12/6/19

The Numbers — The Trump Economy

It does not matter whether you love or hate President Trump, the economy is not influenced by your individual feelings or emotions.

Nancy Pelosi, who does not hate President Trump and who is a great Catholic, is praying for the economy and President Trump. [President Trump is praying for her also. The Big Red Car is praying for both of them though not at the same time.]

Here she is with that powerful pointer finger of hers. Looks great for 80, no?

The economy is impacted by policy coming out of Washington and since early 2017, that policy has been guided by President Trump.

Today, we learned that unemployment has dipped to the lowest level in half a century — 3.5%. The US created more than 266,000 jobs in November 2019. Hello, America!

This has to be the best labor market in a century.

Continue reading

12/6/19

Field Expedient

As the CEO/Founder of a startup, you will develop practices that you know work. Many times, these practices will not be perfectly “normal.” They will reflect your own personal style or they will be things that you just know work.

These are what I call field expedients.

Back in the day, when I was a combat engineer officer overseas, I had a damn good sergeant who worked for me. We were blowing up old fortifications in South Korea just south of the DMZ. When we demolished them, we cut all the rebar with cutting torches, removed the concrete pieces with dozers, dug a big hole, and buried the detritus (reinforced concrete). I used to recover all the steel and send it down to Seoul.

Then, we rebuilt them — often in slightly different locations and to a substantially higher structural strength — to withstand then modern artillery.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like when 100 lbs of C4 is exploded underneath a shallow bridge abutment. The bridge abutment was in the way of our river crossing site if we had to attack into North Korea. So, me and another sergeant used scuba gear and wedged 100 lbs of C4 under it and voila!

Blasting Out Old Bridge Column

Continue reading

12/5/19

Impeachment — Decisive Engagement

Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi directed the House Judiciary Committee (Jerry Nadler, Chairman) to draft Articles of Impeachment saying, “The President has given us no choice.”

This decision came after a meeting of the Democrat caucus and a day of riveting testimony from a panel of four law professors. [For those of you whose sarcasm meters are in the shop for holiday repairs after Thanksgiving — this is sarcasm.]

This calls to mind two things of some portent:

If you come to kill the king, make sure to kill the king.

The importance and danger of a decisive engagement.

Continue reading

12/4/19

Welcome Home

I was at Lowes today buying a dehumidifier for a little stone repair I am in the midst of. It seems that water got behind some Carrera marble and some pinwheel stone flooring and I have to suck it out using a huuuuuuge dehumidifier. So, I park at the Veterans Parking Spaces at Lowes.

I love that Lowes has parking spaces reserved for veterans and provides a 10% Veterans Discount. Well played, Lowes.

I do my business and I get my 10% veterans discount. I return to my vehicle with my $300 dehumidifier.

There are several other cars parked in the spaces. One is a Jeep looking SUV with a Bronze Star on its license plate. I witness a conversation.

The Bronze Star recipient and another gentleman, whose age suggested he was a Vietnam War Era veteran, strike up a conversation. I listen to it as I’m stuffing my enormous humidifier in my truck.

They have a nice chat. If you have never been in the Army, you don’t understand that soldiers when they meet compare where they were and what units they served with. It’s a soldier thing.

The Bronze Star guy had been awarded his medal for valor in Iraq.

Continue reading

12/3/19

Medical Pricing Transparency

When we think of medical treatment, we rarely think of competitive bidding, but that concept is as applicable to medicine as it is to construction. Pricing transparency, anyone?

The Trump admin did something to make the price of medical treatment more competitive, by issuing new rules via an Executive Order.

Trump explains pricing transparency.

The new rule that impacts healthcare pricing transparency the most is:

Calendar Year 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public.

Who makes up these names?

By way of background, hospitals and healthcare providers do, in fact, publish lists of what they charge for various treatments and procedures. The problem is that they are not the same prices they charge to insurance companies. They are hugely inflated. They are difficult to obtain.

Continue reading