Tag Archives: Walton Family

As the party ended

Consider a firm, it has 1.4 million employees and 4672 stores in the US. So basically this employer is employing 0.43% of the entire population that makes it an extremely large player. Now, I have been critical of this player in the past on several occasions. A player this big tends to maximise profit at the expense of whatever gets in the way. It is for all extent and purpose, the American way. So what happens when places do not make the cut? What happens when the plug is pulled? Don’t get me wrong, I will not oppose the right of this player to do that, pulling the plug is a business decision, and for the most a valid one. So when I read: ‘What happened when Walmart left‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/09/what-happened-when-walmart-left), we need to ask several questions. The quote “But for the people of McDowell County – proud country folk labouring under the burdens of high unemployment, low income and endemic ill health – even such a fleeting visit to this rural backwater by the world’s largest retailer had a profound impact. Both in the arrival, and in the hasty leaving“, as well as ““All Walmart was interested in was how many millions of dollars they made, they weren’t interested in helping the community,” says McDowell County commissioner Gordon Lambert. “When they didn’t make the profit they wanted, they left.”” Here we see corporate America in action, yet in all this, should we blame Walmart? Personally I say ‘No!’, you see, this is not about what is right, it is what is correct and legal and the US government allowed and pushed for this path for the longest of times. It legally does not matter how rich the owners are, even as I have objected to the level of exploitation, my objection were based on social correctness, legally nothing wrong was done. You see, the first step to blame, if blaming is the proper word would be Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, Terence Richard McAuliffe is an American Democrat, politician and former businessman. As for the other areas, we have Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) in the Senate, as well as Evan Jenkins (R), David McKinley (R) and Alex Mooney (R) in the House of Representatives. The question is what did they do? What options did they have for those suddenly out of work? You might think that they have nothing to do with this, yet when ONE employer has given 0.43% of the entire population a job, closing 154 stores in 2016-2017, that implies that thousands of jobs are lost, not all of them with the option to be retrenched, so at that point the House of Representatives would have needed to take a long hard look at the alternatives in stopping the creation of ghost towns and derelict business properties. We might not consider the impact or the legality, yet what would have been possible to limit the damage to some extent? There might have been a few options, yet in that certain legalities should be changing in that regard and as such the political side in all this, seems to have been largely too quiet.

The article by Ed Pilkington in McDowell County, West Virginia shows the devastating impact. Some might find it a little too emotional, yet what other side is there? If the political side remains absent, what stories of opportunity are possible? Another quote is ““The Walton family are billionaires,” she said (also no exaggeration – their collective worth is put at about $150bn). “They developed a system that just made us worse off, and then they took even that away from us.”” is not invalid, yet that shows that there is a clear political failure. We can argue the legislative side, yet as the laws are not broken, the US political branch has a clear requirement so alter certain views. It is an essential change towards any employer that has such a powerful grasp on any geographical infrastructure as the one that a player like Walmart has. We see the news on a nearly daily basis that there is a pressing need for Gag orders on search warrants, yet there is no protection on the risk of thousands of people becoming homeless. As given, there is a growing concern that the US is moving towards a phase where the ‘rights to life‘ is being removed from people. I discussed part of this in ‘Confirmation on Arrival‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/07/04/confirmation-on-arrival/), in this “We went from governments, to organisations, we left fair opportunity behind and moved to ‘those who have and those who have not‘, and they are soon to be replaced for the ‘enablers and obstructers‘ and those who are the latter would fall into the shadows and face away.“, when we look at West Virginia, the bulk of these people went from enablers (or those who had), into those who don’t have any longer and are seen as ‘obstructers’ of profit requirements, and now? It seems that the political branch is failing these people as are the better part of the administrative side where those without a job and options fall. The issue is that under the minimalized options that Walmart was allowed to ‘hide’ behind, we see thousands of people who had no option to build any reserves, so as such their plight is even more drastic and diminishing increasingly so.

Yet, is that at present a political issue?

