Monday, September 28, 2015

I have to Admit Trumps Tax Plan is Pretty Awesome

I have to admit when the Donald does something right and this is doing something right.
Trump's plan for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code would eliminate federal income taxes on individuals earning less than $25,000 and married couples earning less than $50,000. He said those individuals would receive "a new one page form to send the IRS saying, 'I win.'"

Trump's plan would also disproportionally benefit wealthy earners by lowering the highest income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, and businesses by cutting their tax rate — from major corporations to mom-and-pop shops — to no more than 15 percent.
That eliminating taxes on people making $25k or less will be like a raise for every low income American. That amounts to thousands of dollars a year going back into the economy because most low income people spend nearly all of their paychecks. In fact they might be able to put a down payment on a car or something of that sort or even crate a cushion for themselves.

Also that 15% corporate tax on every business with no deductions possible should eliminate some of the shenanigans that GE pulled to get to pay $0 in taxes. A lot of tax lawyers will be out of a job if its 15% no matter what and there is no way to reduce that amount.

Actually, simplifying the tax code will go a long way to creating more growth in the economy going forward. I know how to spend my money much better than any federal beancounter will ever be able to. If Trump can put more of that money under my control then I would be fine with that.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Trump Gets Tough: On Iran? On ISIS? No on Clothing Company

I guess the world is full of enemies of the potential comb-over-and-chief.
The site happens to be called It sells fashion paraphernalia with motifs such as "Donald Dumb" and, yes, "Stop Trump."

You will want to grab your childhood blanket and wrap yourself tightly into it when I tell you that the Trump Organization has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the site, claiming that to sell T-shirts that insist Trump should be stopped, the site should have first asked the great man's permission.
I guess all those First Amendment rights will just go away when Donald is boss.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hillary's Plan to Destroy Biotechs/Big Pharma Might be Good for Express Scripts

Well Hillary dropped a bombshell on the Health Care Industry earlier this week.

Hillary Clinton made waves this week when she announced her strategy for reining in sky-high drug prices. The strategy, which includes a mix of reforms designed to prod drugmakers to reimagine pricing, led to a significant sell-off in biopharma, lopping an estimated $40 billion in value off the industry on Monday alone, according to Bloomberg.
One beneficiary would be Express Scripts because of this logic.

Clinton's plan aims to cap patient out-of-pocket spending at $250 per month, or $3,000 per year, and that could jeopardize margins at health insurers if they have to make up for any shortfall.

A squeezing of biopharma and insurance companies could end up being good news for Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager.

Express Scripts contracts with health insurers and other payers to manage their drug programs, and its services include negotiating prices with drugmakers, boosting the use of generic drugs, helping patients take their medicine as prescribed to avoid costly hospitalizations, and analyzing data to find drug-related cost-savings.
This would also be a tailwind for United Health Group who bought out PBM Catamaran a while back. Rite-Aide bought out Envision Rx and Aetna could create their own PBM as well. This article also says that Express Scripts could be bought out by Walgreens Boots Alliance so they can have their own PBM shop as well. The buyout would have to be pretty large because of ESRXs $55 billion market cap. They might need to pull the trigger quickly as well because I'm sure if Hillary wins they would block this buyout for sure.

More Crybaby Trump as Fox News Commentator says Mean Thing #DumpTrump

He has skin made of rice paper apparently.
Rich Lowry, the editor of the conservative magazine National Review, said the Republican presidential front-runner was attacking rival Carly Fiorina because she emasculated him at last week's presidential debate.

"Part of what's going on here is that last debate. Let's be honest: Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it," Lowry said during a Fox News interview, according to video posted by Mediaite.

Host Megyn Kelly was shocked.

"What did you just say?!" Kelly said. "You can't say that."

But Trump, who has fiercely feuded with both Fox News and Kelly, wasn't satisfied with her admonishment.

He trashed Lowry on Twitter as "incompetent" and "clueless," demanded an apology, and suggested that the Federal Communications Commission should fine Lowry as a result.
He really doesn't have the temperament for politics or world affairs. Waaah! I demand and apology from Kim Jong-Un he should be fined by the UN. I thought he was a rough and tough New Yorker.  Apparently he is very much like a 12 year old girl that has to "Tweet back twice as hard" to the Mean Girls at Fox News.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What is Up With Donald Trump and Unfairness?: He Again Boycotts Fox News #DumpTrump

Let's say he wins the Presidency I wonder if he going to stomp off like a child when Putin or Kim Jong-Un treats him "unfairly?"
“@FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won’t be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future,” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Mere hours later, the Trump campaign released a statement saying that he stands by his comments.
“As a candidate for president of the United States and the definitive frontrunner in every poll, both nationally and statewide, including the just released poll in the state of Florida, Mr. Trump expects to be treated fairly,” the statement reads. “All you have to do is look at the tremendous ratings last night from ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,’ where Mr. Trump was the guest, or the ratings from both debates, to fully understand the facts.”
Putin treated me unfairly whaaaa! Ukraine talks fall apart as President Trump cries uncontrollably over Putin "unfair comment."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wall Street Hates Trump and Likes Jeb

It seems that Wall Street are not very big supporters of Trump according to this.
The CEO of one large Wall Street firm, who declined to be identified by name criticizing the GOP front-runner, said the assumption in the financial industry remains that something will eventually knock Trump off and send voters toward a more establishment candidate. But that assumption is no longer held with strong conviction. And a dozen Wall Street executives interviewed for this article could not say what might dent Trump's appeal or when it might happen.
I think Trump might win it all after seeing how Hillary's campaign seems to be on fire and heading into the ground. Bernie Sanders cannot win and if Biden doesn't get in the race soon I think whoever wins the GOP will win the Presidency.

