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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘company’

Overregulation: The Problem We Can’t Outproduce

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/08/13/overregulation-the-problem-we-cant-outproduce-with-some-words-from-reagan/

In the period between 1950 and about 2005, Americans continuously sustained a hefty downpayment on our federal, state, and local governments’ spiraling debt, by upping our productivity, our economic output, and the scope of opportunity for everyone.

Overregulation and implied state ownership of what we produce has been a problem for us since Woodrow Wilson’s terms in office.  But until the last half-decade, the American people shouldered and outproduced greater and greater burdens of regulation and/or taxation, costly credit and inflation, and victim politics and litigation.  Operating in the conditions of relative economic and political freedom – more than most of the world, if not more than in our own past – the American people were a productivity engine unmatched in the history of man.  Spend more?  We’ll produce more.  Tax receipts will skyrocket.  If our governments can’t pay their bills, it won’t be because the American people aren’t producing.

The burdens have now caught up with us, however.  Tax rates, while they have gone up and down in the last 30 years, have hovered around a mean established in the 1980s.  Top rates have not skyrocketed as they did at some points in America’s past.   Yet the American productivity engine is faltering.  Unemployment remains high at over 8%, and America’s labor force participation rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1981 (which was in the trough of a major recession).

Credit is harder to get, but people don’t want that much of it anyway.  Consumers aren’t spending.  Housing values have plunged into an abyss, with no end in sight.  (A home virtually identical to mine was listed last week for about half what I paid for mine in December 2002.  Six months ago it would have been listed at about 65% of my original purchase price.)  In the current heat wave in the Southwest, California power companies that announced “flex alerts,” during which customers are asked to use less power, have been surprised that usage was well below what they thought it would be.  People can’t afford to pay for air conditioning as they once would have – and many homes are still standing empty after three, four, or five years.  Similar low demand has hit the US Northeast.  (This means, incidentally, that the power companies aren’t getting the revenue they were expecting.  Down the road, that isn’t going to be a good thing.)

It’s easy to say that people don’t want to work.  It’s also cheap and easy to talk about “fatcat” business owners who don’t want to hire people, or who are just being rich while the rest of us are miserable.

But most new jobs – about 70% — have always been created by small businesses in America, and those small businesses are being steamrolled by regulation.  Regulation is having a serious impact even on big business, and all its costs are passed on to the customer.  “Business” doesn’t pay for anything; you pay for it all.  If you don’t, the business isn’t viable, and you don’t have those big, clean grocery stores with thousands of products, or gas stations charging competitive prices on every corner.  Either you pay all the costs of regulation, or the product isn’t available.

One particular American president was closely attuned to the costs of regulation, and you won’t be surprised that it was Ronald Reagan.  Several times in the late 1970s, he spoke about this problem in his radio spots.  The points he made then resonate as if they were made at 10:00 this morning.

One 2 March 1977, Reagan talked about “Added Inflation” caused by government regulation*:

To inflation and taxes let us add another cost to all of us which is the indirect inflation brought about by excessive regulation and government statutes.

He went on:

… in 1974 the Federal Register needed 45,422 pages to list all the new U.S. Government decrees and regulations that year…

Those regulations add to the cost of doing business in a variety of fields and many ways which means they add to the cost of the things we buy.  For example Congressman Bill Armstrong of Colorado estimates, “Restrictive rate policies of the Interstate Commerce Commission add $5 billion per year in excess freight rates passed on to the consumer.”

Reagan cited other specific costs of regulation in this radio spot.  On 8 November 1977, he did a spot on the travails of the Greyhound bus company, which had had some very unfortunate encounters with federal regulators:

Greyhound happens to have the best safety record in the transportation business. …

Amsterdam Tram Employees Deny Making Fun of Anne Frank

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Two employees of an Amsterdam tram company are denying making anti-Semitic comments about Anne Frank as their vehicle approached her former house.

An unidentified member of the Amsterdam Jewish community reported hearing the conductor of Line 17 say on Monday as the tram neared the Anne Frank House, “The Jews have to make a living somehow,” Ronnie Eisenman, chair of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam, told JTA.

He complained on Wednesday about the alleged comments to the GVB municipal transport company.

The conductor had reportedly been answering the driver, who had allegedly asked, “What are all these people doing here? That woman died a long time ago.”

The home of Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish diarist murdered during the Holocaust, drew more than one million visitors last year.

GVB announced on Friday that both employees denied having made the statements. Two days earlier, in a written announcement, GVB distanced itself from anti-Semitic statements and said the company would research the complaint.

Eisenman said that the witness, a man in his fifties, had said the statements were “very clearly heard on the intercom system.” The witness heard the conversation after the tram doors closed at the Westermark tram stop near the Anne Frank House, Eisenman said.

The witness did not see the driver and the conductor, but knew one was a man and the other a woman.

“The fact that the employees deny that such a conversation ever took place does not add to their version’s credibility,” Eisenman said.

GVB said it would invite the witness to further discuss the details of the incident.

El Al Dithers on Honoring Cheap Fares

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

An El Al spokesperson said the airline had not decided whether or not to honor round-trip tickets to Israel that were offered erroneously for prices as low as $330.

On Wednesday afternoon, the airline issued the following statement via Twitter: “Thanks for your patience. Details/decisions re incorrect fares that were briefly sold on Monday are not finalized. We will update tomorrow.”

The announcement came two days after El Al codeshare flights from several U.S. cities to Israel went on sale for bargain-basement prices due to an error by a subcontractor handling El Al’s winter promotional fares. The round-trip tickets ranging from $330 to $460, including all taxes and fees, were for travel between November and March and included layovers in Europe.

On Monday, El Al said via Twitter that it would honor the tickets, which reportedly numbered in the thousands.

“An outside company posted incorrect fares on travel websites, so all tickets sold will indeed be honored,” the company wrote at around 6 p.m., once the inexpensive prices were no longer available.

But on Tuesday, the airline appeared to backtrack, suggesting in a comment to The New York Jewish Week and later in emails to JTA that El Al had not decided conclusively whether or not to honor the purchases.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it found out about the incident late Tuesday. A department spokesman, Bill Mosley, told JTA that “We’re looking into it.“

Hearing on Motion to Dismiss Set in Hebrew National Class-Action Suit

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

A hearing on a motion to dismiss a consumer fraud case against the company that produces Hebrew National products has been scheduled for Nov. 30 in a federal court.

The hearing will be held at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

ConAgra Foods Inc., which owns the Hebrew National brand, on July 26 filed the motion to dismiss a class-action suit that alleges that Hebrew National’s iconic hot dogs and other meats do not comport with the brand’s claim to be kosher “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law.” The ConAgra motion states that the case should be dismissed because, among other reasons, kosher is “exclusively a matter of Jewish religious doctrine.” It also states that under the First Amendment, “federal courts may not adjudicate disputes that turn on religious teachings, doctrine and practice.”

The suit, which was filed May 18 in a Minnesota state court, accuses ConAgra of consumer fraud. ConAgra has rejected the claims.

Triangle-K, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based supervising agency that certifies Hebrew National products as kosher, and AER, which provides the kosher slaughtering services at Hebrew National facilities in the Midwest, including in Minnesota, also rejected the allegations. Neither is named in the suit.

The suit is seeking monetary damages equal to the total amount of monies that consumers in the class paid for Hebrew National meat products.

Zimmerman Reed, an Arizona-based law firm with offices in Minnesota, solicited consumers through its website. The firm advertised a free case review for anyone who purchased Hebrew National hot dogs in the past two years or had information about the preparation of the products.

Risks You Need to Know Before Buying Dividend-Paying Stocks

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

In my last blog, “Three Reasons to Buy Dividend-Paying Stocks,” I described the benefits of buying dividend-paying stocks and why people may think that they are a worthwhile investment. But before you rush to buy dividend-paying stocks for your portfolio, take a few minutes to read about some of the pitfalls involved with this kind of stock.

1. Sometimes, a company will either reduce or suspend its dividend payments. If this happens, it may be prudent to reconsider staying invested in the company, as most companies will only cut dividends as a final resort. The cut/elimination of dividends may be a wake-up call to a company’s demise. Shareholders won’t generally rejoice at getting smaller than anticipated payments, so why would the company risk their negative reactions, unless it is in some sort of trouble?

2. Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” and this definitely applies to dividend-paying stocks. With dividend-paying stocks, you are going to be hit for taxes twice. First of all, the IRS levies the usual corporation taxes from the company itself on its profits, before shareholders are even compensated. Then, the company transfers whatever profits are left to the shareholders (i.e., you), and you have to pay another tax on the dividends that you receive! (If you have dual citizenship or are living in Israel, the Israeli government may also levy a tax on dividends. Check with your accountant to confirm that you won’t be double-taxed.)

3. Although it’s great that companies may reward their shareholders by paying dividends to them, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Consider the possibility that the reason why the company is paying its investors (as opposed to reinvesting in its own growth and development), is because it can’t find any better investment options right now. Indeed, many large companies tend to pay out dividends when their growth has started to slow. Perhaps this is not what you want, as you would prefer to invest your money into something that is a little more dynamic.

Are you still thinking about buying dividend-paying stocks? If so, I suggest that you reread my last blog, “Three Reasons to Buying Dividend-Paying Stocks,” and then read this article again as well. If you have the full picture, it will be easier for you to see if dividend-paying stocks are really for you.

It’s My Opinion: Do The Right Thing

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Tomas Lopez was a lifeguard in Hallandale, Florida who saved a drowning tourist. Then he was fired. The private company that had hired him said he broke the rules. They claimed his action had caused a liability. The struggling swimmer he saved was 1,500 feet away from the zone Lopez was hired to guard. Lopez had deserted his post.

