recently built in my area I counted 24 cameras at intersections along the route. I’m sure that each of the businesses along that road also has a myriad of security cameras. Maybe that is what makes this new TV show so interesting; it could actually happen. More…
source: Should US export natural gas? Study for DOE fuels fiery debate. – CSMonitor.com.
“If exporting [LNG] means accelerated development, then we will more rapidly deplete natural gas resources that could help sustain future generations of Americans, leading to higher prices as resources diminish,” he wrote.
This was a rather lengthy article (3 pages) and it was not until the last paragraph (shown above) did the question “what is good for the nation?” actually come up. Throughout the article it was widely acknowledged that if we allow natural gas to be exported it will result in significantly higher natural gas and electric costs to us. It was also stated the winners in this ploy would be those who own large amounts of stock in the natural gas industry; i.e.. the 1%ers.
It seems strange to me, but I’m just an ordinary guy, that we even talk about exporting an energy product while we are a huge energy importer via our oil imports from the Middle East. Our seemingly never-ending need for more oil has gotten us into most of the problems we have had in the last forty or more years.
We need to look at this from a standpoint of what is good for the nation as a whole including our present circumstances and our future generations. In my mind our natural resources are nationally owned. Just because someone has the title to a piece of land does not mean that they should own everything under it. Of course our nation of lawyers will tell you that is wishful thinking. But, then again maybe its time we actually acted on some wishful thoughts instead of letting the hyper-rich decide these things for us….
Source: Ahead of “milk cliff,” McConnell piecing together new farm bill – Political Eye – CBS News.
and would extend at the post-August 2012 level the USDA’s Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, which compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specific level.
I’m just a simple guy but I don’t understand how milk would go to $8/gallon if the farm bill is not passed. Everyone knows that part of this legislation is for the government to buy large quantities of milk and cheese to prevent a glut in the market place. This seems like reverse supply/demand to me? If we let too much milk come on the market it will result in drastically increased milk prices to consumers?
Being in an engineering school in college I didn’t take too many business courses but the one I did take emphasized the three-legged stool as the foundations for our capitalist system. The three foundations for business at that time were: employees, customers, owners. It was commonly acknowledged that as long as each of these three groups were given equally importance the operations of a business remained on a level plain. I’m not sure when this theory was thrown out the window but it seems to have virtually disappeared from our financial landscape. More…
Here is a quote from a letter I recently received from my friends at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC.org)
Who wins when our country goes to war? Defense contractors!
Who profits from the highest imprisonment rate in the world! For-profit prison corporations!
Who benefits by cutting agencies charged with mine safety and the protection of workers rights? Mining companies!
Each year a handful of corporations pour millions and millions of dollars into lobbyists and campaign contributions. Why? To push for legislation and procurements that increase their profits. Who benefits? Certainly not the average taxpayer! When the quest for bigger earnings leads to corporate meddling in state and federal budgets and policies, 99% of the American people lose. More…
This being close to Labor Day I have been thinking about unions. The traditional labor unions that were so strong in the 1950s through 1970s took a pretty serious hit in Wisconsin not long ago. Was it a death blow? I don’t know? The writing might be on the wall for them as a whole in the years to come. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very much in favor of worker’s rights and collective bargaining. But, like so many things in this world labor unions just got carried away with the power they possessed during those years. When that happened common sense, like always, went out the window. It seemed like when unions became so powerful their main goal was to make life difficult for the employers rather of representing the interests of the workers and also doing what was good for the company. It became just too adversarial. More…
Source: Post office nears historic default on $5B payment – The Denver Post.
Government agencies have a well-earned reputation of moving slowly in response to changes. I think the Post Office is a prime example of that. Here are some words from the source article indicating that molasses movement.
FedEx and UPS and the Internet seem to be making the Postal Service obsolete.” Banks are promoting electronic payments, citing in part the growing uncertainty of postal mail. The federal government will stop mailing paper checks starting next year for millions of people who receive Social Security and other benefits, paying via direct deposit or debit cards instead.
First-class mail volume, which has fallen 25 percent since 2006, is projected to drop another 30 percent by 2016.
I see that the outlying political super pacs otherwise known as the ultra-rich-radical-right are now hitting on Obama because it looks like the government might lose up to $40 billion in the bailout of General Motors. They claim that it is typical of him to throw away all our tax dollars. But I look at the other side of the coin.
We have lost more than $150 billion in revenues with the tax give-aways of the Bush administration. The main logic behind those tax breaks was that if we tax the “job creators” less they will have more money to hire more people. It is amazing that some, including Mr. Ryan, are still using that rhetoric almost twelve years later. Where are all those jobs that they are supposed to use their additional wealth on? They just didn’t create them; instead they, like Mr. Romney, put the money into their off-shore accounts.
