I like Capitalism, as the Christian Conservative that I am. But I do realize some people in Wall Street love money more than anything else and are not just willing, but ready to do anything under the sun for a quick gain – most times legally, but sometimes illegally.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Paul Singer last week, dedicating a segment of his program to an investigation of Hedge Funds and how they hurt middle America. Tucker explained how Hedge Fund companies exploit companies in what he called “vulture capitalism”. He said of Paul Singer:
“Elliott Management has made billions by buying large stakes in American companies, then firing workers, driving up short-term share prices, and in some cases taking government bailouts”.
Specifically, Tucker described the case of one particular town, Sidney, Nebraska, where a mega-sporting goods company, Cabela’s, has its headquarters. He explained how Singer pushed the company to sell, even though it had a profit of over $1 billion. He added:
“One year after Singer enters the equation, Bass Pro Shops announced the purchase of Cabela’s. The company’s stock price surged. Within a week, literally a week, Paul Singer cashed out” about $90 million profit upon exit. Nothing illegal about this, but the problem is, that in the process, some 2,000 employees lost their jobs, home prices collapsed and the town found itself with its people trapped in homes they couldn’t sell and no jobs for them.
The problem with Private Equity is that their focus is to make a quick buck. And in doing so, for the most part, they burden their portfolio companies with debt they cannot afford. Typically, Private Equity (PE) firms or Hedge Funds borrow money to purchase their assets, but rather than showing these debts in their respective financial statements, it’s the company they buy that shows that debt – and in so doing, it’s responsible for actually paying off such debt, interest and all.
Normally, these portfolio companies do not have the financial muscle to afford the quarterly interest payment and the only way to make such payments is to reduce costs. Since labor is the easiest way to do it, companies end up laying off hundreds or thousands of people. You would think at least this should allow the company to grow and, eventually, be sold such that the PE firm or Hedge Fund can exit the investment with a profit. However, that’s rare because the minute they start eliminating jobs, they choke operations. And when they choke operations the company cannot produce, ship and cash in as much as before. So their growth is limited or negative.
When this happens, PE firms replace the leadership team of the acquired company after “their” failure to produce the financial results the Singers of the world are expecting. Over time, they replace those teams over and over until they find a way out of the investment. Singer, in this particular case, only stayed in the investment for one year, which tells me he probably found a “bigger fool” to purchase his asset quite quickly. But in some cases these investors keep their investments for years until they find a bigger fool.
A bigger fool, in the investment world, means someone (like the public through the stock market) who’s dumb enough to buy a now crippled company at a higher price than what it’s worth. Some of these investments may show up in your 401 (k) if the manager managing your account decides to buy shares of these failing companies. In this case, Singer would think of you as the bigger fool.
If the Hedge Funds or Private Equity firms can take the company public (like what they tried to do with WeWork recently, for example), the bigger fool is the public (maybe you through your 401 (k)?) to whom these vulture investors sell their crappy companies.
Typically these “investors” known as Hedge Fund Managers or Private Equity Firms try to tell the public that what they’re doing is create value. And this is true – except the only ones to benefit are the Hedge Fund or Private Equity managers themselves.
You see, these deals are nothing but a transfer of wealth from the portfolio company’s employees and the “bigger fools” to the fund managers. The only way these fund managers earn money is by a) laying off people and b) finding a bigger fool to sell their overvalued assets to.
The question I ask is this: at which point does a transaction such as this become FRAUD?
I suppose the answer lies in whether or not there is an intent to destroy the operations of the company and benefit in the process. Is this what Singer did? He bought a company that was doing OK financially, laid off 2,000 people thus hurting operations such that a year later he sold it to a bigger fool for a profit. Singer didn’t even stay in the investment long enough to care about “improving operations”, as many of these managers pretend to do. They’re Wall Street individuals, for crying out loud. What could they possibly know about operations?
