Thursday, May 28, 2015

Touchez pas au Grisbe

Regular blogging will resume shortly. In the meantime, here is a clip of me on tv.

Let me make a few observations:

1. If you are going to do something like this, you need to have one simple point you want to make, and make it repeatedly, as many chance as you get.  And you should rehearse. Watch the show, see if you are likely to get 30 seconds, or 60, or 90, and practice a rap that takes just that time. If you are going to go on tv, you probably know this already, but maybe not.

2. It's true about McDonald's. $5.5 billion profits, $6.5 billion in payouts to shareholders. I talked in the show, for obvious reasons, about ordinary workers, but it may be perfectly rational for McDonald's to stomp on the faces of its workers. I think the people who are being screwed over specifically by the current smash-and-grab strategy are franchise owners. Interesting fact (via Math Babe), to buy a McDonald's franchise you have to put up $250,000 of your own money, no borrowed funds allowed.

3. It's easy to mock the food -- I wouldn't eat it, except maybe the fries -- but don't forget, in a lot of neighborhoods McDonald's is the public space. Remember those Korean guys who were suing for the right to just sit there? I remember something similar from the South Side of Chicago in the '90s. If you wanted to meet someone in public, McDonald's was the place.

4. It's a pity that the clip here cuts off before the end of the segment, when I had another chance to speak. In the part you don't see, I said again that workers at McDonald's were demanding higher wages, and said again that it would be sensible to pay them more if only shareholders were not in the saddle. This prompted the producer to put the clip of protesting workers up, which may be more valuable than anything I actually said.

5. That guy, "Don't touch my dividends!" What an asshole, right? That was my big missed opportunity to jump back in. I should have said "YOU are the problem. You want this company to become successful, but you don't want to give up a dollar to make that happen."

6. I think the tie I'm wearing belongs to my friend Ben. I think he lent it to me for a court appearance some years ago, and I never gave it back.

7. Last piece of advice. If you're at all like me, the only reason you are on tv is because you are part of a team, part of a movement. So, try to be useful.


  1. Congratulations on getting on TV! You held up the left end of the shouting match well.

    I'm worried that if workers get higher wages McDonald's will just replace them with robots. Everybody says that's here now, with the Singularity itself due in 2023.

    1. This is what you actually believe? Have you ever checked up on how similar predictions turned out in the past?

  2. This was very nice.

    I also think it's funny that Mr. Succulent dividend can simultaneously believe all of the following:

    McDonald's needs to do new, innovative things
    McDonald's should return capital to owners
    McDonald's is in trouble from competition
    McDonald's is a cash-cow utility

    1. Yes, exactly. He was really too perfect.

  3. You did good in the limited time allotted to you. It's CNBC , so I guess we shouldn't expect to hear very much from the "other side". They cater to a narrow - and narrow-minded - audience , and it shows in their ratings.

    Anyway , thanks for making the effort.


  4. I confess to a fondness for their Filet O' Fish...