Posts Tagged ‘business’

Oboma Budget Bad Business

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

The world has been waking up and raising a voice against President Oboma’s budget and stimulus plans. How can you spend, spend, spend money you don’t have? Who will pay back the debt?

The European Union has taken a stance against the massive amount of spending. The head of the EU, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, said it was “the road to hell.”

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who several weeks ago had almost joined Obama’s cabinet, came out strongly opposed to the budget. Judd said, “We believe you create prosperity by having an affordable government that pursues its responsibilities without excessive costs, taxes or debt.”

“In the next five years, President Obama’s budget will double the national debt. In the next 10 years, it will triple the national debt.”

“His budget assumes the deficit will average $1 trillion every year for the next 10 years and will add well over $9 trillion in new debts to our children’s backs. He also is proposing the largest tax increase in history, much of it aimed at taxing small business people who have been, over the years, the best job creators in our economy.”

The proposals “represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left.”

“He is very forthright in stating that he believes that by greatly expanding the spending, the taxing and the borrowing of our government, this will lead us to prosperity.”

“It is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government.”

“We believe that you create energy independence not by sticking Americans with a brand new national sales tax on everyone’s electric bill, but by expanding the production of American energy … while also conserving more.”

“We also believe you improve everyone’s health care not by nationalizing the health care system and putting the government between you and your doctor, but by assuring that every American has access to quality health insurance and choices in health care.”

“The U.S. has an exceptional history of one generation passing on to the next generation a more prosperous and stronger country, but that tradition is being put at risk.”

China Says: Reform the International Monetary System

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The People’s Bank of China is calling for a universal currency. Russia has also expressed a desire for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to use a single, non-dollar based currency. China holds a trillion dollars of US debt in dollars.

The article, What Is a Dollar Worth, considered the risk of future inflation because of the soaring Federal budget deficit. If this risk was combined with a decreased international demand for the dollar, what might be the implications for inflation in the USA?

From the People’s Bank of China:

Reform the International Monetary System
by Zhou Xiaochuan

The outbreak of the current crisis and its spillover in the world have confronted us with a long-existing but still unanswered question,i.e., what kind of international reserve currency do we need to secure global financial stability and facilitate world economic growth, which was one of the purposes for establishing the IMF? There were various institutional arrangements in an attempt to find a solution, including the Silver Standard, the Gold Standard, the Gold Exchange Standard and the Bretton Woods system. The above question, however, as the ongoing financial crisis demonstrates, is far from being solved, and has become even more severe due to the inherent weaknesses of the current international monetary system.

Theoretically, an international reserve currency should first be anchored to a stable benchmark and issued according to a clear set of rules, therefore to ensure orderly supply; second, its supply should be flexible enough to allow timely adjustment according to the changing demand; third, such adjustments should be disconnected from economic conditions and sovereign interests of any single country. The acceptance of credit-based national currencies as major international reserve currencies, as is the case in the current system, is a rare special case in history. The crisis again calls for creative reform of the existing international monetary system towards an international reserve currency with a stable value, rule-based issuance and manageable supply, so as to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability.

I. The outbreak of the crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflect the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system.

Issuing countries of reserve currencies are constantly confronted with the dilemma between achieving their domestic monetary policy goals and meeting other countries’ demand for reserve currencies. On the one hand,the monetary authorities cannot simply focus on domestic goals without carrying out their international responsibilities´┐Ż´┐Żon the other hand,they cannot pursue different domestic and international objectives at the same time. They may either fail to adequately meet the demand of a growing global economy for liquidity as they try to ease inflation pressures at home, or create excess liquidity in the global markets by overly stimulating domestic demand. The Triffin Dilemma, i.e., the issuing countries of reserve currencies cannot maintain the value of the reserve currencies while providing liquidity to the world, still exists.

When a national currency is used in pricing primary commodities, trade settlements and is adopted as a reserve currency globally, efforts of the monetary authority issuing such a currency to address its economic imbalances by adjusting exchange rate would be made in vain, as its currency serves as a benchmark for many other currencies. While benefiting from a widely accepted reserve currency, the globalization also suffers from the flaws of such a system. The frequency and increasing intensity of financial crises following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system suggests the costs of such a system to the world may have exceeded its benefits. The price is becoming increasingly higher, not only for the users, but also for the issuers of the reserve currencies. Although crisis may not necessarily be an intended result of the issuing authorities, it is an inevitable outcome of the institutional flaws.

II. The desirable goal of reforming the international monetary system, therefore, is to create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.

