Lion of the Blogosphere

Regulations from an insider perspective

My former employer has a business model very similar to ISPs. Although the product/service my former employer provides isn’t essential to leading a normal life the way that high-speed internet access is essential, nevertheless the company provides a product that is highly desired by millions of people and for which there isn’t a convenient substitute product, hence the company’s monopoly power.

My former employer very much needed government and non-government regulation to keep them honest. Without watchdogs, the motto of senior management was “do anything to make a profit no matter how unethical.”

For example, we would trick people into signing up for our service with a very low-price offer, but we would hide the fact that the low-price offer would expire in a few months and roll into a monthly price that was a lot higher.

When customers called to cancel their service, we would make it very difficult for them, and in some cases the customers’ service didn’t get canceled (which wasn’t the official policy but was a natural result of the internal customer service policy to fire the poor schmucks at the call centers who allow too high of a percentage of customers to cancel).

Only action by government forced the company to change their ways, to disclose the true service price to customers, and to reform the call centers to make it easier for customers to cancel their service. And the company still doesn’t let people cancel online, which I personally think is unethical. I believe that anything you can sign up for online you should be able to cancel online. In fact, Congress should pass a law which states exactly that, that anything with recurring billing that can be purchased online can also be canceled online. However, I doubt that we will get a consumer-friendly law like that from this Republican Congress.

While it’s true that it a lot of employee manpower was needed to change the company’s policies to comply with these government mandates, it created jobs for people like me. A lot of the work I did had to do with stuff like this. Do you want me to be unemployed? And it’s not like any of this made the company unprofitable. In fact, the stock price has gone up quite a bit during the last year.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 30, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Economics

89 Responses

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  1. I’m pretty sure fraud has always been illegal.

    Andrew E.

    March 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    • Incorrect, before the consumer protection movement of 1970s and progressive era regulations the law was based on Caveat Emptor, buyer beware.

      If a consumer got tricked or swindled it was his own fault for not doing due diligence.

      Jimi

      March 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      • “Incorrect, before the consumer protection movement of 1970s and progressive era regulations the law was based on Caveat Emptor, buyer beware.”

        Nonsense. then just as today government’s make access to the courts expensive, remove rights of recovery, and generally screw around with the common law and natural rights. Then they provide more special regulations and courts to help you solve the problem they created.

        Not to mention the many regulations that exempt people from responsibility as long as they follow irrational government regulations, or prohibit choices.

        Robert

        March 30, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      • this is not accurate

        Lion o' the Turambar

        March 30, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      • This is libertarian stupidity/autism. Just because redress before the law is available doesn’t mean it’s practical or equitable.

        Companies have greater resources and lawyers are expensive. Government regulation solves the collective action problem. The real problem is government has had an incentive to work against us thanks to regulatory capture by the same agents they should be fighting against. Who regulates the government?

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

        April 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    • Sure, but fine print isn’t fraud. A lot of stuff can be unethical but not illegal.

      Dave Pinsen

      March 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    • Fraud is what is illegal yes. It’s like saying illegal things have always been illegal. The question is whether or not something meets the current definition of fraud and is actually illegal.

      Magnavox

      March 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm

  2. “I believe that anything you can sign up for online you should be able to cancel online.”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It’s absurd when you can sign up on line but have to call someone, someone that’s going to give you a hard sell and waste 20 minutes of your time, to cancel.

    peterike

    March 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm

  3. The problem is knowing when it is too much and killing small businesses that can’t comply with those rules verbi gratia : France.

    Bruno from Paris

    March 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    • Yep. Large corporations are the ones who lobby for the regs to be written. And they’re written to favor the large corporations. If nothing else, small businesses simply can’t afford the lawyers and consultants that regulations make necessary. That’s an economy of scale thing. So regulations are basically how large corporations shut out the competition ie monopoly.

      destructure

      March 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm

  4. And the company still doesn’t let people cancel online, which I personally think is unethical. I believe that anything you can sign up for online you should be able to cancel online. In fact, Congress should pass a law which states exactly that, that anything with recurring billing that can be purchased online can also be canceled online.

    i can buy a more expensive cable package via pressing a few buttons on my remote, but if i want a cheaper package, or to cancel, i have to call them, or go online, in a process that takes 10x as long.

