Posted in the Joliet Forum
#1 Oct 27, 2013
Creeping normality is a term Jared Diamond used to describe the way major changes can seem normal if they happen slowly. This explains how things that a society might have found completely objectionable at one time can later appear to be quite ordinary.
That term came to mind twice in the past week. Actually, twice in the same morning.
First, I saw a story in the Wall Street Journal. The headline was Caterpillar Races to Cut Costs. You know how costs are cut these days. Workers are let go. That is indeed what is happening at Caterpillar. The workforce is already down almost 10 percent from a year ago. About 13,000 people have lost their jobs. And as the headline suggests, more cuts are coming.
Sadly, few of these people will be able to duplicate their old jobs. Theyll have to reinvent themselves, tighten their belts and settle for something less than what they had.
So it goes these days.
The reason that Caterpillar is in a race to cut back is that it posted a 44 percent drop in third quarter earnings. The drop was due to falling sales of mining equipment.
The story noted that CEO Doug Oberhelman increased the companys exposure to mining in 2011 with the $8.8 billion purchase of Bucyrus International Inc. That company makes bus-size shovels used to scoop ore. According to the Wall Street Journal,Caterpillar bought Bucyrus near the top of the mining boom and paid a premium.
Oberhelman became CEO in 2010. His compensation was $10.6 million that year. In 2011, he made $16.9 million. His compensation for 2012 was $22.4 million.
Think about $22.4 million. Thats more than $430,000 a week. Based on a five-day workweek, thats more than $86,000 a day. Go to work on a Monday morning and youve made $43,000 by noon. Have a nice lunch and make another $43,000 by five.
#2 Oct 27, 2013
The was a Yahoo news story awhile back that said that the plant down in Atlanta was hiring welders. Of course the story is at least a couple of weeks old by now.
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