Category: Corporate vs. Non-Profit


“Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands, considering the slow response?” — NBC’s “Meet The Press” anchor Chuck Todd to Vice President Joe Biden this morning.

“I think that is a little too harsh.” — Biden answer.

The late great Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert just turned over in his grave.

Russert (1950-2008) served as the much-respected and well-liked host of NBC’s Sunday morning interview show for a record 16 years.

Todd’s unrestrained arrogance, spawned his February suggestion that Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters amounted to a “digital brownshirt brigade.”

Sanders is Jewish. The reaction from the repeatedly persecuted Jewish community was swift and certain. Nazi imagery and comparisons do not belong in American political discourse.

Almost DailyBrett is not devoting this post to simply beating up Chuck Todd, but to contend that America needs balanced, objective journalism now more than ever. Instead, we are hearing open suggestions the president’s hands are soaked in blood and images of storm troopers.

Will NBC take well overdue disciplinary action against Todd, just as the network did against former MSNBC host Chris Matthews? Will Todd be forced to apologize to Bernie Sanders, let alone Donald Trump?

Forget about it.

Esteem for America Media? Downward to the Right

Even before the Corona virus (COVID-19) extracted its deadly toll on the USA and the world, the trust of the American public in mass media was rapidly losing altitude.

The steady decline in American approval in mass media, which began in the mid-1970s, is actually accelerating its continuous downward-to-the-right loss of trust trend.

If the media was publicly traded, even a dim-witted investor would have sold this “dog with fleas” (Gordon Gekko quote) years ago.

Worse, there seems to be no bottom in sight when it comes to the media. If an institution cannot reach its nadir point and keeps falling in terms of public esteem or to be more precise, lack of public esteem, how can the media demonstrate any recovery … even a dead-cat bounce?

According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, mass media recorded a -17 percent score when it comes to competence, and an additional -7 percent in terms of ethical behavior. Conversely, business scores +14 in competence and -2 percent when ethics is weighed.

Only government is worse, minus 40 percent in competence and minus 19 percent in ethics.

Cessation of Presidential Corona Virus Broadcasts?

“If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we (collective media) should, all of us, stop broadcasting it (presidential corona task force briefings).” — MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow

If the media en-masse decides what we as great unwashed Americans are permitted to see or not see, isn’t that another word for censorship?

If the government attempted even for a nano-second or two to impose any type of limitation on media coverage, wouldn’t Mizz Maddow be the first screaming about a chilling impact on sacred First Amendment rights of free speech?

Maybe the president’s veracity is not the issue. Could the real catalyst for Maddow’s call for a “broadcasting stop” be President Trump’s improving approval ratings, particularly his handling of America’s corona virus response?

According to Gallup, the nation’s hospitals hold an 88 percent approval rating compared to a 10 percent disapprove score.

Vice President Mike Pence (e.g., Corona virus task force chairman) clocks in with a 61 percent to 32 percent approval/disapproval rating.

President Trump has drawn a 60 percent thumbs up and a 38 percent thumbs down result.

The media? The lowest score of them all … 44 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove.

Whattyathink Chuck “Blood on the President’s Hands” Todd? Any comment from “stop broadcasting” presidential pandemic briefings, Rachel Maddow?

Almost DailyBrett has zero doubt that many — certainly not all — in the media want America to fail in the face of this global pandemic, and with that crisis Trump is not re-elected.

Count how many times the media use the noun/verb fail in the coming days, weeks and months of reporting/interpreting with related commentary from unnamed sources.

If a Democrat was in the White House, the collective mass media swooning would remind one of the gushing coverage of a … New York Governor Andrew Cuomo briefing.

If there is any doubt, spend some time with Pew Research’s results demonstrating a pronounced division by political preference when it comes to trust in the media. Democrats are mostly trustful; Republicans are distrustful.

The reason? The loss of integrity by the majority in the media, who fail the objectivity test and cannot hide their personal loathing of the president and for the most part, any and all Republicans.

If the mass media aids and abets the nation in failing in the face of the corona virus pandemic and as a result President Trump is not re-elected, will the arrogance in media centers subside? Not a chance.

Will the sense of unrestrained power and importance grow and mutate in news rooms and political bureaus?

Will they claim another Nixonian scalp, this one with blood on his hands?

Conversely, will America applaud its oppositional media or will the public eventually become even more fearful and distrustful of the networks and/or major mastheads?

Will we have created an even bigger monster?

Will the American people ask, ‘who is going to watch, the watchers’?

