Diary of Wimpy CEOs

Since the Donald was elected, we now seem to have four heads of public companies who have resigned from the Manufacturing Council, presumably because they don’t like his politics.

Are these guys nuts?

He could use their input on manufacturing processes,  but I guess they’d rather take a hit on some aspect of their company from the Trumpster. Drug pricing? Making chips offshore? No import protection?

We used to have a simple rule at Ford: leave your politics at the building door. We didn’t care what HF II or Lee’s politics were, but we did like to get our divisional plans approved for the next year or five, and senior Ford execs were quiet on what theirs were. I worked for Allan Gilmour for two years before I found out he was gay. Did I care? Nope. He was a great boss.

Besides, in this era of p.c., keep your head down and don’t bring it up. Even if you’re a well-regarded Google engineer.

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Tax Reform

Now that Johnny Mac has blown the healthcare reform out of the water until the next Congress, we can get back to subjects we’re more comfortable with on business.

The next order of business for the Washington Wizards is tax reform, and there’s a good editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal outlining what’s supposed to be in the tax bill. After all the misinformation on healthcare, guys, let’s get this one right.

  1. Business (I’m presumptively speaking for it, with 85,000 readers, most of which are in the US) would like a RATE CUT FIRST, to about 15% or so, which would make us competitive with the rest of the world.
  2. We agree with the Journal, make the rate cuts retroactive to January 1, 2017. Many of our clients already have low tax rates, courtesy of buying depreciable assets, but there’s a limit as to how much they can buy (only their bankers know for sure).
  3. Reform second, but it’s not clear what’s going to get reformed. Maybe a shorter, simpler tax code? More liberal business expensing? There are a lot of carve-outs (eg electric cars’ tax credits), and maybe these need to get back to a more rational basis. State and local taxes used to be deductible, too.
  4. If the business rate cut goes through, it will lop off about 15% of tax revenues (our estimate). How about cutting spending 15%? Mad Dog can probably even find some in defense. Workfare is back!

So, let’s go Wizards. We and the Journal have given you some starting points.

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Profile in Courage

You can’t help but think Sen John McCain is one tough mother. Plane crashes, torture, visits to the Hanoi Hilton.

Walking across the Senate to vote ‘aye’ on proceeding to debate two days after brain cancer surgery, with a nasty looking scar over his left eye.

And I’m not sure he’s actually in favor of the healthcare bill as it now stands. But he gets on a plane to cast the deciding vote to proceed on debate. And, somehow, four other senators get on the bus, either because he’s there, or Trump, Pence & Co twisted some arms to the breaking point. Sens Collins and Murkowski have to be thinking tonight ‘we look like such wimps and idiots’.

I’ll grant you that I owe some favors to Johnny Mac. He found the funding to keep a Navy book project going (twice) for me and my coauthor when there weren’t supposedly any funds to be had, because he believed the Navy needed better leadership.

So, I say, go Johnny go.


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So Pass It Already, Repubs

I went back to my 7/26 post before writing this, so I wouldn’t duplicate anything I’d said back then.

We are now about two weeks after the initial wave of good feeling, and the five holdouts, and it seems that only Sen. Cruz has offered a worthwhile addition to the Republican Healthcare bill.

So, the rest of you hotheads, either put up or shut up. You had the weekend to get bashed by your constituents, so, get back in the pit and vote ‘yes’ to to bill, with the Cruz amendment.

We don’t pay you people to nif-naw all day (go look it up).

And, by the way, after you pass it, would some genius let us know what you passed at some website, such as senate.gov.?

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Another hat in the ring. The first Republican to announce he’s running for governor. Who is Jack Ciattarelli? And why does he want the job? The Hoboken train crash. It pushed us to be our best early in our lives. Through the hockey ranks as teenagers, Bryce and Lyndon friends and family often suggested their playing styles and on ice chemistry resembled professional hockey players Daniel and Henrik Sedin, twins that have played for the Vancouver Canucks since 2000.always kind of looked for each other when we out there, Lyndon said. Used to play on the same line in youth hockey, which led to us being told we were like the Sedins for some reason.

Considering that Democrats have been the ruling force in Racine and Milwaukee for decades, and if Democrats has a plan, both cities should be shining examples of prosperity. Obviously Racine and Milwaukee rank as near the top as impoverished cities with Racine showing almost no commercial development. There are many reasons for the lousy shape Racine is in and it’s surely not because Republicans are in charge of the city.

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Senate Repubs, Let’s Get to Yes on Healthcare

Good lord, the radio airwaves and the newspapers over the weekend were filled with various opinions on what the Republicans should do on the Senate version of the House bill.

There are five Republican holdouts, and I must say that if they vote ‘no’ and the bill fails, their Senate careers are toast. I don’t understand why they can’t see that. We will personally call all the holdouts and verbally beat them about the head and shoulders. One in particular, Dean Heller, who used to be my Nevada Senator, is on the target list.

The objections are that it’s not a perfect bill. No it isn’t, and if you want to read it, go to budget.senate.gov. and read both the summary and the actual bill.

There are some things missing we in the business community would like, such as tort reform and portability of insurance, and the income levels before subsidy seem a little bizzare, but at least the latter are in the bill. It’s also not clear if businesses have to sign up for this thing, but we are guessing not, because the individual mandate is gone.

It seems to us that this thing should be voted on by the Senate, should get 51 votes (Rand Paul is just a lost case), and pass it. If Heller, Lee, Johnson, Cruz, et. al. have to hold their noses to vote yes, so be it. They can mouth off later. There’s always the next session next year after the senators get back from goofing off (vacation, constituent visits)

Then by God, we can be on the tax reform although here again, the Trump folks should just push a rate cut and reduction in tax categories. And then work on tax reform next year.

So, guys, get to ‘yes’ on the Republican healthcare any way that you can.


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While fans and producers of the show may have been disappointed

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