I believe Fund Managers and Private Equity firms should be obligated to publish their financials just like public companies – and carry the debt they incur to buy these companies in their OWN Financial Statements. The damage they cause to entire small towns, the general public and employees is too big to ignore. I don’t like a lot of regulation, but no oversight of what these people are doing isn’t the answer either.
“And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another.“
In what is perhaps a rather interesting twist of events, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) released a “fact sheet” regarding the U.S. Women’s soccer team as part of a lawsuit filed by the Women’s team against the USSF alleging pay discrimination due to gender. As it turns out, the U.S. Women’s soccer team was LOSING the USSF money for most of the past decade, but they still were paid more money overall than the Men’s soccer team.
Just so there is no confusion and contradiction to my other article regarding the Women’s team being paid, the USSF and FIFA are two different organizations. If you remember, FIFA pays its male players roughly $400 million and its female players $30 million. As I said from that other article, from that alone, you would think there was gender discrimination, but I asserted that the Men’s team generate more revenue than the Women’s team, so they have a larger pool of money to receive (and the Women are paid a larger percentage from the smaller pool than the Men do in the larger pool).
But the USSF is slightly different. Back in June, the Women’s team released info saying that they brought in more revenue than the Men’s team did ($50.8M vs. $49.9M, so barely any difference, but still enough to drive their point). However, there are a number of things that actually hurt the Women’s team in their suit.
First, as it stands, that number has not been confirmed, as far as I can tell. They COULD be right, but given some statistics that we will see later on, I have my doubts regarding this.
Second, there is one major difference between the Women’s team and the Men’s team that affects wages, and that’s that one receives a base salary of $100,000, plus bonuses of $67,500 to $72,500 for playing in a national soccer league, while the other is not paid a base salary at all. The gender that is paid a base salary and bonuses is the female gender. The men are only paid bonuses for games.
What’s more, the Women’s team receives other benefits such as a 401k, health insurance, which includes maternity leave and injury protection. The men don’t receive such benefits.
Third, the USSF claimed that they actually pay women more than they do men. According to The Daily Wire: “USSF claimed that it paid women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and ‘we paid our men $26.4 million – not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.’”
So if the USSF is correct, they are actually paying women MORE than men, simply due to salaries + game and other bonuses.
The USSF also claimed that the “hypothetical per game comparison” often used in Leftists’ arguments regarding gender wage discrimination (as far as soccer goes) isn’t exactly plausible because neither team has ever played 20 friendly matches in a year: “That said, if the men and women ever did play in and win 20 friendlies in a year and were paid the average bonus amount, a women’s player would earn more from U.S. Soccer than the men’s player – the women’s player would earn at least $307,500 (WNT and NWSL salaries, plus game bonuses) and the men’s player would earn $263,333 (game bonuses only),” according to the USSF.
But perhaps what is most damning for the Women’s case against the USSF is the following:
“From 2009 through 2019 – a timeframe that includes two Women’s World Cup championships – the Women’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $101.3 million over 238 games, for an average of $425,446 per game, and the Men’s National Team has earned gross revenue of $185.7 million over 191 games, for an average of $972,147 per game. More specifically, WNT games have generated a net profit (ticket revenues minus event expenses) in only two years (2016 and 2017). Across the entire 11-year period, WNT games generated a net loss of $27.5 million. Nevertheless, U.S. Soccer does not view these as losses, bur rather as an important investment in our Women’s National Team and in the long-term growth of women’s soccer.”
In other words, the Women’s team has LOST money for the USSF in most years in the past decade and STILL are paid more than the men are. And they dare to cry “sexism”?
But do you want to know what is honestly the saddest part of this? Reread the last sentence of the paragraph: the USSF did not see these net-loss years as losses at all, but as an investment in the future of women’s soccer. They are willing to take some years in the red for the sake of women’s soccer (which would usually be a bad thing for a business, but I suppose the Men’s team makes enough to make the USSF feel comfortable with such losses for the sake of women hoping to become professional soccer players). So basically, the Women’s soccer team, in their lawsuit against the USSF, is essentially acting like one of those spoiled kids who get everything they ask for and on their 16th birthday, are given a brand new and expensive car, but they cry and throw temper tantrums because “it’s the wrong color” or “it’s not the kind of car I wanted”.
