Golden Parachutes for Failure

We would like to document a few facts about golden parachutes amidst the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street. Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd last year received $8.4 million in compensation. They year before he received $12.2 million in compensation. He started with Fannie Mae in June of 2005; the stock was at $36.00 a share today it is worth $3.16. Next on our hit list is his counterpart at Freddie Mac. That is where CEO Richard Syron was due to receive up to $15.5 million on 2008. Syron was paid $19.8 million in compensation in 2007. When he started at Freddie Mac in 2003 the stock was at $56.13 a share, today it trades at $1.41. The Federal government is trying to stop all further payments to these men. We then move to Lehman Brothers where CEO Richard S. Fuld Jr was paid more than $40 million in 2007 alone, which included a huge amount of restricted stock. He has stated he would forgo a bonus this year. When he was named CEO at Lehman Brothers in 1993 their common stock value was $27.16 today it is worthless. Ousted Sovereign Bancorp Inc. CEO Joseph Campanelli will receive $8.4 million in a severance agreement. The reward is two years salary, bonus pay and an enhanced retirement plan. He was hired in 1999 as CEO when the bank shares traded at $13.57, eight years later the bank share price now stands at $5.62. Washington Mutual, CEO Kerry Killinger had received compensation valued at $14.4 million in 2007. He started as CEO at Washington Mutual in 1991; the common stock price was $24.96 today the stock is worth .11 cents. Lastly, we looked at American International Group CEO Martin Sullivan. He received compensation last year of $13.9 million as well as $15 million in severance pay and a $4 million bonus as his reign ended in June of 2008. The stock in 1997 when he started as CEO was $98.56 a share, when he left it was $26.05. He was replaced by Robert Willumstad, to his credit he told the A.I.G board that he would not accept $22 million compensation he was owed as the stock dropped from $26.05 to $3.87 while he was in charge. We will revisit and see where these folks wind up as we think we will hear from the again.

General Motors – The Walls Crumbling Down

General Motors is in a sad state. It is hard to imagine the maker of the Camaro, Cadillac, and Trans Am to be in such a mess. As GM approaches 100 years old, Toyota has recently passed them in worldwide sales for the first half of 2008. Toyota has sold 4.8 million vehicles between January and June, which is up 2 percent from the same period a year ago. General Motors only sold 4.5 million vehicles in the same period. We hear the same diatribe every year when sales fall, economic pressures and labor disruptions in the U.S. market. GM recently posted the second largest quarterly loss in U.S. history, a $39 billion loss.They have also sold off 51 percent of the profitable finance arm of the company. GMAC division was sold, the controlling interest for about 14 billion to a conglomerate of investors headed by Cerberus Capital Management. GM stock has also tumbled this year hitting a 54 year low, it has been as low $8.81 and it has a 52-week high of 43.20. Then we find out they are shopping the Hummer to find a buyer in Russia or China. This is an effort to raise around $4 billion through asset sales. That number seems only like a drop in the bucket compared to the $51 billion they have lost over the last three years. This is a fitting end (if that is true, as most believe federal bailout is coming) to the company that has not been run correctly in years. We point back to CEO Roger Smith from 1980 to 1990. The decisions that were made during this stretch, are what have drove the car company into the ground. We have an unfounded belief that also the creation of ACDelco parts is another reason; GM saw a cash cow in selling parts and no longer was concerned about high quality coming from the factory. When it breaks they could replace it with “Genuine GM Parts.” This made moving manufacturing out of Michigan easier and gave a career to Michael Moore. Out of all this news it is hard to feel sorry for this company even though in 2003 they employed 326,000 people worldwide. The story of the Hummer, which is the car they choose over the EV-1 electric car featured in the movie “Who killed the Electric Car?” is a just another bad choice by poor leadership. In a company with a history of great people like the founder William c. Durant in 1908, great inventor employees like John DeLorean and Charles F. Kettering, it is sad that a board of directors running the company today are no longer car people, but hacks, and have they run the business just that way.