1. Though the super-sovereign reserve currency has long since been proposed, yet no substantive progress has been achieved to date. Back in the 1940s, Keynes had already proposed to introduce an international currency unit named “Bancor”, based on the value of 30 representative commodities. Unfortunately, the proposal was not accepted. The collapse of the Bretton Woods system, which was based on the White approach, indicates that the Keynesian approach may have been more farsighted. The IMF also created the SDR in 1969, when the defects of the Bretton Woods system initially emerged, to mitigate the inherent risks sovereign reserve currencies caused. Yet, the role of the SDR has not been put into full play due to limitations on its allocation and the scope of its uses. However, it serves as the light in the tunnel for the reform of the international monetary system.

2. A super-sovereign reserve currency not only eliminates the inherent risks of credit-based sovereign currency, but also makes it possible to manage global liquidity. A super-sovereign reserve currency managed by a global institution could be used to both create and control the global liquidity. And when a country’s currency is no longer used as the yardstick for global trade and as the benchmark for other currencies, the exchange rate policy of the country would be far more effective in adjusting economic imbalances. This will significantly reduce the risks of a future crisis and enhance crisis management capability.

III. The reform should be guided by a grand vision and begin with specific deliverables. It should be a gradual process that yields win-win results for all.

The reestablishment of a new and widely accepted reserve currency with a stable valuation benchmark may take a long time. The creation of an international currency unit, based on the Keynesian proposal, is a bold initiative that requires extraordinary political vision and courage. In the short run, the international community, particularly the IMF, should at least recognize and face up to the risks resulting from the existing system, conduct regular monitoring and assessment and issue timely early warnings.

Special consideration should be given to giving the SDR a greater role. The SDR has the features and potential to act as a super-sovereign reserve currency. Moreover, an increase in SDR allocation would help the Fund address its resources problem and the difficulties in the voice and representation reform. Therefore, efforts should be made to push forward a SDR allocation. This will require political cooperation among member countries. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment to the Articles of Agreement and relevant resolution on SDR allocation proposed in 1997 should be approved as soon as possible so that members joined the Fund after 1981 could also share the benefits of the SDR. On the basis of this, considerations could be given to further increase SDR allocation.

The scope of using the SDR should be broadened, so as to enable it to fully satisfy the member countries’ demand for a reserve currency.

Set up a settlement system between the SDR and other currencies. Therefore, the SDR, which is now only used between governments and international institutions, could become a widely accepted means of payment in international trade and financial transactions.

Actively promote the use of the SDR in international trade, commodities pricing, investment and corporate book-keeping. This will help enhance the role of the SDR, and will effectively reduce the fluctuation of prices of assets denominated in national currencies and related risks.

Create financial assets denominated in the SDR to increase its appeal. The introduction of SDR-denominated securities, which is being studied by the IMF, will be a good start.

Further improve the valuation and allocation of the SDR. The basket of currencies forming the basis for SDR valuation should be expanded to include currencies of all major economies, and the GDP may also be included as a weight. The allocation of the SDR can be shifted from a purely calculation-based system to a system backed by real assets, such as a reserve pool, to further boost market confidence in its value.

IV. Entrusting part of the member countries’ reserve to the centralized management of the IMF will not only enhance the international community’s ability to address the crisis and maintain the stability of the international monetary and financial system, but also significantly strengthen the role of the SDR.

1. Compared with separate management of reserves by individual countries, the centralized management of part of the global reserve by a trustworthy international institution with a reasonable return to encourage participation will be more effective in deterring speculation and stabilizing financial markets. The participating countries can also save some reserve for domestic development and economic growth. With its universal membership, its unique mandate of maintaining monetary and financial stability, and as an international “supervisor” on the macroeconomic policies of its member countries, the IMF, equipped with its expertise, is endowed with a natural advantage to act as the manager of its member countries’ reserves.

2. The centralized management of its member countries’ reserves by the Fund will be an effective measure to promote a greater role of the SDR as a reserve currency. To achieve this, the IMF can set up an open-ended SDR-denominated fund based on the market practice, allowing subscription and redemption in the existing reserve currencies by various investors as desired. This arrangement will not only promote the development of SDR-denominated assets, but will also partially allow management of the liquidity in the form of the existing reserve currencies. It can even lay a foundation for increasing SDR allocation to gradually replace existing reserve currencies with the SDR.

The Ever Shrinking Economy

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Washington, DC — The Commerce Department released its report on the 4th Quarter GDP. Though it was expected to be bad, it came in even worse — down 6.2 percent on an annual rate.

Bank Failures Increase Worldwide

Monday, February 16th, 2009

by widgette.com

Bank failures continue to escalate over the face of the globe. Four more US banks were closed by regulators in Nebraska, Florida, Illinois and Oregon.