Granted, I’m fairly certain most of those instances on those reality TV shows are fake, but there are a lot of comparisons here. The U.S. Women’s soccer team, as far as the USSF is concerned, makes MORE money than the Men’s team does, but they cry and whine and lie that they actually don’t.
Matter of fact, a spokeswoman for the Women’s team said that the USSF’s “fact check” was a “ruse” and a “sad attempt” at thwarting the lawsuit: “The USSF fact sheet is not a ‘clarification’. It is a ruse. Here is what they cannot deny. For every game a man plays on the MNT, he makes a higher base salary payment than a woman on the WNT. For every comparable win or tie, his bonus is higher. That is the very definition of gender discrimination.”
It certainly would be the very definition of gender discrimination if anything she said was actually true.
First, the Men’s team does not actually make more in base salary than a woman. They don’t make ANY base salary, as was just discussed.
Second, I highly doubt this is a ruse. USSF President Carlos Cordeiro wrote an open letter in which he stated that he ordered U.S. Soccer staff to perform “an extensive analysis of the past 10 years of U.S. Soccer’s financials.” This is what the fact sheet eventually turned into. He also said that the analysis was “reviewed by an independent accounting firm.” So while the USSF did an internal analysis of the organization’s financials over the last decade (largely because they are pretty much the only ones who can do that apart from a government agency), the analysis was also reviewed by an independent party, allowing for objectivity.
However, what does appear to be a “ruse”, or at least highly illegitimate and wrong is the U.S. Women’s suit against the USSF. They are suing under the claim that they are being paid less than the men are, but USSF financials show a completely different story – one where the Women’s team is actually paid MORE than the Men’s team due to having a base salary to accompany other bonuses that the men don’t get. And sure, while the men get paid more in bonuses than the women do, the reason for that is because they don’t receive a base salary.
Apart from the USSF, the Women’s team doesn’t have much of a case regarding gender discrimination in their wages either. As I discussed in the other article regarding the U.S. Women’s team, the only reason FIFA pays the women less money is because the Women’s division generates less revenue for FIFA than the men do.
The Women’s World Cup that took place in Vancouver four years ago only generated around $73 million in revenue, 13% of which went to the players. The 2010 Men’s World Cup in South Africa generated $4 billion in revenue, of which 9% went to the players. The Men’s World Cup in Russia back in 2018 generated $6 billion, while this year’s Women’s World Cup made roughly $131 million.
Over the last World Cups that were played, the Women’s World Cup only made a little over 2% of what the Men’s World Cup made. So in what world could the Women’s team at all be able to make anywhere near as much as the Men could? The Women already get paid a larger portion of the revenue from their World Cup than the Men do.
But getting back to the USSF, they are actually rather nice to the women, all things considered. The Women’s division tends to bring losses for the organization, but the idea of having a program for women who wish to become professional soccer players is noble enough to accept these losses, so long as they can offset them with the Men’s revenue (and the Women do sometimes bring in profits anyway).
The USSF pays women more than they do men, they tend to LOSE money regarding their Women’s team, give women more benefits and a base salary which they do not give to men, and the Women’s team, in their self-righteous and toxic mentality of victimhood still believe they are being discriminated against when NONE of the statistics show that to be the case?
Not a good look for the U.S. Women’s team.
1 Timothy 6:9-10
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
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Ever since the Obama administration, many people often have heard the term “redistribution of wealth”. What Democrats want out of that is to take money from the rich to give to the poor. In reality, they’re stealing money from people that have worked hard and smart to earn it, give it to programs that help keep the poor poor, and keep the rest for themselves. I, however, have a proposition that will help many more people and without having to steal money from people that have worked hard to earn that money.