  5. If you were younger, would you become a Physician Assistant instead of staying in the corporate world?

    JW Bell

    March 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

  6. Without watchdogs, the motto of senior management was “do anything to make a profit no matter how unethical.”

    Oh, so you worked for Wells Fargo. Banks and insurance companies are probably the most heaviy regulated business, yet this continues to be their standard business practice.

    When customers called to cancel their service, we would make it very difficult for them, and in some cases the customers’ service didn’t get canceled

    This twice happened to me when I signed up on Match.com; I think it’s also their standard practice.

    anything with recurring billing that can be purchased online can also be canceled online.

    I fixed this problem by signing up and making the first annual payment with a one-time use “virtual” MasterCard offered through my regular MasterCard. For example, magazine subscriptions, AAA. Every time, after one year is up, the vendor sends me a notice advising that they couldn’t process my renewal. So, if I still want the service I pay again w/ another one-time use “virtual” MasterCard. Or even better, I let the subscription or membership lapse for a couple of weeks, then I sign up again as a new customer at the new-customer low introductory rate.

    E. Rekshun

    March 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    • ^ I get Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, and Popular Mechanics for $10/yr; and also a great intro rate for AAA and add a family member at no extra cost.

      E. Rekshun

      March 30, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      • What’s the main reason you get AAA? .

        I look at SI when i am at the doctor’s office but never even think about getting it. None of the articles interest me. You can find much more on the internet. i remember reading articles about the Super Bowl or Final four 4 days after they happened years ago. It seems outdated to have a weekly sports magazine.

        ttgy

        March 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm

  7. “I believe that anything you can sign up for online you should be able to cancel online.”

    Turn off autopay.

    destructure

    March 30, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    • I believe the business model Lion is talking about is not one where you get a monthly bill and can choose whether or not you enroll in autopay, but rather one where you sign up for a service by essentially “buying,” say, a 6-month subscription for $X, and the ONLY way to do this is to accept their agreement that once the subscription ends it will renew and your credit card will be charged again, unless you call to cancel.

      Based on this post, I have a reasonable guess as to which company Lion is talking about, and if I’m correct, I used to subscribe to their service, and I intentionally let my subscription lapse by not updating them with my new credit card info after the card I had used with them got canceled after an instance of fraud, because I didn’t feel like calling them and arguing with some customer service shlub.

      I agree, we should be able to cancel subscriptions and accounts online. But honestly, who DOES let you do this? I can think of only one company in my own experience: Dollar Shave Club.

      Hermes

      March 30, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      • Netflix lets you cancel online. Many other companies do.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      • Comcast is notorious for making it difficult to cancel your accounts

        Magnavox

        March 30, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      • Comcast and other telecoms also change names every few years in order to try and slough off the shitty reputation they deservedly acquire. Internet in general should be treated like a public necessity and not some kind of optional luxury item.

        Panther of the Blogocube

        April 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    • They can report you to credit agencies.

      Magnavox

      March 30, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      • After racking up a debt with added interest and penalties.

        Magnavox

        March 30, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      • If it’s something like utilities where you pay afterward then they’ll come after you if you turn off autopay without cancelling. But they don’t usually make it difficult to cancel. So they’re not relevant.

        Internet and cable companies are the ones that are so bad about not letting people cancel. And most services like that bill one month in advance. So if you turn off autopay then they just cancel your service. There shouldn’t be any late fees or credit issues.

        destructure

        March 31, 2017 at 7:49 pm

  8. My disposition tends libertarian but this terribly common kind of “gotcha capitalism” makes obvious the power asymmetries in the market between businesses and consumers as well as between employers and their employees.

    Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta (euneaux)

    March 30, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    • As libertarians point out, the market gets blamed for problems created by government regulations, expensive courts, and protections of fraud.

      It’s “gotcha government” and always has been.

      Robert

      March 30, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      • Never trust big government, big business, or big labor…
        Perhaps add big non-profit NGOs to this old one.

        If power corrupts, concentration of power without competing alternatives is the worst.

        Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

        March 30, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      • Exactly.

        Big Government at best is well meaning, but lazy and unresponsive. It’s usually very corrupt. At worst it’s tyrannical.

        Big Business at best is a soulless, efficient machine that makes goods, but doesn’t enrich what it means to be human. At worst it’s an all-consuming, voracious, short-sighted addict of a parasite.

        Big Labor at best slows down business and allocates rents for its members. At its worst it’s an industry-crushing racket.

        Fact is, just as government powers must be properly balanced between the executive, legislature, and the judiciary, society must balance between the state, business and labor. What that balance is depends a lot on society’s culture, development status, and so forth, but a balance must be achieved for society to flourish.

        Sid

        March 31, 2017 at 3:07 am

      • When people start tossing around phrases like “free markets”, “big government”, and complain about “regulations”, I know they’re likely libertarian/neocon shills.
        There could be no markets if the state did not back up property, profits, and contracts with the threat of force. So the state has implicit prerogative and responsibility to exert control over markets.
        Quietly increasing costs hoping some customers won’t notice and making it hard to cancel a service with walls of passive-aggressive time wasters are perfect examples of why business must be kept in line with the goals of the state and in the interests of the people. Business could and did hire toughs to beat up and even murder employees who tried to organize when they could get away with it.
        When you have “free markets” that just means the state is allowing the market to become a competing state within its borders.

        Giovanni Dannato

        March 31, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    • Libertardianism operates under many false assumptions that ignore the realities of human nature in the social sphere.

      People are NOT rational actors! Of course employees are NOT freely entering into a contract with any employer! Of course, an employment contract is not a contract between equals, but master and slave!

      All organization is OLIGARCHY!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy

      fakeemail

      March 30, 2017 at 10:07 pm

  9. While it’s true that it a lot of employee manpower was needed to change the company’s policies to comply with these government mandates, it created jobs for people like me. A lot of the work I did had to do with stuff like this. Do you want me to be unemployed?

    I think theres a fair amount of resistance to you going back to work from the comments section.

    Magnavox

    March 30, 2017 at 6:37 pm

  10. No one here is telling you not to return to work. I’m a bit surprised that none of your commenters are unlike you. The same old narrative of acquiring status via boring office work, whatever that may be, and this is the best they can offer.

    JS

    March 30, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    • Very few men are able to obtain genuine status as salarymen in an office job.
      It isn’t just the kids in the ‘hood who dream of being a hoops star or a rapper…
      Educated middle class boys dream of being Zuckerberg, Jobs, Elon Musk or Richard Branson.

      Winner takes all. The pyramid is steep. All the spoils to the revolutionaries, explorers and heroes.

      Women dream of hunters who catch the mammoth, not the patient and reliable farmers.

      People always ask why the boys misbehave, break the rules and take big risks…
      It’s cuz the girls prefer those.

      Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

      March 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      • We dream of being a Steve Ballmer, who became a multi-billionaire just from being an employee. He didn’t found anything, he didn’t invent anything, he just managed.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 30, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      • At age 16, after not making the high school varsity baseball team for the third year in a row, I gave up my dream of being a professional baseball player. My next career goal was corporate CEO. By age forty, and after a couple of layoffs and blown opportunities, the “Great Recession,” and crushing competition, I realized that I was never going to surpass middle management corporate America.

        E. Rekshun

        March 31, 2017 at 12:11 am

      • I’ll tell this: Anyone who has a sane mind and doesn’t live one of America’s expensive liberal centers is pretty much f#cked. Not one metropolis outside of the elite centers in America feels warm and hospitable with any rhyme or reason.

        JS

        March 31, 2017 at 12:18 am

      • This is another reason why America makes absolutely no sense and absolutely blows:

        Mayor Bill de Blasio of NYC came up with this brilliant idea of giving his subjects a NYC id card that has one’s photo and date of birth. With this card, you can visit many museums in NYC for free. However, it is not a valid proof of your age when it comes to consuming alcohol. And you cannot board a plane with this id. Yet, you can open up an account with certain banks. And the police see this as a valid form of ID.

        The Europeans and Canadians are laughing at imbeciles like us, who act like irrational sadists.

        http://www.amny.com/news/idnyc-what-to-know-about-the-city-s-id-card-1.13026139

        JS

        March 31, 2017 at 12:29 am

      • “Not one metropolis outside of the elite centers in America feels warm and hospitable with any rhyme or reason.”

        “Warm and hospitable” isn’t how I’d describe any city in any country no matter how expensive and elite it is. Cities just aren’t warm and friendly places.

        destructure

        April 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    • Self-employed; noticed a few other commentators mentioning being self-employed and happy with their choice. But there are advantages of salaried work, and being self-employed takes a certain temperament/nature/etc. To each his own; Lion seems satisfied with this new job offer (or he wouldn’t have accepted it), so I hope he makes the best of it.

      onepercgrl

      March 31, 2017 at 12:28 am

      • Lion is a treated as a 1099 contractor at his new job. That’s self employment.

