Author Archive: Fred Donaldson

Should drug company execs get life in prison for their predatory pricing that endangers our lives?

Illegal drug dealers, who are designated as major suppliers, will face the electric chair or gas chamber if President Donald Trump has his way. Our sometimes alert members of Congress voice agreement, now suddenly aware that criminals who sell opioids, like heroin and oxycodone, deserve more than slap-on-wrist fines or jail time.

Don’t bet on the death penalty just yet for these creatures. With decades of litigation possible, it’s easier to prescribe life in prison.

Martin Shkreli, smug former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC

And speaking of prescribing, when are we going to deal with the legal drug dealers, whose companies have priced life-saving medicine in the stratosphere, so that only the very rich, or those with golden health plans, are able to afford?

An illegal drug dealer who hooks 200 victims deserves their fate.

A legal drug dealer who ruins the lives of millions deserves no less a prison term.

Which brings me to the example of Hepatitis C and the story of Marsha Lecour, who contracted the condition when she was four, after open heart surgery that exposed her to contaminated blood. Lecour is a native of Canada, the only nation, other than the U.S., which doesn’t have government-provided prescription drugs, where there is national healthcare for everything else. Continue reading →

Our schools are safe – networks and politicians panic

In the past 67 years mass shootings of more than 10 persons (including the killer) have claimed 453 lives, some seven per year, averaging one event every other year. Two massacres – Las Vegas (59 killed in 2017), and Orlando (50 killed in 2016) – account for about one quarter of all attacks.

Seven of those mass shootings were in our schools, claiming 131 lives, since 1950.

The U.S. has 139,126 schools, which means that – on average – a single school in a thousand will have a mass shooting death once every 67 years. In short, institutes of learning have always been extremely safe places for Americans.

By comparison, 79 have been shot and killed in Chicago since the beginning of the year. A person is murdered every 18 minutes in that “gun-free” city; someone is shot every 4 minutes on average.

Such facts mean little to politicians who smell votes or media that counts viewers and readers – bad news is good news for the profits of the penny-pinching corporations that run today’s networks and newspapers.

For example, if federal law is changed by the fund-raisers in Congress, a 20-year-old security guard will be too young to buy a rifle in New Hampshire, while the same state’s laws allow her 13-year-old sister to marry. Continue reading →

CNN, Paul Ryan, Cato, NY Times, Paul Krugman, Heritage – one establishment voice against tariffs

Rich or poor, religious or not, every leader of every Southern state in 1860 opposed tariffs and embraced slavery. In the North, where there was no slavery, everyone favored tariffs to protect both American industry and wage earners from unfair foreign competition.

Today, Paul Ryan, Cato Institute or Heritage Foundation invariably promote cutting Social Security, Medicare, Minimum Wage, in fact they despise anything that helps the middle class. On the other side, CNN, Paul Krugman, WAPO and the New York Times say they oppose cuts to these necessary programs.

So, what’s happening here. Why are the leaders of the far left and far right joined together to fight against America seeking fair trade through fair tariffs? Continue reading →

N Y Post can’t stand fact that worker earned a big pension while pub’s boss is worth $15,700,000,000

Retired NYC sanitation worker makes $285K a year from pension

That New York Post headline made many folks angry. Do garbage collectors get pensions worth more than they deserve? Are evil unions behind this? Or dopey Dems? Or a PC still running only DOS?

To illustrate their point, the newspaper published a photo, sort of artsy-fartsy, of a trash truck. That’s to show those readers, who live in gated communities, that there is a device, which removes that garbage the help takes out to the curb on Tuesdays and Fridays.

But back to that big pension – $285,000 a year.

The facts often get in the way of a sensational story, and this one is not an exception. Continue reading →

World’s richest man uses OTS scorecards and “walks” to manage his Whole Foods workers

A recent report on the Jeffrey Preston Bezos‘ supermarket chain reminded me of when the owner of our newspapers hired an MBA efficiency expert, who had to justify his too high pay.

Amazon’s top man

Until then, middle management had perks – use of a shore home for a week, annual merit raises, partnering of budget preparation. Soon, all that ended. Instead, everyone received a piece of paper with spaces and a title: “Time Allocation.”

The sales folks carried their paper with them in the car and at the office, noting their activity for each prior 15 minutes – all day. Whom they saw? What they said? If they sold? Even noting when they had lunch!

My piece of paper was different. The same reporting every 15 minutes, but more detail. Columns for admin, sales, budget, travel, reports, conference, etc. The percentage of time at each of these disciplines was to be recorded. For example: Continue reading →

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 amateur 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 →

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