Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, June 11, 2021

I guess I’m not the only one who’s viewed the weeks of giddiness from Democrats over their prospects in the November midterms with skepticism. The LA Times’ Ronald Brownstein pegs exactly why the optimism is premature:

All of that indicates that although [losing Democratic candidate for the special San Diego Congressional election, Francine] Busby benefited from discontent with the Republicans, she “didn’t provide the kind of agenda around which people can rally in a positive way,” as [UC San Diego political scientist Gary] Jacobson says. Democrats may be in the same situation nationally: In a new memo, veteran Democratic strategists Stanley B. Greenberg and James Carville warn that in recent months voters’ perceptions of the Democrats have deteriorated — even as the share of Americans dissatisfied with Bush’s policies has increased. The party, they write, is at risk of “underperforming” in November if it does not provide a more compelling alternative.

Senior Republican strategists recently calculated that turnout this year is down for both parties, relative to the average over the last 20 years, in almost all of the states that have held primaries. That pattern, Greenberg’s poll and, above all, the San Diego results send a clear message:

Discontent with Republicans in Washington is widespread, but it isn’t yet translating into consistent support for Democrats.

In other words, coming in a close second isn’t going to be enough. Even if the GOP wins by the skin of its teeth in key races, the point is, they’ll still win. They’ll still hold onto those seats, and whatever moral victory gained by the opposition’s showing will evaporate quickly.

It’s really the same old bugaboo for the Democrats: They offer themselves as an alternative, but without anything concrete. The party needs something to galvanize its position and support. There’s certainly no lack of issues to zero in on, but so far, there’s been a timidness in forcefully putting forth a counterview.

Aside from that, the overriding reality is that this is still a midterm election year. Even the most strident get-out-the-vote campaigns by both parties isn’t going to compel large numbers of people to go to the polls. If it’s not a Presidential election year, voters stay home, regardless of the issues.

There’s still lots of time between now and November, with untold variables coming into play until then. But barring anything truly earth-shattering, it’ll still be the Republicans’ game to lose.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/11/2021 02:23:28 PM
Category: Politics | Permalink | Feedback

The joke’s gotten old: As companies export more and more rank-and-file positions to low-cost job markets like India and Mexico, the CEOs signing off on those moves rake in multi-million dollar paychecks. With every instance of this disparity, suggestions of consistency are offered, in the form of shipping out the high-priced corner office occupant for a discounted emerging-economy model.

It’s in that spirit that Lawrence Orlowski and Florian Lengyel have put some apparent number-crunching and brainwork into the ROI of outsourcing the executive offices:

Current chief executive compensation creates what economists term a perverse incentive. An American chief executive, who is paid an average of $11.3 million annually, gets rewarded enough in one year to exceed the lifetime standard of living of 99.99 percent of the world’s population. Even if he’s booted from his job because of poor performance, he’s set for life.

It is far better for shareholders to have chief executives whose compensation packages are based on the long-term performance of the company. Or in plain language, it is better to have a “hungry” executive instead of one who stays fat and happy even when the corporate ship capsizes into the troubled waters of bankruptcy.

In addition to perverse incentives, the current level of chief executive compensation creates opportunity costs. The money saved by hiring a cheaper executive can be invested in even more offshoring initiatives. A virtuous circle of shareholder profitability can be established.

I re-read this op-ed piece a few times, wondering if I wasn’t missing the punchline. In some ways, it reads like dry-wit satire, only because the concept of deconstructing the transnational corporation hasn’t seriously ventured into this realm (yet). And it’s not like the architects of the cost-cutting mantra are going to cut their own throats, shareholder pressures aside.

But the piece is so straightforwardly rational that I’m missing whatever wink-wink-nudge-nudge is hidden within. Actually, maybe that’s where my perception of the humor is coming from: The tragi-comic notion behind massive efficiency.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/11/2021 01:21:04 PM
Category: Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)

What do you get when you cross birth-control pills with breath mints?


No, they’re not for real. But with a name so cute, they ought to be.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/11/2021 10:17:09 AM
Category: Comedy | Permalink | Feedback