I put the pen to the paper
Because it’s all a part of me

W. Axl Rose 1991


Plug In America

Tea512 would like to draw everyone’s attention to the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and to the website Plug in America, these people are doing great work against massive odds, which they have encountered from the jump. The movie was a lesson in how Car companies, oil companies, state government, federal government, and consumers can be so off the mark and blinded by their own interests. There was no good outcome and due to the lack of support, only a handful of people appeared to care. The best part is they are all documented in this movie, as it will be around for years to come. After reading last week that General Motors has been losing money since 2005. Every talking head seems to believe they are heading toward asking the Federal government for a bailout. You are kidding right? After watching “Roger & Me” by Michael Moore and the above-mentioned film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” how can anyone have any pity for the company that ran itself into the ground. Plug in America did everything they could to help GM but they would not listen, so this is the result. The particulars are to vast to go into and the movie does a much better job of explaining then we ever could. This is just a public record that we want to recognize the acts of PIA directors mainly Chelsea Sexton, and Paul Scott, they are only a few of the many people, but the cause they fight is epic and deserves to be seen by all as well as kept for prosperity.

 

When you feel the fire, and taste the flame

W. Axl Rose 1991

Driving Down 1st Drop Since 1980

Tea512 notices that when United States drivers start paying record prices gas, they have driven less for the 17th straight month. That means this will be the first year in the last 27 where the driving rate actually went down. The streak of months on the decline is also the longest since 1979. In the month of May the number fell 3.7 percent. The May number was a total of 254 billion miles which is the lowest we have seen for one month since 2003.The total for the year is down 2.4 percent as we are already passed the big driving months of June and July. It is amazing how many sectors of the economy this effects from tourism, casinos, hotels, camp sites, rest stops, and restaurants. People are just not traveling far from home, more riders are taking public transportation and scooter sales are climbing. The days of climbing in the family station wagon on a Sunday to drive for an hour for an ice cream and a view of a beach are taking a hit, just as much as the road trip to Disney.

You day’s been numbered
And I’ve read your last page

W. Axl Rose 1991

Arctic Might Have 90 Billion Barrels of Oil

If that is true, that is a 12-year supply for the United States. This report is in conflict with a Russian report that claims there is much less there. There is an for all intents and purposes unexplored in the artic for petroleum. This is the largest unexplored area for petroleum on Earth. Based on the history it takes about 10 years for reserves to get to market. This study used about 8.2 million square miles above the Artic circle, with comparable distinctiveness to oil and gas finds in the rest of the world. There is an exact set of conditions to create oil, they do not just happen, and they are not everywhere. The good part of the study is it only considered finding that use existing methods so the number is attainable. This is on top of the 240 billion barrels that is in 400 fields that have been capped. They are not being drilled because of the lack of pipeline and shipping stations. There is a report that demand for oil is up to over 86 million barrels a day. The United States uses over 7.3 billion barrels a year. The only truth is once it is gone there is no more. This is a Math equation and it does have a result.

Scrounging’ for change, To put some money in your pocket
My how scratch does burn

W. Axl Rose 1991

Sales down – Raise the Price – Genius at NYT

Tea512 first had problems with editorials in NYT keeping John McCain from attacking Obama. Then we found out not only is the circulation down to just over a million papers has come to 620 Eight Avenue in the big city. There has been an over 16% decrease in advertising revenues. So how does the NYT battle such a problem, passing the cost off on the readers? Starting in August the paper will cost a $1.50 instead of a $1.25. The logic here is if the advertisers do not want to pay for ads, the readers will pay more for the paper because they will get more content.  August 18, 2008 the Monday thru Saturday, paper will increase on street corners everywhere. If you combine that with the 4.5% increase in the home delivery prices that have put in place this year, they have you staying or going so to speak. The good news (says NYT) is the Sunday paper will stay at the bloated price of $4.00. At these prices the day of the newspaper, home delivery is only on a decline. Most Americans do not have time to read a newspaper at the end of the day. There will always be business for newspaper that is needed to read on the commute to work, waiting at an appointment or coverage of a special story. The cost of riding the train with paper for a week is $7.50, are we not far away from the commuter getting a radio with headphones, to listen to NPR and a used book for a couple of bucks. We Tea512 think it is an insult to the consumer to raise the price of your service because the market has shifted. We hope this piling on the blue color has an unfortunate backlash.

