What Happened To Productivity?

Inflation is running rampant and no one in DC will do a goddamn thing about it…..the latest numbers tell the tale…..

The consumer price index for June is worse than expected—and what was expected was bad. The CPI was up 9.1% year-over-year in June, above economists’ prediction of 8.8%. Even that estimate was worse than May’s 8.6%. The last time inflation was this high was in November 1981, reports MarketWatch. The so-called core CPI, which takes volatile food and energy prices out of the equation, was up 5.9%, slightly higher than the 5.7% estimate. The AP observes the reports “likely seal[s] the case for another large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, with higher borrowing costs to follow.” Dow futures were down 300 points on the news.

“A higher inflation rate … will put more pressure on the Fed to increase the interest rate more than expected, and that increases the possibility that the US is going to enter a recession,” University of Cincinnati economist Hernan Moscoso Boedo told ABC News prior to the CPI data being released.

The Wall Street Journal reports gasoline prices surged more than other categories, with an 11.2% gain over May. Some economists are hoping we’re at or near an inflation peak: Gas prices, for instance, were at $5 a gallon in mid-June but were down to a $4.66 nationwide average Tuesday—”still far higher than a year ago but a drop that could help slow inflation for July and possibly August,” per the AP.

They say (whoever the Hell ‘they’ are) that productivity is a better indication of the health of an economy than jobs (which is the focus of any economic report)….

We all are suffering from the creeping inflation that is plaguing this country…..and the best our government can do is try to protect profits for the oligarchs that control everything.I suggested that Biden consider price controls to give our citizens a break from the crushing inflation…..I was scolded for such a idea because it would make our national productivity suffer…..and yet without this ‘control’ it is already down…..

June’s employment report surprised most analysts, as US businesses added 372,000 jobs, way above expectations. The strong numbers dampened talk of impending recession, but what do they say about the strength of the economy overall? By themselves, they don’t really say much, according to New York Timeseconomics columnist Peter Coy. To get a truer sense of what’s happening—and what the future may hold—Coy says to pay attention to productivity, defined by the BLS as output per hour worked. That number shrank in the first quarter at a surprising 7.3% annual rate and is “on track for one of its worst 12-month performances” since 1947, Coy writes. That means GDP isn’t growing despite strong hiring.

The pandemic has a lot to do with it, but not for reasons most people might have expected in 2020. Back then, the economy experienced a productivity surge, which many analysts chalked up to deployment of new technologies to accommodate a homebound workforce. But it turns out 2020’s labor output was skewed by a change in the mix of workers, as lower-skilled, lower-paid workers were laid off but skilled workers remained.

Low-skilled workers are in high demand now, forcing companies to hire “less productive workers that in normal circumstances would not be active,” and output is inevitably falling as a result. Increased hiring and decreased productivity tend to signal that “businesses’ costs are rising and profits are getting squeezed,” and that scenario tends to end with layoffs.

Read the whole column here.

Lots of excuses of why this is……excuses does not help the situation…..many blame the output of the workers….why?  Workers only produce what they are told to produce…..

I still think that some sort of price controls would help me and my fellow Americans that are struggling with the situation these days.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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Are You Worried About Inflation?

Rising food costs…..gas prices doubling……housing costs going out of sight…..low wages…..

If you are worried then do not be so……

Why?

The CEOs are having a bumper year in 2022……

Even when regular workers win their biggest raises in decades, they look minuscule compared with what CEOs are getting. The typical compensation package for chief executives who run S&P 500 companies soared 17.1% last year, to a median $14.5 million, according to data analyzed for the AP by Equilar. That leap was the biggest since a 23.9% surge for 2010 compensation packages, according to the data analyzed by Equilar. The gain towers over the 4.4% increase in wages and benefits netted by private-sector workers through 2021, which was the fastest on record going back to 2001. The raises for many rank-and-file workers also failed to keep up with inflation, which reached 7% at the end of last year.

CEO pay took off as stock prices and profits rebounded sharply as the economy roared out of its brief 2020 recession. Because much of a CEO’s compensation is tied to such performance, their pay packages ballooned after years of mostly moderating growth. In many of the most eye-popping packages—such as Expedia Group’s, valued at $296.2 million, and JPMorgan Chase’s $84.4 million—boards gave particularly big grants of stock or stock options to recently appointed CEOs navigating their companies through the pandemic, or to established leaders they wanted to convince to hang around.

