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  • PayPal Could Be eBay's Alibaba [View article]
    "Perhaps, as you say, spinning out would allow them to refocus on the core business and get better at what they were there for, but if an Amazon or Apple seriously pushed into online payments (they already have the infrastructure, userbase, amazing customer service, etc.), and you could use different online payment methods on eBay, I think we could see PayPal fall by the wayside."

    Unlikely. As the article and Icann are saying, a focus on core businesses is quite possibly the key to unlocking value, prospering and surviving long-term.

    As a longtime user of Paypal and Ebay, it is quite clear that the management, from Omidyar and Donahoe and beyond, are so hopelessly shortsighted and easily swayed by the easy cash cow money the Marketplace throws off in direct fees and the ease of taking the money of millions of captive Paypal users that the result may include corruption or at least, sloppiness in their personal business practices.

    Utterly unlike Amazon in execution, the Ebay site has never been known for leading edge innovation and this is the same organization that would need to move Paypal into the 21'st century. Management has developed a dangerous hubris that has caused the clumsy ham-fisted treatment of customers who somehow run afoul of some alleged irregularity in their Paypal accounts to resemble a user experience with the Poliburo. The lack of vision in the Ebay organization will eliminate Paypal's best chance to become the truly accepted choice in online payments.

    Meanwhile, the Ebay Marketplace has withered vs it's competition with no new concepts demonstrated beyond eliminating millions of small sellers to generate a quick bounce in profits by reducing the customer service they require and charging them onerous fees while somehow expecting the largest merchants in the world to flock to the site. This is not a path to the future, rather, it is a descending glidepath for the company to yield short term quarterly bonuses for CEO Donahoe and his BOD while competitors arise and flourish.

    If Paypal and Ebay were separated, the true condition of the Ebay marketplace and their need to step up with better ideas to compete with Amazon, Alibaba and others would be exposed and Paypal would compete free of the shackles of an Ebay management that has demonstrated a willingness to settle for a quick buck, second rate execution and a reputation that is bad enough to be featured on 60 Minutes.
    Mar 7 06:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Outguns Intel [View article]
    Having read the biography, "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson, it appears the Apple Way is about ALWAYS maintaining a scrupulously high standard esthetically and functionally and in solving problems and fulfilling needs the consumer may not even be aware of. This has apparently fueled their admirable product evolution despite missteps and fallibility, all the way.

    Since corporate cultures seem to revert to a marketing oriented badge-engineered tolerance for excessive compromise that is ultimately self-destructive, great opportunity can be found in unexpected places such as competing against yesterday's most successful giants. For Apple, it apparently needed to do just that with it's chips since it's iPhone needs were not going to be met by a slow-moving Intel that has been so tone deaf in smartphone chips that it may yet fail in an area it mostly ignored for too long.
    Feb 28 11:52 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fannie Mae repays Treasury, and more [View news story]
    "Leftfield - then why did 25% of the entire banking industry lose their jobs in the last crisis, including the heads of almost every major bank?"

    The "entire banking industry" is not TBTF Wall Street; there life at the top, even if one is replaced, includes dazzling golden parachutes that go a long way to cushioning any and all setbacks. And it has been demonstrated that their firms will survive the leveraged losses of their depositor's money while they benefit from the diminution of their less-favored competitors.
    Feb 28 10:03 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Depression With Benefits: The Macro Case For mREITs [View article]
    "If a business can produce a product for $2 (all in) and sell it for $2.30 it will do so whether it has to pay 0% of the $.30 in income tax or 90% of the $.30 in tax."

    Here is the danger of expanding the deadweight of government overhead on productive enterprises: For a tax that wipes out 90% of the profit margin and fail to move the price to the consumer, it will wipe out most of the producers, thus sending increasing numbers of people to the economically parasitic fields where wasted tax dollars create incentives: Government and legal/compliance areas.

    The allegedly "simple" tax cited in this example will not remain as such whatsoever as the expanded hordes of policymakers, enforcers and entrail readers who are motivated to create as much diversionary "work product" in exchange for personal career rewards and kickbacks as possible will do their jobs all too well. And the rich will somehow figure out ways to prosper even more as productive and innovative competitors are stifled in the crib.

    Better to allow maximum domestic liberty and freedom from government interference, costs and controls as possible to enable a proliferation of prosperity by entrepreneurs in real private enterprises who need mainly to be free of as much of the huge opportunity cost that government in it's present size and reach, creates.
    Feb 28 09:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Make Hay While The Sun Doesn't Shine [View article]
    "We know exactly what would happen with a $10,000/hour minimum wage, and it's easy to demonstrate it. But the Republicans are absolutely inarticulate on this point, and on most points, and that is why they keep losing arguments where they have the stronger position."

    Sad but true, leaving the political landscape littered with only devotees of more government and with me-too advocates of either expanding a little slower or more likely, expanding in different areas. In either case, more government is the only direction permitted in "respectable" policy discourse and no clear alternative is proposed except by a few relegated to the fringes.

    The logical outcome of many generations who have settled for the "easy" short-term solutions provided by growing government is the vast feeding apparatus that supports it and the mega-corporations that can survive whatever new rules, costs and mandates are issued, get exceptions and bailouts where need and obtain the blessings of wholly owned academia and MSM while completely obliterating any voice from small and medium sized domestic businesses.

