Archive for Financial Crisis

Is Cost Effective Government Possible?

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Insanity, Mobile Phone, Modern World, MP's, Parliament, Police, President, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/10/2010 by floroy1942

The old adage: “If you want to make money – get a Government contract” is as true today as it ever was. The bigger the country, and thereby the government, the easier it is to charge extortionate fees for the provision of services.

Sir Philip Green

The sheer depth of government miss-spending has been revealed in Britain today by a report issued on an ‘in-house’ investigation by a well known High Street name, specifically Sir Philip Green, owner of the ‘Top Shop’ chain of stores. He was commissioned by David Cameron, the UK Prime Minster, to look into government spending with a view to cutting expenditure. What he uncovered defies description!

He stated quite frankly, that if he operated his business in the same way, he would be bankrupt within in days.

Government Waste?

In Sir Philips view, literally billions of the huge £191 billion budget could be saved by government departments with better co-ordination in the procurement of services. As an example, he estimates that a massive £600 to £700 million could be saved on the annual British Telecom budget of £2 billion. Renegotiating contracts with companies providing mobile phone services, and even office supplies and coffee could save up to 40% of the annual budget.

Damn! There Goes Another £1.45

The differences between departments in the costs being forked out for mundane things such as a box of copy paper (from £8 to £73), printer cartridges (from £86 to £396) and a cup of coffee (90p to £1.45) are to say the least, quite staggering. Who in their right minds would pay £396 for a printer cartridge? Talk about being ripped off!

Never Heard of Video Conferencing?

Sir Philip also criticised the 400,000 nights a year spent by M.P’s in hotels in London in order to attend meetings at a cost of £30 million. In the modern age he found it incomprehensible that so much money could be spent on people who must attend meetings personally. Quite rightly he puts the question: “Have these people never heard of video conferencing?”

M.P’s transport costs such as taxis and hire cars is a huge £551 millions a year. Someone from an anonymous car hire firm wrote in to say her company were being paid by the government £156.28 a week for a small car, which a normal customer would get for £99!

At the Heart of it All

It’s amazing to think that no-one in the financial side of government, i.e., The Treasury, has checked up on this kind of thing for so many years. It’s the same old story of there being no accountability within government circles! Government laptops, so often in the news for being left behind on buses, in taxis and on tube trains by government officials in sensitive jobs, cost up to £2000, while a little research on the internet revealed identical models for just £800.

Sir Philip also questioned the advisability of moving a government agency to new offices in the Midlands with a rent of £1.2 million a year on a 20 year contract, fixed for 15 years, when shortly after the department was abolished leaving a commitment of £18 million. Mismanagement of real estate by government departments costs the taxpayer £25 billion a year but could be drastically reduced.

The final report due out on Monday should make very interesting reading for Governments world-wide, especially in the rest of Europe and the United States. With luck, it will begin a wave of in-house cleaning by many governments, but I doubt it.

The Eurofighter - Costly, But Worth It

When government contracts are awarded for new military hardware, buildings or transport links etc., we all know that the project is going to cost e.g., £25 billion, but when the final accounting is done the end figure can be five times that or more. Good examples are the Eurofighter from BA Systems and the Channel Tunnel, both of which went way over budget.

Boring the Eurotunnel

Such major contracts are first put out for tender and presumably the lowest bidder wins. In my opinion, over the last three or four decades many companies have intentionally put in ridiculously low bids, one for which they know they cannot complete the task, just to get the contract. Once the contract is signed, they are fully aware the price can be jacked up once they have started work.

This is no way to run a business, and running the government services for any country is just that, a business on a larger scale.

The Secret - Make it Stick!

Governments must realise that if a supplier quotes a certain price for work to be carried out, the company must be held responsible for ensuring the end product for the quoted price. Companies dealing with government departments, be it the Ministry of Defence, Transport or whatever, must be made to put in realistic bids for services to be provided. There is nothing wrong in allowing perhaps a 3-5% cost over-run in today’s turbulent markets, but it should be no more than that.

The problems highlighted by Sir Philip Green only go to emphasis that much tighter control is necessary on government spending, for in the long run, it always comes from the pockets of the general public in the form of taxes.