Sure hope we don’t have to answer these questions.

https://www.edelman.com/trustbarometer

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/03/29/chuck_todd_to_joe_biden_does_the_president_have_blood_on_his_hands.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/300680/coronavirus-response-hospitals-rated-best-news-media-worst.aspx

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/has-all-media-become-partisan-media/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/elite-media-psychologists-psychiatrists/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/lets-take-hitler-out-of-american-politics/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/what-happened-to-bernie-shaws-cnn/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://www.salon.com/2020/02/12/msnbcs-chuck-todd-under-fire-for-reciting-quote-comparing-sanders-supporters-to-nazis_partner/

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/488777-maddow-hits-trumps-happy-talk-on-virus-i-would-stop-putting-those-briefings-on

U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided

From a public relations and mass communications standpoint, we need to leave the past — most of all recriminations — to the mass media. Let them focus on the fact that we again slept at dawn.

Hint: They were sleeping as well.

We need to envision and more importantly, credibly and practically project better times in the future. We need to balance our justified health concerns with our economic hopes.

Will we have a national resurrection by Easter Sunday, April 12? Maybe? Most likely, not?

If not, the media will happily tell us how our loving optimist-in-chief somehow failed in the face of continued darkness.

And yet his approval rating continues to rise, and his score for handling the corona virus reaches 60 percent thumbs up against 38 percent thumbs down.

As Teddy Roosevelt (pardon the paraphrase from heaven, POTUS #26) told us in his famous 1910 speech to the students at Paris’ Sorbonne, it’s not Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy who counts, or how the strong man or woman stumbles or how she or he could have done better.

The credit belongs to those who are in the arena.

We need more of those, who dare to suggest with credibility that yes life will get better. We are not eternally condemned to the boredom of our living rooms.

Some day we will standing in line for the barista, waiting for our beer or wine, actually ordering our food to a table in a restaurant … our hearts thumping with thousands of others, anticipating the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News “virtual town hall” event on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It takes courage to stand up in front of this wall of negativity and suggest that life may be better sooner … much sooner … as opposed to later.

It takes moxy to purchase shares of best-in-breed stocks (i.e., Apple, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA, McDonalds, Starbucks …) as the markets refuse for weeks to stretch two or more positive trading days in a row. Volatility will eventually be tamed, most likely not now.

It takes compassion to swipe our credit card at our local coffee place, order books online from our regional bookseller, call for take out at our favorite Italian place. With our economic freedom maintained, we can choose who and how much to support.

They have been there for us. Isn’t time for us to be there for them?

It’s so easy to hunker down and to shut down for the “common good.” It’s harder to dream again, and to express hope.

We Need Good News

“Hope is believing good will come, even in bad times. 

“Hope is knowing that this too shall pass.

“Hope is knowing no matter how afraid we are, our higher power will be with us.

“Hope is knowing that we never have to be alone again. It’s knowing that “Time Is On Our Side.’

“Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we didn’t have control in the first place.” — Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Almost DailyBrett believes there are more than a few, who have major problems with the United States and its world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP) at $21.99 trillion (prior to the impact of the Corona virus, COVID-19).

To them the USA needs to redistribute the pie, not expand it to offer more pieces for everyone.

The word “balance” seemingly does not exist in ivory towers on campuses, the deep state or in some media empires.

Until recently, climate change dominated. “How dare” anyone suggest thoughtful consideration of those who work and thrive in our world-best economy?

And now the little corona virus bugger has replaced the planet — at least for now — as the single most priority. Forget about producing products we use or compensating our employees. Allocating $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC is just so vital to beating this global epidemic.

As we debate looking for the positive versus being Gloomy Gus or Debbie Downer, we know two things for certain:

Teddy Roosevelt is forever enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.

No one will ever build statues to critics, including Negative Nancy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/id-love-to-have-it-open-by-easter-trump-hopeful-economy-will-be-revived-in-coming-weeks/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=19820067

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx

 

Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed, ‘Greatest of All Time.’

And then Joe Frazier walloped him with a massive left hook, sending Ali and his pretty red tassels sprawling on the canvas.

The lesson: Be careful about labeling someone, anyone — particularly anointing yourself — as the ‘Greatest.’

As an on-and-off naturalized Oregonian since 1975, Almost DailyBrett believes it’s now safe to make the call about the state’s greatest-ever citizen.

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

Some may want to immediately contend that Knight is being named Oregon’s greatest simply because he the 16th wealthiest in the world with an estimated fortune of $35.9 billion (Forbes). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should not exist. Oregon should be proud that Phil Knight more than exists; he thrives and cares.

To be considered by Almost DailyBrett for this lofty honor, one has to be born in Oregon. Salem lists among its most influential: President Herbert Hoover, Governor Tom McCall, trail blazers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but alas … none of them were born in Oregon.

Some worthy native Oregonian candidates for the ‘greatest’ designation include: Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Senator Mark Hatfield, author Ken Kesey, Senator Wayne Morse, runner Steve Prefontaine and democratic socialist John Reed.

Sorry being the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall (played by Warren Beatty in the interminable “Reds”) does not put Reed at the very top of the greatest Oregonians list.

Why is Phil Knight the greatest? Let’s Just Do It.

Never In Recorded History Have So Many Oregonians Owed So Much To One Man

If one Googles (21st century verb) the word, “entrepreneur,” the image of one Philip Hampson Knight should serve as the definition.

His best seller, “Shoe Dog,” tells the story of how he turned a $1,000 loan from his father and almost failing about nine times, he actually turned the proverbial corner with his athletic apparel company, Nike.

Today, Almost DailyBrett is a happy-camper-investor for many moons in the global athletic apparel market leader by far, Nike (NYSE: NKE).

The total amount invested in Nike stock is $156 billion (e.g., Feb. 21 market capitalization figure) with shares trading at 35 times multiple compared to the prior year’s earnings (P/E ratio).  Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike reported annual revenues of $39.1 billion in FY ’19. In total, 70,000  employees work for Nike globally, 8,000 of them in Oregon.

Without any doubt, Phil Knight’s Nike is the largest and most influential publicly traded company in the history of the State of Oregon. Think of Nike this way, great company, great products, great employer and great publicly traded company. How’s that for fiduciary responsibility?

Nike pioneered its much copied marketing campaigns celebrating The Athlete: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James,  Rafael Nadal, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Curry and many, many others.

Almost DailyBrett has not always agreed with Nike’s marketing decisions (e.g., Nike Takes A Knee), particularly designing and selling apparel associated with NFL persona non grata, Colin Kaepernick. Your author has never expected perfection with any individual or organization (impossible distinction to achieve, let alone maintain), and the same is true with Nike.

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

“And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools, they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers, make such (charitable) investments essential.” — Phil Knight upon making a $500 million pledge to the University of Oregon for a new science center

When discussing Uncle Phil’s financial impact you are reaching the end of the beginning of the Phil Knight story, not the beginning of the end. Knight’s legend particularly revolves on his giving back to his native Oregon and the world.

Preparations for the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building, August 21, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Considering that Phil’s business strategies and his company focused on sports (e.g., track and field), it’s only natural to first emphasize his sports philanthropy, particularly for his alma mater, the University of Oregon (e.g., BA in Business Administration, 1959). He has given more than $300 million (and counting) to the school’s Athletic Department, including $100 million to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund.

Academically, he contributed the lion’s share to the $27 million renovation to the University of Oregon Knight Library. The name of his late father and 1932 Oregon Law grad, William W. Knight, adorns the 68,000-square foot UO law school.

He has also directed $500 million-plus to Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, and $125 million more to establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute.

Knight’s generosity is not limited to Oregon universities, as he gave $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (e.g., MBA, 1962). Recently, he pledged another $400 million to Stanford to establish an on-campus new graduate scholarship program.

With all due respect to the memories and accomplishments of Governor McCall and Senators Hatfield and Morse, Bowerman, Pre, Kesey and Kremlin Wall fixture, John Reed … none of them rose to the level of entrepreneurial and philanthropic success and impact on Oregon’s past, present and future than Phil Knight.

Yes indeed without any conceivable doubt, Phil Knight is the greatest Oregonian of all time.

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/knight.aspx

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore-oregonians.aspx

https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/07/227b06fbff2915/the-100-greatest-oregonians-ev.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#39cd30857e2f

https://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-endorsements-nba-golf-tennis-2019-6

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knight_will_giv.html#incart_river_index

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/nike-takes-a-knee/

“Since my election, United States stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our Nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible — this, as other countries are not doing well.” — President Donald Trump, 2020 State of the Union

In our tribalized society, we are obsessed with dumping groups of people into buckets.

Even more to the point, we microanalyze targeted demographic groups (i.e.., women, men, black, white …).

We also record, register and analyze responses by psychographic groups (i.e., income, education, creed … ).

Almost DailyBrett must stop here and ask: Are we spending enough time considering America’s growing Investor Class?

“All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90, and even 100 percent.” And IRAs too, Mr. President.

Who are these people? Are they just the “filthy rich?” Are they just the 1 percent?

Or are they mommies and daddies, brides and grooms, anybody and everybody investing in their retirements, college tuition for their children, dream vacations or to start a new business?

In 1960, only four percent of all shares traded were directly tied to retirements. Today that retirement figure is 50 percent of all the stocks traded daily on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Almost DailyBrett will once again pose the question: Who are these people? And are we as a society giving them the love they deserve?

According to a 2019 Gallup quantitative survey of more than 1,000 Americans, 55 percent own individual stocks or stock-based mutual funds for their investment portfolios including retirement oriented IRAs and 401ks … and even the few who still have pensions.

Yes stock ownership took a hit during the 2007-2010 financial meltdown, but the trend has stabilized with the tailwinds of a record bull market.

No Fees Today, Tomorrow, Forever

“Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news.” — Paul Krugman of the New York Times upon Trump’s 2016 election

Guess America’s Armageddon was postponed.

Since November 2016, the NYSE has advanced from 18,332 to 29,290, up 59 percent, the NASDAQ has increased from 5,193 to 9,508, up 83 percent, and the S&P 500 from 2,139 to 3,334, up 52 percent.

And how are markets behaving now with a dovish Federal Reserve, Impeachment done, Brexit over, corporate earnings better than expected, robust consumer confidence, full employment and the American economy demonstrating its best performance in five decades?

Even though there always the risk of the Dow Jones Effect (e.g., what goes up at some point will come down), we are talking about a calculated risk … less so by the members of America’s Investor Class, who pay daily attention to the markets and more precisely their portfolios.

The major retail investment firms (i.e., Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Robinhood … ) have all waived their trading fees, making it even easier for investors of all income levels to participate.

And for investors concerned about the environment, society and corporate governance, there are specific ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) funds.

Publicly traded companies have learned they must not only be concerned about fiduciary responsibility, but corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well. It is more than driving the top-and-bottom lines and projecting a reasonable future expectations (Doing Well), but it’s also being genuinely mindful of a company’s caring for its employees, participating in communities and safeguarding the environment (Doing Good).

To top it off, America’s Investor Class is served by reasonable regulation of publicly traded companies by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which mandates fair disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), guarding against false advertising. And there is the Department of Justice, which prosecutes corporate crime (e.g., Enron bankruptcy).

And finally don’t these publicly traded companies make our products and services, employ millions and make our society more efficient? Apple puts a computer in our hands with its clever smart phones. Google is an instant encyclopedia of knowledge. Amazon is global shopping platform. Facebook allows us to keep track of friends and families.

If Something Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Are global markets, perfect? What is?

Are the NYSE and/or NASDAQ playing fields 100 percent level? What are?

Is America’s Investor Class thriving and directly driving our consumer-based service economy? You bet ya.

Then why are there those who want to punitively impose federal taxes on each and every stock and mutual fund trade (i.e., Bernie and Elizabeth)? Who are they trying to punish? The real answer are the mommies and daddies of America’s Investor Class.

Yes, many of these investors are part of the upper class, and even the lower upper. The honorable senators need to appreciate the composition of America’s investor class also includes the upper middle, the lower middle … and each and every person who engages in dollar-cost averaging or continuous investing in both bull and bear markets.

America’s Investor Class puts its discretionary income into the nation’s best-of-breed publicly traded companies to pursue their dreams of happy retirements, highly educated children and/or bucket list vacations.

They matter. They vote. And they deserve our support … not dissing from always angry members of America’s political class.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/266807/percentage-americans-owns-stock.aspx

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/04/state-union-read-text-president-donald-trumps-speech/4655363002/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/paul-krugman-the-economic-fallout

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

So if you win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and fuck off. OK?” — Comedian Ricky Gervais Golden Globes opening monologue

“You (Hollywood) know nothing about the real world.” There were cheers across the fruited plain for that one.

We are just so divided.

There are boujees, and there are bolshies.

There are demographic divisions (e.g., knuckle draggers vs. fairer sex).

There are psychographic splits (i.e., income, education, creed, politics …).

And then, there is the seemingly eternal class struggle between the Boujees and the Bolshies.

Almost DailyBrett always embraces the motto, “Buy Low Sell High,” definitely comes down squarely on one side of this divide.

But what happens when a group of Boujees gather together, and they are Bolshies as well?

Are they Boujee Bolshies? Are they Bolshie Boujees? Are they boozy Boujee Bolshies … ?

Take the reaction of Tom Hanks to Gervais’ “You know nothing …” lecture. You could have fried an egg on Forrest Gump’s face.

Did Anybody In Hollywood Vet Gervais’ Monologue?

Gervais was right. Sunday night was the last time he will ever host the Golden Globes or any other celebrity award show.

He took dead aim at the Hollywood Industrial Complex, and scored a direct hit to the collective gasping in the room and to the delight of those who have to make a real living in the fly-over states.

The great unwashed were laughing at Hollywood’s Gathering Storm of suppressed anger, and enjoying a sense of Schadenfreude at their expense.

From a public relations standpoint, Almost DailyBrett must ask: Were Gervais’ remarks reviewed and approved?

Maybe? Maybe not?

How many times has the nation endured their acceptance speeches, complete with personal commentaries about the rotten-and-evil United States of America?

Many have been thinking for eons exactly what Gervais had the temerity to say out loud … ‘You recited your lines beautifully. You went to a great acting school. So what? What do you know?”

The Hollywood majority embrace the concept of government dictated social equality and likewise they relish in a Bourgeoisie lifestyle, but please don’t take aerial photos of Bolshie Barbra’s Boujee mansion by the sea.

Dictatorship of the Proletariat is for other people. You do know who originally promulgated that phase, Hollywood?

Or do you really know … nothing?

Limousine Liberals

How many bolshie Hollwooders showed up for the Golden Globes in boujee limousines.

