Christmas is the Post Office’s ‘Super Bowl’. Carriers know it, they bust balls. Clerks? They have 1 speed: molasses in January. As they added standards to carriers, they took them away from clerks. Can’t make in-city overnight delivery? Remove the standard! Not, lets change things so we do meet overnight, lets just do away with the pesky standard!
Package volume such you can’t fit them all in a truck? Can’t get them all worked? Maybe you should start early? Nope. Maybe work the big ones before shift so subs can run them out ahead of time? So then they’d all fit? Nope. Instead clerks choose to work them (small to large) at a snails pace so the carrier is out past dark. So the customer gets poor service.
When a business puts the customer last, the customer will put them last.
[For over 20 years Des Moines made Tuesday letter volume artificially light. Sometimes 1/3 Monday volume. I just happened to get burnt because I forgot that. They wouldn’t even change their M.O. to accommodate Christmas. Can you believe that?]
Gab was all excited this morning with a YouTube video that said, “We need a new party!” This gentleman was convinced that the Republican Party wasn’t getting it done (true) and that the answer was a new party! One that followed the Constitution by gum! Evidently being slightly older my memory stretched back a little further and I was forced to rain on this man’s parade.
We’ve had a Constitution Party 25 years ago! We had a Reform Party. We had a US Taxpayers Party (USTP). We had a Libertarian Party, a Natural Law Party, a Tea Party, we’ve had the best parties there ever were! And they were ignored. Just like any future party would be. Probably the best idea of the past 25 years was the organization that didn’t run candidates at all, the Tea Party.
They were a facilitating entity within the Republican Party. They were promptly coopted and subverted by the establishment within just a few years, but they scared the bejeebers out of the RINOs for a couple of years. Tossed a couple out on their ass in primaries. I understood the guy’s sentiment, wanting a new party, Lord knows I do.
But building a good party doesn’t make the voters any smarter. Building a library doesn’t inherently make people smarter. Building a bank doesn’t make people richer. Building a fitness center doesn’t make people more physically fit. Nope, voters are as dumb as they come. They couldn’t vote themselves out of a wet paper bag.
Perhaps my favorite right now is the State of Utah. Aside from that traitorous son of a bitch Mitt Romney, they also elected Mike Lee. He is allegedly a United States Senator, although right now he’s doing his damnedest to give American jobs to Indians. How do you elect someone like that? Its just incomprehensible. How are you a member of Congress and fight for another country’s workers?
Nope, the answer isn’t a new party, its smarter voters. But how the hell do you accomplish that? No way I know of. The John Birch Society has thought for 60 years that voter education was the key. Doesn’t seem to be. Voters seem to be terminally stupid, ignorant and selfish. There ain’t no cure for that.
President Trump was on Facebook this morning touting the “record stock market”. Its all a house of cards of course. Business in this country is so fake it makes me sick. For some reason we have a country full of people that think you can have a vibrant economy built on service. Banking, insurance, retail, software… hardly. On top of that, they are so poorly run we have to subsidize them in various ways.
It wasn’t clear whether the Fed is pumping $72 billion a week or a month into the stock market. Between that and the 0% interest money we’ve been subsidizing them with the last 20 years. We had to do that after they crashed the economy with the dot com bubble during 2001-2003. Then we had to keep the border open to supply them with cheap labor.
There’s probably not a more incompetent collection of crooks on the planet. ‘The gang that couldn’t shoot straight’. Business couldn’t stand on their own 2 feet to save their lives. Labor has had to survive onslaught after onslaught of off shoring, flooding with refugees and flooding with Mexicans. You’re so full of it Trump its coming out your ears. Time after time after time those MFs drive a business into the ground, they’re handed a Golden Parachute and the employee is handed an unemployment slip right before Christmas.
The most obvious ripoff of America is in executive compensation. Whereas labor has risen roughly 10x since 1955 ($4K a year to $40K a year, the rate of inflation) CEO salaries are 100x (10 times the rate of inflation). $150K annual in 1955 to $13 million annual in 2019. That’s why they had to offshore production and quit paying dividends to shareholders: They are in effect stealing from the company. The business motto used to be make the company rich, now its make themselves rich. Whereas CEO to line worker ratio used to be 30x, its now 300x.
Still getting ripped off. You go through life and you think you’ve learned all their sneaky tricks, and there’s no way they’re going to get you this time! And they do. T Rowe Price PRHSX Health Science Fund is an interesting example. On Friday the 13th the share price was $84 and change. By Monday it had dropped 5% to $80. What happened? Was the market experiencing a decline? No its been going up .23% everyday for the past week. Well that’s weird, the rising tide is lifting all boats but yours?
Monday just happened to be the day the fund was paying long term and short term capital gains for the year. A huge event for your mutual fund. I wanted to get rid of the fund, but not until I got that year end payout. So $84 dollars a share, the 52 week high, everything’s looking good to get the payout and sell, then it tanks. 5%. I assume at the higher share price the fund would have had to payout more in gains. At the lower price they save 5%. They’re going to screw you, the only question is how.
T Rowe Price and American Century are part of that rare breed of fund families that can lose money during a period of all-time record breaking highs.
“The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the hidden confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”
Alan ‘Big Al’ Greenspan
What changed Alan? You thought that and said that in 1968, what changed in the intervening 50 years? You’d never say that today, did truth change? Did gold change? Did you change?
Ain’t that the truth. I met a couple of homeless people yesterday. They are living in tents beside the Des Moines River. It was 5 degrees last night. The ground is still bare. What’s it going to be like in a week or two? When there’s a foot and a half of snow on the ground? Nearly 10 years ago I felt the need to help brown people “over there”. There are some fantastic groups for that just here in Central Iowa. One is Meals From the Heartland! They bag up rice and beans and send it overseas with very little overhead.
Domestically there are a bunch of good groups. I’m not talking about ones like Red Cross where most of the money goes to offices, overhead and symposiums, I’m talking about ones that meet the need. The can of food. The blanket. The sleeping bag. The propane tank. The pair of boots. Rubber hits the road stuff. The guy I shook hands with yesterday had a pus filled wound oozing from his hand. What about medical treatment? How do you wash when its below 50 degrees?
There are so many classes of poor. The poor “over there” who aren’t living in the richest nation on the globe. The poor here who are barely hanging on but have a roof over their head if not always as much food as they’d like. The poor thrown out of their home but still have family or friends to help out. The poor who have been knocked upside the head by unexpected medical costs. The poor who no longer grasp reality due to a booze or drug problem.
The poor who aren’t in their right mind due to a myriad of mental health problems. As has been brilliantly noted by me before, lack of a “home” is rarely their problem. Its most often just the visible symptom. So where do you give your limited resources? I know a church that devotes its kitchen to providing a meal everyday to people who need it. The organizers seem more interested in recycling uneaten restaurant food then they do in providing a good meal.
Which highlights a problem all of us have: “Are we providing for their need? Or ours? Are we succumbing to our own peccadillos or are we thinking logically? While we are busy “handing out fish“, are we devoting an equal amount of time to “teaching them how to fish“? As mentioned in the paragraph above, one of the organizers of the meals to the needy seems more interested in fulfilling their need to feel good by recycling uneaten food. A prime example is reusing unused baked potatoes from restaurants.
There is nothing worse than using day old baked potatoes in a recipe that calls for fresh. Particularly ridiculous in that example is that a 10 pound bag of potatoes can be had for $5 bucks (if that). That would easily suffice for the amount of people they serve at each meal. Instead they satisfy the fetish of one greenie and serve horribly tasting day old potatoes.
One great example of helping the homeless was from an old movie in the 1940’s. Metropolitan areas would take an old unused warehouse and use it for floor space for cots. Heated, access to a toilet, maybe a shower, safe. The fee was .25 cents (a quarter). For those not familiar with inflation, a 1940 quarter would be worth about $3 bucks today. Not a huge sum by any means. It did require something from the homeless person. The small fee provided for the electricity, water, maybe a staff member to run the place. (500 people at $3 bucks a pop is $1,500 a night. That’s $45,000 a month. Self sustaining.)
We’ve forgotten most of the old ways. The ways that worked. CCC, “missions”, we’ve made the simple act of helping people illegal for the most part. Work requirements, listening to a sermon before help is given, we’ve made philanthropy impossible to give. So now we have people living by the river. We provide tarps and propane tanks. Cold weather sleeping bags. Don’t get me wrong, its important for the guy out there tonight, but is that the long view? Is that Normandy? Is that putting a man on the Moon? Is that the Erie Canal? Is that the Transcontinental Railroad?
[Penn Central Railroad] “Its bankruptcy in 1970 shocked the financial world.” Yeah? How do you figure that Benjamin Graham? I’m nearing the end of The Intelligent Investor by Benny boy there and all I come away with is contempt for American business. He himself describes how Penn hadn’t paid income taxes for 8 years (not having income is a bad thing). He talked about the earnings per share being created out of thin air. That when they bankrupted in 1970 the last legitimate bond had been issued in 1968.
And “the financial world was shocked”? Oh come now. Shareholders were, but nobody on the inside was shocked. They knew. Its all part of the game. Our bought and paid for government came to the rescue in 1976 with this bastard creation known as ‘Conrail’ (Consolidated Rail Corporation), a government funded holding company. Graham couldn’t even be honest there, its a taxpayer funded boondoggle. And the people they bailed out were the owners, not the stockholders.
The shenanigans that have gone on with railroads in this country are criminal. All I know are the crudest of basic concepts, not the finer points of their skullduggery. The way they brought over slave labor from China to build the transcontinental so the barons wouldn’t have to pay real wages. The land taking for nothing. The bribes to insure the railroad went through this town and not the other. The taxpayer funded improvements to the lines. Its just sickening.
And then! When all that wasn’t enough and they drove their monopoly into the ground through mismanagement, the taxpayers bailed them out 1 more time through Conrail! It just never ends.
That picture for me is the best representation of what I call “the great divide”. The rise of Him (Trump) has caused much consternation in many areas. Sports, Hollywood, families, even within the Republican Party! On the right side of the picture is Trumper Joe Kernen. On the left is Andrew Someone and Becky Whoever. Maybe in the previous groups I listed they are not known to be great thinkers, but business people are supposed to be clear eyed, unemotional thinkers.
Yet Becky and Andrew see the world completely differently from Joe. It all comes down to tariffs. Americans have been conditioned to shriek in horror and drawback at the mere mention of tariffs! When in actuality tariffs have not caused the world as we know it to end. The predicted price spikes just aren’t there. This is in just 3 years. Imagine how obvious it will be if Trump serves another 5? The majority prefers to spout meaningless clichés and have them stand for definitive argument.
They don’t like being challenged by real world testing. I think their business world view on tariffs as bad, coincides perfectly with their political position as liberals. Emotion based. Liberalism is not fact based. An example is how socialism has never worked as advertised anywhere in the world! Yet they are forever trying to make it so! In the same way leaving your markets wide open while your competitors erect tariff barriers, has never led to anything but economic ruin.
When properly applied, tariffs have never not worked.
History is rife with examples of improper tariffs. Farm commodities are a prime example. Sugar tariffs being one of the worst. Congress was simply placating sugar growers 100 years ago when they did it. There was no other reason to apply tariffs than growers wanted to jack up prices. That’s not a legitimate reason. Ditto for oranges, tomatoes, cotton or a host of other commodities. China, India and Brazil are the 3 large, highly tariffed nations. They are exactly the right reason to have equality in tariffs.
Ha! I saw that Breitbart article this morning and had to laugh. As I brilliantly pointed out years ago, Hallmark doesn’t make Christmas movies! How do people not get this? Semantics? I just don’t get it, “square peg round hole” syndrome, who knows. All I know is that decorating fir trees, talking to Santa and drinking gallons of hot cocoa do not make a Christmas movie (the finer qualities of Lacey Chabert not withstanding).
You’ll see this problem with the use of language on the political pages I hangout on. Democracy vs Republic. It drives some people up the wall. I’m older and understand our society is doomed and there’s nothing you can do about people’s ignorance so let it go. Another misuse of language is referring to your Representative as “Congressman”. Congress is made up of 2 bodies, how can a person be in 2 bodies at once?
One of my all time favorites is the misuse of the words “free trade”. People will say that because Trump wants equality in trade between our nation and our trading partners, that he is somehow against free trade! For the life of me I don’t get it. These people are either stupid or evil, I’m not sure which. When one side has massive tariffs and the other does not, it defies all logic to call that free.