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  • Pennsylvania governor proposes new tax on nat gas extraction [View news story]
    Given the significant correction on oil and gas prices, exploration and new drilling has already been cut; resulting in major layoffs for the oil and gas E&P sector.
    Oil and gas companies' 2015 capital budgets have seen up to 30% reductions.

    Now, Pennsylvania can watch oil/gas E&P activity move west to Wyoming, Utah and other states - where "break-even" prices are much lower than drilling for Pennsylvania and New York crude/gas. Good bye jobs.
    Feb 12, 2015. 04:35 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's Electric Car Opportunity [View article]
    You are either showing some naiveté or you do not under the U.S. Tax Code. Therefore you have reduced the discussion to an emotional rather than a factual argument.

    First, keep in mind that depreciation allowances are used to encourage businesses to invest and; therefore, stimulate the economy. And, under our current tax code, ALL businesses depreciate their assets. Also, depreciation allowances are not subsidies.

    If your concern is truly about "profiteering", then Apple, Microsoft, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Coach, IBM, Intel, 3 M, P&G, Coca-Cola, General Mills and Kellogg (to name only a few) ALL should lose their depreciation allowances and tax benefits. After all, we the consumers are paying to provide and support profits for these companies; just as we do for big oil.

    Following are 2010 reported profit margins for:

    Apple - 21% plus
    Microsoft - 30%
    GE - 8% - due to financial group losses - historically GE is 12-13%
    Pfizer - 12%
    Johnson & Johnson - 22%
    Coach - 20%
    Intel - 18%
    3-M - 15%
    P & G - 16%
    Coca Cola Co - 33%
    General Mills - 10%
    Kellogg - 10%
    IBM - 15%

    Now look at big oil margins for the same period: Exxon Mobile: 8%; Chevron: 10%; Conoco Phillips: 6%; Marathon; 4%; Valero: 0%.
    These are hardly over-performers that are stealing from the public.
    These are all net purchasers of oil that refine it into other usable products.

    We cannot manipulate the tax code for political reasons. We either go by the code, as written, or we scrap it all together. After all, the next guy in the White House may not like IT companies, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Beverages, etc. I trust that you get my point.

    If we permit the politicians to pick and choose; then we are allowing them to manipulate the system, reward their financial backers and support crony capitalism. In the end, this means the U.S. consumer loses.

    The bottom line is that the current depreciation allowance argument is bogus. It is nothing more than a ruse played upon an electorate that has little to no understanding of business or tax issues.
    This is politics at work. One political party using a populist argument to "work the electorate" and garner support for a political agenda.
    Wow!!! Politics as usual.

    Don't fall for it - from either party.
    Mar 11, 2012. 04:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's Electric Car Opportunity [View article]
    You will not get an argument from me about all the subsidies that Washington provides. In addition to the well documented subsidies, we also have the IRS loopholes (promoted by lobbyists) providing chosen businesses or industries with substantial tax breaks.

    I would point out that GE and GM are, in my opinion, among the largest beneficiaries of these breaks. Neither of these companies have paid nor will pay Federal Income Taxes for years to come - you just need a large staff of tax attorneys and the right political connections in order to be on the "taking side" of crony capitalism.
    They double down by taking both special subsidies and tax breaks.

    Also, I am not a fan of Big Oil. However, you must admit that the oil industry at least, while taking those depreciation allowances, still manages to pay billions of dollars in Federal Income taxes. I will admit, however, that I do not know the effective % tax rate that each oil company pays. If you have that information, please pass it on.

    Finally, your Ron Paul comment is right on. To start, this country needs to rethink, revamp and simplify the tax code; to address the disparities that exist. My preference is to dump the current code and start over. But, I've been known to sometimes be a dreamer. Both parties have too much invested in the current tax structure from which they derive their financial support and power.

    Keep up the column. It provides food for thought and stimulates good dialogue. Thanks.
    Mar 6, 2012. 10:22 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's Electric Car Opportunity [View article]
    My intent is not to bash EV's. However, I must question your analysis of the Volt and support for GE's decision to utilize this specific vehicle for their sales fleet.

    I do believe there is a place for EV's and Hybrids in corporate fleets. However, based on personal experience and along with my understanding of Volt's operating features, I do not believe GE's decision is one based purely on economics.

    Much of the Volt's hype is based on its 90+ "miles per gallon" rating at its 40 mile range, or less, per charge. However, beyond 40 miles, it runs on gas and loses its significant miles per gallon advantage.

    Few fleet vehicles travel 40 miles per day or less. There are several other EV's or Hybrids that provide better range per charge, lower maintenance costs and equal or better highway miles per gallon; all at a lower purchase price.

    I would like to see an honest comparison of the Volt vs Camry's Hybrid and Ford's Fusion Hybrid - with pricing $13,000 and $10,000, respectively, below the Volt - and no government inducements for purchase.

    I'm afraid that GE's decision is more political than practical. GE makes great efforts in using Washington to pick our pockets.
    Why should taxpayers continue to provide handouts to a corporation that pays NO Federal Income Tax, while it secures bailouts for its financial and appliance groups?

    Unfortunately, GE's decision appears to be nothing more than an attempt to garner more political favor with Washington. Now we have Government Electric and Government Motors defining the New Capitalism - making profits using taxpayers' dollars, while they avoid paying corporate taxes.

    GE has the right to select any vehicle for its fleet. It should do so, however, with finances from its own (or its investors) pockets.
    Mar 5, 2012. 01:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dow/Gold Ratio: Too Early To Buy Equities [View article]
    Good food for thought and interesting analysis; especially since it supports my concerns about the DOW.
    Feb 28, 2012. 10:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's Electric Car Opportunity [View article]
    It will be interesting to see if Jeffrey Immelt "practices what he preaches" and begins to ride in an electric powered limo.
    By the way, parking a volt in his parking space will not count.
    Feb 21, 2012. 07:41 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2012: Insights From Jamie Dimon [View article]
    Sorry, but I feel your investment takeaways are a bit simplistic.
    On health care, you only refer to IT.
    IT will certainly help reduce costs and improve treatments.
    However, IT alone will not turn around the increasing costs of health care.
    To be safe from litigation, doctors must still over-prescribe tests and treatments (thus, increasing costs) - a measure necessary to defend themselves against malpractice claims.
    Tort reform must be addressed.
    In addition, every health care provider (primarily institutions) must do continuous quality, cost and process audits (like the manufacturing sector) to identify and eliminate procedures that are NOT necessary and improve upon those that are. Companies that are able to help in these areas should be identified and reviewed for potential investment.
    Feb 13, 2012. 12:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2012: Insights From Jamie Dimon [View article]
    As the President stated, the U.S. is producing more oil than in the past 8 years. Let's be sure to note, however, this has not been due to the current administration's energy policy (oops, it really does not have one). We have not increased on-shore production from the traditional drilling rigs. Production from oil shale has been the reason for the increase and is due to new technology and the efforts of the oil companies. In fact, the current administration has indicated opposition to "fracking" - a necessary technology to secure oil from shale deposits.
    What happens to our on-shore production when "fracking" is banned?
    Feb 13, 2012. 12:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment