January 29, 2022

Top Heavy Industry in America

I've never been a fan of Carl Icahn because I've had this perception of him being this ruthless, cutthroat man who buys companies, breaks them up and makes a profit off of the destruction.  Maybe my perception has been wrong, maybe it's been right, I don't know.  But despite being a stalwart conservative, I'm open minded (as most conservatives are to new ideas and opinions - you can't reject an idea like socialism if you don't understand it first).  So being open minded I decided to watch this video of Carl Icahn talking about why he fired 12 floors of people.

Even if I was completely right about him, I can still admit he's right about this - American businesses are top heavy and it's a big part of the problem. 

I think the part he misses out on is when he says it's nobody's fault.  In America the government demands a level of beaurocracy in support of business that is burdensome.  Some of those people in those buildings were undoubtedly there to support cumbersome accounting and risk functions that relate to government regulation.  The people who work there were likely people who got degrees from educational institutions where a political ideology that supports bigger government, more regulation and impositions on businesses that make less competitive not only domestically but internationally.  Some (not all) of those people would carry that indoctrination forward into the workplace and reinforce the need for more and more burdensome requirements within the company.  The CEOs who get huge salaries (often while barely being able to compete) are beholden to shareholders with short term views on profit and dividends rather than longer term growth strategies.  The market demands that and some of the blame can be found in that as well.

And if you get right down to it, the market demands that because human nature demands that.  But maybe not.   Other nations are not all short term focused. The Chinese Communist Party may have been snuffed out if not for The Long March.  They had understood that every day is not a victory.  That long term victory is more important than short term success.  Short term success may be an inherent weakness of capitalism.  It may be THE inherent weakness of capitalism.  That does not make capitalism wrong, it makes it vulnerable.  Perhaps that what government should be trying to address rather than systemic racism, or gender inclusivity or making sure the next Supreme Court nominee has to be a black woman (I'm looking at you Let's Go Brandon).  Understanding this weakness is not only understanding a risk, it's uncovering an opportunity - an opportunity to gird the strength of capitalism by addressing a weakness through policy. Perhaps somehow incenting long term investors through tax policy would be a good idea for example.

Meanwhile I will remove my existing judgment of Carl Icahn and before pronouncing any opinion, I will circle back to him after further review.  

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