MOST HATED COMPANIES

February 3, 2018


The list of the “most hated American companies” was provided by KATE GIBSON in the MONEYWATCH web site, February 1, 2018, 2:20 PM.  The text and narrative is this author’s.

Corporate America is sometimes, but not always, blamed for a number of misdeeds, swindles, “let’s bash the little guy”, etc. behavior.  Many times, those charges are warranted.   You get the picture.   Given below, is a very quick list of the twenty (20) most hated U.S. companies.  This list is according to 24/7 Wall St., which took customer surveys, employee reviews and news events into account in devising its list: ( I might mention the list is in descending order so the most-egregious offender is at the bottom.

  • The Weinstein Company. I think we can all understand this one but I strongly believe most of the employees of The Weinstein Company are honest hard-working individuals who do their job on a daily basis.  One big problem—you CANNOT tell me the word did not get around relative to Weinstein’s activities.  Those who knew are definitely complicit and should be ashamed of themselves.  This includes those holier-than-thou- actresses and actors pretending not-to-know.
  • United Airlines. The Chicago-based carrier is still in the dog housewith customers after a video of a passenger being forcibly removed from his seat on an overbooked flight went viral last year. You simply do NOT treat individuals, much less customers, in the manner in which this guy was treated.  I wonder how much money United has lost due to the video?
  • Fake news, deceptive ads, invasion of privacy.  You get the picture and YET millions subscribe.  This post will be hyperlinked to Facebook to improve readership.  That’s about the only reason I use the website.
  • I don’t really know these birds but apparently the telecom, one of the nation’s biggest internet and telephone service providers, reportedly gets poor reviews from customers and employees alike. I think that just might be said for many of the telecoms.
  • This one baffles me to a great extent but the chemical company has drawn public ire at a lengthy list of harmful products, including DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. Most recently, it’s accused of causing cancer in hundreds exposed to its weed killer, Roundup.
  • I’m a Comcast subscriber and let me tell you their customer service is the WORST. They are terrible.  Enough said.
  • I have taken Uber multiple times with great success but there are individuals who have been harassed.  Hit by complaints of sexual harassment at the company and a video of its then-CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver, the company last year faced a slew of lawsuit and saw 13 executives resign, including Kalanick.
  • Sears Holdings. Sears plans to close more than one hundred (100) additional stores through the spring of 2018, with the count of Sears and Kmart stores already down to under 1,300 from 3,467 in 2007. Apparently, customer satisfaction is a huge problem also.  The retail giant needs a facelift and considerable management help to stay viable in this digital on-line-ordering world.
  • Trump Organization.  At this point in time, Donald Trumpis the least popular president in U.S. history, with a thirty-five (35) percent approval rating at the end of December. That disapproval extends to the Trump brand, which includes golf courses, a hotel chain and real estate holdings around the globe. One again, I suspect that most of the employees working for “the Donald” are honest hard-working individuals.
  • Wells Fargo. At one time, I had a Wells Fargo business account. NEVER AGAIN. I won’t go into detail.
  • The insurance industry is not exactly beloved, and allegations of fraud have not helped Cigna’s case. Multiple lawsuits allege the company inflated medical costs and overcharged customers.
  • Spirit Airlines. I’ve flown Spirit Airlines and you get what you pay for. I do not know why customers do not know that but it is always the case.  You want to be treated fairly, fly with other carriers.
  • Vice Media The media organization has lately been roiled by allegations of systemic sexual harassment, dating back to 2003. One of these day some bright individual in the corporate offices will understand you must value your employees.
  • The telecom gets knocked for poor customer experiences that could in part be due to service, with Sprint getting low grades for speed and data, as well as calling, texting and overall reliability.
  • Foxconn Technology Group. Once again, I’m not that familiar with Foxconn Technology Group. The company makes and assembles consumer electronics for entities including Apple and Nintendo. It’s also caught attention for poor working and living conditions after a series of employee suicides at a compound in China. It recently drew negative press for a planned complex in Wisconsin.
  • Electronic Arts. The video-game maker known for its successful franchises is also viewed poorly by gamers for buying smaller studios or operations for a specific game and then taking away its originality.
  • University of Phoenix. I would expect every potential student wishing to go on-line for training courses do their homework relative to the most-desirable provider. The University of Phoenix does a commendable job in advertising but apparently there are multiple complaints concerning the quality of services.
  • I’m a little burned out with the NFL right now. My Falcons and Titans have had a rough year and I’m ready to move on to baseball. Each club sets their own spring training reporting dates each year, though all camps open the same week. Pitchers and catchers always arrive first. The position players don’t have to show up until a few days later. Here are this year’s reporting dates for the 15 Cactus League teams, the teams that hold spring training in Arizona.
  • Fox Entertainment Group. If you do not like the channel—do something else.  I bounce back and forth across the various schedules to find something I really obtain value-added from.  The Food Network, the History Channel, SEC Network.  You choose.  There are hundreds of channels to take a look at.
  • The consumer credit reporting was hit by a massive hack last year, exposing the personal data of more than 145 million Americans and putting them at risk of identity theft. Arguably worse, the company sat on the information for a month before letting the public know.