    Mega government and mega multinational businesses have become the only game in town because they can tap into ZIRP and mega deficit public financing which is so profitable for them there will be no remaining alternative on the public stage until the Wall Street/Washington Magic Money Machine can no longer dominate the political and economic landscape via the illusion of perpetual motion provided by seemingly infinite debt and dollar creation.
    Feb 28 08:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold And Reverse Repos [View article]
    I appreciate this article and that it appears worthy of further study to more fully understand the use of gold as collateral by the largest players and how that may affect it in the future.
    Feb 27 08:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • eBay Shareholders - Stand Up And Be Counted [View article]
    I realize it's been long forgotten in the feeding frenzy that exists at the top in too much of American corporate and political culture, but Jesus said in Luke 12:48: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."

    In WWI, upper class men were first in line to serve in Britain, and they died in enormous numbers. Presently at the top in the West, while there are no doubt many quiet exceptions who are sickened by all this, it's a feeding frenzy unprecedented in history. Yet you can count on one hand family members of Congress who served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Given the opportunities abounding in the field, Ebay has had crummy results under CEO John Donahoe for many reasons that are reflective of poor decisions and policies, and this article and Icann point out a steaming example: The insider sellout of Skype.

    Grossly incestuous B'sOD in top US corporations are long overdue for an Augean stablecleaning.
    Feb 26 11:38 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fannie Mae repays Treasury, and more [View news story]
    "When you make a trade, sometimes you lose."

    Not when you're TBTF Wall Street playing with depositor's money. There, you're guaranteed every taxpayer backstop and you get to keep your bonuses.
    Feb 26 10:32 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There Has Been No Gold Bull Market, But It Is About To Begin [View article]
    Very interesting take on the current depressed state of PM miner prices and it's cause. If mining costs have become less than the price of gold due to inflation in the cost of mining that may be reflective of the same inflation in this sector that rampant money creation has brought about in financial paper, it's spread to the consumer sector and to PM prices becomes more likely than has been generally and comfortably surmised by mainstream opinion.
    Feb 25 02:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Consequences Of A Farmland Bubble, And Who Gets Hurt When It Bursts? [View article]
    "Comparing the Tea Party to fascism simply demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what fascism is. Fascism by definition requires a very very very strong and powerful central government."

    The Tea Party must be doing something right to attract such ire from mentally lazy detractors who would rather slumber through the threatening rise of government power with all the "good intentions" that are attached to it to mask it's true face.

    How it is that the left so consistently attributes learnedness and compassion to their ridiculous centralized socialist projects and denigrates any opposition or criticism as socially, educationally and intellectually benighted despite the hundreds of millions who have perished via government acts that can only occur under centralized power, is beyond rational understanding.
    Feb 22 07:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    "You may have noticed that comments from the Left are usually responses motivated by initial comments from the Right."

    Who is President? From the responses, it seems to be Bush. But since Obama actually is the President, it is customary to debate his policies and results first, such as they are.
    Feb 21 09:17 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wal-Mart Too [View article]
    Amazon makes no profit selling primarily to the great American tapped-out consumer. Not an encouraging example just because it's stock is exhibit A of QE and public debt-fueled financial asset inflation.
    Feb 20 09:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Summary Of My Post-CPI Comments [View article]
    I guess understanding that the time when we were "flirting with deflation" after 2004 as oil rose to $170/bbl by 2007 (it had been $17 in 1999) must be beyond my pay grade.

    I realize there are many components to CPI and core CPI but again will run the risk of repetitiousness to mention that the prices Ma and Pa Kettle pay seem often to be bizarrely divorced from the learned data and interpretations handed down from above on the subject.

    Still, I read these articles in hopes of profiting from a useful conflation of official statistics, professional interpretations and personal experience.
    Feb 20 02:45 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The 'Mean Reversion' Focus Can Be A Costly Blunder [View article]
    Tack - I appreciate your concern. The system that provides the best price discovery and individual freedom can evolve the best solutions and opportunities which remain unknown and plentiful of course.

    Meanwhile, created hot money issued from public debt chasing financial assets and an IT 2.0 mentality applied to issues in the physical realm may not prove much more durable than IT 1.0.
    Feb 20 11:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The 'Mean Reversion' Focus Can Be A Costly Blunder [View article]
    "...this means the business world has become a meritocracy on steroids: If you're *really* good, the opportunities are unlimited, and don't require massive capital."

    True of internet enterprises with vast, cheap scalability and of course they add potential profitability to many businesses ventures as does globalization. However, there is a school of thought that considers that the greatest boon to productivity and Western living standards has been the successful application of increased energy to many pursuits and activities of life and business since the inception of Industrial Revolution that are mostly employed already.

    In other words, where physical inputs are required, change comes much more slowly and at much greater cost than online, and with energy and resource production becoming much more difficult and with billions of expectant new candidates for middle class lifestyles around the world, the supply of low hanging fruit for advancing Western lifestyles and possibly for corporate profitability may be waning.

    Unfortunately, the "meritocracy" part is highly questionable in an environment where success is so linked to government programs, favors and central bank manipulation.
    Feb 20 10:12 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment