Friday, September 19, 2008

It's the Republicans, stupid.

The more I think about it, the more it galls me that John "Original Maverick" McCain and the rest of the GOP campaign machine are anchoring their economic pitch in the strategy of distancing themselves from pretty much everything their party has stood for up till, like, 3:09 p.m. yesterday. (Weren't many of the politicos and delegates cheering wildly for McCain at Convention the same people cheering wildly for Dubya four years ago?) Take, for example, the idea that the GOP is going to reform Big Business; that it's going to emphasize transparency and build bridges of understanding between Wall Street and Main Street. The GOP is going to do this? Are you freakin' kidding me? And it's not even that I disbelieve them, necessarily; I think by now even Gordon Gecko would agree that certain areas of the free market have gotten out of hand and need to be reined back in.

The thing is, sincere or not, that just isn't how it goes in real life. If you break it, typically
if you screw things up this badlyyou forfeit the right to fix it. You had your chance and you blew it. Isn't that the case nowadays in any given corporation? Let's say a man we'll call John McBain is the chief financial officer at a major company when the controls fail and the P&L turns to crap and there are even suspicions of fraud and other questionable activities. When the board of directors finally wakes up and realizes that something drastic needs to be done (and/or the regulators come a-knocking), what's the customary first step? Do the directors go to McBain and say, "Hey, John, how's it hangin'? Listen, we'd like you to reexamine what's been happening on your watch. Would you mind very much? Could you take care of that for us and report back inohfour years?"

Uh, no. The first thing the directors will do is fire his ass and bring in someone new.* And if it's a highly visible public company, that "someone" will preferably be from outside, a person with no standing allegiances in the company and no trail leading back to the existing procedures and controls. (In fact, in such a scenario, the shareholders might even "fire" the board of directors.)

But somehow, McCain and the GOP, at least to date, have managed to sell as schizoid a message as I've ever heard in four decades of watching politics: They're Republicans...but they're going to reform some of the very realms that are most closely identified with Republicanism. They're Republicans...but they're asking the nation to allow them to be the ones who implement some of the very agendas the Democrats have been urging all along. And if the polls count for anything, they may get away with it in the end.

Unreal. I guess we are that stupid after all.

* I'm oversimplifying the chain of command here, but the example is valid in the overall.

34 comments:

RevRon's Rants said...

I can only imagine how galling it must be for Republicans to face the necessity of implementing Democratic policies in order to correct Republican blunders. To make matters even more difficult for them, they're faced with the task of spinning their turnabout to make it look like the Democrats were the problem all along, and the Republicans the saviors. As we're already beginning to see, they're striving to do just that. And if the voting public buys their charade, we'll deserve 4 more years of the last 8 years. I still can't accept the notion, however, that my children's generation - and their children's - should have to pay for their parents' folly.

Elizabeth said...

And don't forget, Steve, that the Republicans will do it -- reform their own sorry asses 'n all -- without raising taxes. As Palin and whatshisname keep reassuring their open-mouthed faithful who cheer this holy revelation every time they hear it. Read their lipsticked lips: No. Raised. Taxes. (cue the cheering, flag-waving crowd)

Oh, and to appease the crowd, Palin and whatshisname will offer it a sacrificial (even if hypothetically so) lamb when needed. This time it is the SEC Chair whom McCain promised to fire when he gets to the White House. (There is a tiny problem with this sacrifice -- turns out the preznit cannot really fire the SEC Chair, but no matter. As long as the crowds cheer, one more lie does not make a difference.)

Unreal is probably the gentlest way to describe this cynical spectacle.

Steve Salerno said...

And Ron, I still have a hard time with the fact that nobody is shining much of a light on the literal cost of this whole Iraq mess. Yeah, it's mentioned in passing, but it's never given the emphasis it deserves (probably for political reasons. For all the talk about how Barack was the only one with the foresight to vote against the war, the Dems remain on the defensive about being "soft" in matters of terrorism. And I don't think anybody is quite sure how to bring the whole debacle to a resolution, anyway, so no one wants to go out on too much of a limb). I have to believe that in its own indirect way, that cost has had a not-insubstantial effect on the cascading series of events we've witnessed elsewhere in the economy.

It's not over by a long-shot--no matter who gets elected--and we'll be paying the freight for many, many years to come. If something doesn't change quite soon, though we may all continue to live in America, the actual ownership of the country will have passed to those abroad.

Elizabeth said...

Alright, Steve, yes -- the cost of the Iraq (and Afghanistan, and now possibly Pakistan, and soon who knows what other -- Russia, anyone?) mess.

And the sudden socialist generosity toward the corrupt private companies that have to be rescued from their own greed. To the tune of a trillion dollars.

Sure.

But universal health benefits for all Americans, including the poor schmucks who have been working and paying taxes and behaving honestly all their lives but can't afford regular doctor visits, those benefits would be just too expensive for America.

Steve Salerno said...

That's what I meant (in part), Eliz: Billions and billions of dollars spent one place is money NOT spent someplace else. So politicians, when they rail against the cost of universal health care, should at least be honest. They shouldn't say, "We can't afford it." They should say instead, "It's not worth it to us." Because, as recent administrations have shown, when they deem something "worth it," they find the money.

Even if we don't have it.

Steve Salerno said...

Just FYI, I always thought of AOL as a relatively youngish, hippish, more liberal-minded demographic. But in the latest poll, which asks whose economic policy offers the best prospects for fixing America, the response skews overwhelmingly towards McCain. Though such polls are far from being scientific samplings, that does not strike me as a promising sign.

Elizabeth said...

You know, Steve, it just may be as well that Palin/McCain get the White House and finish what Bush started -- running the country to the ground and turning the whole world against us. God himself would have no chance of repairing this mess in four years.

---

On a somewhat related note, Steve, we all make mistakes, I know, but what made you vote for Bush in 2000?

Elizabeth said...

The real trickle-down economics:
http://tinyurl.com/47t8yx

Anonymous said...

Well Steve people equate Republicans with money and Democrats with poverty. It is a very superficial way to look at politics, but so many do it. The fall out of the economy is not done yet and it will be the nail in McCain's grave, because this has not "trickled" down to the little guy yet. Right now it is all about "Big Bankers" and not about the guy working at Walmart. By November it will be and Obama will wonder why he ever wanted to be president during these financial times.

Elizabeth said...

Seems the only "straight" part left of the Straight Talk Express refers to the lies McCain dishes out each day, somehow unperturbed by conscience, or even the appearance of impropriety:
http://tinyurl.com/4s3dgh

Anonymous said...

"Just FYI, I always thought of AOL as a relatively youngish, hippish, more liberal-minded demographic."

You are a bit out of it if you think AOL is "youngish and hippish." Unless you think the average age of 55 is young and hip. I suppose with so many people living to be 100 that could be the case. The young and hip are not on AOL, but they are smaller than the Baby Boomers.

renee said...

"...this has not "trickled" down to the little guy yet. Right now it is all about "Big Bankers" and not about the guy working at Walmart."

This is exactly the kind of comment that makes me crazy. It's trickling to Walmart - and places like Walmart - TODAY. Why doesn't anyone remember that the woman who reaches for the Pam Cooking spray to bake her holiday meals or who picks up some Weight Watchers Smart Ones to watch her diet - is buying products not only from Walmart or Target or her local grocery store, she's buying them from conglomerates like ConAgra and Heinz? And that when ConAgra and Heinz have a bad quarter (or two or three or nine), not only will their stock drop, their retail prices will go UP and, by the way, a couple of thousand people will lose their jobs. And that doesn't even take into consideration the thousands of vendors who sell to these conglomerates, vendors like - dare I say it - American farmers?

Why don't people remember things like the ConAgra Foundation and Heinz Foundation, that fund millions of dollars and inordinate resources toward childhood hunger and nutrition intiatives here and around the world? (Like every major corporation in the world, by the way, inluding the demon incarnate, Walmart. They all have foundations doing philanthopic work.)

This isn't about rich people losing their portfolios and "poor sad millionaires." It's about the business of America being business, as Henry Ford (?) said.

IMHO, Anyone who is watching this financial upheaval unfold, saying "Good for them, the greedy, no-good SOBs. It's no more than they deserve and I can't wait until the Good Guys take control" is sadly shortsighted.

ellen said...

Just heard here that the US taxpayer is buying up all those bad debts from the clever-clogs bankers whose greed and deceit started this particular economic ball rolling. What price free-marketeering now?
Karl Marx is buried here in London not too far from me. AK Barbie can see Russia from her house, I can see old Karl positively spinning out of his grave with delight--vindicated at last.
Perhaps Bush is presiding over the socialisation of the US.

RevRon's Rants said...

Damn straight, renee! We should be applauding those CEO's who are smart enough to wrangle multimillion-dollar bonuses, even as they are laying off half their hourly workforce - the workforce, by the way, who actually make the products that are the source of the company's profits.

And we should cheer for the insurance companies who pay lobbyists thousands of times what they pay their own employees, so that the lobbyists can successfully convince (buy) our elected officials to enact laws that keep the insurance companies from having to actually provide coverage.

We should stand in awe of the health care industry for its diligence in ensuring that stockholders' dividends are healthier than the patients who cannot afford basic medical care.

And don't even get me started on the credit card industry!

Finally, we should know in our hearts that every one of those big corporations and conglomerates places the well-being of the country above their quest for ever-increasing profits. Why, many of them actually move their manufacturing and financial operations offshore, in order to protect them from the predatory practices and cumbersome oversight of stifling regulatory bodies who are obviously owned, part and parcel, by socialist ne'er-do-wells. Lord knows, the companies did their best to ensure that their profits trickled down to each of their employees. Layoffs? Democratic spin. Sweat shops? Tree-hugger whining.

Remember... "Made in America" is Wal-Mart's slogan. Or at least it was while Sam Walton was alive.

Simply put, singing the praises of "trickle down" loses its credibility when much of what trickles down is bad news, while the actual benefits trickle up. Voodoo economics is still voodoo economics, no matter how loudly it is heralded as the salvation of this country.

Cal said...

All I can say Steve is preach, brother, preach. I think we really have only one political party now. They have morphed together.

I agree that we will pay the price. The hyperinflation that hit this country in the '70s may rear its ugly head again.

But, if this initial stock market rally fades, then what is next? Capitol Hill and the White House have basically thrown the kitchen sink at the credit crisis.

ellen said...

Renee,
This particular mess will impact on all of us, and not just in the US. In Europe there is a saying 'when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold'--a recognition that we are all bound together in this venture. Global politics and global economics, as it is done today, ensures that.
I think that what I and some of the people on this blog recognise is that our leaders have, for a long time, been neglecting our interests. The people that we employ to represent us have instead been concerned with feathering the nests of their buddies to our collective detriment. They are paid to look after all our interests, not just the interests of those that can pay to lobby to have their cases favoured.
The business of America is business? Steve is right, the CEO of any business should not be rewarded for doing a piss-poor job and running that business into the ground. When that happens we all pay.

Anonymous said...

Whatever I may think of your politics, "schizoid" was a completely inappropriate term to use in that post. A professional ought to know (especially a self-appointed expert) that misusing legitimate psychiatric terms only perpetuates stigma against people who live with mental illness.

RevRon's Rants said...

anonymous 4:17: From the Free Dictionary -
schiz·oid (sktsoid)
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder marked by extreme shyness, flat affect, reclusiveness, discomfort with others, and an inability to form close relationships.
2. Of, relating to, or suggestive of schizophrenia. No longer in scientific use.
3. Informal Relating to or characterized by the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic elements: "This schizoid town is part resort, part sardine cannery" Jean Anderson.

Please read definition number 3, along with the example provided. Then I suggest you take your meds before seeking out another "issue" with which to take umbrage. :-)

Akhetnu said...

Renee-

If ConAgra and Walmart are so vital to the common man and their philanthropic causes (done also for tax write-offs but that is another story), it is even more imperative that we make sure they remain legit in their financial dealings.

However, the current mess involves bankers and lenders who really did try to game the system, as well as stockholders and borrowers who pushed them to this by demanding unrealistic returns on their investments. There are guilty and innocent parties all throughout these sectors, but let us not pretend that this is (or ought to be) business as usual. If it is, then such business should either be changed, or allowed to function without bailouts at all.

renee said...

The many, many open minds contributing to the discussions on this blog continue to leave me in awe.

I had no idea I said all that, Ron. Thank you for letting me know.

I'm picturing a headline in the months to come:

Ford Foundation to Discontinue IllumiNation, a $1.9 million dollar program eastablished to strengthen Indigenous arts and cultures throughout the United States.
Cites financial crisis of '08, lack of funding

SPIN: "I KNEW Republicans hated Native Americans."

This is ridiculous.

Elizabeth said...

That last Anon's comment (on the "misuse" of the term schizoid) is ironic, right? As in, it's rather insulting to compare the insanity of the double-faced and double-spoken McCain campaign to schizoids and schizophrenics as such a comparison insults the latter. Right? (Please say so.)

