Feb

26

Corporate America is the Scam of Business Schools

By admin

A CEO for a company that posted record losses for a quarter was recently asked why he gave himself a large bonus in an interview. His reply was: Because I deserve it. This statement was a real eye-opener. It should have all of us suddenly waking up to the utter scam that business schools are pulling on publicly-owned companies. A recession is a good time to examine this stuff and attempt to put a stop to it. Why did the young CEO of think he deserved a large bonus after his company was putting up the worst numbers in it’s history? It has nothing to do with how good of a job he is doing. It’s because he dropped $150,000 on a long education and now has issues of entitlement.

The scary thing is, you can’t really blame him! This is what they taught him in business school. Finish school, graduate, find a struggling publicly-owned company to get a top executive job at, and siphon off a million dollar salary for yourself. Man, they must be sitting around laughing in business school at this prospect. All you need is a Harvard MBA and you have a license to legally embezzle ridiculous amounts of money with no accountability. This makes skimming the Tangiers casino (in the movie Casino) look like child’s play.

Remember the late 1980’s movie Wall Street? Think back to Gordon Gekko’s speech to the Teldar Paper stockholder meeting. His main beef was that there was no accountability to upper management because they had no stake in the company. They are just there to rape and pillage motivated purely by self-interest. Don’t you find it interesting that the failing big three auto company CEO’s all flew private jets to go ask the federal government for taxpayer bailout money a few month’s ago?

Sadly, this is the way corporate America works. Business owners who start and grow the company, whose passion fuels it’s initial success, are pretty much long gone by the time a company is actively traded in the stock market. Venture capital firms take an early partnership in the company, help it grow, and then when the IPO happens everybody gets out rich. The new stockholders elect of board of directors who hire new officers for the company and that’s where these bright-eyed kids graduating from business school come in. They walk out of school into contracts that most professional athletes would drool over, with zero experience in business and no passion for this particular business (oftentimes without having any industry knowledge whatsoever).

The lesson to be learned here is two-fold. If you are a college kid reading this, go get a business graduate-school education from a top university. The recession will be over by the time you graduate and you can get in on this scam. Otherwise, start a new business that will capture the interest of venture capitalists. Work it for a couple years, build it up and get out rich when the IPO goes live. So there are two ways to take advantage of the American dream by exploiting loopholes in our system. Or perhaps exploiting loopholes in our system is the American dream.

Papa Riah

Jan

6

Banks Canceling Unused Credit Cards

By admin

If you have a credit card that you haven’t used in a couple years, expect to receive a letter from the bank abruptly announcing the cancellation of your account. Especially if it is a no annual fee account. Even if you have had the account for twenty years! This is a by-product of the current credit crunch, where banks are finding it necessary to cut costs in every nook and cranny.

If you have a credit card that you don’t use and do not pay an annual fee on, maintaining that account is a cost to the bank which brings back no revenue. They are taking a closer look at things these days. Once they get a feel that you are not one of the suckers who enslaves themselves for life to living on credit, they are going to cut you out of their balance sheet.

I received three of these notices over the last six weeks or so. Two from Chase and one from Discover. One of the Chase accounts had a $24,000 credit line and had been open since 1987. I don’t think I used it this decade however.

Papa Riah used to carry some pretty serious credit card balances back in the mid-90’s. To manage the accounts, I used to do something called balance surfing – which basically meant that I kept transferring the balances around to the bank offering the best terms for balance transfers. This sort of thing dried up a few years ago but was big in the 90’s. Because I never made a late payment, every bank in the country wanted my credit card balances and used to offer me crazy things like 0% interest for 6 months for whatever I transferred to them.

I was only too happy to oblige them. That was the way I kept my credit spotless. At one time I had over $50,000 in credit card debt. Of course when the teaser period was up the bank tried to hit me with something like 16% interest payments. But I simply transferred the balance to the best deals from my other banks at that point, oftentimes to the same bank I transferred the balance away from a few months earlier. There were always plenty of offers in the mail from all the cards I had a zero balance with.

They didn’t care. This is what the banks did back then. I suppose it all worked out for them and guys like me who worked the system were just a necessary cost of doing business. I had over $100,000 in available credit that I accumulated in the late 80’s when banks were at war trying to build credit accounts. (Back in my youth I used to use that credit for business purposes like financing the buying and selling of used cars from my front yard.)

The thing that I find hilarious about the banks sending me credit card account closure notices is that they wouldn’t let me close the accounts when I tried to a few years ago. One day I saw how ridiculous it was to have all these credit cards that I do not use and called many of them in an effort to close them. They were very adamant that I did not close them! They insisted that my credit score would go down and that I should keep the accounts. Not being in a mood to fight them on it I conceded and kept the accounts. Now I get notices that they are closing them on me!

Oh, and in case you are wondering how I ever paid off $50,000 in credit card debt, I got into the sub-prime mortgage business in the late 90’s. Piece of cake.

Papa Riah

Dec

30

A Bad Economy is Self-fulfilling

By admin

The media is very fond of telling us about the bad economy every time we turn around. How does that make you feel? Like going out and buying new furniture and then going out to dinner? Or like withdrawing all your money from the bank and hiding it in a cracker box? For most people it’s the latter. And you know why, right? You got it – because most people are mindless drones who don’t think for themselves and allow everything they hear and see to program their behavior. In short, most people are idiots. (I know you aren’t one of them or you wouldn’t be here reading my blog.)

It just so happens that Mama Riah and I went out a couple weeks ago and bought a new couch before going out to dinner. The furniture store was packed. They were selling stuff left and right. The nightly news would have me think that these places are nailing boards over the entrance as all the employees get into a 27-mile long unemployment line. But that’s not what is happening if you get off your butt and go look around for yourself.

However that doesn’t mean that a bad economy isn’t right around the corner. A real bad economy. One where credit dries up completely and people actually do stop spending. What you have seen so far ain’t nothing folks. Things could get bad. Real bad. And you know how that could happen, right? The media keeps pounding and pounding the idea of how bad things are until it resonates inside everyone’s brains and then people become scared. In other words, we all get brainwashed into a bad economy.

For some people this has already happened. In our local news last week there was a story about an elderly lady who heard the news about possible bank failures so she promptly withdrew all her money in cash. She stashed an envelope containing $10,000 in a cracker box. For some inexplicable reason she then decided that she didn’t want the crackers and would rather have the $2.63 cents back that she spent for them, no doubt because of the scary bad economy news stories.

You can guess the rest. She glued to top back together and returned the cracker box to the market and got back her $2.63. After a couple days she realized her mistake and went to the store to ask for her crackers back, explaining the situation. They told her that returned food boxes go back to the manufacturer and that she likely had lost her money.

By some miracle the cracker box got put back on the shelf and purchased by an extremely honest family who returned the box to the store and reported the found money. So the crazy old cracker lady got her money back (and didn’t bother offering a reward), but that isn’t the point of this story.

It is this: If you hear that the economy is bad and that information alters your behavior, you will be responsible for helping to create a worse economy than the present situation (whatever that may be). In my opinion the present situation isn’t bad at all, based upon what I observe around me. Take it from an out-of-work sub-prime mortgage lender! However if we allow ourselves to be brainwashed into a bleak picture of things, it will become our reality. Just ask the crazy cracker lady.

Papa Riah