        JS

        March 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      • That’s certainly the technical definition of self-employment. The reality is that I’m an employee, but one who gets paid overtime and can deduct extra stuff from his taxes.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      • And you have the luxury of bearing the burden when it comes to Social Security and Medicare (FICA). It’s all on you!

        JS

        March 31, 2017 at 3:12 pm

  11. Lion please provide your analysis regarding news of Michael Flynn seeking immunity for testimony.

    Roli

    March 30, 2017 at 8:03 pm

  12. I have an interesting anecdote from my mom: She works as a US Attorney and has a lot of black coworker and colleagues. During the Dem primaries, they were all on team Hillary because black people love Hillary and hate Bernie. But my mom also told me that they were complaining that their kids were all for Bernie.

    This brings up an interesting point: how long will the blacks act as a firewall to prevent the Bernie wing from taking over the party? Muslims and Latinos already went for Bernie in the primaries, as did whites. Hillary dominated the black vote but didn’t do that well with the youngest bloc of black voters, only winning an estimated 60% of them.

    Remember that aside from outliers like Obama (half-white, raised by white half), Booker (gay) and Harris (half Indian, spinster, dating a Jewish guy), black politicians tend to be loony toon left wingers whose politics are more like Bernie’s than Hillary’s.

    If the Bernie wing can get the votes of even 30% of black primary voters, it’s curtains for the current Democratic establishment.

    This is unlikely to be an issue in 2020, however. The Dems have two excellent potential candidates in Biden and Oprah, either of whom would sweep the field easily. Now if neither of those two run AND Bernie runs, watch out! Bernie wouldn’t win because the still powerful establishment would rig it against him but he could make much more noise than he did in 2016, and pave the way for the moonbats to take over the Dems as soon as 2024.

    On another note, it seems like Trump and Ryan have buried the hatchet. I think that’s for the best. We want to have a good relationship with Ryan if possible, remember that we have a common enemy in the TruCons.

    Otis the Sweaty

    March 30, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    • That young blacks or latinos had any enthusiasm for Bernie seems dubious to me – young blacks are famous for not voting at all – but regardless, there’s a much more interesting electoral question: how does mexican immigration benefit blacks? If you got a few black people to sit still to listen to you, isn’t this the question you’d ask them? Seems to me that from a black perspective, the mex invasion necessarily means a smaller share of the gibs pie. I actually heard a black guy on a cell call a few years ago complaining how all the subsidized housing was going to mexers. Blacks should understand they have to choose which of the two competing white groups they want to hate, libs or Birchers. Seems like the latter are actually offering the better deal.

      Marty

      March 31, 2017 at 12:35 am

    • I think a large part of the problem Bernie had with the black community is that they didn’t even hear about him. Blacks are quintessential “low information voters.” They also seem to be very “conservative,” in that they’ll vote for whomever they’re best acquainted with, and are less likely to give other candidates a fair hearing.

      Black people didn’t support Obama until he won Iowa. We can all come up with elaborate theories as to why that was, but really, I think a lot of it is that black voters in most states hadn’t given much thought at all to Obama until he grabbed their attention.

      The Bernie Sanders movement has been working hard to purge itself of white Bernie Bros and get behind loonies like Keith Ellison. Once that process is complete, forget about normal white men backing Bernie candidates, but that just leaves a lot of room for black voters.

      Sid

      March 31, 2017 at 3:24 am

      • Blacks hate Bernie because blacks are very obedient voters. They vote for who their establishment masters tell them to vote for. It was blacks who handed the 92 Dem nomination to Clinton even though whites preferred the more populists candidates. Blacks were even ready to support Hillary over Obama before Iowa simply because they were told to do so.

        If you go to NeoGaf or Dailykos, the blacks there HATE Bernie with a passion. They even hate Ellison. Those SJW blacks aren’t representative of blacks as a whole but in general blacks prefer establishment type candidates and are very hostile to insurgent candidates.

        Otis the Sweaty

        March 31, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      • “Blacks hate Bernie because blacks are very obedient voters. They vote for who their establishment masters tell them to vote for.”