Steve Salerno said...

Apropos of the debate currently evolving between Renee et al: There was an interesting bit of byplay on Bill Maher's show last week. My former WSJ editor, John Fund, was on, along with Janeane Garofalo (did I spell that right?), who is clearly one of the more intelligent--but also one of the more acerbic/abrasive--voices on the far Left. Fund and Garofalo got into it on the subject of whether Democrats are inherently nicer people than Republicans--her argument, natch. In fact, she was so vehement on the point that she appeared to be contending that you cannot be a Republican if you are a caring human being.

Now, I don't know if that's true; certainly it's untrue that all Republicans are rich and omnipotent while all Democrats are poor and powerless. (To wit: Barbra Streisand.) But think about it: What is the personal advantage to be gained in advocating a platform of shared wealth, as most on the far Left do? You may be rich and powerful and advocate a form of socialism, but I don't know how you can get rich and powerful via socialism, if it's an honestly run socialist program (i.e. not the way they did it in the old Soviet Union). So it would seem that the people who gravitate towards Republicanism would tend to be, if nothing else, more inherently motivated by self-interest, whereas the folks on the Left would be more motivated by the collective interest. Yes? No?

Henriette said...

Renee, please me why I as a stockholder should pay an idiot $200 million dollar bonus for being ineffective? Renee could you explain why board members do not govern properly? Please Renee I am listening. I am all for business as long as it is honest with my money. If you want to be a public company, as the ones you mention are, you better tell me where my money is going. Can you really tell me some dense CEO should get bonuses of those amounts? Should me (as a taxpayer now) should bail out this greedy dufes? I am listening Renee.

Elizabeth said...

Steve: Yes.

RevRon's Rants said...

renee - Ask any small town business owner about Wal-Mart's business practices. They typically open in a small town, undercut the prices of local businesses sufficiently to drive the individuals out of business, then raise their prices when the competition no longer exists.

Ask the manufacturers who do business with Wal-Mart. I can offer one glaring example that is accurately representative of how they work:

Wal Mart ordered 10,000 .30-30 rifles from Marlin, with the promise of orders at least as large every year. Marlin geared up their manufacturing to meet the customer's requirements. The next year, Wal Mart placed another order, with the stipulation that Marlin had to reduce their price by 15%. Since this more than eliminated their margin, Marlin was forced to cut costs by making some components out of cheaper materials, rather than lay off the expanded workforce. The result was that Marlin's reputation as a maker of quality firearms took a real hit. Educated riflemen and women will no longer purchase firearms from Wal Mart, knowing that the savings in cost over an "equivalent" model purchased from another retailer will be higher in quality (and resale value). The same practice is employed in their major appliances.

I'm all for businesses - large and small - making a fair profit for their efforts. I own a small business myself. But when the largest corporations are allowed to do whatever they please in the pursuit of higher profits, no matter the damage done to other businesses and individuals, I think it appropriate for government to impose a degree of regulation to keep the playing field at least accessible, if not actually level.

The "trickle down" model would only work if those at the top held to some commitment to the well-being of their employees and customer base, which certainly isn't the case nowadays. And when those big companies and wealthiest individuals are able to literally buy legislation that gives them an unfair advantage in the marketplace, as has become the norm, the only "trickle" is the attrition of the domestic workforce and the viability of smaller businesses' competitiveness in the marketplace.

And that has nothing to do with the openness of one's mind, but rather with the decision whether to be committed to the well-being of the country or to one's own greed.

Elizabeth said...

Both Renee and RevRon have valid points, I'd say (that is, if I understand Renee's arguments correctly).

I don't think, however, that anyone here (or anywhere else) is cheering the crisis and the 'demise' of the filthy financial moguls who followed their greed straight to the abyss.

This is going to trickle down -- it already is, see the article I linked here earlier today -- and, as always, it is going to create much greater hardships for those on the bottom of the economic ladder. Those on the top, while may suffer loses, are (obscenely) well-protected against any real life impact these losses may create. IOW, you will not see the AIG's (or Lehman Bros', for that matter) CEOs on the street corners with "WILL WORK FOR FOOD" signs. They may change their vacation plans this year and rearrange their portfolios, but this is perhaps as painful as it'll get for them. They inhabit a different reality. (That's why somebody like McCain, who cannot remember how many houses he owns, can come out and with a straight face tell us that, my friends, the fundamentals of this economy are strong. He, like many of his real friends and not those of his campaign slogan, is out of touch and with no clue as to what regular folks face every day.)