Yet Another Case of #QuarterlyCapitalism as HP to Fire 30,000 even with a $5 Billion Yearly Profit

I guess the split into two meaningless companies is going to cost 30,000 people their jobs.
The purge announced Tuesday will occur within the newly formed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a bundle of technology divisions focused on software, consulting and data analysis that is splitting off from the company's personal computer and printing operations.

The spinoff is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month, dooming 25,000 to 30,000 jobs within HP Enterprise. The target means 10 to 12 percent of the 252,000 workers joining HP Enterprise will lose their jobs as part of the company's effort to reduce its expenses by $2 billion annually.
Reducing their expenses really doesn't actually sell one extra printer or another software license. Instead they are shuffling the costs to keep them making $5 billion in the next year. I would love to see a CAPEX bump or a move into some other part of the technology infrastructure. Instead cut staff and prop up those earnings in time for the next quarter.

Monday, September 14, 2015

It Seems More People are Trying to #EndQuarterlyCapitalism then just Hillary

I have to agree with this economist 100%

Yet Clinton and many other American critics of “quarterly capitalism” have so far ignored the proverbial elephant in the room — America’s mandate that public companies produce earnings reports every quarter. This is the rule that makes quarterly reporting a necessity in the U.S. and underlies all the problems that go with it. International comparisons show that quarterly reporting requirements not only tend to decrease long-term investment, but also increase manipulation of the numbers to please shareholders.
 It seems Europe gets along pretty well without requiring quarterly numbers. There doesn't seem to be cases of a company having decent profits but still having to lay people off to keep earnings up.

Take Seagate for instance. They are laying off 1050 people but they still made $137 million in profit this past quarter. The quarter before was at $291 million so there was a deceleration in profits but its not like firing those 1050 people will make Seagate roar back into profits any time soon. It is just a trick to save $113 million according to that article. If Seagate never had to report that $137 million number I wonder if they would have cut staff or not? I guess that's something for economists to study.

In any case, companies can still give updates and have investor days and such without having to rush around each quarter and bring out numbers. Sometimes you will have less transparency since you cannot listen to quarterly conference calls and track trends but I think the good things outweigh the bad.

You can have some CEOs make bolder moves because they don't have to worry about losing money in the short term. A company like Amazon would not be penalized so severely for ramping up CAPEX for something like Amazon Apps. People thought Bezos was crazy for spending so much money but now Amazon apps seems to dominate in the SAAS arena.      

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rick Perry the First Man out of the Race

I guess here ends his Presidential aspirations.
The former Texas governor told the Eagle Forum on Friday afternoon that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

“We have a tremendous field – the best in a generation – so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too.” 
I guess his gaffs in the past election were just too much for him to bear. I think he would have been a decent enough candidate but it doesn't matter anymore.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Muir Turns into "Anchor Monster" After He is Beaten by Lester Holt in the Ratings #NBCNews

Well I have been watching Lester Holt more often when I do watch the evening news so I guess I'm contributing to Muir's freakout.
An ABC source tells us, “Despite the biggest ‘get’ in the world — the pope — David is still losing to Lester. David feels under pressure and returned to New York from Rome cranky and has been lashing out at the staff. He screams at the crew unless [ABC News President] James Goldston is around. On an open mike he was heard complaining he wanted less of the reporters’ voices and more of his own during the pope town hall. He’s becoming known as ‘Anchor Monster.’”
Yeah I watched ABC news a few times but I then switched to CBS News with Scott Pelley because I think he has more gravitas.Then when Holt got the job full time I started watching more NBC and then switching back to CBS whenever there was a boring story on NBC.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

I'm sorry the AppleTV Seems like a Fancy Roku: Hopefully it Isn't the Apple Watch for the Living Room

I just don't see how much better this thing is than a Roku.
There’s a lot of impressive technology happening inside the Apple TV. The search works really well, letting me narrow down from “find me science fiction movies” to the exact Star Trek episode I was looking for. It’s fast, it’s as straightforward as the last one (which is to say, straightforward enough but a little overly spartan), and the remote works well. As it stands, it doesn’t feel like much more than a souped-up Roku.
The article pretty much says the AppleTV has a cool remote and has Siri built in. I'm not sure I want to "narrow down the exact Star Trek episode" because I can just do a Google search and find out the name and episode number that way. I guess you can skip that step with the Apple TV but I have a tablet/smart phone as a second screen for just such occasions.

The article also talks about how sparse the App Store was and says that you can look at dresses on your TV with the Gilt app. That sounds like a huge waste of time but I guess a woman can forget about the shopping networks if they cut the cord using the Apple TV. In any case this thing will live and die by the App Store because my Roku has everything I want right now. Hopefully, someone will create a must have App for the Apple TV but it doesn't seem to be coming out at launch. 

Hmm Global Slowdown Might be Because People Don't want as Much Stuff?

This article makes a lot of sense and if true, it will change quite a few things in the global economy.
Finally, consider the things that people do want to spend their money on. The defining consumer product of our age is the smartphone. A smartphone is a good, and it takes resources to make and transport it. Still, it takes a lot less resources than, say, a car. Most of its value is in the software that is loaded onto it and the people, information and entertainment you can connect to with it. That's a different sort of value creation than 20th-century resource-based value creation. If that's the direction the global economy is headed in, the connections between growth, trade and resource consumption aren't going to be the same as they have been. That is probably a good thing.
Smart phone growth seems to be plateauing as well judging by how badly Samsung seems to be doing.
It is as if nearly everyone that wants a smart phone has one. The new phones are not compelling enough to get people to abandon their old phone for something new. They are slightly bigger with a better camera or something but nothing world changing.

Even mighty Apple seems to be following the trend with their huge iPad which seems to be very much like the Surface. Nothing I saw at their big new products day makes me want to own anything they are selling at the moment. I have an Apple TV already and it is called a Roku. Maybe Apple TV will become a must have device in the future but I don't see it right now. Apple TV seems like the Apple Watch for the living room.

Also from what I can gather people just aren't rushing out to acquire more physical stuff. They do want digital stuff in the form of apps and HD video from Netflix but they don't want a new car or a new refrigerator (unless theirs breaks.) They seem to want clothes but the big ticket item just doesn't seem to fly off the shelves like they did before the Great Recession.

So we keep having tepid growth because it takes far less resources and manpower to make digital stuff. You can pay the actors and the grips and such to produce a TV show but that is nothing compared to all the people that work to produce something like a refrigerator or a car. Compare making an app with making a microwave. Making an app takes much less physical manpower and but more mental and digital effort from far less people. So if people want the app (which is free) and not the microwave the economy will suffer accordingly.

Forget the Coronation: Hillary Might be Going to Federal Prison: North Korean Satellite Photos Could have been on her Server

This is certainly worrisome if I were part of the Clinton camp.
There’s a bigger story hidden inside the New York Times report that “a special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account — including one about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program —  . . .  contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them, senior intelligence officials said.” The review was undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which presumably originated the material. They concluded that the material had originally been given the U.S. government’s highest secrecy classification. Even if one of Clinton’s aides stripped the markings (a felony), Secretary Clinton surely knew satellite intelligence and North Korean nuclear deployments are the U.S. government’s most highly classified information.
That sounds like there were a few satellite photos of North Korean nuclear sites mixed in with the wedding prep with Chelsea and recipes that were found on that home server. Also if an aide stripped those markings that person gets to join Hillary in federal prison. The article talks about the CIA and others who now have to do a damage assessment to see who stole what and when from that server. That server was a huge security hole and it operated for years. It would be interesting to see who was hacking it and when.

I Can See Why People Cord-cut: Average Cable Bill is $99.10 which is a 39% Increase Since 2010

Wow you can pretty much get all the streaming services for about half that price.
The average cable television bill hit a record $99.10 this year, an increase of 39% from 2010. But with more and more viewers opting out of pay TV -- mainly because of the cost -- something's got to give.

According to the latest annual survey by Leichtman Research Group, 83% of U.S. households subscribe to cable, down from 87% in 2010.  The average cable bill is up 39% over the same period, or more than four times the rate of inflation, the telephone survey of 1,222 people found.
About the only real reason to buy cable is for live sports. If they unbundle sports then that 83% number will seriously look like a bygone era to cable companies.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Typical Clinton Answer by Hillary on Emails. "I Just Didn't Stop and Think"

She was too busy to think about her emails and how they jeopardized national security.
"You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world," Clinton said. "I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be?"

But Clinton did not apologize for her decision when asked directly, "Are you sorry?" Instead, she again said she wishes she had "made a different choice" and that she takes responsibility for the decision to use a private email account and server based at her home in suburban New York.
That weasel word answer is typical Clinton-speak. She wasn't sorry but she "should have made a different choice." It depends on "what the meaning of is is" said her husband when he was in office.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

It's Over: Iran Deal is Done as Obama Locks Up 34th Vote

Well Iran has just won in playing the Great Game against the US.
The decisive 34th commitment came from Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski, who is retiring next year after three decades in the Senate. In a statement she said "no deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime." But she called the pact "the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb."

Supporters now have the votes in hand to uphold Obama's veto, if one becomes necessary, of a resolution of disapproval Republicans are trying to pass this month. GOP lawmakers who control the House and Senate ardently oppose the agreement, which curbs Iran's nuclear program in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.
Iran can now start funding proxy armies against the Saudis and do whatever they want with the billions of money they will soon have access to. I think there will be lots of Mullahs driving Ferraris in the next few years. Then in 10 years or sooner their "words will be backed with Nuclear Weapons."