This is 'In-house'

The present coalition government is currently looking for ways to reduce the annual budget by many billions of pounds with cuts to defence and the police force high on the gender. It would seem wise for them to first look in-house before taking such drastic measures, and the assistance of men like Sir Philip would be invaluable in such an exercise. By this I mean top flight business men with a known track record like Sir Philip who pulled BHS back from the brink into a good solid company, not some fly-by-night stock exchange wannabe.

Obama, Zarkosy and Merkel - the Big Three

Britain is by no means the only country afflicted with such woes. I am sure the economies of all the major nations could see a dramatic upswing if the leaders, like Angela Merkel, Presidents Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy were to employ businessmen in strategic monetary positions within the government as fiscal advisors.

Another Good Place to Start?

Without a doubt, we will not see an end to the worlds economic woes when duly elected governments and leaders allow such wastage at the top, while telling the public it is time to ‘tighten belts’.

I firmly believe in the old saying, which should apply especially to governments: ‘If you must lead, lead by example!’

Roy.


Election Debacle

Posted in Britain, Elections, England, English Schools, Immigrants, Justice, MP's, Parliament, Prison, UK, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , on 07/05/2010 by floroy1942

So the wait is finally over, and Britain takes another firm step towards oblivion.

Even the election was poorly organized, with complaints from tens of thousands of people across the country who said the polling stations closed their doors at 10pm and they were not allowed to vote, even after queuing for hours. We have now sunk so low we cannot even organize an election properly.  This has never happened before.

The fact that Britain now has a hung parliament with no one party having a clear majority, means we will see in the coming weeks bitter haggling between the three parties as each vie for a share of power.

The major problem is, there is not a single party capable of running the country as it should be. Each successive government plunges our land deeper into crisis, none more so than Labour over the past thirteen years. Single-handedly, they have sabotaged our nation, and the opposition has done nothing to stop it.

They have given away the traditions and culture that made us proud and respected across the globe, and turned us into a pariah state, a melting pot of cultures, whilst at the same time driving us into debt by handing out money by the truckload to parasites and immigrants like confetti at a wedding.

Let me ask you a question: In what other country will you find an immigrant family living in a £2.6m mansion paid for by Social Services i.e. the taxpayer? I am sure you will not be able to give me an answer.

Another question: Name me any country where people can receive up to £30,000 a year for NOT working? Along with this of course goes a house, furniture, computers for the children etc., all paid for by the taxpayer. Again, I don’t think you will be able to give me a positive answer.

But all this is possible in Britain! Why?

The nation has been sold out in worship of continued power, and the voter is just as much to blame as the government, because Labour was voted back in time after time.

Now come the hard questions; What should we expect from the new coalition to get things back on track? A difficult one, with many facets.

I believe the first thing to do is ‘SHUT THE DOOR’ to all new immigrants! Secondly, we must SLASH the Social Services Budget so that only the really needy get help, and then at a minimum level to sustain them. Parasites (i.e. work-shy and those feigning disability) should have all their payments stopped and be forced to EARN their living and contribute to the system.

Steps must also be taken to get rid of the ‘Goody-Goody’ Brigade from their seats of power, which they have used to sabotage our traditions, culture and justice system for far too long.

Immigrants should be made to realise they live in OUR country and must conform to our laws and our way of life. This means no mosques, no veils, no arranged marriages, no Islāmic demonstrations and NO Sharia Law. If they cannot respect our way of life while practising thier own faith they should leave for a Muslim country.

Harsh measures must be taken to resolve the current disasters we call Justice, the NHS, and our Education systems. How do we do that? As follows!

First we need more prisons, secondly we need sentences that fit the crime without the opportunity of early release. We need prisoners to wear a penal uniform and perform hardlabour during their incarceration. We need the return of the death penalty for pre-meditated murder, and serial paedophiles and rapists should be castrated. Only by putting the fear of God into criminals will we ever stop the crime that rules our daily lives.

Our government must take the steps necessary to stop the spiralling cycle of violence, and to hell with the UN, Amnesty International and all the other ‘Goody-Goody’ Brigades. We can take another look at international conventions once we have things back under control.

