Category Archives: Business

Logical maximum pay

I like creating simple algorithms to solve complex social issues. My 28th, 29th and 30th Amendments, FED tax schedule, college tuition, inequality tax and dividend maximums, among others, are examples.

One of the bizarre social numbers out there is CEO pay (or corporate executive pay). Generally, these numbers are incomprehensible.  Some examples (BI):

Name Company Salary
Steve Wynn Wynn Resorts $28.2 million
Leonard Schleifer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals $28.3 million
Ginni Rometty IBM $32.3 million
Jeff Bewkes Time Warner Inc. $32.6 million
Brian Roberts Comcast Corp. $33 million
Robert Kotick Activision Blizzard Inc. $33.1 million
David Zaslav Discovery Communications $37.2 million
Bob Iger Walt Disney Co. $41 million
Les Moonves CBS Corp $68.6 million
Tom Rutledge Charter Communications $98 million

What is reasonable? Certainly not $100 million a year! Some say that executive pay is necessarily high as it needs to attract the best (the best sociopaths…) who are willing to take the heat and dish out the sometimes oppressive company actions that keep a corporation healthy.

Yeah, right!

But as I asked, what is reasonable? What is a logical maximum salary? What simple algorithm could we create to deduce this? How about this. I’ll admit that someone might be:

  • twice as smart as me
  • twice as skilled as me
  • twice as educated as me
  • twice as experienced as me
  • twice as industrious as me and
  • twice as lucky as me.

(Twice being 100% better. “Me” being the average Joe.)

That’s 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64 times “better” than me.

If the median household salary is $59k (US Census Bureau 2016) then:
64 x $59k = $3,776,000

That is the maximum logical pay anyone could possibly be paid based on the reasonable comparison of people’s abilities. $3.7M is a pretty hefty paycheck in my book. Plenty, I’m sure, on which to live a lavish life.

But there are 482 CEO’s of the S&P 500 paid more than this number.
(cite: https://aflcio.org/paywatch/highest-paid-ceos)

The highest, Sundar Pichai of Google fame, gets $100M. That means that he’s effectively 1694 times “better” than me.

Boy, that sure is one-hell-of-a-lot better! I’m sure he’s worth it.

Advertisements

My Five Stars

Are we the same?

Of course not. So, why would my preferences have any influence over your choices in life? They shouldn’t. Unless of course, we’ve established some sort of commonality between us.

When we see this somewhere on the web:

FiveStars

We think to ourselves, “hey, it must be good!” right? But, who are those people who liked that thing, whatever it might be (book, movie, electronic device, candy bar, restaurant, car, etc.) Are they like you or like me? Doubtful. What if everybody who really liked “X” were all penthouse-owing, world-tripping, elitist oligarchs, a bunch of self-declared aristocrats? Or what if they were all children in an Icelandic grade school? How much do you have in common with either of these? (You might, I don’t know, but that’s not the point. Or rather, that IS the point.)

Or what if you see some sad item for review with no stars. Some poor, dejected thing which nobody liked, everybody hated:

NoFiveStars

Again, who were these people to have rejected, outright, the efforts of whomever created or offered this item for review? Maybe it was wicked great, but reviewed by a whole slew of folks who had NOTHING in common with the creator. Nor did they have ANYTHING in common with you. Maybe YOU would love whatever that thing is.

And maybe you’d HATE that thing the kids in the Iceland school loved.

My point here is that reviews are treated as omniscient, but in reality they should be treated, organized in such a way that when you examine a reviewed item you see the reviews of ONLY those people who are as similar to you as contextually possible.

Who are these people? See, that’s the problem. That’s the golden prize at the end of all of this sociality. If you had a tribe of cultivated, curated people around you, people who held similar tastes in a high percentage of topics and ideals, you could trust those people’s reviews, their opinions would come much closer to yours.

This is what’s missing from facebook, twitter, google, linkedin, instagram, snapchat, et al. These “friends” or associates you have gathered in your time online, they do NOT represent a reflection of you. They’re a hodgepodge of people you’ve collected over time with vastly disparate views and morals, likes and dislikes.

Five stars? Zero stars? They mean nothing without knowing WHO rated them; without knowing if those people were anything like you.

Solve this problem, and you create a truly successful social experience.


Sheesh, Capitalists!

“Here’s What Stocks You Want to Own in the Event of a War With North Korea”

https://www.thestreet.com/story/14316270/1/north-korea.html

What a load of aristocratic horse hockey! Cramer’s TheStreet is trying to tell you “Hey, here’s how to make money on the up coming end-of-the-world — get in now while you still have air to breathe!”

  • Do these people even realize how like human scum they are?
  • Is there a more despicable slice of humanity than capitalists?
  • Do capitalists even have souls?
  • What do you call 1,000,000 capitalists at the bottom of the sea?
    A good start. (an oldie but tasteless joke).
  • Are there conscientiousness capitalists? I guess… I’ve never met any. They “say” they are but most likely would read an article like that and, if it made sense, take financial advantage of the information.
  • Do I despise capitalists? No. Only those who own capital.

 


Apocalypse for charity

What if you could prepare for the Apocalypse while donating to charity at the same time?

Imagine this:

For $100 a year Calamity-Charity delivers to your door a five-gallon (or more) bucket of various survival goods. Inside you’ll find 20-30 kilos of rice, beans, oats, wheat, and assorted flavorings and dried vegetables and proteins.

