Richest man in world ($115,000,000,000) offers only $8 a week raise to some of America’s top journalists, meanwhile spending $42,000,000 for a cuckoo clock

Washington Post writers and reporters began the New Year with a major problem: their owner was offering a lump sum $12 a week raise in the first year of a new contract, and $8 a week in the second year. Plus, unlike the New York Times staff, they had to pay for their own coffee.

Scrooge, how we love ya!

It’s not like this owner needs to cut expenses. The master of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is estimated to be worth about $115,000,000,000 ($115 billion), and he even beats Microsoft’s Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.

For Bezos and many other corporate cheapskates, it’s about principle, not mere money. Along with the Koch brothers, Pete Peterson and the Cato Institute, the new mantra is that no raises should go to anyone for longevity. If you are with a company 20 weeks or 20 years, your pay should be exactly the same.

Rather than bore you with examining this idiocy hiding greed, an example from my previous employer reveals the same “management” style.

A reporter left my newspaper after many years of suffering miserable pay (under $7.92 an hour), and I was required to complete a form to be signed off by a half dozen corporate execs. Part of this document was a place to indicate the wage offered to the replacement. Continue reading →

If Trump had kept his campaign promise, a $50k couple would save an extra $2,739 in 2018 taxes

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s new tax law will save less than $9 a week for most working Americans, and many may receive cuts as little as $2.70. Meanwhile, a $1 million filer will gain $628 a week. The GOP plan smells like a few peanuts for the middle class and the elephant’s share of the tax cut designated for the very rich.

Let’s examine how the 2018 income tax really works, compared to what we were promised during the election campaign.

Current law now taxes a married couple for every dollar earned that exceeds $24,000 a year. Last year’s tax floor was $20,800, or a difference of $3,200.

Anyone earning exactly $24,000 in 2018 will save income tax of 10% of that $3,200, or $6.15 a week, versus last year.

What do you do with this $6.15 tax cut? If you are taking Xarelto for heart problems, as millions do, your tax bonanza won’t cover that drug’s $80 a month increase, or offset higher gas prices, or, or…

But what would have happened if candidate Donald Trump’s original tax plan had been adopted? Continue reading →

President Trump has a chance to save mucho money if he just takes my amature purchasing agent advice

Dark coat waving, tie curling, eyes focused in imperial triumph, what could be more awesome than the American Don alighting from Air Force One? This is not the Don of The Godfather, who measured his might in mere horse heads and bedposts. This is our President Don, who commands the mightiest military in history.

But Don has a problem. The fridges are acting up on both Presidential Boeings, not being cool, when they should. Call them undependable deplorables, needing replacement, like Senator Lindsey Graham at a voice-cracking contest. Warm beer, anyone?

The specs call for 70 cubic feet of space, doors, a little light inside, and I suppose stainless steel might be nice. These coolers would be like a big version of those 24 cubic foot jobs, that Sears would like to sell you before all their stores close.

Why am I so concerned about saving money on flying fridges that only have to last a couple years until the new ($2,000,000,000 each) Air Force One replacements arrive?

Any country that has to hike Medicare premiums on the poorest of its citizens by 24% this year is in financial trouble. The reason for this seemingly callous action is our national need to fund the growth of the military 2018 budget to $700 billion, which Senator Graham says is vital for defense of our 330 million well-armed Americans from an attack by 25 million emaciated, near-sighted North Koreans.

Continue reading →

Everyone was watching the girl in the teeny bikini, just like the public is now looking for a big tax cut

As I entered the general manager’s office in the Gimbel’s Cheltenham department store, the mood was surly. Picking up an ad for my Philadelphia newspaper was usually pleasant. Sometimes conversation about merchandising for the 250,000 square foot emporium. Other times small talk and smiles, but not today.

It was a Spring afternoon in the late 1970s, and two hours earlier a tall blonde, wearing only a string bikini and high heels, strolled into the store and began walking from department to department, finally covering all three floors in about 45 minutes. She did not go unnoticed by the store staff or customers, and more than a few males seemed to wander after her at a safe distance, pretending to be interested in this or that sale display.