What I’m proposing is that we take some money congressmen make and redistribute it to the military to increase the wages of soldiers. Let’s look at some numbers, just to see what they each roughly make in a year.
According to nolabels.org, “The Average Joe of Congress gets paid $174,000 a year.” That number changes, of course, depending on what role a congressman has. The Speaker of the House is paid $223,500 a year, while majority and minority leaders are paid $193,400 a year. It’s very lucrative to have a career in politics, particularly in Congress.
According to work.chron.com, soldiers of varying rank are paid varying wages. That’s to be expected. But according to the website, “Enlisted soldiers in the Army have ranks from E-1 to E-9. In 2014, the initial monthly pay for the lowest rank (E-1), is $1,531.50 a month. Although, E-1s with less than 4 months of experience earn $1,416.30”. These are the newbies. The guys that don’t have much military experience. These ranks aren’t expected to earn much, but let’s look at the numbers per year. 1531.50 x 12 = 18,378. The soldiers in E-1 that have more than 4 moths of experience earn only $18,378 a year. Soldiers with less than 4 months of experience earn $16,995.60 a year.
Again, these are the lowest ranks, so it’s expected that they wouldn’t make as much as higher-ups, but those are just sad-looking numbers. Let’s go back to that website, shall we? It says that “The highest enlisted rank (E-9) earns $4,836.90 a month with over 10 years of experience, rising to $7,509.60 with more than 40 years of experience.” Going back to my calculator now. 4836.90 x 12 = 58,042.80. A solider with 10 years of experience earns only $58,042.80 a year! And 7509.60 x 12 = 90,115.2. A soldier with 40 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE ONLY MAKES JUST NORTH OF $90,000 A YEAR!
These people are all fighting to protect our country from foreign enemies and the most these people can HOPE to make on average is $90,000 a year. Meanwhile, socialists that wish to fundamentally destroy the country make FAR MORE THAN DOUBLE THAT AMOUNT!
But I offer a simple and fair solution. I propose that these congressmen “pay their fair share” and give some of their money to the people who have the GUTS to protect this country. After all, we’re looking for income equality, are we not? We want fairness and equality for all people, right? After all, aren’t congressmen paid with tax payer’s dollars? And for what? To get in the way of Trump and keep this country from being made great again?
They are paid with tax payer dollars. They are basically taking tax payer’s money to be a nuisance. Police and firefighters are paid with tax payer dollars as well, but at least they are being productive. Police help communities stay safe, and firefighters fight blazing infernos in houses and apartment buildings and help rescue people that are trapped in those buildings. Congressmen (at least the ones that don’t support Trump) simply stand in the president’s way. In the American people’s way. And yet, they are paid nearly $200,000 a year to be thorns on patriot’s sides.
Of course, I’m completely aware of the fact that no one in Congress will go for this sort of thing. Whenever any sort of policy affects them, they aren’t very willing to support it. After all, they were all exempt from Obamacare. Why would they be if it was such a great bill? Oh yeah, it’s because it was nothing short of a dumpster fire. Democrat Congressmen would never willingly give their money to military soldiers if it meant that they get paid less.
After all, anyone can be tempted to succumb to greed. Not just Democrats, even Republicans can succumb to greed as well. Anyone who isn’t legitimately close to God can succumb to greed. Because greedy people don’t worship God, they worship money. They do everything in the name of money, and for the gain of money.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying money is evil. I’m saying the worship of money is evil. If you spend your entire life chasing money and put money at the top of your priority (like Warren Buffet), that’s a waste of a life. Remember, you can’t take your money with you to heaven. If you prioritize making money, you’re prioritizing the wrong thing.
Again, making money isn’t bad. But making money your biggest priority is. Because then, you’re putting money ahead of God. THAT is where greed stems.
“’No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money'.”
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