CONCLUSIONS:  In looking at this survey, there are companies that deserve their most-hated-status and, in my opinion, some that do not.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  As always, I welcome your comments.

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THE 1%

August 15, 2015


The data for this post is taken from the following sources: 1.) The Atlantic.com, 2.) Bankrate.com, 3.) IRS, 4.) Economic Policy Institute, 5.) Forbes Magazine, and 6.) Global Finance Magazine. The spreadsheets have been developed by this author.

I think we all agree the word “wealthy” is somewhat relative if we use money and assets as our baseline of comparison.  There are those who rely solely on the “almighty dollar” to keep score.  I would hope we all realize there is much more to life than money although covering our expenses and having a little “walking around” money; i.e. disposal income, is not all bad.  I would like to address wealth from a global perspective.

If we look at the world’s poorest countries measured by per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) we see the following:

INCOME PER DAY

Let’s do the same by region:

INCOME BY REGION

Now, compare this with the average annual U.S. income, stated by Forbes Magazine to be approximately $51,000.00, and you come away with the thought that “working Americans”are truly wealthy compared to the rest of the world.  PLEASE NOTE: I SAID “WORKING AMERICANS”.   We have a huge population unable, for whatever reason, to find gainful employment.  That’s another story for another day.

If we look at the statistics, we find the following:

  • According to the U.S. Census, the median income from 2000 to 2010 has declined by seven percent (7%).
  • The Economic Policy Institute indicates that between 2007 and 2009 the average household wealth for the wealthiest one-fifth of the population has declined by sixteen percent (16%). For the rest of us, the decline is right at twenty-five percent (25%). Granted, this period in our country was one of significant economic decline from which we have never really recovered.
  • According to the IRS, an adjusted gross income of $343,927.00 would put you in the top one percent (1%) of the working population, $159,619.00 in the top five percent (5%), and $113,799.00 in the top ten percent (10%). As we all know, adjusted gross income backs out taxes and allowable expenses.
  • The Tax Policy Center publishes the following for the top one percent (1%): 2009-$503,086.00, 2010-$516,633.00, and 2011-$532,613.00. This does NOT present adjusted gross income.
  • GET READY FOR THIS ONE:  Fifty-seven (57) members of Congress or approximately eleven percent (11%) of the 535 members are considered to be the “financial elite” of this country.  Two hundred and fifty (250) are millionaires in Congress.   In looking at all members there is an average net worth of $891,000.00.  This is nine times that of average Americans.

Now, let’s go “big-time”.  Can you name the top twenty richest people on the planet?  I can as follows:

BILLIONAIRS

Can you imagine a billion dollars? $1,000,000,000.00 How about eighty-six of those billion dollars? To really demonstrate just how far a billion dollars would go relative to the poorest countries, look at the chart below.  What I have calculated, based upon thirty-five billion dollars ($35 billion), is how long that amount would support an individual with a current daily income as given in a chart presented earlier.  The results are absolutely amazing.

NO OF  YEARS

Please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way condemning the wealthy, after all, in comparison with the world’s poorest, we the average American, are tremendously wealthy. Doing the calculation: $51,000/$394.25 = 129.36 years.  This is how long an annual American income would support an individual in the Congo-Kinshasa region. The wealthiest in the world have earned their money by tremendously hard work, focus, intensity, planning the work and working the plan, staying with their dreams and quite frankly sheer old determination. Never giving up, BUT they have developed skill sets and resources to realize their dreams.  This does not include:

  • Watching mindless TV each day.  According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of non-stop TVwatching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
  • Hours of video games. A nationally representative study found that the average American 8-to-18 years old play video games for 13.2 hours per week. According to a survey of parents, 36% of children ages 0 to 6 years old have played video games. By age 6, the brain grows to 75-90% of its adult size.
  • Never reading a book. In the US,  seventy-five percent (75%) of people sixteen (16)  years and older read at least one book last year; of those people the average number of books read was fifteen (15), but the median, which is more representative of the average American, was six  (6).  This is a little better than I expected.  Hooray for our side.
  • Dropping out of high school.   By the way, the dropout rate is described as follows: Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day. About 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time. THIS IS A DIASTER FOR OUR COUNTRY.
  • Involved with drugs and drug addiction.  More than twenty-two  million (22 million) Americans age twelve (12) and older – nearly nine percent ( 9%) of the U.S. population – use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Drinking to access-– National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Prevalence of Drinking:  In 2013, 86.8 of people ages eighteen ( 18) or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.   Deaths among individuals aged twelve (12) and older, 46.4 percent involved alcohol. … Expanding our understanding of the relationship between moderate alcohol.