I think it should be, as the administrations catered to the need of maximised profit and took away levels of rational accountability, the large players could walk away. So should Walmart not be allowed to walk away? No, that would be equally wrong, yet for any company to have such a large stake in any location to this extent, means that the political players should have played for a different scenario, where the leaving party would be required to give extended severance packages for a much longer time. In addition, an alternative would be that the county would in fact confiscate all equipment from those local Walmart stores, allowing for the start-up of butchers, grocers and other shops. Small community shops that would give to some extent a longer lasting time and perhaps keep some economy going in McDowell County. Let’s face it, Walmart would have written off this stuff for the longest times. In addition, not allowing for some cheap lease option means that the shops have an actual local commitment. It might not have saved too much, but some saving could have been an option. Even as Walmart walked away because of profitability from their spreadsheet, small local businesses might still have thrived, which meant that McDowell County could see a larger prevention into becoming a ghost town. There is no guarantee here, yet in all this, how would the pressure be on places like Asheville, Hickory and Morganton and as certain start-up phases are instigated, would that also benefit those places? More important, could the negative drag be minimised in this way? Consider the quotes we see in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, where earlier this year we see ‘Education, technology focus of Gov. McAuliffe’s visit to SWCC‘ (at http://www.bdtonline.com/news/education-technology-focus-of-gov-mcauliffe-s-visit-to-swcc/article_9a6356be-3f60-11e7-9b53-5bcd6e225a58.html), now consider the impact merely an hour away where thousands of jobs are lost. What would be the education impact, both in retaining students as well as gaining new ones? These are the real life local challenges and a strong political support system is essential in preventing such infrastructure disasters. If the impact of Walmart was so big, why allow this place to be lost, even if that means getting independent providers to retaining business? If one Walmart is a grocer, baker, butcher, electronic store, a gun shop, a furniture store, a liquor store, a sports store, a clothing store and with their large infrastructure making some profit, there is no way that small 1-2 family stores could not take over the bulk of business needed and not make a profit. What level of non-Walmart retrenching was in place? Was there any in place?

So as I go back to the article with “It was a big thing for people round here when Walmart pulled out. People didn’t know what to do. Young people started leaving because there’s nothing for them here. It’s like we exist, but we’re not existing.”“, in addition there is “She remembers the excitement when the supercentre opened. “People welcomed it with open arms, we needed the jobs,” she said“, the question is not merely the jobs, it is about the consumption and the people buying. So what if that one large box becomes a large box with 20 small stores? The building is there, the power connections are there. Could it be retrenched as a small mall? The statistics shows the decline from 100,000 to 20,000 a coal fell away, yet 20,000 people still need goods, they need clothes and food, in the end it might be cheaper for the government to consider side steps instead of letting it fall away, and in all this Walmart loses a vote of rights to property. They walked away did they not? It is a written off place and even as their accountants cannot resell or write off, they would have to accept the losses, and they walked out. There might not be a legislative option, yet there should be one, this is why the governor was my numero uno person to point at. He is el-Jefe (Just Everyone’s Friendly Executive) of Virginia and solution driver (or should be). If we can turn this around (extremely speculative), there would finally be a starting point to turn the US economy around. When the presented vulture economy is reduced to a community economy there would be a starting wave of growth. Now, do not expect this to be the actual solution, yet any waves that limits reduction can also be seen as initial growth. It is from those moves that visionaries are grown that will change that wave into actual forms of visionary retail. This has been proven again and again as places like JC Penney started in 1902. That is well over a century ago. I cannot predict what will come next, because the world will be changing in large ways over the coming 10 years, yet as I see it, the larger vultures like Walmart and Target are either transforming or on their way out, mostly they are on their way out as they are trying to consolidate maximised profit, when that happens we see truly see new places grow that are all about personalised customer interactions, and this will start with small stores. This is not about data, this is about interactions and that has forever started with a family business. You see, from the early days we saw that, for every one Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates there were 10 George Dayton’s. This is where the new economy will come from, not from the large iterative players, but from the small innovators. They will not merely build new business; they will keep places like McDowell, VA on the map. It is a first clear requirement for infrastructures not to lose the plot, of where they are on the map (You are here —> X), yes ‘X’ will mark the spot for the new player, and as new options are rising from the ashes, there will be economic movement, small art first, but that is how any train starts, it starts slow! This is in opposition to all those large US players who seem to live of the virtual possibility that they are all AAR Standard S-4200 trains that hold the acceleration of a formula one car. When you realise how short term, stupid, that train of thought is (pun intended), you get to see the first realisation that is drowning the US economy. For the reality is that those who not truly create are merely in the process of instigating decline.

