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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →