Friday, March 27, 2015

Operation Dessert Storm

March 18, 2015
General Mills Tops Earnings. Misses Sales, Cutting 800 Jobs

1. As part of Project Catalyst restructuring plan, General Mills announced its plans to cut 800 jobs...

Catalyst is to fire, what Project Catalyst is to fired. The irony should not be lost on us.

2. In addition, the company is undertaking another restructuring plan - Project Century...

Let me guess. This is the kind of bold and innovative new restructuring plan that only comes around every hundred years or so. Invest now or forever be priced out!

3. The Holistic Margin Management (HMM) program is also in place...

It was smart not to call it the Holistic Margin System in honor of the HMS Hood, because the German Bismarck sank that battleship in WW2 with just a couple of shells. And I'm not talking pasta shells either.

Damn, the Food General sure has been busy. Expect shock and awe, baby. Shock and awe. Yes, sir. Ramping up nicely for Operation Dessert Storm. I hope the first wave is led by a processed cheesecake battalion. Get in my belly!!


Stagflationary Mark said...

Some amateur hecklers might have gone directly after the word holistic and ignored the rest, but not me.

I try to take a more holistic approach to heckling. You know, look at the whole. Try to find a central theme.

That said, this one was harder than most. I left my new age heckling crystals back at the shop. Without them, I had to resort to small ancient stones arranged in the Stonehenge configuration. Still effective of course, but it does require waiting for the moon to rise to a point just over the 7th stone. ;)

Nathan said...

It seems like the US economy is caught in a vicious cycle:
1) Expand welfare state
2) Increase payroll / wage taxes to pay for 1)
3) Companies respond to 2) by decreasing headcount
4) Increase in unemployment / underemployment increases demands for 1)

Basically, it seems like the way the US raises revenue is inconsistent if not completely contrary to its economic policy goals. Beyond making labor artificially expensive, taxing wages as opposed to say property or passive income seems to be Malthusian in nature, which results in even fewer wage earners per dependent over time.

Progressives really dislike companies (e.g. Walmart) that employ low-paid, publically-subsidized workers. However, that situation seems inevitable given the current welfare policies, which seem intent on normalizing living standards among the bottom third of the income distribution. Raising minimum wages, or equivalently, burdening employers with more responsibilities to the welfare state, makes self-sufficiency an all or nothing proposition. It strikes me as odd to perceive Walmart as "taking advantage" of these subsidies, since in practice it's just a technical matter of where society pays for the welfare state, and how many people's labor is economically-viable. From that perspective, it seems like the minimum wage, including benefits, should be set at whatever level minimizes aggregate transfers.

The irony in all this is that if you're General Mills people are going to get your product whether they pay for it with wages or government scrip (e.g. SNAP). The US seems destined on a course where elites are numerically wealthier, as a result of driving labor costs down and margins up, but are then left in the unenviable position of providing goods and services to their former employees and getting nothing desirable in return. If society insists there be a chicken in every pot, and Cheerios in every bowl, it ought to think harder about what it wants to do with with the idle masses.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Like you, I'm not a fan of minimum wage. I think there are all kinds of unintended consequences, especially as we move further into the robotic age.

I do think the basic income idea has merit though. It too is not completely free if unintended consequences, but we'll need to do something.

They are trying to clamp down on Payday Loan lenders again I see, as if fixing symptoms will fix the disease.

The idea is to prevent people from using the services as often. I don't think anyone really wants to use the services. Even I would use the predatory services if the alternative was starving. Take away one avenue of starvation delay, and I might turn to something even worse. I'm guessing more than a few people are in our crowded prisons because of it. Desperate people tend to do desperate things.

We really don't want to become a nation of desperate idle masses. Nothing good can come from that.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I should add that I am glad that I'm not in charge of fixing the system because:

It is possible that there is no long-term solution that will work. Every living thing eventually dies. Our economic system could easily be just like a living thing. It starts off young, simple, and reasonably healthy, ages over time, and eventually dies of complications.

Put another way, If I could see solutions that could work then I wouldn't be a permabear. Sigh.

dearieme said...

Pay the poor to pick plastic bags out of hedgerows. It occupies their time, gives them enough to live on, and makes our surroundings more attractive.

Troy said...

Apple made $50B last year and they still can't document their goddamn APIs completely.

Wasted 3 hours this AM until some dodgy sample code demonstrated something that the docs said couldn't be done. . .

Troy said...

We really don't want to become a nation of desperate idle masses.

Freeing people from our $2T/yr housing expense would be a great start.

But no politician can run on the slogan of lowering voters' property valuations.

Farcical on its face.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I'm loving the new operating system update from Apple. They gave me yet another App that I cannot delete. It's Aople Watch.

Since I don't ever plan on buying the watch, my iCrap folder grows yet again! Love software bloat! Can't get enough, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Land ownership lets us all be kings! Well, once you strip out all the expenses like property taxes, maintenance, insurance, mortgages, and what not.

Kings I say! Too bad each king can't find peasants to tax. Tough to do when everyone is a king.

Kings I say! Can go yo war with nearby kings any time you want. It's mostly verbal in a civilized society. Fences make good moats.

Stagflationary Mark said...


That's a great idea! And if we start running low on roadside trash to pick up, we can slow the workers down by making them wear shackles.

Chain gangs for prosperity!! Genius! ;)