Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back to the Plantation

Here's good news for the Galtheads:
     As the economy continues to recover, many companies are flush with cash. Now they just need a way to spend it — and that may include some deal-making.
    The top 50 holders of cash in corporate America have nearly $473 billion in cash on their books, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Among these are seasoned deal-makers like Berkshire Hathaway, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle.
    Take, for instance, the Simon Property Group, which added to its reserves over the last year to prepare for acquisitions. In February, the mall operator announced a $10 billion unsolicited takeover bid for General Growth Properties, most of it backed by cash.
    As companies exercised caution during the financial crisis, many began socking away cash to help them weather the market turmoil. But bankers argue that having too much cash on hand is wasteful because companies could put it to better use.
   To spend cash, companies have several options, including capital expenditures, research and development and share buybacks.
Truly. Things like starting up new businesses, injecting capital into existing businesses, and funding R&D work, all of which could give a boost to the employment which we desperately need, right?

    But if companies are looking to bolster their growth significantly, mergers are one of the quickest ways to do so.
    As the markets recover, the percentage of deals that include a stock component will inevitably rise. So far this year, about 17 percent of worldwide merger activity has consisted of cash-only deals, down slightly from 18.3 percent for the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters.
    Even so, bankers say,, it’s hard to argue with the certainty of a cash offer.
Yes, it's hard to argue with a business strategy that rakes in boffo profits for the predators on the top of the food chain while eliminating all those unsightly laborers at the bottom.

They still don't get it, that continuously merging and buying up other companies reduces the number of jobs, creates and propagates more and bigger monopolies, reduces the options left to both sellers and buyers in the market, and works mostly to siphon off money from the bottom 90% for the delectation of the top 10%. Who, BTW, can't spend it fast enough, and so are reduced to creating spectacles to rival the caesars of old Rome.

Actually, the caesars were believed to be descended from gods, and the new caesars are just "doing God's work,"so it all works out.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It Works Both Ways

Jesus Christ, I'm away from the news for a week and when I come back the world is even more lunatic than it was when I left (no small feat). They want to pass a castle doctrine law in PA, and more and more of these laws expand the right to "self-defense" beyond the home to anywhere one "has a legal right to be". Which means if some yutz with a gun mistakenly thinks I am a threat to him while I'm getting coffee in the 7-11, he can waste me, and thanks to the restrictions on filing lawsuits in such situations, neither I nor my survivors can do anything about it it once it comes out that I was actually reaching for a bag of cheese doodles and not a knife.

Well, ya know what? Right-wing reactionary survivalist loons aren't the only people who have guns. Contrary to your comfy little stereotype, liberals own and shoot them, too. In fact, I have a few right down the hall, and I know how to use them. And I'm sick to death of hearing this constant neanderthalian whining about how the whole world wants to take away your toys and how you're the only people who have any rights.

Come on, assholes...I know you're looking for an excuse to waste the rest of the world. Just try it, Cowboy Curtis. Thanks to your own loophole, your spawn won't be able to sue me.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Success By Any Other Name Would Be Failure

curv3ball over at The Poor Man Institute notes that David Petraeus' much-sanctified strategy in Iraq has left it the most violent country in the world, and links to the Global Peace Index to prove it. Here's the Bottom 10, on a scale of 1 to 149:

140 Democratic Republic of the Congo
141 Chad
142 Georgia
143 Russian Federation
144 Israel
145 Pakistan
147 Afghanistan
148 Somalia
149 Iraq

It takes quite a talent to pacify a country to the extent that "success" has rendered it even more violent than the DRC, where over 4 million people have been slaughtered in endless war and rape and mutilation have become the national sports.

Can victory in Afghanistan be far behind now?

(Oh, and just for fun, the U.S. rank is 85, placing us behind Brazil, China, Nicaragua, Cuba, Indonesia, Serbia, and of course, all of Europe, Canada, and all but 3 countries in South America.)