Including: why Obama is actually a Republican, how outsourcing has become a nuisance for Wal-mart and Gap, and why they won’t care, and is it just me but Apple seems to be maturing…

Good morning

The headlines:

  1. Obama tweets.

    Link: America misinterprets.

    I feel a bit sorry for BO at the mo. Mostly because he looks like he’s trying and failing to get through to anyone. For example, Yahoo Canada (?) put out an article yesterday about Obama’s most recent round of tweeting to try and gather support for his fiscal remedy solution. Part of which was him saying “if I can’t persuade the Republicans to give in on the higher taxes on the rich, we’re going to have to get rid of the home-mortgage tax deduction”.

    Or, more specifically, someone asked him “As a home-owner, I worry deductions for homeowners are at risk. Is that the case?” And Obams replied with:

    “Breaks for middle class impt for families & econ. if top rates don’t go up, danger that middle class deductions get hit – bo”

    This spurred a scandal of tweets with Americans going crazy about how evil Obama is. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is all: you get a home mortgage deduction?!

    In a more formal Bloomberg article, Obama has been reiterating that he won’t budge on a tax rate increase for the top 2%.

    I would just like to point out that whether you take Obama’s top tax rate or Boehner’s top tax rate, America is still getting a right-wing, Republican tax rate.

    Let’s not kid ourselves: the historical tax rates speak for themselves.

  2. The trouble with outsourcing.

    Link: Wal-mart and the Gap in Bangladesh.

    Wal-mart and the Gap have outsourced most of their clothing production to Bangladesh. And hey – I think that’s great. I love Gap clothing – and if it means that I can afford it, loose labour laws all the way.

    But that’s not really the news. The point is that Wal-mart and co are coming under criticism for the safety failures in the factories to which they outsource, with the argument being that they should fund the safety improvements, etc. The general response from the Wal-mart/Gap crowd is:

    “Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken at some factories. It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”

    I am not sure why there is such a big deal being made about this. And I can only think that we are talking about thoughtless outrage. Should the factory conditions improve? Yes. Should Wal-mart and Gap do it? Only if it’s financially feasible for them to do so.

    The outrage stops at the “yes” and doesn’t continue into the implications. “Financial feasibility” is a euphemism for “Wal-mart and Gap will just take their business to another developing country if Bangladesh gets too expensive”. And then who really loses? In the grander scheme of economic well-being, a Bangladesh with lower safety standards but sustained internal production and higher exports is better off than a Bangladesh with no production.

    And sad as it may be, those are the alternatives.

    So it’s up to the Bangladesh government to do something about the safety standards.

  3. Apple.

    Link: woah.

    It’s been a while since I had a look at the Apple share price. Mainly because I have been well-irritated by the Maps application.

    The share price:

    Well at least it’s starting to recover. But it does look like someone said “Sell” and people did. And an analyst made this point which I liked:

    “The new product aspect has faded recently as the newer versions of their products provide less of a reason to upgrade. While Tim Cook is a capable executive apparently, his background is in procurement and engineering, not innovation. So who is driving this?”

    Tim needs to pull something out the bag. Or else Apple will move from being a growth-company to being just another quality-brand. And maybe it’s just that time.

  4. Mysterious algorithms.

    Link: ready, set, arbitrage.

    Wrote about it here. 

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.