        This is correct, blacks vote for whomever black leaders say to vote for, and the Clintons were much better than Bernie at schmoozing the black leaders.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 31, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    • Notwithstanding their apparent reconciliation with Ryan, I find it disconcerting that the House Republicans would choose a blank slate Jack Kempian stooge as leader. And I’ve told two R members of congress I know my thoughts on this. Their answer ‘he’s not going anywhere’ but they concede to hearing more of this talk from constituents and contributors.

      BTW – for all the Manhatten fetishists, one benefit of getting out of town once in awhile is you can meet politicians who agree with you, mostly.

      Curle

      April 1, 2017 at 11:49 am

  13. Your job sounds really disgusting. Why you are doing it? Learn a real man’s healthy trade and do something useful in life. You are obviously suffering so I don’t know why you went back. This job has no status. People are so strange.

    There is fraud everywhere though. My boss sent me to a job to install a dryer booster fan. So obviously I figured out that the exhaust is clogged. It’s a short run of less the 20 feet and should be working fine. So I find the blockage, clean it and it works fine again. My boss was so mad.
    – Yakov, I send you to install a fan. Why can’t you just do what I tell you?! – he goes.
    – I thought you send me to resolve issues and not to be a robot. – I go.
    This poor customer had a duct cleaning company a few days before. They took the money, didn’t fix the problem and left. Now, I don’t do this type of work, but it’s just common sense that if a dryer can’t dry a load in 2 hours, no booster fan will solve this problem and you gotta clean the vent. So I made a hook from a 1/2″ clooper pipe and using it an a 3/8″ metal rod I removed the blockage. My boss was mad, but he still loves me. There is no way that I would install a fan for $1,000 that nobody needs and that wouldn’t solve anything for anybody.

    Tax code is total fraud rigged by corporate mafia and gangster politicians for selfish reasons. It’s pure robbery. Why would anyone want to deport me for keeping as much of my earned money as I can to myself? Deport the lobbyists instead.

    Back to you Lion, this could even be a fake job. Is it? I don’t care for $90 an hour for this nonsense. Don’t you feel that going to work is like immersing yourself in a sewer? Why the hell are you doing it?

    Yakov

    March 30, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    • “There is no way that I would install a fan for $1,000 that nobody needs and that wouldn’t solve anything for anybody.”

      My boss when I worked for a government contractor would gladly have installed that fan.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 30, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      • Lion he’s scum. How can you take him seriously as any kind of Niel moral authority.

        He has this baboon mentality where he is just completely incapable of thinking collectively that I find so infuriating.

        Magnavox

        March 31, 2017 at 8:29 am

      • I’m not sure if you’re talking about my former government-contractor boss (who was definitely scum) or Yakov.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

      • ‘He has this baboon mentality where he is just completely incapable of thinking collectively that I find so infuriating’.

        Baboons are individualistic? I didn’t know that. Lol.

        Mate, just remember that I grew up in the Soviet Union. Your ideas of collective thinking are slavery. Let’s see….. So The city taxes you $150 every year for every AC unit you have in your pizzeria. This becomes some sacred law now? Why?

        I actually think that baboons are very collectivist, so it’s actually you who has a baboon mentality.

        Incidentally, every society has its moral codes, even baboons.

        Yakov

        March 31, 2017 at 9:16 am

      • Remember that Yakov refused to overcharge a customer for an unnecessary fan, which means that he has his own moral code that’s more strict than half the people in the business world.

        My boss at the government contractor would have tried to upsell the customer into buying two fans, to have a backup in case the first unnecessary one failed.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 31, 2017 at 9:24 am

      • As a general rule you mates have to understand that when a tradesman walks into your house he has to walk out with money no matter what. I never charge for a service call, but I can afford not to because I don’t have the overhead.

        Map, what would a baboon do in such a situation. Also, Map, as a baboon, i. e. a collectively thinking organism that you say that you are, should I charge you $150 for a service call even though I just took a look around and did nothing and pay taxes to be used for feeding NAMs, bombing Libya, flying into space, giving education and health care to illegals, or not charge you anything and not pay taxes? Baboons are a herd and not very smart, I mean they are smart for what they need to do but we need to do better. I mean when doing a job for a customer, I’m acting in the best interests of the customer not the IRS or my boss or a herd of baboons. I don’t let anybody rip off the customer just like this. Can you process this? Where did I get this moral code from? I dunno, just makes sense to me.