On the other hand, people who already have a hard time making ends meet will find it even harder just to get by in the deepening recession.

There is a well-deserved sentiment of righteous outrage directed at people at the top of those failing giants, but I do not sense any cheerfulness associated with it.

Akhetnu said...

Renee-

You seem to be committing the fallacy that a corporation's philanthropic efforts somehow negate discussion about its shadier practices. That is akin to a reverse of the poisoning the well fallacy.

Corporations can be capable of doing things that are beneficial but also of engaging in harmful behavior, just as individuals are. Hence, a corporation is only as ethical as the people running it...and it is often run by a number of individuals with different values.

No one here is implying that any company or person is completely rotten, but that like individual citizens, corporations must be held responsible for their misdeeds. Such responsibility must be considered on its own, apart from beneficial actions; after all, a murderer is still sent to prison regardless of whether or not he gave to charity that year.

Elizabeth said...

"The biggest liar in modern political history," writes Michael Tomasky, the editor of the Guardian America, about John McCain.

Hard to disagree.

See more here:
http://tinyurl.com/3u43jm

Elizabeth said...

More (un)sound advice from candidate McCain (prepare to be amazed):

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

Yep, banking, so blissfully unburdened by state regulation, is the perfect model for McCain's health care. Don't you feel healthier already?

This gem (and more like it) is from McCain’s unintentionally hilarious article Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American:
http://tinyurl.com/4mkgb8

P.S. If you have not seen Bill Moyers' Journal this week, do so -- for some straight and sobering talk on the financial crisis and more. His interview with Kevin Phillips (author of Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and The Global Crisis of American Capitalism) is especially interesting:
http://tinyurl.com/4urm9l

renee said...

From Henriette:

Renee, please me why I as a stockholder should pay an idiot $200 million dollar bonus for being ineffective?
You shouldn't. But until stockholders start making a case for change in top level executive compensation, they will continue to earn what the market will bear, both in salary and golden parachutes.

Could you explain why board members do not govern properly?
I don't know why. Greed? Stupidity? Graft? Their own poor records of service? Their country club memberships? Pressure?

Please Renee I am listening. I am all for business as long as it is honest with my money.
I don't know who would disagree with you on that and I don't know where in my post I implied I'm in favor of businesses who cheat consumers or their employees to make money.

If you want to be a public company, as the ones you mention are, you better tell me where my money is going.
Read their press releases, their quarterly reports, their shareholders statements. Read the Economist and the WSJ and Financial Times. Call into shareholders conference calls.

Can you really tell me some dense CEO should get bonuses of those amounts?
No, they shouldn't.

Should me (as a taxpayer now) should bail out this greedy dufes?
What is the alternative? We can choose to watch the financial industry in this country decline and disintegrate. And wonder why businesses close as a result.

From Akhetnu:
You seem to be committing the fallacy that a corporation's philanthropic efforts somehow negate discussion about its shadier practices. That is akin to a reverse of the poisoning the well fallacy.

Corporations can be capable of doing things that are beneficial but also of engaging in harmful behavior, just as individuals are. Hence, a corporation is only as ethical as the people running it...and it is often run by a number of individuals with different values.
Agreed. I don't know where I implied I don't believe that. My point was that I believe the first line items to disappear from corporate budgets will be those philanthopric efforts, and the PR fallout of those cuts - particularly by those who despise "big business" - will be enormous.

From Ron:
Wal Mart ordered 10,000 .30-30 rifles from Marlin, with the promise of orders at least as large every year. Marlin geared up their manufacturing to meet the customer's requirements. The next year, Wal Mart placed another order, with the stipulation that Marlin had to reduce their price by 15%. Since this more than eliminated their margin, Marlin was forced to cut costs by making some components out of cheaper materials, rather than lay off the expanded workforce. The result was that Marlin's reputation as a maker of quality firearms took a real hit. Educated riflemen and women will no longer purchase firearms from Wal Mart, knowing that the savings in cost over an "equivalent" model purchased from another retailer will be higher in quality (and resale value).

Let me give you this as a hypothetical:
Marlin chose to increase their workforce and production based on this order and a "promise" from Walmart. Risky - making those changes based on one significant customer with one significant order and the promise of more to come but okay, they did it. I'm guessing it's because they wanted the revenue, the profit, the WM long term relationship. I'm guessing they celebrated that sale the day it happened.