Now, in all likelihood, you probably won’t be using any of the contents in this bucket. And in fact, it behooves you to NOT use it. Because after six months, Calamity-Charity will delivery to you a NEW bucket, and take the old sealed bucket away. If you renew your yearly subscription, every six months you’ll get a brand new bucket of survival food.

But not only that… Because you DONATED your first sealed bucket you get to write off its cost of $50.00. If you renew your subscription you get to write off ALL $100 as a charitable donation. AND STILL get to keep your third survival bucket (which gets replaced on your anniversary and then again… and so on and so forth.)

And here’s the bonus part: that food that Calamity-Charity carted away after six months? Yeah, it went to FEED THE POOR! It went to homeless shelters, emergency food supplies for natural disaster victims — it didn’t get thrown out — it got used by those in need.

And if, by the extremely unlikely scenario you need to use the food? Well, you’ll have guaranteed fresh grains ready and waiting for your use.

Sounds like a pretty good business model no? Get in on the Apoca-porn industry, provide a potentially life saving service, and create a charity system all in one!

 

 

 


Forced to lie

I went looking for a job.

I found this one, it looked like a fit for my skills — on the surface — not enough information was available though. So I applied on Dice.com.

The recruiter called me. “Here’s the job specs, go have a look-see.”

A few of the “Requirements” stuck out at me:

  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills

I thought to myself, “I might be excellent in one or two of those, and probably above average in others (and maybe just average in time management…), but I sure as hell am not EXCELLENT in all of those!”

In fact, I’m not sure who is. I’ve never met someone like that. By stating that these are requirements, anyone stepping up with interest would effectively be lying:

“Yes, I’m excellent in all of those things.”

“No you’re not, nobody is. Therefore you’re already lying to us.”

“Well, you got me there. But if everyone who approaches you has to lie about possessing Excellent Everything skills, why make such stipulations? Do you WANT to force every one of your candidates into a LIE — right from the get-go?”

Apparently this is common practice. Job requirements call out completely unrealistic levels and numbers of skills and expect you to lie about them.

Needless to say I brought up this discrepancy and the blatant need to lie to get a job interview. The recruiter didn’t care. “Everyone does it,” he said.

Nice – an entire industry predicated on lies.


Sleazy Tactics Carfax!

The US Auto background checking site Carfax, has a sleazy tactic. They auto select the most expensive option – and DO NOT prompt to confirm the sale.

LAME-O Carfax!

SleazyCarfax

 

IT GETS WORSE!!!

CarFax then plays a game with their Lookup by License or VIN#

Try to enter a license plate number… AND then you’re forced to use the VIN#

SleazyCarfax2So you can’t actually run by License Plate Number!!!!!!

SLEAZOID CARFAX!

SleazyCarfax3


New FED Mandate – Equality

The Federal Reserve is “governed” by a Congressional mandate:

  • Maximize employment.
  • Keep prices stable.
  • Retain moderate long-term interest rates.

I propose another:

  • Minimize income inequality.

Now, there’s a problem with all of these mandates. The FED has but three primitive tools with which to accomplish their goals.

  • The Discount Rate, that is, the oft stated “interest rate”.
  • Banking reserve requirements, what percentage of deposits banks are required to retain to substantiate their loans.
  • Open market activity, buying and selling of treasuries like the Quantitative Easing they did during the 2008 Financial Crisis.

So, what new (or existing) tool can Congress give the FED to help it with this new “Min- Inequality” mandate? How can the FED do its work with only a throttle/brake (interest rate), a bottle of NOX (QE),  and seat belts (banking reserve)?

If we postulate that the three main drivers of income inequality are corporations that:

  • Pay their executives and officers far more than they are worth, and pay their employees far less than they are worth.
  • That they distribute the income of the company’s business to shareholders rather than a larger portion going to employees (as wage, salary or shares).
  • And that they use net income to buy-back shares of the company from the stock market (which boosts stock prices).

Then those are the behaviors we want to change.

These are therefore the leverage points we can use:
1) Corporations borrow money from banks to fund growth.
2) They borrow money from investors as bonds to fund growth.
3) And corporations issue additional common or preferred stock to fund growth.

We would need to give the FED the power to throttle each of these corporate growth behaviors. With me so far? For each of these corporate expansion tactics we’ll add an inequality tax. This tax will be a calculation of the highest paid employee divided by the lowest paid employee — and that then divided by 100.

   CEO    ÷ low wage ÷ (adj)
5,000,000 ÷  50,000  ÷  100  = 1.00

The FED will now be given additional power, a number the “Inequality Quotient” IEQQ, by which they can lower the inequality penalty or raise it.

With the FED IEQQ number set to 1.00, a corporation with the above inequality metric would have to pay 1% higher interest rate to borrow money from any bank. Would have to pay 1% more in bond interest for any bonds they issue. And they would have to pay 1% gratuity tax on any new shares they offered.

   CEO    ÷ low wage ÷ (adj)
5,000,000 ÷ 50,000   ÷ 100 * (1.00 FED IEQQ) = 1.00%

All funds collected would go into — Social Security!

Simple right? Now, how do we convince Congress that this is important and that this (or a version of it) will work?