Were they sipping lattes in their vehicles or something stronger?

Are they the most equal of the equals, using their celebrity platforms to spank the leader of the Free World and this country as well.

Bless his Limey heart: Gervais spoke in jest and told the bold truth. We really don’t care about Tom Hanks’ bolshie political opinions or any other of his boujee comrades.

Will the industry follow the Gervais’ advice for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, Espys and all of the other awards shows the nation will collectively endure later this year, considering that 2020 is indeed an election year?

Don’t count on it. A boujee bolshie/bolshie boujee must be heard.

If you don’t believe Almost DailyBrett, just ask them.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/transcript-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-2020-opening-monologue-1266516

https://www.usatoday.com/story/college/2017/06/30/what-youre-really-saying-when-you-call-something-bougie/37433439/

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Boujee

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Bolshies

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/tom-hanks-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-face-viral

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7857415/PIERS-MORGAN-Ricky-Gervais-delivered-glorious-kick-Hollywoods-virtue-signalling-hypocrites.html

https://www.rickygervais.com/

“Maybe Tribalism is just in her DNA.” — Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs senior chairman, on Senator Elizabeth Warren

Who gets hurt if the federal government requires Warren Buffett to sell 6 percent (approximately $5 billion) of his $86 billion in wealth each year, every year?

A.) The “Sage of Omaha?”

B.) Middle-class investors attempting to grow their portfolios for retirement, their children’s education or that special vacation?

How about … both?

If Warren’s punitive wealth tax takes effect, Buffett will be selling his shares … lots of stock … not as a result of market conditions but because Washington D.C. redistributors mandate these stock trades in the name of the greater public good.

And who decides what is “the greater public good?

Warren’s punitive 6 percent wealth tax (unconstitutional?) exercise applies to all billionaires. There would also be a 1 percent levy for all Americans with wealth exceeding $50 million each.

Wonder how many in coastal blue states (i.e., Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California, Washington … ) exceed that $50 million wealth figure? The vast majority of these households worked hard, invested wisely … and this is the thanks they receive?

How much money, which could be used for individual investment, would come out of our economy? How many shares will be forced sales in our public exchanges?

What are the unintended consequences of these arbitrary sales for those saving for retirement or their children’s education?

According to The Economist the cumulative impact of wealth taxes and many other planned hikes would constitute a cumulative 2 percent hit on our nation’s $21.4 trillion GDP.

Could a Warren Recession follow? Almost DailyBrett will take the “over.”

Selling Political Masochism In A Robust Economy

The debate that you have in America or Britain about taxing the super-rich just doesn’t exist here.” Janerik Larsson of Sweden’s Timbro

“Vilification of people as a member of a group may be good for her campaign, not the country.” — Blankfein on Warren

Almost DailyBrett has always contended that group masochism is a political loser.

Asking people to sacrifice their economic freedom, and to vote against their own personal and family best interests is a prescription for defeat.

The Economist reported this week that American retirees owned only 4 percent of all publicly traded shares in 1960.

Fast forward to 2015 and we find that retiree investments (i.e., IRAs, 401Ks, pensions) constituted 50 percent of all shares. Without doubt that figure sprinted even higher in the last four years considering the stunning continuation of the bull market.

Since November 8, 2016 (hmmm … what happened that day?), the Dow Jones has risen 52.8 percent from 18,332 to 28,015, the NASDAQ 66.6 percent from 5,193 to 8,656, and the benchmark S&P 500 47.0 percent from 2,139 to 3,145.

Should public policy compel American today’s and tomorrow’s retirees to sacrifice a significant slice of their financial future every year?

Shouldn’t we have the freedom to decide when to buy and when to sell? Does the government really understand the maxim: Buy Low Sell High?

Why should an ever-expanding  government go to war against achievers, and by doing so take direct aim at America’s Investor Class? Some see it as a socialistic assault on capitalism.

Let’s simplify the equation: Why should our government usurp our economic freedom?

Some will contend that we should all, chill out. Warren is floundering in the polls. She won’t win the Democratic nomination. Right?

Didn’t the experts say the same thing about Jimmy Carter? They were wrong, and years of economic malaise (i.e., double-digit inflation, unemployment, interest rates) and a crippling recession were the consequences.

Many in the political class point to Sweden as an socialist model for the U.S. to follow. And yet, Sweden has higher percentage of billionaires (e.g., founders of IKEA, H&M, Volvo and Spotify), and greater income disparity than the USA.

And yet Sweden abolished its inheritance tax in 2005 and its wealth tax two years later.

