Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The President as CEO

By John Ballard

My friend Deborah White posed a question...

...will Democrats hold the Senate in the 2012 elections, or will we be treated (subjected!) to Republican rule in the 113th U.S. Senate?

...and I left the following comment -- 

I have this odd feeling that most people are still not paying attention even at this late date. Those of us who breathe and eat political news have all kinds of feelings in our guts, but in the end something as capricious as a high-profile news story about anything can have a tipping point impact.

For reasons that have escaped me all my adult life the creation of jobs seems to be the central aim of the presidential job description. Stuff like waging war, poking or cooling the economy, making peace or bringing the nation together in the aftermath of wars, hard times, civil strife or a national tragedy seem no longer important. The next election seems to elect a National CEO rather than a political figurehead.

I'm encouraged to see that over the last couple of days the national media have finally started to report the catastrophic loss of nearly half the middle class NET WORTH during the last two or three years -- instead of rattling on about income and the widening of the gap between rich and poor. That gap is an important indicator, along with the fact that those at the top continue to receive the biggest chunk of all available new wealth.

But the real elephant in the room is not income, but wealth -- NET WORTH. It doesn't take much imagination to see how a young family with a six-figure income may have a good income, but still be in deep debt doo-doo with a mortgage, student loans, car payments and the expenses of rearing a family. Now THAT is a serious problem, cuz that family has negative net worth.

I'm hoping that over the next two or three months the media can focus more closely on Romney's business record. His expertise is very much like that of the character that Richard Gere played in Pretty Woman. His mission was to buy up troubled companies and either bring them to profitability or sell them off for body parts. Jobs get "created" alright, because there are plenty of new jobs involved. But when the dust settles, the total number of jobs is LESS, not more. That's the difference between true venture capitalists and equity capitalists.

The ice-water in the veins argument is not a good criticism. It takes that to be successful either way. But it is valid to point out the difference between a lot of jobs that get created (many of which may not last, perhaps) versus a net reduction in the number of jobs.

Those takeover people are important to the overall economy in the same way the bail bondsmen are important to the criminal justice system. Without them the system won't function as well. But it is a mistake to suggest that with the economy already in the tank, squeezing yet another few drops of blood in the form of profitability for every larger corporations at the expense of smaller ones is a rational step in the direction of a recovery.


  1. "His mission was to buy up troubled companies " OR.. not even troubled companies.. just ones that they could squeeze out a profit from...
    take a nice litte producer with little debt and good cash flow. instead of spending on maintenance or new equipment, borrow load of cash to pay out in dividends and use the cash flow to pay the interest. suck out as much as you can until the company fails..
    THEN sell off the parts.

  2. Yep. You got the idea. I was trying to be charitable.