Donald, now President Trump, stated: ‘let’s make America great again‘. In that I agree that it would be possible, yet only if certain ‘truths’ are not just adhered to, but actively supported through government. It might not save places like McDowell, VA, yet it is possible to reduce its decline and give time for the local community to see where growth could be created. It could be the starting template for other communities to follow. You see one Walmart is merely a store, a community is an optional force of nature and when fighting nature you always lose! In history the Dutch are the only ones ever to win a fight against nature and the fight they won was not getting drowned. Those dikes are merely holding back water, yet as the lowest point in the Netherlands is 23 feet BELOW sea-level and when you also consider that 21% of that nation is below sea-level and 50% is merely 3 feet above sea-level, it is one hell of a fight they did win. In the end it was one person, Cornelis Lely (1854-1929) who created the concept in 1891 that would change the war against the sea forever, merely one visionary creator!

So as the party for some of these places have ended, it will be up to the governors of their states to see what changes can be set to alter the future of these areas by first diminishing the recline and allow for time to give birth to the next visionary. They might not just save the state; they could captain a new direction for a nation that is in dire need of a few actual visionaries.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

What was once America!

This story will go into a very different direction, it also holds several values that might not be agreed with and several are debatable to begin with.

You see, we are allies of America and I am fine with that. I think we need America in the free west, but the actions of America makes them more and more ‘unwanted’. As we see changes on the global scape that is all over the field, we see an America that has become unjust, unequal and desperate for political points on a sliding slope for governmental bankruptcy.

Perhaps some remember this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. It is in the constitution, a tourist attraction, currently on display north of the National Mall at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. Most Americans have forgotten it, we might state that the bulk of Americans, might remember it, but they do not know exactly what it is any more.

I did make a few accusations, here is the reasoning (without it, an accusation is just hollow).

Unjust

Injustice is harder to state, we see it, many feel it, but where is the injustice? There is social injustice, economic injustice, racial injustice? As American is a nation of laws, there is also a part that is not covered by laws. Yes, there lies the injustice, consider the enabling of wealth as I wrote about it on September 29th in the article ‘Vindication‘, how “Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both calling for Congress to investigate the New York Federal Reserve Bank after recently released secret recordings show the central bank allegedly going light on firms it was supposed to regulate” which came from the Huffington Post. We see an enabling force to those swallowed by greed and wanting ever more. Racial injustice remains, as it always has. This is not meant to be an attack, but a mere statement of fact.

Unequal

This is seen in the Business Week article of last April (at http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-03/top-tenth-of-1-percenters-reaps-all-the-riches), it boils down to the fact that the top 1% owns the same wealth as the bottom 90% of the entire American population. The wealthiest 85 persons on the planet (not all Americans) have more wealth then the sum of the bottom half of the planet, if we consider this as an iceberg, then we see 9% above water, the rest is just drowning. This sliding measurement of equality is even more visible in America, whilst the Walton Family gains billions each year, the bulk of its entire full time staff is on food stamps and requires additional government support. Some would argue that workers value is where we value it at, but in this age of exploitation we see that as people are numbered into spread sheets, we see how people are numbered out of existence. We see large places (not just Wal-Mart!) sell at ridiculous low prices, which gives us “at least two of the factories on the list have continued to send massive shipments of sports bras and girls’ dresses to Wal-Mart stores in recent months, according to interviews and U.S. customs records“. Consider getting three sport bra’s from Wal-Mart at $8. I took that article as it requires a little more work than a boxer short. How can you make any profit on something that seems to be cheaper than the bare materials required; now it needs to be made, packaged and shipped? How dim is the person thinking that things are truly made that cheap? When we read on how some clothes from Wal-Mart comes from Bangladesh, where ethicality is out the window and the children get to work for a living and a future they will never have. How surprised can you even be?

Desperate

Now we get to the good stuff, here is where the connected danger lies. There is a presumption that you must take into account, much of this is directly from news sources, I have tried to focus on certain parts, but as any analyst can tell you, the better the data quality, the more reliable the information and the assessment of that what is in play. The first part is ‘Binyamin Netanyahu ‘chickenshit’, say US officials in explosive interview’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/29/binyamin-netanyahu-a-chickenshit-say-us-officials-in-explosive-interview), of course, there are questionable issues with this, or was the ‘slip of the tongue’ literally applied. The quote “The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most” (at

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/10/the-crisis-in-us-israel-relations-is-officially-here/382031/), you see, this has been discussed by me before, however, until now, most of it was debatable (as I would readily admit), and in light of these two articles we get a new vision. I wrote about all this in ‘Selling Israel‘ on October 3rd and ‘Puppet on a string‘ on July 30th. These were about the side of Israel, now here we see the side of America. America is in a bad way, it needs to show resolve, it needs to show success. This current administration has bungled more than once and as the tally comes, they are seeing that their balance is not good. “Israel has rebuffed those requests and demands in ways that have been very embarrassing to Obama administration” from US News, as well as “Kerry, who made pursuing Middle East peace a cornerstone of his time leading state, was a part of the peace process that collapsed earlier this year, and relations between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama have long been chilly further complicating any hope for a resolution to the region’s strife“. I foresaw several of these points never working in July, so why did some think it was ever going to work? Israel is surrounded by people who want them dead, ever since WW2, they still want to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. That will NEVER ever be the setting of success. An interesting article can be seen in the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-makdisi-israel-apartheid-20140518-story.html) in regards to Israel and apartheid, with the link to the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1973. I do not completely agree with the article, as Israel has been the victim of apartheid, pretty much since Germany European Tour 1939-1945, so as we see the term apartheid, are we certain that it is correctly applied? When we see the quote: “While overcrowded Palestinian schools in Israel crumble, Jewish students are given access to more resources and curricular options“, which sounds nice, yet consider the no-stop attacks on Israel, in August 2014, the numbers if even partially correct, implies that the funds required to fire these missiles in one month exceeds ten times my average annual income of the last 15 years. So, perhaps not firing missiles and using the cash for upgrading schools might be an idea?

Yet, this was all about America, why the side step? America needs success stories, John Kerry came up short, which we knew was going to happen, yet this is not the only issue. If Donald Trump is even only partially correct, then we will see no later than march 2015, that the US will get an enormous fall in economy, a large rise of the jobless population and the cost of living will go through the roof making America not that great a place to be. In addition, as we see in Moneynews (at http://www.moneynews.com/Outbrain/Trump-Aftershock-American-Economy/2012/11/06/id/462985/), in addition In 2006, Robert Wiedemer and a team of economists foresaw the coming collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, private debt, and consumer spending, and published their findings in the book America’s Bubble Economy. Now we have ourselves a party, as the US is losing ground, as they are losing the economy and as they are again in some dispute with ISIS (one that they should have dealt with some time ago) we see a nation with bills, no real production other than virtual events and one with an aging population that needs an almost exponential need for healthcare and social security. In that field we now see a faltering democratic party that needs to score, which gets us back to the Israel debacle. The quote at the end states “Instead of attacking Israel and forcing it to accept suicidal terms, it should be strengthened. I call on the US administration to renounce these coarse comments and to reject them outright“, here we see the crux. America lost out to Israel on selling missile technology to India. It is only half a billion, but there is prestige on the line, in addition to long term additional orders we see that Israel has taken a step forward. The fact that they also got drone technology from Israel gives pause to wonder, is Israeli merchandise better, or is the US too expensive? That debate is up in the air as I have none of the facts, but in an age where any bit of good news counts, losing 0n these two orders just does not help, insulting the Israeli Prime Minister might have additional consequences, I personally see it as a consequence of not getting a grip on the deficit for half a decade, more and more players in the field are now seeing that America WAS a great nation, its future however remains for now extremely uncertain, a possible legacy that the Democratic party is desperate to prevent. It is not just my voice here, to some extent we can see similar issues in the Washington post, which does not suddenly make my revelation fact, but it does show that there is an issue of leadership, on that is showing to be unable to do what actually needs to be done.

It is also important to give notice to one element that was not within their control, Wiki-leaks, when it released the diplomatic cables instigated waves of hardship that were equally unjust. Not because of what they published, but because they published only one side, the American cables, which means that America was continuing a poker match whilst all their cards were in the open and the others remained hidden. This is not the largest issue, but it is an issue. We see ‘attempts’ to get another peace talks in the works, we see America now talking to Iran, Gaza is not going their way and Russia remains a hot potato, these are all reasons for concern, but to what extent?

That is at the heart of the matter, yet it is also an unknown, we might decide to trust the IMF, the DOW and other proclaimers of good news, yet in the last two years, most predictions were missed and overly positive.

