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citizenleung

citizenleung
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  • A pitched battle is under way at Delta Air Lines (DAL) in preparation for the largest unionization vote at a U.S. company since the 1940s. Delta is the only mostly union-free major U.S. carrier, but that could change after its 50,000 flight attendants and ground workers vote in the next several weeks on whether to join unions.  [View news story]
    If Southwest, American, and United can deal with unions, why can't Delta? It's not like freedom from unions caused Delta to performed so much better--it did enter bankruptcy protection in 2004. Maybe this speaks to how poor Delta's executives are compared to those at other airlines.
    Oct 22, 2010. 09:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ObamaCare Begins to Bite [View article]
    Health insurance companies have unjustifiably increased premiums for many years at rates far outstripping inflation. What's wrong with calling them out on it?

    You'd think that you're getting something for the mountains of cash you sent their way, but health insurance companies fight tooth and nail to deny whatever coverage they can. What a business model!

    The only function of health insurance companies is to add exponentially to the already high costs of health care and to add insult to the injured. They make the likes of Altria, Monsanto, and Goldman Sachs look like angels in comparison. It is unfortunate that there is no political will to drive them out of business.
    Oct 19, 2010. 12:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 'New Normal' Myth Calls for Ronald Reagan 2.0 [View article]
    Reagan 2.0 means more spending and more borrowing. Reagan 1.0 did not know what the words "balanced budget" meant, as deficits ballooned ever higher. During his years in office, the United States went from being the largest international creditor to the largest international debtor. Quite the legacy, eh?

    People praise Reagan for lowering taxes after coming into office, but they neglect to mention that after he found that the coffers were empty, he raised taxes left and right for the rest of his presidency. Most of the taxes were regressive, of course. Who in his right mind cuts the higher marginal rates while simultaneously raising the lower marginal rates? Can we say that no one waged war on the middle class as well as Reagan?

    A free trader by instinct? You do know that Reagan put in more protectionist measures of any president since Hoover, don't you?

    Stop with the revisionist history and Reagan propoganda.
    Oct 19, 2010. 08:46 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Champions: Smackdown V [View article]
    I agree with a tax holiday to encourage repatriation of profits.

    However, I would say that from the Reagan administration through the Bush II administration, our government has been too concerned about transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. Have you noticed the ever widening wealth gap? How wages have been stagnant for a decade while CEO salaries, determined by boards that these same CEOs control, race ever higher? How many of these salaries were built upon "profits" generated by shipping jobs overseas, reducing product quality and safety, and sometimes creative accounting? Did any of these profits trickle down to the middle class?

    I'm not saying that what the CEOs did was wrong, as long as they stayed within the bounds of the law. After all, they have to perform for their shareholders, and if the best way to increase profits is to manufacture overseas, then they should do so. I merely take exception to the assertion that the government is concerned with transferring wealth from the rich to the poor. If there's any transfer from rich to poor, it's the transfer of wealth from the (relatively) rich in the United States to the poor in China.
    Oct 6, 2010. 05:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In the latest round of escalating trade tensions between the two countries, the U.S. sets duties ranging up to 61% on copper pipe from China. The Commerce Department announcement comes one day after China slapped duties of up to 105% on chicken parts from the U.S.
     [View news story]
    The currency war is much more interesting and relevant than this little "trade war."
    Sep 27, 2010. 05:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Lazear's Budget Solution: Deceptively Simple, Or Simply Deceptive? [View article]
    The author is absolutely right about entitlement reform. Even if we allocate $0 to "discretionary spending," entitlement spending (and defense spending) will still cause the debt to grow. No proposals for solving our fiscal problems can be taken seriously without significant entitlement reform.

    The reactionary masses love to say that they are fiscal conservatives and call mindlessly for reduced spending. However, they love it when their senators and representatives bring home the pork. Furthermore, if any proposed spending cuts affect their localities, suddenly, they suddenly scream and yell about jobs. Sorry, folks, you cannot have it both ways.

    On another note, if fiscal responsibility is so important to Lazear, why didn't he give this advice to Bush when he chaired Bush's Council of Economic Advisors? His advice to reduce spending half of 2008 levels is ridiculous. Basically, he's saying that Republicans can spend whatever they want, while Democrats have to implement austerity measures and live by the economic (and political) consequences. What a pile of horse manure.
    Sep 27, 2010. 11:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spain: Mission Accomplished? [View article]
    Zapatero's declaration was brave and, as the author mentioned possibly premature. That said, if I had to bet on one of the PIIGS to do the right thing, it would be Spain. I'd trust Spain before the United Kingdom.
    Sep 23, 2010. 03:21 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The government should make it easier for companies to invest and expand but instead they are intimidating business, Jack Welch tells CNBC. Obama is "anti-business," he says, because "you can't go industry by industry... through intimidation, business by business by business" without companies holding back.  [View news story]
    Welch sowed the seeds of GE's downfall. The fruits of Welch's labor was evident when GE had to take a tin cup to Warren Buffett in 2008.
    Sep 23, 2010. 12:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The government should make it easier for companies to invest and expand but instead they are intimidating business, Jack Welch tells CNBC. Obama is "anti-business," he says, because "you can't go industry by industry... through intimidation, business by business by business" without companies holding back.  [View news story]
    The myth of Jack Welch is amusing. His "success" came from mortgaging GE's core businesses through GE Capital's accounting games. He's lucky in that he got out early to maintain some kind of reputation. If he had stayed until today, the ire directed at Immelt today would rest squarely on Welch's shoulders.