Getting back to the so-called waste of bailing out GM. Since the banks were in a total melt-down at the time it would have been likely that GM and Chrysler would have gone out of business if the governments of Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama had not stepped in. That would have meant millions more would have been added to an already swelling unemployment number. I’m just a simple guy but spending $40 billion to save millions of jobs makes more sense than giving the super-rich more tax breaks with no effect on the economy. I’m sure there are those among the GOP spinsters who are trying to figure out a way to change my mind about this but I think, even though I am a simple guy, I will know enough to see through those yahoos words.
I also hear the stories around just why GM stock is so low right now and that is because all the big money funds are waiting for the government to dump their shares at a discounted rate so they can then jump in and make a windfall profit when it moves to its true value. If I was Mr. Obama I would just keep the stocks to spite those guys. After all what’s another $40 billion to the already exploded deficits? But that is another story for another time I guess.
I was a small business owner for six years after I retired from the big business corporate world. But being a sole proprietor with no employees I really don’t have a good view of just what small businesses are really about. The Republican political leaders say small businesses are the growth engine of our country and we shouldn’t tax them by taking away the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 annually.
How many of the so-called small businesses were like mine just a guy in a shop building things for customers? How many hire more than a handful of employees? I decided to look into this.
Here is a link to a bunch of numbers in this area:
- There are approximately 29 million business in this country
- Of those 29 million about 22 million are business with no employees
- Only one million firms have more than 9 employees
- Only 90,000 (0.3% have more than 100 employees
- Across the United States, small business failure rates rose by 40% between 2007 and 2010
- Only about one if five small businesses will be in existence five years after its creation
From researching previous posts I know that most businesses no longer do much on-the-job training. That is they don’t take a green horn and teach him the skills that are necessary to make him a valuable employee. It is said that they just don’t see the profit in doing that as many will just leave for a higher pay once they have been trained. This varies remarkably from America’s past where in apprenticeships were the norm.
I enjoy watching TV shows about people who build and remodel cars and motorcycles. It is interesting to watch how they do it. It is even more interesting to watch the dynamics of these small businesses in action. I regularly watch shows such as: American Hot Rod (Boyd Coddington), Wheeler Dealers (British), American Chopper, and occasionally West Coast Customs. On these hot summer afternoons such as today when it is unbearable outside I often sit on the couch and watch a recorded episode or two.
I just finished watching a couple of episodes of American Hot Rod that brought the thoughts of this post. Duane who is the shop supervisor in that series seems to have little interest in his employees. He had a new twenty year old that Boyd hired because of his enthusiasm. He gave the new guy a job to take off a firewall of a car they were restoring and then just left him to do the job. He came back six hours later and raked him over the coals because he did the job the wrong way! He continually bad mouthed his new employee for not having the necessary skills . Why didn’t he teach him how to do the job correctly instead of criticizing him hours later for doing it wrong? If I remember this series correctly from previously watching it the kid finally quits in frustration. These businesses are at the top of their category but I often wonder just how they survive given how they treat their employees.
This gets me back to just how small business operates today. I wonder just how many Duane’s there are out there in small business land? Is he the rule or the exception in that world? Do small business often harass their employees? I just don’t know. I do know that as a small business owner I never harassed my employee. Of course my only employee was me. :)
I know one of the common characteristics that most of these small business shows have in common is the inflated egos of their owners or top employees. Duane is a primary example but there is also the owner of West Coast Customs who has an ego the size of a mountain and the attitude to go with it. I don’t watch much of that show because of my disdain for him. It seems that all the exposure to small business I have are of these types of people. I am probably approaching this as a thirty year employee of a major corporation so my vision is limited. We had training programs and mentorships and we seldom saw workplace harassment to the degree evidenced by these programs.
If small business is the major employer in today’s world as some claim I hope that my view of them is a distorted one. If it is not then there are an awfully lot of very disgruntled people out there suffering under the lordship of their small business owners.
Source: Insurers like that health law ruling sets their path – USATODAY.com.
Companies are spending hundreds of millions on technology already to cut administrative costs, he said. Instead of buying individual health policies through agents who take up to 10% of the policy’s cost in commissions, consumers will buy coverage online or on the phone, he said, to help meet the law’s requirement that insurers spend 80% of premiums on health-care services.
This is an article about how the private insurers are trying to cope with the new healthcare laws recently found to be constitutional by the Supreme court. One of the many beneficial provisions is that at least 80% of premiums must be spent on actual health-care services. That means that the profits of these private business must come from the other 20%. It seems like a reasonable thing to do to me. But what do I know.
One of the solutions as mentioned here is to cut administrative costs. Buying on-line seems to be the wave of the future. I must admit that I still get my insurance coverage (house/car) through an agent, who happens to be my neighbor across the street.
