Monday, July 25, 2011

1% Equals 90%

In America one percent of the population holds ninety percent of the wealth. This is by far the highest concentration of wealth in our history. Economic equality is being pushed to the limit.

How has this happened? One word: taxes. Our tax structure with its loopholes, deductions and write offs favor the wealthy. In Congress today individual and corporate lobbyists spend millions of dollars lobbying for no changes to our tax code. The middle and lower income earners in America are now picking up more and more of the country’s tab. The battle for the debt ceiling, an issue in the past that has been a non-issue in over 60 prior debt ceiling adjustments, is now in the forefront of this battle between who pays and who does not pay.

Simply, the Democrats want a sharing of the tab – spending cuts for mostly the poor and tax increases for mostly the rich. While the Republicans want spending cuts and no tax increases. The bottom line when all is said and done, the average American taxpayer will pick up the tab and the wealthy 1% will get even richer. Let them eat cake.

This leads us to our Jack Ass of the Month – one big Jack Ass, our Federal Government , are they really representing us? The American people reduce their spending to pay off debt and manage our finances in an economic downturn. Even corporate America goes without to clean up balance sheets. Does the Federal Government? No, it just keeps on spending, borrowing more money and printing more money. Our grandchildren will now pick up the tab.

QUOTE OF THE DAY - Larry Summers, as quoted by Fortune: "One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole." Zing! Well done, Larry.

SCARY: BANK OF AMERICA TANKING - "At $9.85 a share, down 26 percent this year, Bank of America finished yesterday with a market capitalization of $99.8 billion. That's an astonishingly low 49 percent of the company's $205.6 billion book value ... As far as the market is concerned, more than half of the company's book value is bogus, due to overstated assets, understated liabilities, or some combination of the two. That perception presents a dangerous situation for the world at large, not just the company's direct stakeholders. ... The risk is that with the stock price this low, a further decline could feed on itself and spread contagion to other companies, regardless of the bank's statement this week that it is 'creating a fortress balance sheet."

TREASURY EXITS CHRYSLER - L.A. Times reports: "The Chrysler Group bailout officially ended Thursday when the Treasury Department sold off its remaining stake in the automaker, and the final tally shows the taxpayers lost $1.3 billion. Italian automaker Fiat purchased the U.S. government's 6% stake in Chrysler for $560 million, formally concluding the $12.5-billion bailout in 2008 and 2009 ... Including Chrysler's payment of loans from ... TARP, the government received $11.2 billion of the money back. As it has indicated before, Treasury is unlikely to recover the remaining $1.3 billion. But Tim Massad, the Treasury assistant secretary who oversees the TARP program, declared the bailout a success."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Rick Blix (57), Pavel Datsyuk (33), Peggy Fleming (63), Dorothy Hamill (55), Monica Lewinsky (38), Ted Lindsay (86), Graeme McDowell (32), George McGovern (89), Bud Selig (77).

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS - "After more than a century, Walter Reed to close: "Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army's flagship hospital where privates to presidents have gone for care, is closing its doors after more than a century. ... [A] government commission ... voted [in 2005] to close the facility and consolidate its operations with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and a hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va. ... Former and current patients and staff members will say goodbye at a ceremony Wednesday ... Most of the moving will occur in August. On Sept. 15, the Army hands over the campus to the new tenants: the State Department and the District of Columbia. The buildings on campus deemed national historic landmarks will be preserved; others probably will be torn down. The city is expected to develop its section for retail and other uses."

REMEMBERING GENERAL "SHALI" - "Retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, an immigrant who rose to [be the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff,] where he advised President Bill Clinton over military involvement around the world, has died at age 75."

SUMMER MANAGEMENT COURSE 101 – Selfishness, self-centeredness, self-absorption: what ever became of the Golden Rule? It has turned into “do onto other’s what you want to do onto them and the heck with what they want.” Perhaps managers and leaders should take the Double Standard Assessment Test.

Scoring: 1 = rarely; 2 = sometimes; 3 = frequently

- How often do you say, “I’m sorry” vs. expect others to say, “I’m sorry”?
- How often so you say, “Thank you” vs. expect others to say, “Thank you”?
- How often do you say, “I was wrong” vs. expect others to say, “I was wrong”?
- How often do you patiently wait for people who are taking too long vs. expect people to patiently wait for you when you are taking too long?
- How often do you go out of your way to help someone without their having to ask vs. expect someone to go out of their way to help you without you having to ask?
- How often do you give people the benefit of the doubt vs. expect people to give you the benefit of the doubt?
- How often do you give others a compliment vs. expect others to give you a compliment?
- How often do you root for others vs. expect others to root for you?
- How often do you acknowledge the deeds of others vs. expect others to acknowledge your deeds?
- How often do you listen to others vs. expect others to listen to you?
- How often do you take responsibility for your actions vs. expect others to take responsibility for their actions?
- How often do you accept no for an answer from others vs. expect others to take no for an answer from you?

Know any bosses, managers, friends, family who should take this Management 101 Course?

Our results next week.

Next week, finance and summer movie updates.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 25, 2011


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