Ten minutes after she left, the Fine Jewelry department reported items worth several thousand dollars had been shoplifted. Then, other managers began counting goods and finding shortages.

It seems that while the blonde was walking, two accomplices were taking the goods. Continue reading →

If your family was as rich as the Waltons, you could easily buy Buckingham Palace over and over again

Some one million Walmart employees in the United States will have their meager pay supplemented this year with a bonus averaging $400, thanks to the lapse of usual parsimony by the owners of the world’s largest retailer – the Walton family. That total $400 million is $71 million less than the cost of the bottom two estates ($222 million and $249 million) in the above video of the five most expensive homes in the world.

Half of all workers in the United States make less than $30,500 a year, and half earn more, so $400 is meaningful, even though a flat 25% ($100) will be lost to income tax under an odd IRS ruling, leaving $300.

But $300 could buy you and the spouse a motel room for two nights, and have some money left over for lunch one day. That would be a one-room accommodation. Hotel rooms with multiple rooms charge much more than $100 to $200 a night.

While you are pinching pennies to pay for this $300 getaway, how would your benefactors – the Waltons of inheritance fame – entertain themselves? Since “all men are created equal”, but allowing for some being more equal, you would expect the gang of seven to perhaps rent an entire floor of a Best Western or splurge at a Hilton.

Actually, the poorest member of the Walton family, Nancy Walton Laurie, could afford to not just rent a room, but buy all five of the properties listed in the above video – including Buckingham Palace – and still have nearly $2,000,000,000 left of her fortune. Continue reading →

Grenfell Tower of despair forces inspections that find most similar structures are just as dangerous

Trickle, trickle, fools we are, to trust the rich, now flush with cash, will share with us their bounty

The inlaid walnut table in the corporate boardroom held 12 on either side and two or three at each end, and the execs were all perched, prepped to pounce, when I dragged in my 2001 budget – 1015 pages of spreadsheet and other sheet.

As division CEO of a NYSE-listed publishing company with nearly a billion dollars sales, my pitch was explain how I would increase sales, restrain costs and improve the value of the newspapers I published.

What could go wrong? In the past year sales were up, but more important, the bottom line jumped from about a $200,000 loss to an $860,000 profit before taxes.

Since most of my employees were salaried – meaning they worked long hours without overtime compensation – my proposed budget included a four percent average pay increase. That four percent, I was told, was a big mistake. Continue reading →

Middle class seniors forced to pay for that 40% corporate tax cut with reductions to Medicare

Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.

Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.

The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.

All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →

China’s 626 million cameras will spy on its citizens, and use software to apprehend them in just minutes

The nation which will soon boast the largest GDP in the world – China – is using digital technology to secretly detain and imprison tens of thousands of its citizens for so-called political crimes that range from expressing “extremist” thoughts to merely traveling or studying abroad.

This police state is part of a sweeping effort by Chinese authorities to use detentions and data-driven CCTV surveillance especially in the region of Xinjiang and over its ten million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that China says has been influenced by Islamic extremism.

Meanwhile, China’s state-run Xinhua news service has just announced that China’s State Council Information Office has declared China is making “remarkable progress” on improving human rights:

China has opened a new era of human rights protection and is now contributing to the diversity of human civilization and providing Chinese wisdom and solutions to promote social progress.

The truth is that China currently has installed 176 million surveillance cameras , and it shooting for 626 million by 2020. Since China has 1.4 billion citizens, there will be almost one camera for every two persons.

Continue reading →

Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, begins with a simple question: Who is John Galt?

The answer comes in the last third of that 1957 book, where Galt emerges as the champion of capitalism and defender of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, which has opposed:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Head Start
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Nationalized Health Care
  • School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  • Social Security
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Galt was not real, but he was a hero to the children of many wealthy families. These sheltered capitalists-in-training saw Ayn Rand as a hero, because she espoused that caring for nobody but yourself was not selfish, but a virtue. Continue reading →

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