Hmmm … maybe we should look to Sweden for guidance.

https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/#b93a39d251c7

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/28/inequality-could-be-lower-than-you-think

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/11/28/in-sweden-billionaires-are-surprisingly-popular

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/14/lloyd-blankfein-mocks-elizabeth-warren-maybe-tribalism-is-just-in-her-dna.html

“Billionaires should not exist.” — Millionaire U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)

“Every billionaire is a policy failure.” — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York)

“Personal wealth is at best an unreliable signal of bad behavior or failing policies. Often the reverse is true.” — The Economist

Super talented and accomplished media superstar Oprah Winfrey is worth $3 billion.

Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s net worth is $1.9 billion.

Hip-hop star/investor Jay-Z just made into the three-comma club at $1,000,000,000.

Did government fail when Oprah, Michael and Jay-Z all succeeded and thrived, each because of their hard work, fortitude, perseverance and incredible talent?

Did anyone of them trade on their … privilege?

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t remember Oprah engaging in insider-trading.

Do you, Secretary Reich?

Ditto for Michael Jordan profiting from a monopoly unless Mr. Reich is pointing to Michael’s near-monopoly of talent against the competition he faced night-after-night in the NBA?

Is Jay-Z guilty of fraud, a political payoff or did he inherit his wealth?

Wonder if any of these “basically 5 ways” to accumulate a billion dollars in America apply to Nike founder/Philanthropist Phil Knight?

Have you read “Shoe Dog,” Professor Reich? Nike almost went under about nine times.

The former Labor Secretary’s “5 ways” Twitter screed is intellectually dishonest, and remarkably easy to discredit.

Alas, it is beneath the respect normally afforded to Robert Reich. Next time go high Mr. Reich instead of racing to the bottom. Talented and hard working people can earn their wealth on their own without resorting to nefarious deeds.

From a policy standpoint, we need to ask:

Should we punish Oprah, Michael, Jay-Z, Uncle Phil and so many others who worked their tushes off to legitimately make their fortunes with a punitive Elizabeth Warren 6 percent wealth tax (up from the original 3 percent proposal), and income tax rates reaching 90 percent or beyond?

Whattyathink Senators Sanders and Warren?

Class warfare — born out of jealousy — is not new.

The effective tax rate for achievers in the United Kingdom in the 1970s once reached 98 percent. If you don’t believe Almost DailyBrett, ask The Beatles … ask The Rolling Stones, who fled to France and recorded “Exile On Main Street.”

Can a near 100 percent confiscatory tax rate, which was thankfully eliminated in the UK by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, happen in the United States of America? Let’s hope not.

Celebrate Instead of Hate?

Almost DailyBrett remembers boys and girls practicing basketball, so they could be “Just Like Mike.”

Your author can imagine girls admiring and wanting to be the next Oprah.

You should check Ellen’s interview with Bill Gates. They discussed the works and deeds of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, donating a cumulative $50.1 billion to fight global childhood poverty and to improve public schools in our country.

According to Forbes, Gates is worth approximately $96.5 billion — give or take a shekel or two — making him the second wealthiest homo sapien on the planet. Virtually everyone in the first world is using Microsoft’s Windows Operating System, inspired and written by Gates. And his charitable foundation has contributed more than any other non-profit ever to make our world a better place (more than most governments).

His former company Microsoft is valued at $1.14 trillion, generates $96.5 billion in annual revenues, and employs 144,000 in well paying positions with full benefits and stock options. Taken together, the performance of Microsoft as a company and the generosity of the Gates Foundation, puts Bill’s wealth into perspective.

Can we have more “policy failures” just like Bill Gates, Phil Knight, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z and so many more?

Instead of hating people who are wealthy, let’s celebrate and cheer for the achievers (e.g., Michael Jordan).

If we are concerned about billionaires, our policies should focus on stimulating competition (i.e., über-tough content streaming, video game, smart phone markets…), not limitless redistribution or punitive taxation.

If our political intent is to further divide, demonizing billionaires (as others have been publicly denigrated for ages) is a good way to engender one of the seven Deadly Sins: Envy.

If our goal is growth and prosperity, then let’s encourage Millennials and the generations, who will follow, to shoot for the stars. Let them become tomorrow’s Oprah, Michael, Jay-Z, Bill Gates and Uncle Phil.

And if they succeed financially, let’s celebrate them and at the same time root for competitors to keep them on their toes.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/09/billionaires-are-only-rarely-policy-failures

https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/11/07/have-billionaires-accumulated-their-wealth-illegitimately

https://www.gatesfoundation.org/who-we-are/general-information/foundation-factsheet

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/the-lonely-guy-standing-in-line-for-a-burger/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/three-comma-club/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/taxing-the-fab-four-exiling-the-stones/

Governor Newsom Calls for Nation’s First Air Tax On California’s Wealthiest

Proceeds To Fund New Air Quality And Climate Change Programs

April 15 To Become A State Holiday 

SACRAMENTO – Following up on his proposed “digital dividend” levy on data usage, California Governor Gavin Newsom today called upon the state Legislature to approve the nation’s first surcharge on the consumption of air by the Golden State’s wealthiest households.

Privileged Californians with assets (i.e., homes, cars, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, savings accounts, furniture … ) exceeding $500,000 will be assessed an annual surcharge of 1 percent of their total gross wealth. The yearly progressive surcharge will escalate to 2 percent for those with more than $1 million in total assets, eventually capping at 10 percent for those with accumulated wealth exceeding $1 billion or more.

“California’s new Rarefied Air Tax (RAT) is initially projected to raise approximately $3 billion in additional revenues to enhance air quality, combat climate change, and to establish a complementary agency to the California Air Resources Board (CARB),” said Newsom.

“The Golden State is the recognized leader in the usage of progressive revenue schemes to extract and redistribute literally billions from California’s achievers by means of income, sales, property, gas, vehicle, water, corporate, payroll, liquor, and weed taxes and soon a surcharge for those who choose to consume O2.  If the wealthy wish to avoid the Rarefied Air Tax, they can simply opt out of oxygen usage,” Newsom said.

According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, California has fallen from the top to second in total taxation among states. New Jersey is now #1, California #2 and New York #3.

“We intend to restore our rightful place as the number one state in terms of progressive redistributive taxation,” said Newsom. “The appropriate annual total assets surcharge for O2  usage by those with wealth reaching and exceeding six-seven-eight figures is recognition of their moral obligation to pay their fair share for the rarefied California air they breathe and consume.”

To recognize and celebrate California’s nationwide leadership in taxation, Newsom signed a proclamation declaring that each April 15 (or following Monday if tax day falls on a weekend) as a paid public holiday for all Golden State public employees. Newsom urged the federal government and all other states to follow suit.

Fully anticipating constitutional challenges by mean-spirited, hateful, racist, sexist, homophobic and unpleasant non-profit tax foundations, Newsom called upon the state Department of Justice to prepare a vigorous defense against expected questions about the legality of RAT total asset surcharges for California’s wealthiest … those with assets exceeding $500,000 in riches.

California telegenic governor will hold a news conference in Room 1190 of the State Capitol today at 1 pm PDT to provide more details about the RAT tax. Tax-free air will be provided to all media attending the event.

Following the news conference, Governor Newsom will be available for photographs and to autograph full, medium and wallet-size glossy images of himself for adoring reporters and correspondents.

https://taxfoundation.org/individual-income-taxes-2019-state-business-tax-climate-index/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/golden-state-handcuffs/

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/california-goes-tax-wild-eyes-levies-on-everything-from-water-to-tires

 

 

“For the American generation which has grown up since the downfall of the USSR, socialism is no longer the boo word it once was.” The Economist, Feb. 16, 2019

The youngest of all Millennials were gestating in 1980.

Reagan called upon Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall” in 1987.

The Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989.

The Soviet Union collapsed under its sheer weight in 1991.

The last of the Millennials arrived in the millennial year, 2000.

The largely overlooked question: How many Millennials personally remember the USSR?

Alas, the answer is very, very few.

Only the oldest Millennials may have any memory of the Wall coming down when they were nine or the Soviet Union imploding without a shot being fired when they were 11.

For the vast majority of Millennials including all of the younger members of the Y-Generation, none of them remember the USSR and most of all, its authoritarian brand (being charitable) of socialism/communism.

To top it off, they are thus easily impressionable for exploitation by politicians, entertainers and academics who absolutely adore all things Karl Marx including some wearing red star hats and sporting Che Guevara t-shirts and posters.

Instead of “We the people” and liberty, it’s “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”

When someone says government can provide a whole cavalcade of goodies – government-paid health insurance, college, jobs — for free, including Universal Basic Income (UBI) for those “unwilling” to work … don’t you just know there will be Big Brother Orwellian strings attached?

Back From The USSR

“I’m back in the U.S.S.R.
You don’t know how lucky you are boy
Back in the U.S.S.R. (Yeah)”
– Lennon (Not Lenin) & McCartney

For Almost DailyBrett, a 1981 two-week trip to Leonid Brezhnev’s “Evil Empire” was an eye-opening, life-changing journey.

Kevin in Moscow – 1981

The flood-lit Wunder of Red Square (Красная площадь) in Moscow, the Swan Lake performance of the Bolshoi, the splendor of the Czar’s winter and summer palaces in St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time) are all must see for any student of history and politics, let alone art.

Your author has placed a return-venture to modern-day Russia on his Bucket List, particularly what has changed and unfortunately what has remained the same (tyranny).

It’s safe to say that Russia has transformed itself after attempted Glasnost and Perestroika into an authoritarian oligarchical capitalist state with widespread corruption.

You can take the Vladimir Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t the KGB out of Vladimir Putin.

Looking back to your author’s trip to the Soviet Union, there were the wonders of Russia. There was also the socialist/communist police state reality of the USSR.

There were the jammed horrible motor coaches,

There were the lines for food and the basics of life.

