All of the above companies share one characteristic in common. A CxO Suite which has no problems raiding the pension fund to fatten up EPS to raise stock prices with stock buybacks and ensure nice plump option exits.
Not the first time this has happened.. (Sears, Nortel, MCI/Worldcomm, GM, TOYS-R-US, etc..,)
There are many others playing the same game. What used to be illegal is legal, what once was highly immoral, is now the norm.
Are we now operating in another Dimension?
Have we jumped into a Time Tunnel of sorts to relive the late 19th Century and Early 20th Century pillaging of the age?
Robber Barons or Heros of industry?
All of them had their thugs to carry out their plans.
Only one had some sort of moral compass, Carnegie, who first crushed his competition in the iron and steel game, then gave it all away to build universities and libraries worldwide. 60 years of mayhem and countless lives ruined in one of the biggest concentrations of wealth ever acheived by a single man. Until now.
One thing is for certain the current "Captain's of Industry" crop will continue to kick this can down the road, until someone in government with big enough nads and protection decides to grow a spine and stop it.
I doubt very much if this will happen under Trump's first watch.
Under a Democrat watch it will ironically, never happen.
Under Trump's second watch, maybe, if he gets elected, which will largely IMO depend on if he breaks from the Republican rank and file Keynesian driven dogma to get elected, even then, Trump, the ever unpredictable pragmatist, will only move on such a big change in regulation to "the way it was" IF the populist movement under pinning his support zaps him with a "Do it now or go down to Pocahontas" threat in 2020, dangling the "we will vote for you" carrot, IF and only if " you do stop this "Pension Piracy" madness.
Sadly the likelihood of Trump's primary supporters rallying behind such a demand is quite low. Even then, if Trump did jump on the Pension SCAM, most would expect him to shank such an effort into the woods... (listen for it...)
The GE "WELCH" Factor
The GE heist of retired worker's Pensions is now on the books. Here is ZeroHedge's cut on this story...
Jack Welch started all this, and deserves to be unfollowed on linkedin. A short sawed-off, silver-tongued scheister if there ever was one, he perfected today's "gut and Run" long game while becoming one of the biggest debt placement salesmen for NYC and wall street, on GE's road to "Financialization", whatever the hell that means.
Next "on deck"? Apple, FB or AMAZON
BEWARE OF THE BEZOS
The bigger questions facing us all are: who will be next AND What to do about it as a small investor?
AMAZON: KING OF RETAIL.., for now.
First, looking at the most successful debt financed business model designed to destroy the competition without earning a profit, clearly AMAzon's Bezos takes first place.
AS Gen X, Gen I , Gen Y and the newly minted Gen Z voters, and few educated 2nd wave Boomers, the so called " Jones's" take to their keyboards to order the latest stuff, "cuz they always get what they want" (as long as the credit faucet is open), Amazon is often the first place they shop.
Why? AMAZON delivers the best online convenience, at a higher price, without the effort of finding a marginally lower price through existing channels of retail (subsidized by Amazon's hugely profitable sale of IT services).
SECOND? WHAT WILL BEZOS DO FOR AN ENCORE:
(It won't be a Pension Pirate rip off, this time)
AMAZON has orchestrated a giant Power Rate Payer rip-off, disguised as EV Delivery fleets...
After destroying small town America, Canada and Europe's retail, emptying most of those malls in favour of a regional warehouse and next day delivery for a premium price, Bezos is already triggering Amazon's next big act. Given Amazon.com's growth and virtual bundling of ALL retail essentially destroyed the livelihood of most of the SMB sector in retail, the only money left in middle and working class western world's are the federal, state and corporate pensions, many of which are obliged to invest in so-called "Blue Chip" publicly traded stocks.
Or so you would think. Nope, the biggest impact coming will be to raise your power Bill 200% in 5 years while you feel good about Greening the economy.
There is another "continuous" pot of gold BEZOS is after with a much more stable cash flow than one time Pension rip offs. Your monthly power bill payments.
POWER TO THE BEZOS: Green your community, while your power bills rise beyond belief.
I suggest Bezos has already played his first card into the electricity market buying 100,000 electric delivery Trucks from Rivian to support the Amazon delivery business.
So its already started, Amazon will eat the fleet service market, replacing all of it's rolling stock with EVs, then start buying up the power delivery systems supplying those EVs, dirty or clean to power his vehicles, while your power bills go up.
Now here is the dirty secret behind clean energy. All of it 100% is tax payer or rate payer subsidized 50%, which comes directly out of your pocket, you the rate payer, tax payer. Get the picture?
BEZO will cut a PPA Power Purchase Agreement with each state or municipality run power company, or the private companies delivering to the former and latter to power his new EV delivery fleets. Amazon will get a BIG discounted rate, which will be offset by higher rates charged to the consumer. Capiche?
Then, the next logical move is for Amazon to take over as much of the federal, state and municipal fleets as a "home sourced" sub-contractor, making those old fleet's "green" literally over night in the "hysteria of climate change", at your expense, the rate payer.