        Yakov

        March 31, 2017 at 11:19 am

      • My apologies to Map, I meant Magnavox. Map, please disregard.

        Yakov

        March 31, 2017 at 11:21 am

      • ‘Remember that Yakov refused to overcharge a customer for an unnecessary fan’.

        ‘Refuse’ is very strong language. You don’t refuse your boss, you adroitly avoid doing what you think is wrong and that’s what I did.

        Yakov

        March 31, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      • No Yakov looked down on another person for installing the $1,000 fan. He didn’t refuse to install it. The fan was installed by another contractor who almost certainly doesn’t think he did anything wrong because he justifies his immorality the same way Yakov does. Assuming that the fan was indeed unneeded.

        You don’t know much about tradesmen if you think constantly criticizing their competition is any kind of indication of their own ethics. And you don’t know much about basic logic if you think that Yakov being genuinely better than another guy in one way makes him more ethical than that person overall, or even an ethical person at all.

        Magnavox

        March 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      • Yakov: The Soviet Union was a shithole under communism and it’s a shithole now. It’s a shithole because it’s filled with people like you.

        Magnavox

        March 31, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      • I don’t appreciate name calling like that.

        However, I have been thinking that maybe the failure of communism was less a failure of communism and more of a failure of the people of Russia having the civic cooperation needed to implement it. Capitalism hasn’t done well in Russia either.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 31, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      • ‘No Yakov looked down on another person for installing the $1,000 fan.’

        You are going clairvoyant now? You know what I did better then I? Why would anyone get so worked up about an Internet discussion? I dunno.

        There was no fan installed, it didn’t happen. If it makes you feel better that it it, so be it. This is so funny! Rolf!

        Now, yes absolutely, I look down on crooked people, who bill customers unnecessarily. I don’t know why you have a problem with it. There is something wrong with you. Say you go to a dentist and he does a root canal when all you need is a cleaning, you gonna look up to him? There is definitely something wrong with you, mate, but I don’t know what it is.

        Maybe you should give me a $1,000 and I’ll install a useless fan for you, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. And if you want me to pay taxes on your job, I’ll bill you $1,500, then you’ll understand pretty quickly.

        Yakov

        March 31, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      • I have been thinking that maybe the failure of communism was less a failure of communism and more of a failure of the people of Russia having the civic cooperation needed to implement it.

        Communism failed because it depended on being run by proles.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        March 31, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      • Yakov,

        I was wondering what the hell happened.

        map

        April 1, 2017 at 2:06 am

      • “However, I have been thinking that maybe the failure of communism was less a failure of communism and more of a failure of the people of Russia having the civic cooperation needed to implement it. Capitalism hasn’t done well in Russia either.”

        Communism encourages corruption. That’s what destroyed civic cooperation. That culture of corruption didn’t go away just because they ended communism. Russia is much less corrupt today. But that culture of corruption has momentum and still exists. Because they never really purged the government of the former communists. Same thing with Poland. When the latest government took over they found it was riddled with cronyism and corruption as well. It was a legacy of communism.

        Of course, the US has a legacy of corruption as well. Washington DC runs on corruption and cronyism. The suburbs around the nation’s capital are the wealthiest in the country. Why do you think that is? They don’t make anything. There’s no manufacturing or tech or finance. So what do they do? They tax the rest of the country and skim a percentage for themselves peddling influence.

        destructure

        April 1, 2017 at 10:36 am

      • American cities that engage in value transference are the wealthiest. NYC, DC and SF are 3 prime examples. Finance/Welfare, Gov’t and Tech, respectively — a flea’s game. NYC represents 2 extremes of parasitism. You have the Wall St/Media tycoons living alongside with the dregs of society on welfare.

        JS

        April 1, 2017 at 11:03 am

  14. “Do you want me to be unemployed?”

    Lol. Its not much of an argument if you have to try and win on pity points.

    Lion o' the Turambar

    March 30, 2017 at 9:40 pm

  15. This is why I never set up credit card billing or debit authorization. If they insist on a credit card number for signup I can use an auto-generated temporary number that expires after one month.

    If I’m getting incorrectly billed or want to cancel and it’s not easy, I pay only what I owe or I stop paying altogether. Send a return receipt letter to HQ informing them of the situation. I’ve done this three times. You can send a return receipt letter without leaving your computer now.

