Dec 042012
 

Yesterday, my router gave up the ghost, so I had to rush out and buy another.  After I returned, my COPD flared up for the rest of the day and night, keeping me from sleeping, so this is today’s only article.  I’m current with replies, albeit excessively briefly so.  Tomorrow appears routine.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:51 (average 5:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

                     TomCat Teabag Trashers

                     hugos renegades

156.18

88.04

Playing without a helmet

MittsMagicJock

101.54

88.10

Progressive Underdogs

Texans Will Rise Again

105.72

60.72

Standings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points

 

Rank

Team Name

W-L-T

Pct

Streak

Waiver

For

Against

1 (1)

TomCat Teabag Trashers

11-2-0

.846

W2

6

1550.44

1293.58

2 (2)

hugos renegades

8-5-0

.615

L2

5

1435.88

1313.24

3 (3)

Progressive Underdogs

6-7-0

.462

W3

4

1350.10

1312.16

4 (4)

Playing without a helmet

5-8-0

.385

W1

3

1230.06

1381.94

5 (5)

MittsMagicJock

5-8-0

.385

L1

2

1280.64

1332.42

6 (6)

Texans Will Rise Again

4-9-0

.308

L2

1

1240.78

1454.56

This week will be the last of our regular season, and we move into our playoffs next week.  Jerry and I have already clinched the top two seeds and will have first round byes.

Short Takes:

From MoveOn: A Big Box Store Proves You Can Take Care Of Your Staff And Still Make A Profit

4Wal-fart

There is, however, one area in which Wal-fart beats Costco hands down: greed.

From NY Times: “What we are putting forth is a credible plan that deserves serious consideration from the White House,” Mr. Boehner said.

The White House was critical of the proposal. “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director. “In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve.”

Republicans did produce proposals that could create a political backlash. Of the plan’s savings, $200 billion over 10 years would come from changing the way the government calculates inflation, which would slow benefit increases in programs from Medicare to Social Security and raise taxes by slowing the annual rise in tax brackets. Republican aides said that it would be unpopular, but that it was the right response to deficits still topping $1 trillion.

The Republican plan also called for $600 billion in cuts to federal health care programs, including an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and increased means testing to shrink health benefits for more affluent elderly Americans… [emphasis added]

Did I predict this, or did I predict this? Also, see this.

From Think Progress: A constant conservative charge against President Obama is that he is inherently anti-business. However, businesses keep defying the storyline by making larger and larger profits, rebounding nicely out of the Great Recession.

In the third quarter of this year, “corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago.” Corporations are currently making more as a percentage of the economy than they ever have since such records were kept. But at the same time, wages as a percentage of the economy are at an all-time low, as this chart shows. (The red line is corporate profits; the blue line is private sector wages.):

4corporateprofitsvswages

Corporate Criminals hate Obama, not because the business climate under his administration is bad, but because they want full latitude to prey on consumers, and that’s what Republicans are offering.

Cartoon:

4Cartoon

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  11 Responses to “Open Thread–12/4/2012”

  1. It might be more pertinent if Move-on's comparison tables between Costco and Sam's Club didn't include some numbers for all of Walmart instead of just Sam's Club, but there is still some very interesting information there. The two items that really jump out at me are employee turnover and labor & overhead costs, which are closely inter-related. I suspect that if overall economic conditions were better, the Sam's Club turnover rate would be even higher.
    When I worked in occupational safety, a frequent exercise at training sessions and seminars was evaluation of a company's overall workplace safety culture. One of the most important factors to consider was employee turnover, because there are so many other factors influenced by that – training costs, injury incidence rates (worker's compensation costs, which are a huge item), absenteeism, inventory shrinkage (a large component of which is employee theft and/or product mishandling), and customer relations/customer satisfaction to name a few.
    The pay rate-to-turnover relationship isn't an absolutely direct correlation, because employees will tend to remain with a company where they are well treated and feel valued, even if the  pay scale is somewhat lower. This makes the comparison of the companies even more striking.

  2. Puzzle — 3:40  I guess I went to the dog this time.  Later did 3:28, but I know that doesn't count.  Toothpicks again TC?  That's allowed.
     
    MoveOn — There you go — if you have happier employees (happiness being defined as a living wage with reasonable health and retirement benefits), you ultimately are going to have a better bottom line, all other management decisions being equal.  As far as turnover, that can be one of the most controllable costs and one of the biggest  non supportive costs.  If an employee earns $20,000 /yr, it will usually take 80% of that to replace that employee, and that does not cover the replacement's wage.  Replacement covers advertising, interviewing, paper work, training etc)  Any wonder why Costco does better?!
     
    NY Times — IMHO, (or not so humble) any plan that does not increase the marginal tax rate of the wealthiest 2% is NOT a credible plan.  That will only result in the budget being balanced on the backs of the middle class, elderly and poor.  As to not propose specific loopholes to close and deductions to eliminate, but instead to leave it to a committee to look at later, is no more than a "Trust me!" and does not allow for the proper evaluation of the proposal.  Go back and do it properly Mr Boehner and quit sniveling.
     
    Think Progress — Getting richer one employee at a time!  Coming out of the 2002 recession, corporate profits soared only to be kicked in the teeth by the 2008 financial crisis and resulting recession.  But they quickly recovered and haven't look back since.  But wages are dropping while profits are increasing.  So why can't workers share in some of that prosperity?  If corporations are not mindful, there will be a revolution.
     
    Cartoon — Joining the UN is good, but when is the US going to join the ICC at the Hague?

  3. Congratulations on your standing in the league. I hope you and Jerry can hold on through the playoffs.
     
    MoveOn ~ The moral here is that if you treat your employees well your profits go up.
     
    NY Times ~ If Bonehead and Can''t-do-it Cantor stick to their guns they just might end up shooting themselves in the foot politically. We can only hope.
     
    Think Progress ~ In the third quarter of this year, “corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago.”
    I think that says it all. They just don't want to share their good fortune with their emloyees and they cry poverty to incresed taxes.
    For shame!

  4. I forgot to comment on the Cartoon. Every since that "fatal" day when the U.S.A. joined the UN, the John Birch Society has had their panties in a wad.
    From http://www.jbs.org/issues-pages/united-nations
     
    "One of the first campaigns of The John Birch Society was to get the U.S. out of the United Nations. The global power elites view the UN as their main vehicle for establishing, step by step, a socialistic global government controlled by themselves. Now, more than ever, we need to get out of the UN and remove the UN from the United States."