Consider these two texts: “After a temporary setback in the first quarter of 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded. Temporary constraints—an unusually harsh winter and a sharp correction to an earlier inventory build-up—have now receded. Growth reached an annualized 4.2 percent in the second quarter. Improving housing activity, stronger on residential investment, and steady payroll gains suggest that the rebound is becoming more sustainable (Figure 2.2). The unemployment and labor participation rates stood at 6.1 percent and 62.8 percent, respectively, in August” From the official World Economic Outlook for the IMF.

The second text are two texts from the same article: “The third-quarter gain in output outstripped economists’ expectations, but growth in domestic demand braked to a 2.7 percent pace after a brisk 3.4 percent gain in the April-June period, giving the report a softer tenor” and “A slowdown in inventory building weighed on growth, and economists warned that pressure would likely persist into the fourth quarter“, the second source is Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/30/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN0IJ0A020141030).

The people are bombarded with several DIFFERENT sets of results (which look like statistical results); we see a massive push for reports on a restoring economy, which is in all matters not exactly true. Yes, the economy is picking up, but the only ones truly seeing that happen are those who are a member of the top 9%, also known as those not drowning at present. There is no real solution until America changes and I mean truly changes the way they operate and the way they hold people to account. Their solution of taxing the rich is equally unwise (stupid seems so harsh a label). I am not against holding the rich accountable, but that there is a difference, holding the rich accountable is not the same as taxing the rich, the latter looks, reads and smells like discriminatory injustice, which is what we do not want either. Yes, they must pay their fair share, but the emphasis is on fair. There is no real fairness at present, instead of designing ‘custom’ tax deductibility’s where only the top 2% gets a joy out of, why not tax EVERYONE and every business at 15% and make every tax deductible program obsolete, no hiding, no off-shoring and no complications. The current path is not working, it only works for the top 3% and they do not want change, so is adhering to them in an age of democracy not plain treason? Is America not for ALL the people (in America mind you).

By not acknowledging cycles and cold years of industry, all got sentenced to an autumn of life with only winter to look forward to, with every cycle, the autumn got longer, whilst captains of industry avoided winter, yet what came, the spring and summer are now shorter and shorter, whilst the autumn is getting longer and longer, which is doing no one any good.

This is what once was America, past summer in mid-autumn with as we see it now, 5 years of autumn ahead and possible no spring after that. When a nation is about the time past summer and only 1% gets to see the sunshine, life for a democratic option becomes less and less likely. This now gets us to the final part of the Israel debacle. As we watch USA Today (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/10/29/obama-benjamin-netanyahu-israel-iran/18106253/) we see how the White House is distancing itself from insulting comments that unnamed officials made about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a new magazine article. Distancing, not investigating, and not prosecuting, but mere distancing! The man who spoke is taking one for the team I reckon, a team I might add that once spoke so highly and still claims to speak highly on the USA – Israel bond, yet at present we see the quotes “US officials, while not confirming the reports, have recently said there are multiple combinations of ways that Iran’s breakout time could be extended, and the focus should not only be on the centrifuge numbers in a deal. The goal, US officials said, should be a deal that closes off all possible pathways for Iran to make fissile material for a nuclear weapon, either through producing weapons-grade uranium, plutonium or through a covert facility” (at http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/10/28/the-endgame-for-iran-nuclear-talks) and “Discreet, low-level intelligence sharing: The United States can degrade Islamic State from the air, but Iran is crucial to root out and destroy them on the ground, at least on the frontlines. Since Washington doesn’t talk to Tehran directly, the Pentagon still presumably coordinated airstrikes with Kurdish and Iraqi intermediaries” (at http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/10/28/the-u-s-iran-non-alliance-alliance-against-islamic-state/) all these events (including calling Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘merda di pollo‘, I used Italian to make it sound at least the tiniest fraction of diplomatic), now we see the links, as the implied brotherhood between Israel and USA is under strain, other parties seem to be brokering deals with Iran so that the current political democratic wind can leave the boots on the ground to Iran and the Obama administration is left with the statement ‘we kept OUR promise, no boots on the ground!’, a promise that was never realistic until they left that part to someone else. So how good are relations between Israel and USA as we see these developments?

This is open to debate, but as this economy continues, that what was once a great America is now for sale at Wal-Mart on isle 5 and its going cheap.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics