Gongol.com Archives: September 2012
Brian Gongol


September 6, 2012

Iowa Egyptian firm buys one of Iowa's oldest general contractors
A local instance of the great asset transfer from the United States to other countries. This asset transfer is no small affair -- the contracting company in this case, Weitz, is one of the nation's top 50 contractors, with half a billion dollars in annual revenues. What we are seeing is the realization of the prediction made almost a decade ago by Warren Buffett: That our persistent deficits, especially in trade, would eventually lead to us selling off American companies to make up the gap.

Business and Finance Bartiromo vs. Trumka: A journalist who knows money challenges a union chief
At about 1:40 into the interview, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says, "When we took over..." It's an intriguing slip of the tongue. He's referring to the Obama Administration when he says "we", but he's speaking on behalf of the labor unions. CNBC's Maria Bartiromo catches him on that subject -- and several others as well. There is, of course, a place for unions in the economy today. Probably far less of a place than was justified 50 years ago, but a place nonetheless. But unions are like any other group: They have a tendency to rent-seek -- that is, to try to use political leverage and public policy to make other people pay them more without actually creating any extra value. Lots of people and groups of all stripes try to rent-seek, and it's their right to do so. But it's also right for journalists and others to flag these attempts at rent-seeking so that everyone can see what's being done. Clearly, if a labor union sees the White House as an extension of itself, then everyone else should be on the lookout for them to be rent-seeking.

The United States of America Politicians should not be allowed to use the word "fundamentally" to describe their opponents

Agriculture An early harvest in 2012
The drought has weakened corn plants enough this year that Iowa farmers are probably going to be doing a lot of harvesting well ahead of the normal schedule, with wide ranges in their yields per acre

Humor and Good News The difference one letter can make
Movie titles with a letter removed

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