I don’t know how big a change this 80% rule has on these companies. I wonder what was the common percentage before this law. But it seems that yet again our government is forcing private business to find the most efficient way of doing things. Now if they would only follow their own advice and seek those same kinds of efficiencies in the public sector! Maybe we need a regulator for our government services as well as our private companies?
Medicare, which along with a supplemental, is now my insurance carrier. I know they are a government agency and that they have the lowest percentage of revenue going to administrative purposes. I hope private carriers are learning how they do it. I also know that Medicare is rife with fraud, much of it coming from people and companies gaming the system. Maybe the regulators need to force Medicare to reduce fraud the same way they are forcing private carriers in reducing their overhead.
What is good for one is certainly good for the other.
But what do I know…..
Source: U.S. employers waiting and watching before hiring – USATODAY.com.
Business has picked up. Yet American companies are too nervous to step up hiring. The economy seems so gripped by uncertainties that many employers have decided to manage with the staff they have. They aren’t convinced their customer demand will keep growing. Or they worry that Europe’s festering debt crisis could infect the global economy. Or they aren’t sure what Congress will do, if anything, about taxes and spending in coming months.
This kind of sounds like a catch-22 doesn’t it? Employers won’t hire until the economy comes back but consumers can’t buy until they get jobs. I think the way this is usually broken is for some brave souls to just start bringing employees that they have previously laid off instead of asking their current employees to work more and more overtime.
But of course some companies spin it that they can’t hire because of some federal tax policy. I got a dose of that in our local paper it went something like this:
Although the tax would not go into effect until 2013, it has already caused Boston Scientific to build a $35 million research and development center in Ireland, instead of the U.S., while Cook Medical has changed its plans to build a medical device factory annually in the U.S.
The above statement came from the two mentioned medical device companies that have facilities in our small town. They are the major employer in our county and therefore have a tremendous amount of power in this area. Of course the local paper prints pretty much what they were given by the lobbying group representing these companies. The trouble with all the above quote is that the proposed tax is placed on the end-user and has nothing to do with profits or any other financial matters to the two companies! There is absolutely no reason to build a R&D facility in Ireland because of this 2.3% tax on the end-user. The tax will also not result in decreased sales of these medical device (primarily catheters) so shutting down plans to build additional factories makes no sense either.
Lobbying is quickly becoming one of the leading employers in this country. Of course the purpose of the lobby is to gain the maximum advantage for the company you represent. So when you decide to build a facility in a foreign company primarily because of cheaper labor you make sure that the decision to do that is placed on someone else and that is usually the government. When your estimates that you will build a new factory every year is changed due to competition or other sources then you make sure someone else gets the blame for your erroneous decisions.
The troubling thing about all of this is that our media seems just too lazy or just too understaffed to report the real causes for outsourcing jobs. They just take the lobbying handout and print it verbatim. I’m sure for our small paper they don’t want to be on the receiving end of what retribution might follow if they go against the company handout. In the past we have depended on the media to get to the bottom of these types of things but sadly that doesn’t happen anymore…
Another chink in the armor of the current Roman empire…
Source: Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond’s new tablet wheels • The Register.
Why is it that the once innovative start-up companies turn into stodgy of slow-moving monoliths? Of course in my mind Microsoft is currently at the front of this pack. I remember when Windows first came out to compete with Apple products. They were a young and brash bunch back then. They actually started the business by writing an operating system for the current monolith called IBM. The stories about how all the Microsoft guys would dare to show up in meetings between the two companies without suit and ties was the topic of the day back then. The Microsoft guys just didn’t play by the same rules as those stodgy IBM “suits”.
It’s funny how one company can go one way and another a different path. As I mentioned Apple and Microsoft pretty much started at the same time but have taken very different paths since then. Apple continues today to be the innovator to watch while Microsoft who now imitates others and is watched mainly to see when they will fall from dominance. They have now become the IBM that they so loathed back then while Apple, at least for now, continue to bring out new innovative things on a regular basis.
Will there come a day when Apple will also go stodgy? Is the death of its founder Steve Jobs a beginning of that process? Maybe, maybe not. When the business sector fully embraces Apple products and they are doing that with the iPad now, Microsoft’s dominance in the operating system and business apps will wither away. Someday I would love to tell the folks at the large communications company that forced our engineering division from Macs to Windows PC “I told you so…” but given how slow big business moves even now that time may well be years away.
The “start-up kids” growing into major corporations is on the wane now due to the cash rich companies like FaceBook and Microsoft who gobble them up while they are still infants in the industry. But someday again their will be a brash kid who says no to all that money and becomes the next radical leader to take over an industry. The future economic health of our country, as in the past, depends on that happening.
To close will the Microsoft tablet which is “almost as good as an iPad” become a success. Given the recent history of the company I kind of doubt it….