Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

Governing Lessons From Corporate America! (volume 1)
March 16, 2009, 9:09 am
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Time to introduce a new feature here at Sacred Cods… Governing Lessons From Corporate America!

We are constantly hearing how governments should be run more like businesses. And this site is about nothing if it isn’t about a free exchange of ideas on how we can run our towns, states, and country better. So I think we should take a look at the exemplary way that Corporate America conducts business and what lessons government can learn.

 Let’s start with what’s most current in the news, shall we? And remember, Corporate America knows best!

First up, AIG.

As we all know, this company put the entire world’s financial strucure at risk by leveraging itself out massively in the hopes that the housing market wouldn’t collapse. Oops! But, boy, what a ride they had in the meantime! Thankfully, the US government was willing to lend $173 billion in order to keep this living example of pluck and perseverance up and running. And what better way to reward the people who ran the company — and thus much of the world’s banking system — into the ground, than by awarding them $290 million in bonus payments? See, it’s all about accountability. If AIG executives hadn’t lost $40 billion worth of their company’s value, they could have received something like $800 million in bonuses. Or maybe even a cool $1 billion. And now their stuck with just $450 million. THAT, my government friends, is true accountability.

Thankfully, the MBTA is already up to speed on this lesson: You don’t let a $150 million budget deficit and $5 billion in debt deter you from giving  out 9% raises to your managers.      

Second up is a first-ballot Hall of Famer when it comes to examples of leadership and responsibility in Corporate America: Stewart Parnell, the President of Peanut Corp. of America.  As you may remember, Mr. Parnell is the American Patriot who didn’t let something like positive tests for salmonella stop him from keeping his profit margin up. No sirree. Can’t have those crates of tainted peanut products clogging up our GDP producing storage space. Remember, the FDA is just a bunch of European Commie socialists who have infiltrated our government in a nefarious plot to weaken the American economy.  You never herad John Wayne whining about salmonella-tainted peanut butter. Not like eating some will kill ya. Well, not all of you. Just the weak ones anyway. Aren’t the libercrats always talking about natural selection anyway?

Sigh…maybe someday our elected leaders will learn: THIS is how you run a business!


Quick post on a snowy Sunday
March 1, 2009, 4:43 pm
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I don’t feel like thinking today. My brain is frozen with the image of shoveling myself out tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll trick Pragmatist Jr. into doing it, Tom Sawyer-style. Anyway, I’m posting the comment I left over at about the ongoing gas tax debate. Although I’m not sure if it can be a debate when only the anti-gas tax crowd is making any noise. Anyway, enjoy…

Here’s the reality that the GOP, Boston Herald, and other anti-tax groups don’t want to talk about.

Let’s say that the Beacon Hill Democrats all went on vacation and left the GOP in charge to write and pass transportation reform legislation. The GOPers take all the popular steps: firing tolltakers, busting up the MBTA employees union, and everything else recommended within the Mass. Transportation Commission Financing report.

Guess what. They would still need to pass a gas tax to pay for all the debt and all the roads and bridges that need repair. Maybe it would instead only be 8 or 10 cents. But they would have to raise the gas tax. And the GOP knows this. They may not say so publicly, but they know it deep down in places they don’t like to talk about.

So it’s BS for them to shape the argument into a straight up “yes or no” on whether the gas tax should be hiked. The debate needs to be about addressing all the reasons that we got to this place (the bloated benefits and perks, the lack of construction oversight, swelling debt, all of that stuff) and what we need to do to fix it.

This conversation should be in the shape of a “Contract with Massachusetts Taxpayers” and it should say, in exchange for raising the gas tax, we will do A, B, C, D, etc.

The Boston Globe (and of course the Boston Herald) has failed MISERABLY at discussing exactly what reforms are being proposed within the Senate’s and Governor’s reform plans.