In the UK, Lloyds is already 43.5% government owned after having to seek assistance last fall. Now, they face $14.2 billion loss. At the same time, they still wish to pay multi-million dollar bonuses to employees. It is unlikely the government stakeholders will approve such bonuses. On the other hand, the government may be forced to nationalize the bank.

Another Great Depression?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

by widgette.com

Could the current economic crisis lead to another great depression? The Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank has released a study that suggests the government needs to be careful in order to avoid such a problem. Massive public intervention to maintain employment and investment, if they distort incentives enough, can lead to a great depression.

Business cycles can lead to an ordinary downturn in the economy. However, overreaction by the government can prolong and deepen the downturn leading to depression.

Hitachi Reverses Financial Outlook / Cuts Jobs

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Tokyo, Japan — Hitachi changed their forecast from profitability to a 4.1-billion-dollar quarterly loss.

Hitachi is one of the world’s largest corporations. It was founded in 1910 by Namihei Odaira as an electrical repair shop. They succeeded in manufacturing three 5hp (3.6775 kW) electric motors as the company’s first products.

Today, they manufacture consumer products:
* Home Appliances
* AV Products
* Personal Computer / Mobile Phones
* Home Equipment / Life service

And, business products:
* Information Technology
* Security
* Electronic Devices / Materials
* Public / Urban / Transportation
* Medical / Health Care / Biotechnology
* Environment / Power / Industrial

Because of economic conditions, they plan to lay-off 7,000 workers.

America Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

n the weekly address, President Barack Obama addressed the latest economic news and urged the passing of an America Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

He also announced that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is preparing a new strategy for reviving our financial system — which will not only ensure that CEOs aren’t abusing taxpayer dollars, but also get credit flowing and lower mortgage costs.

ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION
January 31, 2009

This morning I’d like to talk about some good news and some bad news as we confront our economic crisis.

The bad news is well known to Americans across our country as we continue to struggle through unprecedented economic turmoil. Yesterday we learned that our economy shrank by nearly 4 percent from October through December. That decline was the largest in over a quarter century, and it underscores the seriousness of the economic crisis that my administration found when we took office.

Already the slowdown has cost us tens of thousands of jobs in January alone. And the picture is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Make no mistake, these are not just numbers. Behind every statistic there’s a story. Many Americans have seen their lives turned upside down. Families have been forced to make painful choices. Parents are struggling to pay the bills. Patients can’t afford care. Students can’t keep pace with tuition. And workers don’t know whether their retirement will be dignified and secure.

The good news is that we are moving forward with a sense of urgency equal to the challenge. This week the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which will save or create more than 3 million jobs over the next few years. It puts a tax cut into the pockets of working families, and places a down payment on America’s future by investing in energy independence and education, affordable health care, and American infrastructure.

Now this recovery plan moves to the Senate. I will continue working with both parties so that the strongest possible bill gets to my desk. With the stakes so high we simply cannot afford the same old gridlock and partisan posturing in Washington. It’s time to move in a new direction.

Americans know that our economic recovery will take years — not months. But they will have little patience if we allow politics to get in the way of action, and our economy continues to slide. That’s why I am calling on the Senate to pass this plan, so that we can put people back to work and begin the long, hard work of lifting our economy out of this crisis. No one bill, no matter how comprehensive, can cure what ails our economy. So just as we jumpstart job creation, we must also ensure that markets are stable, credit is flowing, and families can stay in their homes.

Last year Congress passed a plan to rescue the financial system. While the package helped avoid a financial collapse, many are frustrated by the results — and rightfully so. Too often taxpayer dollars have been spent without transparency or accountability. Banks have been extended a hand, but homeowners, students, and small businesses that need loans have been left to fend on their own.

And adding to this outrage, we learned this week that even as they petitioned for taxpayer assistance, Wall Street firms shamefully paid out nearly $20 billion in bonuses for 2008. While I’m committed to doing what it takes to maintain the flow of credit, the American people will not excuse or tolerate such arrogance and greed. The road to recovery demands that we all act responsibly, from Main Street to Washington to Wall Street.

Soon my Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families. We’ll help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs. We’ll ensure that CEOs are not draining funds that should be advancing our recovery. And we will insist on unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight, and clear accountability — so taxpayers know how their money is being spent and whether it is achieving results.

Rarely in history has our country faced economic problems as devastating as this crisis. But the strength of the American people compels us to come together. The road ahead will be long, but I promise you that every day that I go to work in the Oval Office I carry with me your stories, and my administration is dedicated to alleviating your struggles and advancing your dreams. You are calling for action. Now is the time for those of us in Washington to live up to our responsibilities.

Entertainment Headlines: American Idol, Elvis and Ali

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

by RomBox.com

CKX, Inc. owners of American Idol, Elvis Presley, Graceland, Muhammad Ali, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood announced their director had resigned.

CKX, Inc. (Nasdaq: CKXE) and 19 Entertainment Limited announced today that last night’s Wednesday premiere of American Idol drew approximately 30.3 million viewers, retaining 100% of the Tuesday night audience for the first time in five years, and for the first time ever, surpassing the Tuesday night season premiere in the key 18-34 adult demographic. In addition, this is the first time in five years that American Idol’s Wednesday premiere has increased over its Tuesday debut in Adults 18-49. The Wednesday show was the highest rated telecast of the season on any net among Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34.

Get the full article.

World Recession / Global Slowdown

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Markets around the world are falling. This could be the first time that so many countries have slid into recession at the same time. The United States has been in a recession for the past year. Great Britain announced that it, too, had fallen into recession. In Korea, Samsung posted its first ever quarterly loss. Japan’s Sony saw its first quarterly loss in fourteen years. Canada went from predicting a positive GNP to revising the projection to a recession. Even China is seeing a slowdown with growth going into the single digits for the first time in many years.

Microsoft To Lay Off 5,000 Employees

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The price of Microsoft stock fell to a 20 year low as their proprietary opperating system, Vista, continues to have trouble.

Here is an email from the CEO:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 6:07 AM
Subject: Realigning Resources and Reducing Costs

In response to the realities of a deteriorating economy, we’re taking important steps to realign Microsoft’s business. I want to tell you about what we’re doing and why.

Today we announced second quarter revenue of $16.6 billion. This number is an increase of just 2 percent compared with the second quarter of last year and it is approximately $900 million below our earlier expectations.

The fact that we are growing at all during the worst recession in two generations reflects our strong business fundamentals and is a testament to your hard work. Our products provide great value to our customers. Our financial position is solid. We have made long-term investments that continue to pay off.

But it is also clear that we are not immune to the effects of the economy. Consumers and businesses have reined in spending, which is affecting PC shipments and IT expenditures.

Our response to this environment must combine a commitment to long-term investments in innovation with prompt action to reduce our costs.

During the second quarter we started down the right path. As the economy deteriorated, we acted quickly. As a result, we reduced operating expenses during the quarter by $600 million. I appreciate the agility you have shown in enabling us to achieve this result.

Now we need to do more. We must make adjustments to ensure that our investments are tightly aligned with current and future revenue opportunities. The current environment requires that we continue to increase our efficiency.

As part of the process of adjustments, we will eliminate up to 5,000 positions in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, LCA, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, of which 1,400 will occur today. We’ll also open new positions to support key investment areas during this same period of time. Our net headcount in these functions will decline by 2,000 to 3,000 over the next 18 months. In addition, our workforce in support, consulting, operations, billing, manufacturing, and data center operations will continue to change in direct response to customer needs.

Our leaders all have specific goals to manage costs prudently and thoughtfully. They have the flexibility to adjust the size of their teams so they are appropriately matched to revenue potential, to add headcount where they need to increase investments in order to ensure future success, and to drive efficiency.

To increase efficiency, we’re taking a series of aggressive steps. We’ll cut travel expenditures 20 percent and make significant reductions in spending on vendors and contingent staff. We’ve scaled back Puget Sound campus expansion and reduced marketing budgets. We’ll also reduce costs by eliminating merit increases for FY10 that would have taken effect in September of this calendar year.

Each of these steps will be difficult. Our priority remains doing right by our customers and our employees. For employees who are directly affected, I know this will be a difficult time for you and I want to assure you that we will provide help and support during this transition. We have established an outplacement center in the Puget Sound region and we’ll provide outplacement services in many other locations to help you find new jobs. Some of you may find jobs internally. For those who don’t, we will also offer severance pay and other benefits.

The decision to eliminate jobs is a very difficult one. Our people are the foundation of everything we have achieved and we place the highest value on the commitment and hard work that you have dedicated to building this company. But we believe these job eliminations are crucial to our ability to adjust the company’s cost structure so that we have the resources to drive future profitable growth. I encourage you to attend tomorrow’s Town Hall at 9am PST in Cafe 34 or watch the Webcast.

While this is the most challenging economic climate we have ever faced, I want to reiterate my confidence in the strength of our competitive position and soundness of our approach.

With these changes in place, I feel confident that we will have the resources we need to continue to invest in long-term computing trends that offer the greatest opportunity to deliver value to our customers and shareholders, benefit to society, and growth for Microsoft.

With our approach to investing for the long term and managing our expenses, I know Microsoft will emerge an even stronger industry leader than it is today.

Thank you for your continued commitment and hard work.

Steve