The CEOs often can’t cash in on such stock or options for years, or possibly ever, unless the company meets performance targets. But companies still must disclose estimates for how much they’re worth. Only about a quarter of the typical pay package for all S&P 500 CEOs last year came as actual cash they could pocket. Whatever its composition, the chasm in pay between CEOs and the rank-and-file workers they oversee keeps widening. At half the companies in this year’s pay survey, it would take the worker at the middle of the company’s pay scale at least 186 years to make what their CEO did last year. That’s up from 166 a year earlier.

I know I shall go to bed feeling less hungry because the CEOs are doing so well for themselves.

How about you?

***Obviously, in case you missed it, is sarcasm***

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–08Feb22

If you have been shopping in the past year or so then you will be having ‘sticker shock’ for the prices of everything has done nothing but rise….especially food and gas….we need to eat and we need transportation so we suck it up and make the sacrifice and spend the money that we worked so hard to get.

The news is much more troubling than the prices…..

A new analysis released Tuesday ahead of a congressional hearing on pandemic-era price gouging shows that U.S. corporations in the food and energy sectors—from Tyson to Exxon Mobil—are pushing higher costs onto consumers while raking in ever-increasing revenues and handing executives massive pay packages.

Conducted by the advocacy group Food & Water Watch (FWW), the analysis spotlights the fact that skyrocketing food and energy—specifically gasoline—prices have been major contributors to the overall rise of inflation in the U.S. Between December 2019 and December 2021, the nation’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped by 8.5%.

According to FWW, overall energy costs rose 20% over that period while the price per gallon of unleaded gasoline increased by 31.7%.

Meanwhile, FWW found, “the cost to feed a family of four on a ‘thrifty’ food plan has increased by 33.5%,” driven by the rising prices of ground beef (+19.2%), bacon (+31.7%), chicken breasts (+19.7%), milk (+17.4%), and eggs (+16.5%).

The analysis emphasizes that such “egregious” price increases come as leading corporations in the U.S. food and energy sectors are reporting growing revenues and huge profits. Tyson Foods—the second-largest chicken, beef, and pork processor in the world—has seen its revenue grow 11% above pre-pandemic levels.

The corporation also rewarded its top executives with higher pay in 2021 even as it raised prices for consumers, blaming supply chain issues.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/02/01/data-highlights-egregious-pandemic-profiteering-us-food-and-oil-giants

At least it is good to see that CEOs and corporations did not suffer the same fate as the rest of us mere mortals.

Biden promises to address rising inflation….and if you think this will do anything to help us peasants then you have not been paying attention for the last 50 years.

There is a way to help us peasants but it is not an option for the corporations pay Congress to see that they continue to make their obscene profits while screwing the rest of us.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is This ‘Winning Through Intimidation’?

The GOP is quickly becoming an authoritarian party….something we have not seen in this country for a very long time.

I thought the GOP and RNC were pro-business….but apparently not.

The House has a select committee that is investigating the 06 January insurrection and for some reasonb the GOP is running like a very scared rabbit…..to the point that the minority leader of the House has issued a threat to business that cooperates with the hearings…..

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is threatening social media and telecommunications companies that comply with the House’s investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, while warning of a Democratic “surveillance state.” The California Republican on Tuesday took issue with investigators’ Monday request that more than 30 companies—including Apple, AT&T, and Verizon—preserve records relevant to the attack. He claimed compliance with the request to save records from April 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021, would be a violation of federal law and “put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democrat politicians,” per Politico.

Appearing Tuesday on MSNBC, Rep. Adam Schiff said McCarthy and former President Trump are “scared” and “don’t want the country to know exactly what they were involved in.” The Democratic-led committee, which includes two anti-Trump Republicans, wants to get a handle on communications between Trump and members of Congress, including McCarthy, on Jan. 6, though there’s been no request for records yet. “We’ve asked companies not to destroy records that may help answer questions for the American people,” says a spokesperson. “The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation.”

“If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” McCarthy threatened, claiming such companies would be “subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States.” CNN reports McCarthy’s office would not provide “a specific federal statute that a company would be in violation of if it complied with a duly empaneled congressional committee.” While the committee has subpoena power, requests for phone or social media records, especially those of members of Congress, could result in a legal fight, per CNN.

Could this be obstruction of justice?

https://www.alternet.org/2021/09/kevin-mccarthy-obstruction/

As I stated previously the GOP has become a party in search of authoritarian rule.  (More on this in a future post)

This swing to authoritarian swing should scare the s*it out of the American people….but instead they are embracing the stupidity.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Corporate Social Responsibility

The big issue these days is that of voting rights and the assault from the Right….and corporations are weighing in……of as an opinionated SOB I had something to say about their ‘two cents worth’……https://lobotero.com/2021/07/20/but-they-signed-the-letter/

As I said then….this is a PR stunt nothing more.

