So, I've got a more fulsome post (at long last) coming later this afternoon, but in the interim, I had to get some things off my chest:
[insert rant here]
First: if we're going to have national healthcare, particularly a program that's paid for by a small subset of taxpayers, we need to ban the sale of cigarettes yesterday. Either that, or tax 'em at like $15 per pack. Anything less creates a huge principal-agent problem. While we're at it, let's do something about Mixed Martial Arts. Do we really want kids watching this stuff on ESPN and then going out behind the trailer and practicing a sport whose usual loser's outcome isn't graceful defeat, but rather a hospital visit?
Second: Why is anyone surprised that the savings rate continues to climb (some say it might soon exceed 10%)? Sure consumers are de-levering, but savings rate is also a function of people's expectations of future disposable income, no? And disposable income is a function of income and tax rate. People may have differing expectations on income, but one thing we can probably all agree on is that taxes are going up, up, and away. As we used to say in Brooklyn: BOHICA.
Last: no matter how low my expectations get, United Airlines never ceases to underwhelm. Once, I expected courtesy, then I hoped for indifference, now I just want to get home without interacting with any more of their employees or having them bark at us over the intercom. How does an airline that treats its customers so cynically stay flying? Remember the old phrase, "one bad flight attendant can bring down an entire airline?" When did people stop caring? It's that pesky principal-agent thing again . . .
Now THAT’S dyspectic! Love it!
Re your last point about airlines and serving customers, Luke Johnson expressed similar exasperations in Wednesday’s FT:
“In business, everything starts with the customer. Without customers, there are no sales, and with no sales, a business is bankrupt. Adam Smith knew this. “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production,” he wrote.
Many companies forget this, however, and eventually pay the price.
On the same day, I was treated to a classic piece of poor service and inflexibility by British Airways, the struggling airline. It made me wonder if they will survive this downturn.
I fear that BA has become an institution run not for the benefit of its customers – who provide its revenue – but for its staff and pensioners. Its shareholders, meanwhile, have long been forgotten. It suffers from all the weaknesses of an ex-monopoly now facing ferocious competition and a terrible economy…
My recent experience is that its service levels are no better than low-cost operators. In this climate, everyone is focused on value – and customers will desert an expensive offering for a cheaper one if the quality is indistinguishable.”
Nice point about MMA being available for children to watch. Though I think it is already the parent’s responsibility to make sure that it is not accessible to children or at least they are guided and well explained about the sport.
I am a fan of MMA but I really don’t want my children doing it at each other.
We got out carrying bags of hope! With it we will fight harder!