back by popular demand.

in other words, one of my friends told me she’d “read the shit out of” this blog.  and since i do owe her for loaning me a cocksucking copy of fucking Deadwood, i’d best oblige.

that, and it just doesn’t take much for me to start writing again.  whether i keep up with myself is another question.  i thought this time around i’d try to mix things up.  i’ll still try to do some reflections on the lectionary on sundays or thereabouts, but i’d also mix in some financial news with my regular pomo-ness.

it’s not something i studied, or have some special insight into…except as someone who has both gotten a good and raw deal from the american economy as of late.  so from time to time, i’ll put a few words up about what i’ve learned.

i’ve been thinking about the govenor’s election a lot, and how the donations to MN Forward played out.  what i keep coming back to is that I’m glad i don’t own any Target.  it’s not that the expenditure was particularly large, or the blowback that painful.  but it was clear that the management was willing to risk store openings in key urban locations just to have their say in local politics.  and there’s something really odd about that.  if you own a stock for the long haul, i’d venture that there are very few political issues that will actually be worth donating for.  and many would be too radioactive to be smart.  unless your sector has a truly burdensome regulation…think stem cell research….politics is just too short term to really have an impact on your investment.

but for the c-level exec, politics matters a great deal.  your shelf life is short enough that no matter what the board might say about long-term incentives, there is just too much for them to lose in a year, a quarter, or even a day.  so they look to protect it by chasing faster moving money.  the tax treatment of profits, the power they can wield to render corporate boards toothless, and otherwise take the capitol of others and turn it into private income…these are all the short term interests of the ceo looking to hir stock options.

so oddly enough, Citizens United and the flow of corporate money might not actually be a very capitol friendly tactic.  it is, however, awfully kind to the professional management class that has stepped in…the Tony Haywards, the Jack Donaghys, Angelo Mozilos of the world.  they might be rich, but not on the same scale that a Ford, Rockefeller or Carnagie was.  Certainly, they never own the percentages of the underlying company that those guys did.  and so their time frame is shorter than we as a society need it to be.

so as we start trying to move our nation again, i have the following suggestion.  look at institutional ownership percentages.  and support shareholder rights laws.  the new player in the economy is going to be the retirement fund…the endowment officer, and the trust manager.  the folks who have as long a horizon as the rest of the nation.

honest services laws might prove too vague to actually pin folks to the wall, but modern capitol behaves too erratically, too dangerously for us to really be okay with it.

-sc

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