Tomas Lopez has become a national hero. His story has gone viral. It all seems quite unlikely. Lopez, who was making $8.25 an hour in this summer job, plans to go to college in the fall. He is just two years older than the 19-year-old teenager that he rescued.

The protocol for dealing with someone outside the authorized area was clear. The lifeguards were to call 911 and summon help. Of course, in this type of emergency, every minute is important. It can be the difference between life and death.

Lopez made the decision. He called out to another lifeguard to watch his assigned area. He knew his action would result in termination from his job. He did not care. He could not just watch someone drown. He later said in an interview with CBS News, “A job is not as important as a person’s life.”

Tomas Lopez pulled Maksim Samartev, a visitor from Estonia, from the ocean. Samartev was blue. The young man was dragged to shore, where Lopez administered CPR. He was taken to a local hospital.

Things have turned around. The company that fired Lopez, along with six other lifeguards who mutinied in the wake of the incident, has reconsidered. They offered the men their jobs back. Lopez politely declined.

Hallendale Beach officials presented Lopez and his coworkers keys to the city.

A civic-minded citizen who was on the beach and helped with the rescue was also honored. Maksim Samartev was out of the hospital and attended the event. He shook Lopez’s hand and thanked him.

Lopez said he thought he didn’t deserve all the recognition. He said he only did what he was supposed to do.

Perhaps he’s right. In order for society to function in a smooth and efficient way, there is a need for rules and regulations. From childhood, we are programmed to comply. We are admonished to listen to our parents, our teachers, the doctor, religious leaders and various authority figures. When we get older, that allegiance is often transferred to our business, to our boss or to our company. We are advised to conform.

One of the lifeguards who worked with Lopez had a poignant reflection regarding his company’s directive. He said, “Nothing can make that sound right. It’s wrong to not save someone.” It is important to realize that we need to think before we follow along. We need not abandon our common sense.

Following orders is not an excuse. The Nuremberg trials of German soldiers after World War II established that even in the military an individual is responsible for his own actions and there are directives that should not be followed.

Jewish law is very clear. When it comes to preserving a life, even the observance of Sabbath laws must be put aside. The sanctity of life is paramount. We are told that one who has saved a single life has in effect saved the entire world.

Tomas Lopez and his group of fellow lifeguards look like a ragtag group of skinny teenagers. They are, in fact, role models to us all. They bucked the system. They risked their livelihood. They just did the right thing.

Israeli Company Hopes To Revolutionize Treatment Of Diabetes

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

An insulin pill. That’s what Oramed Pharmaceuticals, a small Israeli-based company, hopes to offer millions of diabetics by 2016.

“Oral insulin does not exist in the world today, but we are the furthest advanced in getting it into the market,” said Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed. “We are just about to start a Phase 2 trial in the United States, which is big news.”

Oramed already completed a successful Phase 2 trial in South Africa in May 2010, but approval by the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the gold standard in the world of pharmaceuticals. To attain FDA approval, Oramed hopes to start Phase 2 trials in the U.S. by early 2013, and, if successful, Phase 3 trials the following year.

Why hasn’t anyone invented an insulin pill until now? Two reasons, Kidron told The Jewish Press:

“First, insulin is a peptide, which is a small protein, and when you swallow it, it gets degraded by the body’s enzymes. Second, the size of the insulin – it doesn’t go through the gut wall, and therefore it doesn’t reach the blood circulation. Think of insulin as a tennis ball and the gut wall as the net. The ball doesn’t go through the net.”

After 25 years of research, however, a team of scientists at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem devised means of overcoming these obstacles. Among the scientists was Dr. Miriam Kidron, Nadav’s mother and a great-niece of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Palestine’s first Ashkenazic chief rabbi. She told her son of the group’s breakthrough and together, in 2006, they helped found Oramed.

“I’m happy that it’s becoming a reality,” Dr. Kidron told The Jewish Press. “My goal is that people will be able to buy oral insulin in the pharmacy. It will be fantastic because a huge amount of people in the world need this medication.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans, or eight percent of the population, currently suffer from diabetes. Worldwide, the number is approximately 350 million.

Wherever he goes, Nadav Kidron said, people are excited by Oramed’s work. “It’s a Kiddush Hashem. I think it’s the best way to show people that Israel is not only about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It’s also about drugs and medications that can change their lives for the better.”

Although Oramed is currently focusing on its insulin pill, it ultimately hopes to offer other medicines in oral form as well. “Think about the flu vaccine,” Nadav Kidron said. “Imagine how many more people would take it if it were available in pill form. Think about how much money the healthcare system would save. This is a technology that can revolutionize healthcare in the world the way we know it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-company-hopes-to-revolutionize-treatment-of-diabetes/2012/07/18/

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