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Morning Commentary

It's All Malarkey

By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
12/6/2012 6:19 AM
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Question of the Week

Merriam Webster has an eclectic mix of words in its top ten but I bet you know one or two they missed.

Question of the day- what should be the word(s) of 2012?

Let me know the word and your reasoning.

Post your answer below.
Merriam Webster is out with its top ten words of 2012. Heading the list is a tie between "Socialism" and "Capitalism." Maybe not a surprise that these words would make the list, but I'm somewhat taken aback there would be a tie at the top of the list. Anyone that believes capitalism brought the nation to greatness should be alarmed at the short-term reaction of those that think capitalism brought the nation to the brink.

There is a full-fledged war afoot, and maybe those that love capitalism and how it created the road map to the American Dream, are too busy working to notice - but they better wake up before it's too late. This particular list is heavy with influence from the political season chocked full of emotions and anger which lifted Schadenfreude and bigot near the top of the list.

Merriam Webster Top Ten Words 2012

1. Socialism & Capitalism
2. Touché
3. Bigot
4. Marriage
5. Democracy
6. Professionalism
7. Globalization
8. Malarkey
9. Schadenfreude
10. Meme

The last word on the list piqued my interest. It's one of those words we see pop up from time to time. Sourced to "The Selfish Gene" written by Richard Dawkins "meme" is defined as:

An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

I haven't read Mr. Dawkin's book (I ordered it last night for weekend reading), but from what I can gather, meme serves a purpose similar to genes with respect to passing on things among the human species that help us survive and adapt. The blessing from God has been the fact we aren't wedded to embedded data in our genes, so we don't have to fly south for the winter or be born and pass away as working drone ants, living in day to day drudgery in service to the queen.

Of course, survival of the species is paramount among all living things, but you have to wonder if our free will is more harmful than good. It goes without saying people are self destructive. I spent hours as a child watching nature. Scenes like giant red ants fighting smaller black ants captured my time and fed my imagination. Yet nature always seemed to have a corrective aspect that put things in order after such scenes. All those encounters were driven by survival, not nefarious hatred or petty jealously.

Now America is embroiled in a battle that could destroy the nation because we've hit a rough patch and forgotten how to correct it and get back on track. This notion of meme suggests we can actually forget about survival of the species and instead become a dependent species looking for thought, sustenance, and beliefs to come from government. In other words, move over drone ants, so Americans can get in line.

Darden Blinks

I made a big deal over how the mass media has begun to bully companies that dare make disparaging comments about the administration's policies or other aspects of the liberal agenda. Sure, such criticism has been around all along, but it's taking on a different twist, one that sees a deliberate attempt to negatively impact the earnings of such companies. The big targets are publicly traded companies which are more sensitive to negative publicity and the emotional whims of the stock market.

On Darden's (DRI) homepage visitors are greeted with these options:

> 2012 Community Service Report
> Sustainability
> 100 best companies to work for

Heck, it's easy to forget what the company does at first blush. Darden isn't alone, but these efforts on websites and all the wonderful multi-cultural faces smiling in their annual reports aren't going to be enough to stop the media barbarians at the gate. So, Darden blinked with management now saying it will not shift full time workers to part time in 2014. A Company spokesperson went so far as to say such moves at "test" restaurants may have already backfired, citing internal surveys showing employee and customer satisfaction declined.

Darden said the negative fallout from an announcement to make current full time workers part time employees already hit its bottom line and posed a threat going forward. But the mea culpa could doom future efforts from management to help its bottom line. Lower take home pay is a disincentive whether you're on minimum wage or earning more than $250,000 a year so that Darden survey isn't surprising. The company has larger issues with respect to the food it serves.
Once an unstoppable juggernaut, Olive Garden has seen an average monthly decline of 4.5% in foot traffic since March. That has been countered with price increases, but that's not smart business (just look at the Post Office, slashing delivery and raising prices). Darden is in trouble and doing what it has to do to weather this period. There is no way management wants to pay people less, but it might be that or fewer workers. In the past, each server handled four tables now they handle three and tip sharing has been adjusted so the Company has to pay less. In FY2007, labor was 32.5% of revenue and in the most recent quarter it represented 30.8% of revenue.

Cutting wages and raising prices is a flawed business model, but when it happens to all Americans who incidentally have suffered an average $4,500 cut in real wages during the last four years as gasoline has doubled, it is overlooked by the media. This double standard is awful and dangerous as it placates a sense of desperation and need for immediate change and answers. Businesses, unlike our government, can't spend more than they make into infinity. Some can borrow to stay alive and a few get bailed out but others make adjustments.

These are hard adjustments. I think Darden's management does take pride in being on the list of 100 Best Companies to Work For and doesn't want to jip its workers. The alternative will be fewer workers bussing more tables. That means more unemployed, more food stamps and more dependency. Ironically it might also mean a higher stock price, case in point, Citigroup (C) shares soared on news that the company is laying off 11,000 people. But for those seeking to replace capitalism with another form of government, higher stock prices while people suffer makes for great ammo.

In the end, I suspect Darden, where 75% of its 185,000 workers are already part time, will quietly shift more off full time duty but as quietly as possible.
Malarkey is key for the next 4 years just as the last 4 years. God help us!