So far as the NHS is concerned, it is time to kick out these useless self-serving administrators from our hospitals and go back to the ‘Matron’ system, where wards and nurses were controlled by senior nursing staff with a complete understanding of what is required. Kick out all the contract cleaning companies and have dedicated cleaning staff in every hospital as it used to be.

When this system was in place decades ago there was no such thing as patients catching life threatening diseases IN the hospital.

The education system also needs to return to the old standards of excellence, with major improvements in the standard of teaching, the national curriculum, and a much-needed return to classroom discipline.

The next question is, which of the parties is strong, and committed enough, to do this? The answer is; None!

The most important thing for politicians today is to stay in power, not do what is good for the country and its people.

Many analysts predict Europe is heading for financial meltdown with the economic crisis in Greece, the UK, Portugal and Spain. These same analysts are forecasting Britain will have a bigger budget deficit than Greece in the coming year, with all the problems associated with it. So it is clear that whichever coalition comes to power, they will have a monumental task ahead of them.

Will they be up to the task? I think not! We will return to the favourite British pastime of the blind leading the blind!

Roy.

At Last The Knife Goes In

Posted in Justice, Modern World, Obama, President, USA with tags , , , on 23/10/2009 by floroy1942

Finally a brave politician has put the knife into the banking sector, and companies that received government aid at the start of the current financial crisis. The income of these bank executives and CEO’s has been slashed from it’s previously outrageous levels to, what I would call, a more acceptable level, but all is not what it seems.

President Obama has been the first world leader with guts enough to attempt cutting the exorbitant salaries of these people. He appointed Kenneth Feinberg this summer to look into the huge payments, and he has just released the first phase results.

I can hear the moans in the Boardrooms across America now; “Damn! I was going to get myself another Ferrari, a new villa in the Bahamas, a massive yacht, and a huge new cabin cruiser to park in Puerto Banus Harbour in Spain (the most expensive), and oh, the wife wanted a new ironing board. I was even thinking of buying Yellowstone National Park to build some condo’s. Now I guess all that will go on hold. Damn that Obama fella!. Doesn’t he understand I want to be super-rich?”

Of the top seven companies bailed out by the US tax payer, 136 employees from; AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, General Motors, Chrysler, and Chrysler Financial have all taken a hit.

According to the news, bank executives and CEO’s will have to take a 90% pay cut, while their employees, traders etc, would take a cut of up to 50%. Bosses would no longer receive huge bonuses, but get stock in their company they could not sell until 2011.

It is staggering to see the pay-packets some of these individuals take home. Top of the tree is Sanjay Jha, Co-CEO of

struggling Motorola, who took home a massive $104.4 million in 2008. His salary was a mere $484,615, but he made a further $412,096 in ‘Perks’, $36 million in stock grants and $67,59 million in stock options.

He and his fellow CEO Gregory Brown ($24.2 million), were magnanamous in December last year and took a 25% salary cut. At the same time, Motorola froze all employees salaries and retirement contributions. It sounds like a case of; “Pull up the ladder Jack, I’m on board”.

Mr Jah no doubt owns several Ferrari’s, probably one for each day of the week. His only problem would be to decide which colour to drive on which day! “Let me see. Monday the blue one, Tuesday the black one…….”

I wish I had those problems, the only trouble is I would find it hard to decide; I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure!

Mr. Jah is of course not alone with this problem. The CEO’s of; Oracle, Walt Disney, American Express, Citigroup, Hewlett Packard, Calpine, News Corp, Honeywell International and Proctor and Gambell all face the same agonizing problems, and I haven’t mentioned the car industry yet!

Among the “Money Men’, under the new rules AIG’s top executive will get the highest salary at $10.5 Million which will include a salary of $3 million, a $3.5 million bonus, and $4 million in stock options. AIG is still one of the companies bailed out by the tax payer. But there’s worse to come!

The top 22 executives of Citigroup, bailed out with billions, will share a staggering $118 million in salary, stock options, and restricted stock options that will increase over the next four years. Mama! I want to be a bank executive. Please, can I????