Then they get the news their margin has to drop and they choose - they weren't forced - they choose to use different materials to meet that COGS Walmart gave them. Laying off the extended workforce was also a choice - and they chose not to do that.

They could have turned down the subsequent order and said no, we won't compromise how we make our products. We're going to be in a world of hurt because we have to cut hours and possibly some of our newest employees but we'll work hard to find new customers and let our existing customers know that we are not compromising the quality of our products. We'll send our press releases and let the hunting community know exactly what we're doing and why we're doing it - to engender loyalty and encourage new customers to look closely at out porducts.

BUT - they could have also chosen to do this: instead of compromising their entire line and reputation, they propose a whole new WM line - cheaper, yes, and serving a particular segment of the market. They're not the top of the line that they continue to manufacture and sell to other customers but they've created a new revenue stream: a whole line of products that are WM exclusives for their customers.

Maybe Marlin chose to do some or all of this and it didn't work.
Just another way to look at the situation.

Akhetnu said...

Renee-

If you believe that the first items to disappear from corporations' budgets would be their philanthropic efforts, that shows said corporations to be less interested in those efforts to begin with.

The essential weakness of the argument here, however, is that the companies you keep mentioning are not going bankrupt or being bailed out. They aren't even in the same sector to begin with. So in essence all your talk of philanthropy by WalMart or Ford or ConAgra (who are not the only ones offering their products, mind you) seems moot.

Also, there is an alternative to bailing out these corporations that messed up. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debt restructuring, or even guided liquidation would help resolve these issues better.

Of course, I could also bite the bullet and say that the financial fallout from these corporations going belly up SHOULD be allowed, and perhaps the markets will even be able to learn and rebuild themselves better in the process. One might even say that the national debt incurred by the bailout will only bite us later, and worse! So an alternative is indeed to let the consequences happen, unflinchingly. I personally wouldn't have a problem with that, either although the solutions in the previous paragraph seem preferable.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Marlin chose to increase their workforce and production based on this order and a "promise" from Walmart."

Not merely a promise - a contract. Wal Mart simply decided they could get away with renegotiating the terms of the contract, knowing that Marlin had made significant capital expansion in order to meet it, and would be unlikely to refuse.

As to the notion of cutting back, Marlin has earned a reputation of integrity, to customers and employees alike. Besides, had they opted to follow this course, Wal Mart would have sued them for breach of contract, as they've done with other vendors who tried to refuse their "renegotiated" contracts.

Finally, I do agree that Marlin could have publicly announced the creation of a "value" line of products, to be sold exclusively by Wal Mart... had their contract allowed them to do so. It didn't.

I find it interesting that suppliers, customers, and employees are expected to make such concessions, while the large companies are allowed to write their own rules - even in mid-game - sans repercussions. Such an argument would be expected from the large company's PR firm or legal department, but not from any individual or entity who is remotely interested in the well-being of the overall business community, and certainly not anyone who is concerned for the employees or buying public. I guess some folks' "look at the situation" based upon their portfolios (or however they would like others to imagine their portfolios look like).

Henriette said...

"What is the alternative?"

The "alternative" is too let them die. If they believe in "free market" as they state, that is the answer. It is ugly, but it is honest.

So Renee you have a lot of ideas, but no answers. The comments make you "crazy," but you don't go out to get the answers. That is the typical response. I was the anon 1:07 who you misunderstood in your response to my post.

Walmart has factories in China they deal with exclusively. Remember the dogs and cats dying a recently? It was due to pet food from China. China killed the guy responsible though so no worries there. The cheap stuff comes from China, hence the cheap costs at Walmart. Also our lovely trade deficit with China.

Don't tell me Renee, you do PR for corporations? Good luck with keeping your job.

Henriette said...

"But until stockholders start making a case for change in top level executive compensation, they will continue to earn what the market will bear, both in salary and golden parachutes."

I forgot address this answer. Actually, stockholders have been making a fuss about this for quite a while. The SEC was suppose to help us out, but hasn't. The corporations have been lobbying to make sure this does not happen. Transparent books would be a problem for a lot of corporations doing business. They need public money, but do not want to tell the investors what the money is for. Also, most stockholders do not know where they are investing since they belong to mutual funds via 401ks provided by employers. It is quite a tangled web now. Few have the fortitude to do the digging needed to find out where their money is invested.

Your responses Renee tell me you are limited in your knowledge of the SEC and corporate governance.