Theses corporations have been funding all those that are assailing voting rights for decades…so why now?

Well one answer could be that they have become socially responsible……to that fanciful description I say…BOLLOCKS!

Across various segments of American life, the private sector has begun to take on tasks big and small that one might think should be tackled by the public sector. Domino’s filled in potholes. Dawn’s dish soap saved ducks. American Express pitched in on historic preservation. Walmart started selling low-priced insulin. A slew of companies help workers pay for school. Much of America’s health care system is still handled through private insurers and your job. As people lose faith in government to act on sweeping issues such as climate change and guns, they’re increasingly looking to corporate America and asking whether there’s something they can do about it. If Congress won’t tackle gun violence, maybe Dick’s Sporting Goods can try.

It’s not a bad thing for brands and companies to try to make the world better. Starting a business often involves identifying a problem to solve, and it’s much better for companies to help than to do harm. Corporate social responsibility is fine. There are, however, limits.

“Of course we want businesses to be responsible,” said Suzanne Kahn, managing director of research and policy at the Roosevelt Institute. But she emphasized that this does not constitute a plan for how to organize society. “Private companies don’t, can’t, or won’t plan with the same values that we demand and expect the government to.”

Companies have a profit motive and are ultimately accountable to shareholders. Doing what’s lucrative often doesn’t align with what’s best for most people, and when they do nice things, it’s often because they know it will play well with consumers and workers. Domino’s helped fill some potholes because it was good advertising for pizza pickup customers, not because it’s overly concerned about the future of America’s bridges and roads. The issue is, the entity that should be driving the bus on America’s bridges is kind of asleep at the wheel.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22585831/starbucks-bathroom-privatization-government

All this ‘social responsibility’ is nothing more than trying to cash-in on public focus…..it is PR plain and simple……to believe they have found their social consciousness is just plain silly and very goddamn naive.

Motivations are never about the health of the nation but rather the greed that drives all their decisions.

Social responsibility my ass!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

“War Is Good Business”

Closing Thought–06Aug21

I have been an anti-war advocate for over 50 years…..and in that time I have participated in many protests in the past….and during those protests there was a common slogan….”War is good business….Invest your children”……

But just how good is business?

These are the 100 top defense industries….and as you can see business is good for most of them…..

https://people.defensenews.com/top-100/

How sad that the death and destruction is so profitable…..

Why should corporations invest in the country when dealing in death and destruction is so profitable….I find that idea repugnant.

Your children are basically dying to make some even more wealthy…..and somehow that is acceptable.

WHY?

(He sits shaking head in disgust)

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

But They Signed The Letter

One of the big news stories of this year is the GOP’s attempts at voter suppression…..if you are unaware then where the Hell have you been?

Corporations have been feeding the GOP for decades and Toyota trying to repair its reputation has stated that they will NO longer give to those people in Congress that push the Big Lie and voter suppression….a good start but I do not trust them to keep that pledge when profit is their main concern.

Now 150+ companies have signed a letter in support of the Voting Rights Act……

– More than 150 companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) and PepsiCo (PEP.O) urged U.S. lawmakers to introduce and pass a voting reform act in a letter signed on Wednesday, as other efforts have stalled in Congress.

The companies called on lawmakers to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 named after late U.S. Representative John Lewis, who died nearly a year ago. The act would help prevent voting discrimination and set up an improved system for states to report changes in election law.

“We have a duty to work until every American can participate in our democracy, but that won’t happen until every eligible voter in this country has fair, equitable and safe access to voting,” said Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co (LEVI.N), a signatory to the letter, in a prepared statement.

The companies are part of a group of corporate executives called Business for Voting Rights.

“The business community is proud of our role in encouraging our employees, customers, and communities to exercise their right to vote and have a say in our government,” the companies wrote in the letter.

U.S. companies have spoken up in support of voting rights reforms and against restrictions on voting that have passed in Republican-controlled states including Georgia. Some companies have come under fire from elected officials for their positions.

Former President Donald Trump and his supporters made unfounded claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Democrats are expected to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Reuters has reported.

(reuters.com)

How lovely.

But signing a letter does nothing but waste time and paper…..if they truly are concerned then turn off the lobbyists and the money spigot…..without that act this letter is nothing more than a fart in the wind.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–16Jul21

Blues comes to my town!

Film star Morgan Freeman, a Mississippian by birth, is bring his blues club to the Mississippi Gulf Coast….Biloxi to be exact…..