There were well-stocked Beriozka or “little birch” stores, which accepted all currencies except for Russian rubles. It must suck to be you, Ivan and Tanya.

There were the tiny little cars with lawn-mower engines for the fortunate few (10 years wait), while Zil limousines carried Communist big shots to their exclusive dachas.

The Most Equal Of The Equals

“In an ideal socialist society, “the people” own the means of production. Everyone’s basic needs are met. Leaders are elected democratically. When implemented, however, human nature intervenes. Powerful elites take charge.” – Alex Berezow. USA Today Board of Contributors

Bummer.

There is so much discussion about the haves and the have-nots of American society.

There are cries for social justice: Translated some all-powerful state entity must level the playing field.

The question, which remains: Did socialist/communist USSR really even the score for everyone?

Whattya think AOC? How’s Venezuela working out? Is history repeating itself?

Even more to the point: Do Millennials in their lack of deep direct knowledge/remembrance of the USSR appreciate the stark dark truth of government provided socialism?

Karl Marx may be turning over in his grave but sorry to say, his idea did not work, and will not work regardless of the nation. Too many people want to achieve, and to do better for themselves and their families.

And yet there is hope for Millennials, and proof that many have not consumed the red cool aid.

It’s called Buy Low Sell High, and that beautifully simple concept applies to Millennials too.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/02/14/millennial-socialism

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/02/14/millennial-socialists-want-to-shake-up-the-economy-and-save-the-climate

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/02/21/cnn-thinks-socialism-cool-my-grandparents-ussr-would-disagree/349830002/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/millennials-communism-sounds-pretty-chill-2017-11-01

Ever wonder how Venezuela became … Venezuela?

Almost DailyBrett at one time expected that Amazon would announce Austin, Texas as the recipient of HQ2 with its estimated $50 billion total investment and upwards to 50,000 technology positions with full benefits.

As a major technology hub, Austin offers a well-trained workforce, the capital of a right-to-work state, no state income taxes, and politicians’ favorably predisposed to corporate capitalism. In addition, Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, which is based in … Austin.

Instead, Amazon selected Northern Virginia with it well-educated workforce and proximity to the infinite wisdom emanating within the Beltway. The other choice, which raised more than a few eyebrows, was heavily unionized and über-taxed Long Island.

The original thinking was Amazon would be welcomed with the prospect of providing 40,000 real positions with annual salaries averaging $150,000 and full benefits – not strip mall jobs – and $27.5 billion in new tax revenues during the course of 10 years. Yes, there were $3 billion in tax incentives from the State of New and New York City and these are always controversial.

Let’s see $3 billion in exchange for $27.5 billion in new revenues and 40,000 direct high-paying positions, not counting all the indirect economic activity supporting Amazon HQ2 in terms of suppliers, vendors and utilities.

Buy Low, Sell High?

Alas the United States is a divided nation, not just Democrats vs Republicans … but more to the point: Socialism vs. Capitalism.

Some wish to punish Amazon and its wealthiest dude on the planet boss, Jeff Bezos, for pioneering digital retail, employing 613,300, generating $232 billion in annual revenues, and stimulating $798 billion in investor market capitalization.

Amazon was greeted to Gotham by a buzz-saw of those who disdain capitalism in favor of command-and-control socialism.

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett imagined what it would be like to be relaying really bad news to the boss – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – and answering the flood of media calls.

The alternative of a root canal is looking real attractive right now.

Ever hear the one about banging your head against the wall?

It only feels good, when you … stop.

Is Amazon Serious?

Is Amazon just firing a shot across the bow?

“It (loss of Amazon investment) would certainly undermine confidence in governance. You can’t empower anti-capitalist ideologues and expect the capitalists to embrace them. I still think they will work this out, because the embarrassment would be severe.” – Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor of Urban Studies

“You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.” – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

“Threw away” constitutes fighting words.

These provocative words make it more difficult for the City of New York and Amazon to “work this out.” Why did da Mayor challenge Bezos’ manhood (we know it exists) in the first sentence of his prepared statement, and then charge the company with throwing away an opportunity in the concluding sentence.

Hey Mr. Mayor ever heard of the words … “disappointed”? … “concerned? … “let’s talk”?

If New York bids adieu to 25,000-to-40,000 Amazon positions and $27.5 billion in tax revenues in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ congressional district, will those who are cheering today be demanding social justice from New York state and city tomorrow?

Even China with its brand of authoritarian capitalism figured out that buying low and selling high is the best way to provide prosperity for its people.

New York had the prospect of becoming a lucrative technology hub … but it “threw away” that opportunity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/nyregion/amazon-hq2-queens.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/02/13/leaving-long-island-city-what-losing-amazon-hq2-would-mean-for-nycs-future/#18d48f01127c

https://nypost.com/2019/02/14/de-blasio-amazon-threw-away-great-opportunity-in-nyc/

 

 

%d bloggers like this: