Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Corporations (page 1 of 2)

You have been fooled…

If you’re even thinking for a second about voting for a Republican, then you are a fool.  You’ve been hoodwinked and you don’t even know it.  You don’t know enough about the history of this country to make a proper decision.  You don’t understand enough about economics, moral hazards and deregulation to make the right decision.

It’s not your fault.

For the last thirty + years in this country, we have been told over and over again that what is good for business is good for America.  You know, I feel sorry for Ronald Reagan.  By all accounts, he was a nice man.  Tip O’Neil and him would have beers in the White House after a hard day debating.  He was easy going, soft-spoken and he believed what he said.

But, he was wrong.

Let me explain business to you.  Business isn’t a game, Businesses are not people and they don’t give a damn about you, the environment or your children.  The men and women who run businesses could give a rat’s ass about you.  Sure, there are some few and far between exceptions, but they’re, well, few and far between.

People go into business for one reason: to make money.

That’s it – nothing more.

I love my job, but quite frankly, I am there for a paycheck and health benefits.  If I could support my family by not working, I would.  Don’t get me wrong, I really love what I do and I’m good at it – so I’m lucky, I work a job I actually love, but love doesn’t make the world go around – money does.

Continuing on, what caused the economic crisis cannot be summed up in just one sentence.  There are many factors – predatory lenders, housing bubble, too much credit to the wrong people, deregulation and the list goes on.  But, the jobless recovery?  That’s easy: Companies are making huge profits because they aren’t hiring you.  And, the companies that are hiring, are paying the lowest wages possible.

Because?

Well, it’s easy…Businesses want profits, the higher the profits; the better the business.  The stock market rewards the businesses with the highest profits, by keeping their stock prices high.

Somebody’s getting rich – it’s just not you.

The GOP wants to dismantle the rest of the regulations that keep us safe at work, that help the environment and keep our food safe.  The GOP wants to dismantle the safety nets for the people who do the real work – you and me.  They want to lower taxes on businesses, because they say that will cause businesses to start hiring.

It’s not true.

The GOP wants to continue their destruction of America.

Don’t let them.

You Can’t Run the Government. .

You can’t run the government like a business and anyone who thinks you can is a fool. The whole goal of business is to make a profit. Oh, sure, most businesses have a mission statement with a lofty goal about exceeding customers’ expectations or adding value. In all the ones I reviewed, I only found one company who was honest enough to tell the truth. After the phony provide value statement, the next line was “To be profitable”.

None of the government’s goals are to “be profitable”. If the government made a profit and didn’t return it to the taxpayers, there’d be hell to pay.

However; running the government like a business is what all these “Reagan” Republicans are all about. They cut taxes – in a failed attempt to create jobs. You don’t cut you income when you need it most. Companies that do that usually end up hanging Going Out of Business signs. You don’t cut Research & Development money (in government’s case education) and expect to stay ahead of the competition.

Government is not a business and it shouldn’t be run like one.

Oh and lest you think I’ve forgotten – RECALL WALKER!

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Taco Bell, Meat by Products and my Dog

Apparently, Taco Bell is being sued because they aren’t serving meat. I saw a headline, but everyone is getting sued these days and I didn’t pay attention. Last night, I asked Cheryl what she wanted for dinner and she said Taco Bell. After dinner, she tells me that Taco Bell is being sued because you can’t call something meat if it is less than 40% meat. The “meat” at Taco Bell is 36%. Lovely. Apparently, the rest is fillers and meat by products.

What in bloody hell is a filler? No, don’t answer that – I don’t think I want to know.

It dawned on me that Cheryl and I didn’t want to feed our dog (nor our cats) anything unhealthy. We read numerous ingredients on dog food packages until we found one that didn’t include fillers and meat by products as one of the first ingredients. However; we’re fine with eating them ourselves, apparently.

How screwed up is that?

Finally, a quote I saw on the Internet:  “If you are what you eat, then I am fast, cheap and easy.”

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Net Neutrality Challenged

According to a story on Politico, Verizon is going to court to challenge the FCC’s ruling on Net Neutrality.  They want “to stop the agency from requiring Internet companies to treat all Web traffic equally.”

Of course these companies want to limit who can limit who accesses their networks – they will make more money if they charge website owners for the ability to receive traffic from their websites.  It is an added revenue stream.  I understand the drive for profit.  However; it is something the government should prevent.

Stopping the traffic and controlling the traffic flow on the Internet Superhighway is counter-productive and bad for America.  Think of it this way…Let’s say you decide to drive from Kenosha down to Mundelein, IL.  You get on the toll road and you pay your toll for the privileged of using the road.  This is like you paying for your Internet access.  Now, you have to stop for gas and you see a Shell station, except you’re driving on a road controlled by Verizon and Shell hasn’t paid Verizon any extra money, therefore; Verizon isn’t going to allow you off the highway to enter the Shell station.  It doesn’t matter that Shell pays for their location (their website hosting package); it doesn’t matter that Shell pays Comcast for their own Internet access.  You are a Verizon customer and they will not let you stop at Shell, because they want Shell to pay them.

These extra charges that Verizon is suing in order to propose – and, yes, I realize that their claim is that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to “regulate broadband networks”, however; once the regulation to treat all traffic equally is lifted, watch the charging begin – will harm small businesses, as well as blogs – and, yes, even mine.

Amazingly, the Verizon lawyer said the following in a statment: “We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”  I laugh at the idea that the FCC regulation creates uncertainty.  Not knowing about how a ruling on this will affect non-Internet providers will cause more uncertainty.

The problem is that they could actually win they’re court case.  Right now, our courts are placing companies on the same level as people.  It is not a far stretch to believe that they will overturn the FCC’s regulation.

Congress needs to step up to the plate and swing for a home run.  Keeping the playing field equal on the Internet is essential to our freedoms.  If you don’t believe me, take a good look at China – where people can’t access Google.  The difference is that it won’t be our government that controls us – it will be the companies.

Shutting Down the Unions

Ever since Ronald Reagan fired the striking Air Traffic Controllers, Unions have been getting a bad rap in this country and the newly elected Republicans want to take them down ever further.  American workers need the ability to collectively bargain.  They need to know that they cannot be fired without a reason.  Companies should pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?  We keep hearing from the right that we should get back to tradition values and our traditional country, so let’s take a look at what that means – what life was like for non-union workers at the turn of the century.

People worked in sweatshops with no required breaks for coffee, lunch or even bathrooms.  They worked six or, in some cases, seven days a week for wages that would barely feed their families.  The idea that women stayed at home, tending to home and hearth is a fallacy.  They worked just as hard as their husbands did, maybe even harder, since once home, they had to attend to home and hearth.  Children worked alongside adults for half the money.  This was all before the unions.

Back then, companies hired strike breakers to keep their employees’ wages low and their own profits high.  The government past laws to make it unlawful to participate in unions.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

We forget how far we’ve come.  Instead, we’ve been fed a belief that companies “care” about their employees and they’re willing to look out for our well being.  Oh, there are some companies that truly believe in the American way of life, but they’re rare.

Now, instead of hiring thugs to keep the unions out, companies hire other companies to give talks and lectures on the “dangers” of unions.  They’ve actually managed to convince hard working people that unions are bad and that the big brother company knows best for you.  I’ve sat through these lectures and talks.  I’ve heard these anti-union people speak.  They’re good at what they do.  I sat through these lessons of lies while working for a family owned company (not the one I’m at right now) and heard these speakers talk about making the heads of the union rich with the employees’ dues – totally ignoring the fact that through our hard work and sweat, we’ve made the owner of the company a very rich man.

Now, according to a New York Times article, our newly elected Republican officials want to weaken unions even more than they are.  Our very own “Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers’ right to form unions and bargain contracts.”  That’s just one step away from taking away private workers’ rights.

Doesn’t that scare you?  Even a little?

It does me.

Ask yourself this:  Who benefits when workers cannot form unions?  Is it the worker?  No, it isn’t – it is the company.  Companies do not like unions.  There was a time when the threat of a union could force an employer to give fair raises to its employees.

Company thugs no longer weld baseball bats – they weld laws written by anti-worker politicians.  They’ve come for your fair wages, health care and benefits.  The whole time, they’re lying to you – the American worker – by saying that this is for your benefit.  This will help the workers, this will help the taxpayers.

No, taking away the right to collectively bargain contracts only helps the Businesses.  The government has all ready made it easier for businesses to send our jobs overseas.  Now, they want to make it easier for businesses to pay you less and work you more for the jobs that are still here.

Henry Ford once said, “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”  It is really too bad that our CEOs have forgotten his words.

American Workers – Unite!

There was a time in America where you graduated from high school, started a job at a local business, worked there for thirty years and retired – with a full pension and, in some cases, medical benefits.  That was back when American Corporations still cared about their employees.  It was back before the Supreme Court stated that Corporations are people and should have the same rights.  It was back when unions were strong in this nation.  It was back when “the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker’s pay”. (Quote link)

Sadly, those days are gone.

Those of us who are not among the wealthy have been handed a bunch of malarkey from our leaders – the politicians, the management at many companies and even our talk show hosts.  We’ve been told that what’s bad for business is bad for jobs.  We’ve been told that moving factories to Mexico and importing goods from China is good for American companies and, therefore, good for those of us who work for a living.  We’ve been told that tax cuts for the rich and lowering the corporate tax rate will help bring jobs back to our neighborhoods.   We’ve been told that regulating the financial market is bad and deregulation is good.

All of this has been one great big lie.  Case in point: tax cuts.  Corporations are paying lower taxes than they have in half a century and, yet, they didn’t keep people on the payrolls.  Wonder why?  Another case is the financial market breakdown.  We’ve spent the last 30 years (and especially the last eighteen years) dismantling the regulations enacted during the depression that were designed to prevent the exact kind of meltdown our financial market suffered in 2008.  And, we’ve been told it was a good thing.

Now, Mitt Romney, in an opinion piece in USA Today, claims that people on unemployment don’t really want to work.  Does this man have a clue?  Does he get it?  He says (and I’m quoting because unlike Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, I don’t make shit up!), “The indisputable fact is that unemployment benefits, despite a web of regulations, actually serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs, especially when the benefits extend across years.”