Last but not least, one quote from “silent Cal” basically says it all:  “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

PERSISTENCE is one skill set all of the “greats” have.  As always, I welcome your comments. HANG IN THERE—YOU DAN DO IT.

 

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

February 19, 2014


The following information was taken from an on-line publication called Reporters Without Borders and Industry Week.

Our founding fathers exhibited remarkable vision when structuring the Government of the United States.  Three branches; Executive, Legislative and Judicial—separate but equal.  Separate is easy because each branch has its own duties and responsibilities as spelled out by the Constitution.  The equal is more difficult.  Equal depends upon a free-flow of information between each branch, something in fairly short supply these days.  For this reason, we depend upon the press.  A free press, unobstructed relative to telling the entire story—supposedly the real truth.   Admittedly our “free” press is definitely biased.   You have media outlets leaning left; i.e. MSNBC, NBC, CNN, NPR. etc., and those leaning right; Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc.   We get to pick and choose and in the end, believe whomever we will.   The issue is access to a story.  The access provided by the “Fed” is absolutely critical to ensure basic freedoms we now enjoy.   This access, by the way, includes stories and notifications involving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.  Can you imagine our Federal government withholding a truly groundbreaking announcement on a drug proven to be life-saving?  That would be a definite travesty of justice.

The 2014 World Press Freedom Index that Reporters Without Borders publishes every year measures the level of freedom of information within 180 countries.  It reflects the degree of freedom journalists, news organizations and news agencies enjoy in each country of those countries, and the efforts made by authorities to respect and ensure freedom of the press.   It is based partly on a questionnaire sent to cooperating partner organizations (18 freedom of expression non-government organizations (NGOs) located on all five continents), to a network of 150 correspondents, and to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The 180 countries ranked in this year’s index are those for which Reporters Without Borders received completed questionnaires from various sources. Some countries were not included because of a lack of reliable, confirmed data.   The rankings are determined as follows:

The questions consider six general criteria. Using a system of weighting for each possible response, countries are given a score of between 0 and 100 for each of the six overall criteria. These scores are then used as indicators in calculating each country’s final score.

o   Pluralism–measures the degree of representation of opinions

o   Media independence—Measures the degree to which the media are able to function independently of the authorities.

o   Environment and self-censorship— Analyses the environment in which journalists work

o   Legislative framework–Analyses the quality of the legislative framework and measures its effectiveness

o   Transparency–Measures the transparency of the institutions and procedures that affect the production of news and information.

o   Infrastructure–Measures the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.

Given below is a map showing the various rankings.  Please note the color codes in the center.

OVERALL MAP

 

If you study this map, you will find several very fascinating situations, one being the United States has “a satisfactory situation” relative to freedom of the press but not an outstanding ranking.  Several countries in the Middle East and certainly China have very serious problems.  The top twenty-five (25) rankings are as follows:

  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Luxembourg
  • Andorra
  • Liechtenstein
  • Denmark
  • Iceland
  • New Zealand
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Canada
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Costa Rica
  • Namibia
  • Belgium
  • Cape Verde
  • Cyprus

The “bottom feeders” are as follows:

  • Turkmenistan
  • North Korea
  • Eritrea

The United States is forth-sixth (46th) on the list.   There are definite reasons for our ranking and the fall in that ranking relative to 2009.

In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.

There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer than eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms.   While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received his fifteen minutes of fame, 2013 will be remembered for the National Security Agency (NSA) computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.

The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea Bradley Manning for being the WikiLeaks source.  This is an extremely long sentence but small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.

To calibrate our position, let’s take a look at other countries to see where they stand relative to freedom of the press.

  • United Kingdom   33rd
  • Japan                        59th
  • Turkey                      154th
  • Morocco                  136th
  • Israel                           96th
  • Guatemala              125th
  • Georgia                       84th
  • Brazil                         111th
  • Russia                        148th
  • China                          175th
  • India                           140th

Please keep in mind that only 180 countries participated in the survey.  There is no doubt that governments control their people by controlling the press and yet, it is absolutely mandatory that we have unfettered freedom of the press if we are to continue as a viable republic.

I definitely await your comments on this one.

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