All I can say is; firstly, I should have chosen banking as a career instead of the military and aircraft industry, and secondly; everyone should start keeping their money under the mattress and let the bankers starve.

Of course, the bankers and CEO’s are complaining. Their arguement is, that without the current bonus scheme they will lose all their star performers to companies that are not covered by the new ruling. Citbank and Bank of America have already reported losing key personnel to companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase who managed to escape from the governments clutches during the summer. Some companies are activly engaged in luring away these people with promises of even double their previous bonuses and salaries. Who can refuse that.

The downside is, the loss of key personnel may affect the recovery of the institution concerned, putting repayment of the government loans in jeopardy.

But when all is said and done, these people may not lose as much as first thought. The ruling on bonuses put in place by Ken Feinberg is not watertight. Instead of bonuses they will get ‘Incentive Pay’ in the form of company stock, so all may not be lost after all, just be a little more complicated.

Scrutiny on the part of the general public is advised to see how all this ends, but I for one hope the money trail dries up for these people because they have been milking us for far too long.

All we need now is for the heads of state and governments around the world to take action on this despicable practice once and for all.

May your mattress bulge in all the right places!

Roy.

Beware the Ides of March

Posted in Britain, Demonstration, England, Insanity, Modern World, UK with tags , , , , on 31/01/2009 by floroy1942

A world financial crisis followed by civil unrest begs the question: What next? World Governments have bailed out the Banks and the Car Industry to prevent financial meltdown, and now the People say: “What about us”!

World-wide, millions have lost their jobs and are seeking relief from the deprivation of a recession that was not their fault. Strikes and demonstrations are hitting more and more countries, and its spreading like wildfire, but what should be done about it?

There is some justification in what people are saying, insofar as the architects of the crisis are still sitting in their Wall Street and London offices (among others), getting their bloated salaries and bonuses while people on the street are losing their homes and having to tighten belts.

The whole crisis was caused by greed and mismanagement on the part of the Banks Fat Cats, who were so intent on buying up the competition they forgot to keep an eye on the petty cash. So why do they still have their jobs, let alone their huge bonuses?

It is a disgrace of world proportions that tax payers money has been used to pay these incompetents obscenely inflated bonuses for crass stupidity.

As an example, at a time when the Banks were being bailed out by the Government to the tune of billions of dollars, the leaders of these institutions were paying out billions in bonuses to their employees. One London based Company C.E.O approved payment of four billion to its workers at the same time they were receiving untold billions from the Government to keep the Company afloat.

The idea of paying your successful staff a large bonus was introduced to reward those workers who performed their function in an exemplary fashion and brought in huge profits. Over the years, this has been corrupted to mean that any Tom, Dick or Harry will get a bonus even when he is a major failure. Look at the past few years, where some C.E.O’s have been given severance pay of over €150,000,000 when forced to resign after some major cock up.

It is despicable that these people continue to get their huge handouts when their Banks/Companies are on the verge of bankruptcy and have to be bailed out by the Government, and by that I mean of course the Tax Payer.

Leaders from many countries have echoed the words of Gorden Brown of Britain when he complained that after the bank bailout, the banks were still refusing to start lending money again, or even pass on the full interest rate cuts made by the Bank of England, the World Bank and the American Treasury among others.

So you see, there is some justification for the general unrest that is happening all over the world, even if the protests are not being channeled in the right direction.

Civil unrest is now being aimed in various forms at Governments because that is where ordinary people lay the blame when times get hard, but what they should be pushing for is responsible management of our monetary system by the Banks, and in particular the Leaders of these institutions.

Bonuses are fine in the banking industry, but they should be brought down to a reasonable level, say €10,000 for a successful employee, and perhaps €100,000 for a good C.E.O. not €1,000,000 and €100,000,000. That is ridiculous. Why should anyone, no matter how successful, earn more in one day than the average man in 10,000 years. Its not just ridiculous, its obscene!

If you fail in your job you should be kicked out on your ear without any bonus at all. Failure should not be rewarded at any price!

If the general public start seeing heads roll in the Financial Sector it may help to calm the tumult in the market place, at least it would be a start, and may head off total anarchy!

Keep your powder dry!

Roy

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