I’ve been on unemployment three times in my life – never for more than six months – it was some of the worst times.  The idea that an American worker prefers unemployment is absurd.  My salary on unemployment would drop by 72%.  I can’t make my bills on that.  Now, I’m very fortunate – I am employed and in the last nine years, I have been unemployed for a grand total of one week – and I was paid by my ex-employer for that week and the one after it.  I have a friend who has been unemployed for a year and a half.  I can tell you that she’d rather be working.  In fact, I do not know one unemployed person who has said, “Gee, I love my unemployment insurance!  I guess I won’t look for a job!”

Romney is trying to convince the American Public that the unemployed are lazy and don’t want to work.  Where have we heard that before?  (Hint: Rush Limbaugh)

He goes on to say this (and the emphasis is mine):

“The system is also not designed for a flexible economy like ours in which some employees move from job to job for short periods, and are therefore ineligible for unemployment compensation when they are faced with a protracted spell without work.

To remedy such problems we need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs, or putting in place financial incentives for employers to hire and train the long-term unemployed.”

How many people in our economy really “move from job to job for short periods”?  I’m betting not many.  Even contractors work for just one company and, apparently Mitt has never been on unemployment, it is tracked for all of your employment.  Every state is different, but most states ask about your work history for the previous year and then you’re covered.  I believe he’s way off base.

But, his idea of unemployment savings accounts?  What is his problem?  So, now we’re responsible for our own retirement (no company pensions) and we’re going to have to come up with money to put aside in case our employer lays us off?  Just where is the average American worker supposed to get the money?  American Families are hard pressed for cash now, imagine them trying to save for college, health care, retirement AND unemployment.

As far as put in place incentives for employers, please – big eye roll – they all ready have plenty of incentives.  But, I do have a plan – triple their taxes and give them a tax break for every new hirer.  Take away their profits in taxes unless they hire more people.  Make companies that earned a profit, but laid off employees pay 85% of the profit in taxes unless they hire back 50% of the laid off employees.  How’s that for an incentive?  Start putting high tariffs on products made overseas and imported here – include American companies in the mix, so they have an incentive to build plants here.

American companies have had it easy for the last thirty years and take a good look at where it’s gotten us.  It’s time for the American Workers to take back the wheel and drive this bus!

Unemployment really just 6.5%?

I saw a very quick blurb in last week’s Businessweek.  I’ve been a little busy, so I’m behind on my reading.  According to the blurb, there are 2.3% of jobs out there that cannot be filled with the right people.  2.3%  — that would bring our unemployment rate down to around 6.5%.

But, why can’t these companies find the qualified people — here are two my quick and dirty off the top of my head ideas.

  • We have a huge disconnect between out secondary education and our business needs.  We need to get business and higher education better aligned.  How we can do that or where we can start — that I don’t know.  But, it’s sad, isn’t it?
  • We have a huge housing problem because qualified people are now locked into homes they can’t sell, so they can move to the jobs.

Anyone else have any ideas?

Harley-Davidson – Leaving Milwaukee?

In the news this morning is an article – rumors of which I’ve been hearing about for months – that Harley Davidson wants to move their operations to another state.  (The rumors I heard was they were moving to Canada.)  At issue is the company’s desire to “cut millions of dollars at the factories that build the bikes”.  According to the article, they plan on making their decision within the next two months.

Also, according to the article “The company, he (Harley chief executive Keith Wandell) said, would also be open to incentives to keep the 1,630 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin.”  I’m sure those incentives include tax breaks paid for by us – the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

And, is Harley-Davidson suffering?  Are they about to go broke?

Not according to their financial report:

“Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) reported second-quarter 2010 income from continuing operations of $139.3 million, or $0.59 per share, compared to income of $33.4 million and earnings per share of $0.14 from continuing operations in the year-ago quarter.”

Granted, sales of Harleys are down, but with the economy suffering as it is – isn’t that to be expected?  Harley-Davidson is the best motorcycle in the world.  Their sales will bounce back.

I don’t want to see 1,630 of my fellow Wisconsinites to be out of jobs, but do we really want our state to bend over and give incentives as a bribe to keep them here?

I know what’ll happen.  Our cash-strapped state will give in, save those jobs and the tax payers of Wisconsin will pay for the privilege of having Harley-Davidson motorcycles built in Milwaukee.

BP Photoshops Another Official Image Terribly

I found this over at Gawker.  In one of the comments, a reader doesn’t understand why people are upset.  I couldn’t find where to add my own comment, so I figured I’d post my take here.

We’re upset because they haven’t fixed the leak and the photos BP is providing keep turning out to be cropped lies.  We need something to believe in, not another lie.

A photo tells the story of 1000 words and if all we see are the doctored photos what were seeing are stories that lie.

via BP Photoshops Another Official Image Terribly.

BPs altered photo distorts spill center activity – Road Runner

So, BP is blaming an unnamed staffer? Just some regular Joe who decided to alter the picture all on his own without any input from Management? We’re really supposed to believe that?
Read the full article here.

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