    Americans are totally cowed by this “Muh credit score!” terror. It’s nonsense. If you’re getting screwed, just don’t pay.

    bobbybobbob

    March 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm

  16. Rex Tillerson is reading my blog:

    https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/rex-tillerson-alwaysassad-partisan-pragmatically-distributed-lurker/

    We told Secretary Tillerson to back Assad. And now he has.

    His reasons for endorsing Assad are good because they are Pragmatically Distributed’s reasons:
    As #NeverTrump did during the election, their opposition to Assad is justified while either avoiding what the alternative to their #NeverCandidate is guaranteed to be, or deluding themselves in the hope there is a viable third candidate to save everyone from two undesirable options.
    Few things in foreign affairs are as certain as the fact there is no Democratic 3rd option in Syria.
    The time for #NeverAssad to have their say was in the primaries between Assad, ISIS and other equally loathsome terrorist groups, and those ever elusive Islamic “moderates”.
    Primary season is over; the general election is now, and those Westernized moderates – as always happens in Muslim “democracies” – were beheaded on the floor of the party conventions by amphetamine-addled delegates, their wives and children sold into chattel sex slavery, and their Western bank accounts stripped clean of every digital penny. You can believe us when we say no one throws a nomination convention quite like ISIS!
    This obscenely Darwinian process has selected for a simple binary choice between two tyrants –

    Bashar Assad
    The various Islamic terrorist rebels opposed to Assad, the most powerful of which is ISIS

    Setting aside any delusions that the world can enjoy #NeverAssad without #AlwaysBaghdadi, and understanding that only one of these two characters can win, Pragmatically Distributed gets to the point and asks what condition will Syria be left in following an Assad or rebel victory:
    We applaud Tillerson taking our informed advice that a post-Assad Syria will be no more interested in human rights than post-Gadhaffi Libya now is.

    We do question the wisdom of the Russia-Turkey backed peace plan. Their proposal would have Syria divided into three zones of influence with Assad the titular head of all three but leaving a degree of local autonomy for the various Syrian factions in each zone who are now at each other’s throats.

    We would prefer Assad simply lay waste to any remaining zones of resistance – civilian casualties be damned – and rule the entirety of Syria with an iron fist. Granting regional privileges seems to us just a temporary truce that will be broken by pro-ISIS Syrians once time is used to regroup, rearm, and position themselves for a new civil war.

    It is a sad commentary on the state of modern day Absolutism that neither Putin nor Erdogan, both genuine authoritarians, remember how to run a true scorched earth campaign in the examples set by the Romanovs and Ottomans.

    But we suppose it will do for now to squash the deadliest threat facing the Syrian people – allowing Syrian Muslims the freedom to choose their own leadership.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    March 30, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    • Not being able to rule with an iron fist is what got Assad junior into the current state of affairs in the first place.

      Yakov

      March 31, 2017 at 8:57 am

    • Not being able to rule with an iron fist is what got Assad junior into the current state of affairs in the first place.

      They just don’t make tyrants like they used.

      Even Putin is a gentle flower compared to Ivan the Terrible.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      March 31, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      • Internet has changed things.

        Yakov

        April 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm

  17. “In fact, the stock price has gone up quite a bit during the last year.”
    Be careful buying company stock unless they reward you with cheap stock options. The Fed is promising to raise interest rates a couple more times this year and that means debt will be getting more expensive. One report I read from GS said that trading in the stock market this year will reach close to a trillion dollars. Of that sum, $700 to $800 billion will be stock buybacks using cheap (close to zero rate) debt. Government and corporation borrowing is about to get more expensive before the next recession arrives.

    cesqy

    March 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    • Stock buybacks should be illegal. They are harmful and help only the wealthy investor class. This would be an awesome populist thing for Trump to implement, but alas it won’t happen. Corporate mergers should also be illegal beyond a certain (pretty low) size, and should be contingent on the failure of one of the entities. In other words, you should only be allowed to buy a company that is losing money. No profitable corporation should be allowed to merge.

      peterike

      March 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      • Passive index fund investing should be illegal. All this unnecessary money (trillions) flooding into financial markets absent all due diligence is one of the main reasons why the world’s economy is as messed up as it is.

        If you personally can’t read an income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet and spend the time necessary due diligence on the companies themselves, then you’re money shouldn’t be in the stock market.

        Andrew E.