ENERGY STORAGE TO THE RESCUE?: not this time around,
Until we have viable edge of grid energy storage under US$100/kiloWatt hour, your power bills will rise to double what they are today by year five (2024) because of the subsidies and low discount power price offered to BEZOS supplying power to his exponentially growing fleet of EVs needed to make your community more green. ;)
BEZOS THE BELLWEATHER: time to convert your fiat holdings in order to protect your earnings
What about outsourcing, state and municipal services, like power delivery, autonomous delivery fleet services, physical storage, etc. How about Amazon Water Works?
Nothing would surprise me. The crash is happening before our eyes in real time, and when the regular Stock market darlings are publicly seen to descend into the Abyss, , Utility Stocks are certainly a place of fiat refuge in such crashes, because the masses (us) need water and power, and food too, and roof over their heads.
Expect Bezos to "hang a right" hard into those markets, ESPECIALLY THE POWER MARKET hard and fast.
In fact the above move by Bezos and Amazon is a big market signal the stock, bond and real estate markets have ceased to exist as we knew them in the past, and within 18 to 24 months, all investment strategies will be re-aligned to safe havens like Utilities, metal, crypto and land.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO, POOR ME...
We are all thinking it, not so much saying it, so take action and,
just do it.
Buy some Bitcoin BTC , Buy some ETHEREUM ETH, buy some quality crypto. Get a home with a garden and re-learn how to feed the family.
As of this writing, the crypto market has settled the last 3 months, and IMO the next big bull run will be much slower and less steep, as the fiat world enters a phase of denial waiting for a rebound, which will never come. And don't forget metals, and maybe shifting your real estate into land which grows food and has a modest abode on it.
PENSIONS? FORGET ABOUT them.
(The buying power in five years will be way too small to pay the bills in most cases, most countries)
REBOOT. Buy metals, crypto and a property which can grow enough food for you and your family.
We can all reboot if we just start using crypto for peer to peer transactions. It's safe, there are lots of network nodes out there totally distributed, and several good hardware wallets to protect your crypto hard stores of value.
When we all start to sell our houses for metal & crypto, and we buy our next quality used car with metal and crypto, and really start buying groceries and clothes with crypto. This is how all of us will need to reboot, while protecting our earned value, and stop worrying about your pension, their value will be deflated down to nothing by the time you get a chance to draw on it.
Get some old silver coins, even copper coins, pre 1968, pre 1965 even better, as both more likely to be used as physical currecny if the wheels of the world economy really come ff.
POWER EFFICIENT CRYPTOS OPERATING OFF GRID: Energy Storage is Key
And finally, Get OFF GRID. Solar, Wind, Geo-thermal and some power storage. (Take a close look a Zinc Air batteries https://nantenergy.com/, VIZN https://www.viznenergy.com/, Redflow (warm climates ) https://redflow.com/ ), so you don't have to pay the oncoming BEZOS Surcharge, Which will come for power.
Municpal governments have an obligation to change the way they generate and distribute power, to protect the community from centralized power failutes and control (and rises in power bills). The Mossel Bay, South Africa (hot weather) example installed by Redflow is just one of many already in place, so there are no excuses.
As far as crypto goes, Maybe start looking at mobile mining crypto plays again like the Pi Network https://minepi.com/, Electroneum https://electroneum.com/, etc, along with Proof Stake "PoS" cryptos or lightweight, energy efficient Proof of Work, no fee crypto like IOTA https://www.iota.org/ , as none of these cryptos require much power to operate.
Build a Micro-community of Off-Grid Powered Networked WIFI Cells
TK Note - Danger, Nerdy Note below, Micro-community Local Wireless IP Connectivity: Inter-connect those off-grid crypto network nodes locally
Here is a really geeky tech link from the cisco community as reference, on how it all works. (how they fix a problem)
As a local physical community , I encourage everyone to get together, especially the techie types, to start thinking about and then configuring a mesh WIFI wireless IP Network between neighbours in your own local community.
All you need is a few low cost wireless WIFI routers (within about 1060-100 m of each other) which support and understand BGP4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Gateway_Protocol to connect to other community "cells" doing the same, where most small communities can be connected locally running a shared OSPF https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Shortest_Path_First network between community member cells, just in case it really gets ugly and the GRID does go down, for a really long time.
Because IMO, the next 5 years will not be pretty, as we reboot this whole mess of an economy, worldwide.
If the crash is worse than beyond belief, we all need to have some way to electronically transact to keep what's left of the economy using hard value, and that means shoe-stringing wireless networks together to keep our hard stores of crypto value operating, and the transaction/payment/settlement capabilities they offer operating to we can REBOOT! So running a few crypto network nodes for BTC, ETH, Dash, Zcash, IOTA, Stellar, Monero, BCash etc.., locally in the community is a good "community" insurance bet, running on home computers with their own off-grid power, and at municipal locations equipped with off-grid power.
Power to the People? The choice is yours, protect your hard earned wealth, act now.
One thing is certain, the price of power (water and sewage) will be rising, faster than you think and we will all be paying for it.
TK over and out
PS- Those modest country properties are now looking awfully attractive, especially the ones with their own well and septic system (bed and tank). Just add off-grid power, some perma-culture (fruit, berries, nuts) and vegetable garden, maybe even some chickens, and be sovereign.