Angry Geoff Writes About Economics

To me it is a prime example of what is wrong with the economic policies in this country. It’s part of why we’re in the mess we’re in.

I was reading the Times a few mornings ago. I got really upset. There was an article in the Business Section that described a deal in the making. To me it is a prime example of what is wrong with the economic policies in this country. It’s part of why we’re in the mess we’re in.

The latest — and biggest push so far this year — came on Monday, when the hedge fund Jana Partners, along with a Canadian pension plan, announced a combined 5.2 percent stake in McGraw-Hill. The investment could build pressure for a breakup of the conglomerate.

Jana Partners’ website is among the most beautifully cryptic I’ve ever seen. There’s a place to login, a place to register and a contact form. There’s no “About Us” or names or photos or address or phone number. The page is a little shy in the info category.

Luckily, you really don’t need to know anything about Jana because of the last four words in the Times’ story, “breakup of the conglomerate.”

McGraw Hill has a website too. Its “Corporate Responsibility” tab has ten submenus! I sense a difference in corporate cultures.

The McGraw-Hill Companies is driving the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education and J.D. Power and Associates.

If you work for McGraw Hill this is at best bad news for you. It’s possibly terrible news.

By splitting the company into bite sized chunks you’ll basically be chum in the water as Jana looks for buyers. In many cases those buyers are currently your competitors. When they buy you they might already have someone who does what you do.

Your entire business entity could just disappear. Poof. The valuable stuff will be sold, but without you.

I guess it’s a free market, so Jana or anyone should be able to buy and sell businesses as they please. I just want to make sure the tax implications match the actual circumstances.

This may be good for Jana, but it’s bad for the nation. Jobs will surely be lost. Businesses will be swallowed whole. There will be less competition.

We shouldn’t have tax laws that encourage this. This is only a good deal if you define good in a very selfish way!

And yet…

From Forbes: After tense moments in the great tax debates of 2010, two important tax breaks for hedge funds and investment managers survived repeal efforts from Congress and the White House. Although Democrats tried hard

Seriously, why would we make this a favored economic pursuit? Why subsidize this pillage? We’re pissing in the well.