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is bringing the Blues to Biloxi with plans to open a second location of his popular Clarksdale juke joint in on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

WLOX in Biloxi reports that Freeman’s second Ground Zero Blues Club will be will be located inside the old  Kress Building in downtown Biloxi. The 20,000 square foot space was formerly called Kress Live, a live music and entertainment destination.

Freeman co-owns the club with former Clarksdale mayor and attorney Bill Luckett. They started the original Ground Zero in Clarksdale in May 2001 and since then, the club has become a tourist attraction in Mississippi.

The juke joint got its name due to Clarksdale being described as “Ground Zero” for blues fans from around the globe.

(magnoliastatelive.com)

As a big fan of the Blues I wish them lots of luck and I will see them soon.

Enjoy your upcoming weekend…

Be Well….Be Safe….

Economic Development?

I have always thought that the promise of ‘economic development’ was a “LIE”…..it is the promise of something that is not going to happen to justify some sort of con perpetrated on the community.

I got thinking about this term more when I watched a piece on the local news…..the head honcho of the country economic development was taunting the building of several small strip malls.executive offices…as a bright world in which the county lives in……

First of all let’s define the term ‘economic development’…..

Economic development is a concerted effort on the part of the responsible governing body in a city or county to influence the direction of private sector investment toward opportunities that can lead to sustained economic growth. Sustained economic growth can provide sufficient incomes for the local labor force, profitable business opportunities for employers and tax revenues for maintaining an infrastructure to support this continued growth. There is no alternative to private sector investment as the engine for economic growth, but there are many initiatives that you can support to encourage investments where the community feels they are needed the most.

That definition is all blue skies and unicorns.

My question is to the city council where is this building economic development?

They built a structure that may remain empty….they employed a couple of guys to erect the structures but where is that economic development?

I mean where these couple of small malls were built sits in an area full of unused space……just two blocks away is a large strip center that sits 90% unoccupied….about one mile away is a large strip mall that is only about 70% occupied and 2 miles away is a strip center that has many open spots for businesses to jump on…..and this does not include the smaller strip malls within a 5 mile radius that sit basically unoccupied…so why were these new malls necessary?

So with this said where is all that ‘economic’ upside?

All this is just my area…..the broader look at local development is just as bleak…..

The average minimum wage in my county is $7.25…that is about half what is needed for a living wage.

So again I ask what ‘economic development’?

Land speculators and contractors are the only people making out like bandits…..by using the BS of ‘economic development’….there is few economic benefits for the average worker in this county.

My next question is….how with so many open spaces for businesses to expand how does a contractor/developer get the cash to build something that may go unused?

Of course I am told that these new structures will benefit the community…..and how does a empty office space enhance my community?

Just who will benefit from this non-existent economic development?

What makes anyone on the council think that business will rush to snap up this new space?

Are the objectives of development met by these structures….those objectives are 1) provide for basic needs.  2) Raise the level of living.  3) Expand the range of economic and social choices.

These structure fail.

How does these ‘new’ buildings offer any of those?  Just who profits from this wish and a hope of destroy land and cutting down trees om a wish and a hope?

My thought is that if we truly wanted economic development then maybe paying livable wages would do more than the promise of empty buildings.

The council needs to design a plan and program for filling empty spaces before the destruction of more land….the council works for the people of the city and should not bow to the cash and wishes of developers….especially on the lie of ‘economic development’.

Just a thought.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–08Jun21

JP Morgan has the right idea!

I seldom say much good about corporations but JP Morgan has made an announcement that I can agree with fully.

JPMorgan Chase will restart its political donations but will not give to Republican members of congress who objected to certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Biden, according to an internal memo reviewed by Reuters.

Why it matters: 147 congressional Republicans, the majority of whom hold seats in the House, objected to state election results over baseless claims of widespread election fraud fueled by former President Trump.

Context: JPMorgan, the country’s largest lender, was among several big businesses that paused their political contributions following the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as Congress voted to certify the election.

  • The bank said it will resume its contributions through its political action committee this month.
  • The big picture: JPMorgan plans to update its giving strategy by focusing on lawmakers who oversee financial matters that the bank considers “moral and economic imperatives for our country,” including addressing the racial wealth gap, education and criminal justice reform, according to Reuters.

https://www.axios.com/jpmorgan-gop-donations-election-certification-615c6c44-07bb-40d2-8ae1-1d1ba3afe939.html

Corporations played a major role in the Civil Rights passage….they should do so again.

They want to be ‘citizens’ of this nation then they need to step up and do the hard work to save our fragile republic.

JP Morgan has the right idea but how long will they beat this drum?

My guess is not long at all.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”