Jon on 12/6/2012 9:42:00 AM
Good observations Charles. It seems for individuals and nations alike free will requires morality.

Chris on 12/6/2012 9:44:50 AM
To: Nelson Diez , nsaravia@adinet.com.uy, ritamcastellanos@gmail.com, Timothy Freriks , douglassbell@gmail.com, Jonathan Lassers jb@lassers.com

RE: Word search.
Charles, Where is REPUBLIC on the list?
No one interested in the difference? Why is this not taught in school? Oh I forgot, these are not Public Schools, they are Government Schools.
That we are considered a ‘democracy’ and ‘promoting democracy’ throughout the world may be the Left's most substantial accomplishment.
At the highest levels of our United States government, including both parties’ presidents, we refer to ourselves as a democracy. We are not. (Sorry, I know that you know) These two forms of government are vastly different, Republic is a rule of law and laws aren't just a majority vote. In fact, laws are to protect the minorities from the abuse of government power. Ergo our Constitution. We have departed the Republic, and we ARE now a democracy; Hooray! now we can vote for "free ice cream for everybody."
Democracy is the road to perdition.
Do a search of the founding documents: Declaration and Constitution and you will not find democracy mentioned - not once.
Best regards,
Doug Bell

Doug Bell on 12/6/2012 10:01:16 AM
The word I despise more than any other in the lexicon: EMPOWERMENT

Z on 12/6/2012 10:07:05 AM
EMPOWERMENT: Giving authority to those who do not deserve it.

Z on 12/6/2012 10:08:58 AM

GLENN on 12/6/2012 10:32:07 AM
Several words come to mind:
HYPOCRISY: 2 reasons. 1) Our current government and both campaigns were full of it. Obama claiming that he deserves another chance because he failed while businessmen deserved punished because they succeeded. 2) Greece, sitting on huge wealth in natural resources, but going backrupt. And now they will exploit those reseources without any control because of their greed even though socialism and eco-irrationality are bed fellows.
LIAR: 90% of what we hear from the press and 75% of what we see in Washington.
LETHARGY, SLOTH: The current manifestation of the problem in Greece and the USA.
GREED, ENVY, SELF: The underlying problem in the USA, and the foundation of Obama's war against America, Americans, and American culture.

As for comments already posted; I like the word EMPOWERMENT, for much the same reasons as the posters hate it. They see it as giving authority to those who don't deserve it and don't know how to use it. (Of course, they did not have that authority when we were more a republic). I see empowerment as given freedom to succeed to those who may or may not use it. My use of the word relates to what made America great: the ability to strive for the American dream. My use does NOT include government handouts or trophies to everyone in the league. I wish our government was about enabling success through hard work instead of buying votes with undeserved generosity that is intended to create slavery of the poor.

Bob G on 12/6/2012 10:37:04 AM
Republic, freedom, rights, Constitution, Citizen, sovereign, God, just to name a few off the top...

George on 12/6/2012 11:16:16 AM
entitlement~ what entitlement?

David Huber on 12/6/2012 11:24:57 AM

Austerity: Something that should have been implemented but never was.

Chris in SoCal on 12/6/2012 11:40:05 AM
World Peace
Over taxation
Working poor
United Nations
Muslim Control

Jason on 12/6/2012 12:01:13 PM
Word of the year should be:

"calumnious", Containing or implying calumny; harmful and often untrue; tending to discredit or malign.

Paul Lasky on 12/6/2012 1:09:28 PM
Prevaricate. World leaders transmit fairy tales to a willingly gullible populace as if they were scripting medieval morality plays, leaving us mired in multilayered mendacity. It would be easier to package fog than to sort out reality from all these fictions. Most of us recognize deception, but it is slippery and tough to corral, so we waste a lot of energy trying to extract the truth. Nothing gets solved.

Patricia Flynn on 12/6/2012 3:27:41 PM

Dennis Howard on 12/6/2012 4:18:30 PM
Fluke. Since Contraception and birth control pills are to be government issue, it only seems appropriate that her name is pronounced "fluck".
What a fluke.

Rich on 12/6/2012 4:29:04 PM

Dave D on 12/6/2012 6:55:23 PM
dear sir, i look forward to watching you every day i believe the november job report is mainly christmas jobs such as gift wrapping and temp cashiers.thank you for your time.

jerry pond on 12/7/2012 8:43:48 AM
dear sir, thank you for answering me.i live in conway, south carolina. i can not go to my local store without someone trying to sell me their food stamps fifty cent on a dollar so they can get their drugs or liquor.this system is set up for girls to make having babies a job they get 300 dollars in afdc and 500 dollars in food stamps.i am a hard working white male who went to collage . i am a ct tec.i cannot get a job anywhere.i want you to know that i am a tax paying citizen .i dont think that it is right for 20year olds or 30 somethings to be collecting disability, taking pain pills and selling them, this is where im at.there are frauds everywhere and i know im surrounded.please give me you're advice. thank you cp your awsome

jerry pond on 12/7/2012 9:58:26 PM
disengaged: What is happening to our country is not relevant.

Eva Kienlen on 12/8/2012 12:49:47 AM

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