Sunday, May 26, 2013

Washington Post: North Carolina Tries Austerity

In North Carolina, unimpeded GOP drives state hard to the right.

I am glad some state is trying the Austerity path. The US is designed to support state level experiments with governance and this is one of them.  The Democrats have California.  So we will see which one does better.

The issue I have is that we cannot even agree on the goals.  Democrats will measure reduced unemployment, increased income after total taxes, reduced income inequality, increased life span and educational test scores. The GOP will measure total income growth, average income tax rate and total business investment.

AOL: Fast-Food workers strike in Milwaukee

Last week fast food workers in Milwaukee staged a strike. AOL covered the story in "Fast food workers strike 5th major city."

The Entrepreneurship Industry: Another annoying down side of US capitalism

There has been an explosion of entrepreneurship programs in the US.  It looks like everyone has some sort of "start-up" program, incubator or resource web-site. It's like everyone is trying to hit the lotto and a who industry has developed to sell people tickets and in some cases even "lucky" numbers.

Here are some examples:

Google has site focused on Entrepreneurship called Google Entrepreneur.
So does the City College of New York but on Facebook. Here is the link. 
There are also website that let you create business model like LeanLaunchLab.Com.

But you have to ask how much real, new value add are they creating and how much are they just stealing from one another. All this talk about entrepreneurship is great but it seems like a lot of "fake" PR with lots of smiling young people talking about "doing" good or "risking it all."

The truth is most businesses fail.

Another difficult truth is that the US economy is really a zero-sum game.  In order for you to get rich, someone else has be lose money or income. Despite what people are sold, money does not come from thin air.  It comes out of other peoples pockets.

And large businesses, especially retail, incredibly efficent at removing that money from other peoples pockets. Big box retailing has grown faster than the GDP for the past 30 years.  They have put department stores and mom and pop retailers out of business.  The competition is strong and vigorous   While average customer incomes are flat for the past 30 years.

So, lets be honest, in order for some business to succeed others must fail.

The real key in any business including small start-ups is a defensible niche; a natural or created monopoly that allows the owner to enjoy surplus profits. That can be the corner delicatessen  the local auto-repair business, a mid level medical instrument manufacturer or (Ed. Note: It was really hard coming up with a mid-level factory example, they all have been pretty much wiped out)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

UK Independant: French elite hold country back

The Independent has a story about the French elites holding the country back so they can prosper. They ask the question: "Is French elitism is holding the country back"

An interesting and simpleminded question, but fun to ponder.

He is promoting his book.  They always are that uses a small data set of French government officials.

As we always say, the real story is much more complex  First, even the premise of the story is wrong.  What exactly is the country being help back from ?  Are missing out on some great piece of pollution or low paying job that other have ?

What they don't say is "Growth" and that they believe Growth lead to prosperity.  And prosperity for who ?

Same old story.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

UK Guardian: United Kingdom companies make heavy use of off shore tax havens

We are supporting the UK Guardian.  They continue to draw attention to abusive off shore tax havens that let British companies pay less than their fare share of taxes.

The story, UK Companies prolific use of tax havens, is here.