Sunday, September 4, 2011

U.S. corporations' cash holdings up a half trillion

Four-year surge in cash reserves started in 2007

American companies had $1.9 trillion of cash on their balance sheets in the third quarter, up from $1.5 trillion in 2007. - Federal Reserve

Exodus 32
The Golden Calf

1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.”

3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.

4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt...”

15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.

16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets...

19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.

20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it...

27 Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’”

28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day...”

Here's an idea we could run up the flagpole, just to see who among us salutes it:

If every one of us donated a token amount of cash – some small amount of pennies, let's say, the copper of which is actually worth much more than the fractional worth of a Federal Reserve note they represent, maybe we could have gold-plated both the bulls cast in bronze by Sicilian sculptor Arturo DiModica.

There are two of them, you know. There's the famous “Charging Bull” on the Bowling Green near Wall Street; then there's the “Shanghai Bull,” which is located on the old international trade zone called the “Bund,” an antiquated trading district situated along the Yangtze River bank back in the days of Imperial China.

Fitting as a gesture it would be, entirely significant and totally symbolic, as these things go.

Along came the Chinamen with their surplus of cash reserves created by that Communist nation's “most favored” import status. Looking to locate their cash in the most liquid pool they could find, they bought T-bonds and became America's largest foreign creditor. Meanwhile, companies such as Apple – which builds their rigs in, you guessed it, downtown Shanghai – have actually amassed more cash reserves than the U.S. Treasury. Yeah. They have $76 billion stacked up while the government has only $74 billion on hand.

It would be worth it, man. Just to see the look on old Moses' face when he gets back from corporate headquarters on the mountain and beholds those two 5,000-pound hunks of cast bronze wearing their newly impeccable coats of gold plate - paid for cheerfully by we the people, who are now dancing their assess off down on Wall Street and the Bund, partying down, just boogying 'til we puke.

End of first story arc. Second act opens with Moses calling a meeting of all the division chiefs at the Waldorf. With great dramatic flair, he addresses the joint chiefs of greed, telling them they must kill off large parts of the population in order to atone for their misdeeds.

That's when they all get up and grab the fruit and flowers from the arrangements on the table and start throwing them at Mose and his consigliere, Aaron.

At this point, one of the cut throats in pin-stripes steps off his marks, breaks character, turns to face the camera and says, basso profundo - “Live, from New York, it's Saturday night!”

Bad joke?

How about this one? Hey, I'm not the only joker in the deck.

“Rather than pouring their money into building plants or hiring workers, nonfinancial companies in the U.S. were sitting on $1.93 trillion in cash and other liquid assets at the end of September, up from $1.8 trillion at the end of June, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. Cash accounted for 7.4% of the companies' total assets—the largest share since 1959.” - The Wall Street Journal

“Apple has more cash on hand than U.S. - $76 billion to U.S. $74 billion.” - Mail & Guardian, South Africa

“HACKENSACK, N.J. — Last month, President Barack Obama summoned corporate bosses to the White House. On the agenda: how to get U.S. companies to use their nearly $2 trillion in cash to create jobs.

Among those in attendance was David Cote, who heads Morris Township, N.J.-based conglomerate Honeywell International Inc., which was sitting on $2.6 billion in cash at the end of the third quarter — $811 million more than the company had at the end of 2007, when the recession began.” - Hackensack News-Tribune

Read a little further about companies located in Morris Township, New Jersey. CNN and the Morris Township press buttonholed them when they came out of the chute at the West Wing entrance to la Casa Blanca.

Johnson & Johnson, which a spokesman said has about 114,000 employees worldwide, down from 120,000 in the third quarter of 2007, declined to comment.

Verizon also declined to comment, and Merck did not respond to requests for comment.
Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the car and equipment rental firm, has an unusually large amount of cash on its books – $1.5 billion.

That’s mainly because the company plans to pay $700 million to retire bonds this month, spokesman Rich Broome said. But the company also has become more conservative because of the financial crisis.

“The capital markets were closed to a lot of companies, and that’s a scary situation for a capital-intensive company — any company — every company needs financing,” he said.

The Legendary is not telling you how to worship or for whom you should vote.

I'm just saying, that's all.

I got the right.
You got rights, too. You don't have to listen if you don't want to listen.

But when your brother or neighbor or friend comes along with that sword strapped on his side, don't say I wasn't in the neighborhood at one time or the other, trying to sell a few subscriptions, okay? Hey, I got a license. Read all about it.

- The Legendary

Now, I'm just going to ask the choir to sing another verse to this wonderful old hymn. Will anyone come forward? Will you? Earnestly, tenderly...

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