Looking for a lover in a world
That’s much too dark

W. Axl Rose 1988
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I Can’t Drive 55

Tea512 has learned that Senator John Warner a Republican from Virginia has the idea of rolling the speed limit back to 55 as a national standard. Talk about getting in the way back machine. Congress in 1974 set a national speed limit due to the energy crisis. In 1995 this was repealed. The good Senator Warner claims this will save 167,000 barrels of oil a day, and avoid about 4,000 traffic deaths a year, maybe even more because it seemed he was using the numbers from 1974 and today there are more cars. Senator Warner noted the Department of Energy Web site claims that fuel efficiency decreases rapidly when traveling faster than 60 mph. Every additional 5 mph over that threshold is estimated cost motorists an additional 30 cents per gallon in fuel costs. The question is will this work, the speed limit is 65 and people are going 75. If the speed limit was 55 people will go 65. I suppose this makes a lot of sense but it seems that a residential neighborhood speed limit is 30. You cannot even double that on a highway, with everyone going in the same direction with no ability to turn off only switch lanes. I guess this is what must be done to help then it seems like a small sacrifice because if you want to drive 75 there is nothing stopping you. You could get pulled over for going 20 miles over the speed limit; you will be wasting 90 cents per gallon based on the Department of Energy website. On the bright side Sammy Hager will get new revenue as media, radio stations, and TV outlets all use “I Can’t drive 55” as a lead in to the story as it develops.

Population 7 billion Served by 2012

Tea512 was astonished to find out that the world’s population will reach 7 billion people in 2012 according to a new government projection; this was reported by Stephan Ohlemacher of the AP. Right now there are 6.7 billion people in the world. We here in the United States are third clocking at 304 million, we are only behind India and China. The crazy part of the story with everything so expensive today and people working two and three jobs the growth rate is rising just does not make sense. During the depression there was no work and people had nothing to do, so they made babies. This of course was not smart because they could not even feed themselves so bringing new lives to feed was not helping. The problem is making babies was the only entertainment these people could afford. The result was the baby boomer generation all heading to retirement as we speak. Another staggering number reported is that we only passed 6 billion in 1999. If you go backwards there was only one billion in 1800 and two billion in 1930.  So over the next 82 years this number has or will grow by 3.3 times what it was in 1930. We are squeezing every drop of energy and resource out of the planet as it is. The next 20 years are going to be quite interesting as all of these forces seem to be on a collusion course with a disastrous outcomes a foot.

Gas is now $4.00 a gallon

Tea512 this morning June 13th 2008 paid $4.00 a gallon for gasoline. I was not stuck at a highway station; this was the cheapest gas price in town. You can start to think where this is beginning to change people’s habits. We in the northeast just went through a heat wave, how many people rolled their windows down while driving instead using the AC because it kills your gas mileage. You pay extra for a car with AC some people wont even by one that does not have it and now they are not using it. As I drove by a local doughnut shop I wondered how many people are getting out of the car instead of sitting with the car running in the drive thru. I also heard yesterday that when you rent a car so many people are trying to rent the budget compact when you get to the agency, they do not have any. They give you a mid size car for the same price. The only thing that makes this crisis different then the 70’s is the supply and demand aspect. When I did by the $4.00 gas if I wanted 100 gallons they would sell it to me. In the 70’s you could only get gas on certain days and a maximum amount of gallons. If you dig, even deeper January 2006 oil was $66.00 a barrel and gas was $2.33 a gallon. So today a barrel of oil is $138.00 so that is an increase of 209% increase and gas, which is today $4.00, has gone up about 58%, should not these numbers be the same. Maybe there is something to the speculation market driving up costs.