    Let's see how Welch's disciples have performed. McNerney's Dreamliner has been a disaster of execution. Nardelli's frequently mentioned as one of of the worst CEOs of recent times. The ticking time bomb Welch created exploded on Immelt's watch, so I'm not sure its fair to judge his performance quite yet. Whatever the case, I think it's fair to say that Welch's philosophy does not work as well as advertised without the protection of GE Capital's black box.
    Sep 23, 2010. 11:09 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • September eurozone manufacturing PMI came in at 53.6, well below the 54.8 forecast and August's 55.1; Germany's number was 55.3 vs. August's 58.2. The data suggests that Europe's economy is slowing down even more rapidly than had been forecast. The news, combined with Ireland's negative GDP, sends European stock markets lower. FTSE -0.87%, DAX -0.88%, CAC -1.21%. Euro -0.5% vs. dollar.  [View news story]
    I hope people aren't surprised by Ireland's negative GDP--that's what happens when a country implements austerity measures.
    Sep 23, 2010. 09:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Market recap: Stocks fell and investors fled to safety in reaction to the Fed's enhanced concerns about deflation. Techs especially took it on the chin after Adobe's dim outlook and Microsoft's disappointing dividend hike. Gold hit another high at $1,296.20 before paring its gains a bit, the dollar continued to fall sharply, and Treasurys rose. NYSE decliners led advancers two to one.  [View news story]
    That Microsoft will use the debt offering to fund buybacks is not a secret (it doesn't need the money for the dividend--it's payout ratio is a paltry 25%). If bondholders knew that going in and would be infuriated by such actions, then why did they line up to buy five-year notes at under 0.875%? Because they don't see it as Microsoft taking money from them and rewarding shareholders--they see it as finding a safe place to park some cash.
    Sep 23, 2010. 01:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • President Obama is a "defender of free markets," Paul Volcker tells Fox Business, "not a wild-eyed leftist radical." It's not surprising that "people are a little cautious about investing," he says, given the depth of the recession, but Obama is right to point out excess in the financial world - "and it happens to be accurate."  [View news story]
    The vast majority of countries that would be considered capitalist under your strange criteria are in the Middle East and in Africa. Have fun in those places.
    Sep 22, 2010. 11:51 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft (MSFT) sold $4.75B in debt today, smashing the lowest borrowing rate on record for three-year unsecured corporate bonds and approaching record-low coupons for five-, 10- and 30-year bonds, Reuters reports.  [View news story]
    Microsoft's dividend is not spectacular, but it's relatively good for a tech company. Also, I'm not sure Microsoft cares about the drop in market cap today when the point of taking on debt was to buy back stock. Ideally, companies buy back when shares are cheap.
    Sep 22, 2010. 11:20 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft (MSFT) sold $4.75B in debt today, smashing the lowest borrowing rate on record for three-year unsecured corporate bonds and approaching record-low coupons for five-, 10- and 30-year bonds, Reuters reports.  [View news story]
    What do you mean it's bad for business? They're probably popping the corks on a case of Cristal in Redmond tonight. They get to borrow money at ultra-low rates to generate value by buying back stock (and maybe even doing some R&D) and pay back the debt in what will likely be less valuable dollars. Johnson & Johnson, IBM, and McDonald's have done the same. These are all well run companies.

    By the way, what does the administration have to do with this? You do realize that interest rates are controlled by the Fed, don't you?
    Sep 22, 2010. 11:17 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • President Obama is a "defender of free markets," Paul Volcker tells Fox Business, "not a wild-eyed leftist radical." It's not surprising that "people are a little cautious about investing," he says, given the depth of the recession, but Obama is right to point out excess in the financial world - "and it happens to be accurate."  [View news story]
    Exactly right. He singlehandedly slew the stagflation monster during the early 80s. When politicians complained about the ensuing pains, Volcker basically told them to kiss his @$$ and go to hell. We can only hope that every Fed chairman will be as wise and independent as Volcker.
    Sep 22, 2010. 11:07 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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