        March 31, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      • @ Andrew E.

        Why would you allow active mutual fund investing then?

        Yakov

        April 1, 2017 at 8:09 pm

  18. Good post.

    GondwanaMan

    March 30, 2017 at 10:26 pm

  19. “And it’s not like any of this made the company unprofitable. In fact, the stock price has gone up quite a bit during the last year.”

    No problem with your main point, but c’mon, you know these two have nothing do with one another.

    Blah Blah

    March 31, 2017 at 12:15 am

  20. OT but NYC story: Lion, what do you make of DumbBlasio’s plan to shut Rikers Island? Seems a bit mad to me. What do they want to do, put condos up on the island instead? Maybe we can get Yakov the HVAC contradt!

    http://nypost.com/2017/03/31/de-blasio-to-announce-support-for-plan-to-close-rikers-island/

    peterike

    March 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    • While at Rikers, I thought it was fine as a place of incarceration. An HVAC contract for the city is a gold mine. You bill union wages and have illegals do the job for $10-12 an hour. All they need are those stupid is cards given by the city. One job like this and I can retire rich. Gotta love NYC! Will never happen though. Contracts like this are controlled by mafia.

      Yakov

      March 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      • Mafia connected contractors do good work. They have pride in their workmanship.

        Same way, mafia connected financiers do much better for their clients than Wall Street has ever done. Back in the 60s and 70s when the Mafia controlled Teamster pension funds the Mafia made good investments with the money and the investments gave healthy returns. The pension funds were solvent and provided all the benefits the workers needed. The government muscled the pensions funds away from the Mafia and put them in receivership, in the hands of Wall Street custodians. Since, the returns have been lousy and the fees have been high, eating into the seed corn.

        Daniel

        March 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    • It is mad, and it won’t be done. Just where are they going to build prisons for over 10,000?

      Who would want to live on Rikers Island anyway, even if it were stocked with luxury condos? No subway, impossible commute. They have never been able to make Roosevelt Island a cool place to live, and Roosevelt Island is a hell of a lot more accessible than Rikers will ever be.

      The ulterior motive of the scheme is to move the last remaining blacks and puerto ricans out of hipster neighborhoods and have them quarantined on Rickers where they will do less harm to middle class white people.

      Daniel

      March 31, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      • Roosevelt Island might not be a cool place to live, but it has been overwhelmed by SWPLs/Bobos who want to reside in proximity to Manhattan, while at the same time garnering status, because they are living in one of its neighborhoods. It provides a quiet sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

        The only two depressing elements on Roosevelt Island are the lots of subsidized housing that houses a large contingent of NAMs (mostly blacks) and one of the remaining hospitals that houses their less healthy members. They already relocated the sick, paralyzed, and incompetents from the other hospital so they can install luxury housing in lieu of it. There are rumors that Cornell University may want to build a campus there, and one already finds a Starbucks and a few eateries with artisanal food. There is this perverse idea that every nook and cranny in Manhattan needs to be colonized by wealthy parasites, as to remove any vestiges of what we call riff raff so the living environs are off limits to anyone who makes less than a six figure salary.

        JS

        March 31, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    • Gotta love America, especially NYC, and guys like Yakov with suits and ties, do deals to ensure nursing homes in desirable Manhattan neighbors shut their doors where they are converted into $$$ condominiums. The elderly are shoved into a corner somewhere so the young and wealthy can romp without the sight of some Alzheimer or Parkinson eyesore.

      JS

      March 31, 2017 at 6:19 pm

  21. Hi guys, pretty good blog, but if you think anyone who grew up in the former Soviet Union has ever used the word ‘adroitly’, I’ve got a lightly used Sears air conditioner I’d like to sell you.

    New Commenter

    March 31, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    • Referencing one of those ‘evil’ stereotypes, does his religion/ethnicity alter your opinion regarding his likely verbal capacities?

      Curle

      April 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

  22. yeah i’ve always thought Yakov was a play actor as well.

    james n.s.w

    March 31, 2017 at 9:29 pm

  23. XVO

    April 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

    • There’s a constant stream of articles now surprised at the “conservative” leaning predilections of young people, when it shouldn’t be surprising at all. Liberals have been having zero, one, or at most two kids for decades. Who do you think was having three and four kids 18 years ago? Not NYT writers.

      bobbybobbob

      April 1, 2017 at 11:42 am


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