Industrial

It costs HOW MUCH?

VAbudget

The mind boggles. War is expensive to conduct. Once wars finish, the cost of looking after veterans is massive. In 2000, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in America spent $43.6bn to look after returned servicemen and women. In 2020 it is expected to exceed $212bn (c. 5x), the equivalent of what the Chinese currently spends on its military.  Digging deeper into the data reveals that the cost of the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) on veteran treatment keeps growing in a straight line.

VAOIF.png

Total obligations for OIF/OEF/OND patients has grown 19-fold in the last 14 years to over $7bn. Total veterans from those campaigns now totals 965,000 and is expected to hit 1.1mn by 2020. Cost per veteran patient over the 2006-2020 period will virtually treble.

VAOIFPatient.png

Expenditure on prosthetic devices (e.g. limbs, hearing aids) has near as makes no difference quadrupled in that period.

VAprosthetics.png

Spending on pharmaceutical products is up 1.9x since 2006.

VApharma.png

Drugs such as Oxycontin which contain opioids have found their way to creating problems in the US armed forces. 15% of Army troops admitted to taking illicit drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana) and opioids back in 2008.

IMG_0378.PNG

Spending on programs to prevent substance abuse is up 1.8x since 2006.

VAsubstanceabuse.png

The VA notes key clinical metric trends from Quarter Four of 2012 to Quarter Four of 2017 show:

• 67% reduction in Veterans receiving opioid and benzodiazepine together;
• 44% reduction in Veterans on long-term opioid therapy (> to 90 days);
• 38% reduction in Veterans receiving opioids;• 56% reduction in Veterans receiving > 100 Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose;
• 51% increase in Veterans on long-term opioid therapy with a Urine Drug Screen
(UDS) completed within last year to help guide treatment decisions.

Spending on mental health programs is up almost 4x since 2006. The VA plans to promote the development of skills in VA providers to diagnose and assess PTSD
by developing a computer-based training using simulated virtual patient
technology that will allow clinicians to practice and receive customizable feedback
on giving CAPS-5 to a lifelike virtual patient.

VAMH.png

The 2019 VA Budget requests $8.6 billion for Veterans’ mental health services, an increase of 5.8% above the 2018 current estimate. It also includes $190 million for suicide
prevention outreach. VA recognizes that Veterans are at an increased risk for suicide and
implemented a national suicide prevention strategy to address this crisis. Veteran suicide in the US is at a 22/day clip.

The price of freedom. All said and told the US over the last 20 years will have spent the equivalent of $2.476 trillion with a “T” on veterans. That is the equivalent of one entire year of UK GDP.

Smart technologies are an absolute must for the VA. The cost of veteran health is the equivalent of 29% of what the US spends on defence, up from 14.8% two decades ago. Asking for yearly increases is a band aid solution.

Why didn’t GE use the $45bn in buybacks to take care of the $31bn negative equity?

56EF2287-AD02-4349-BA83-0B9765777731

After GE’s monster $22bn goodwill impairment charge, the company remains in negative equity to the tune of $31.3bn. $79.2bn in goodwill remains on the balance sheet with $31.5bn in shareholders equity and $16.4bn in non-controlling interests. To think GE spent $45bn on buy backs over 2015 & 2016. Imagine if the company had used those funds to shore up the balance sheet and go back to positive equity?

While the kitchen sinking of GE Power should be deemed a positive (although somewhat expected) it is interesting to see the reaction to the shares (-9%) which flirted with April 2009 lows. Cutting the 1 cent dividend from 12 cents in the grand scheme of things was optics.

Although the goodwill charge is a non cash item on the balance sheet, she is clearly not in a position to deal with the rest of the goodwill just yet.

The brand new CEO has done the right thing to restructure the former largest company in the world but he has drawn attention to the most gangrenous wound that needs to be cauterized.

It is still a rough ride from here for an industrial stock at the top of the megacycle to have such a dreadful balance sheet.

232DC573-388B-42C8-9CBD-E9EC8265C423

 

 

Flannery departs GE. Market rewards +14% in pre-market

232DC573-388B-42C8-9CBD-E9EC8265C423.jpeg

General Electric (GE) shares have been a dreadful investment. The company, which trades in negative equity is indicated c.14% higher in trade after CEO John Flannery stepped down inside one year on the job. Lawrence Culp replaces him as Chairman & CEO.

Losing Flannery will look to add about $14bn to GE’s value. Keeping Musk will look to add $7.1bn to Tesla’s value today. A tale of two CEOs. The power or losing one to that of keeping one.

Musk to recover $1.2bn based on pre-market

EEC104BF-487B-473D-943F-F2E345753322.jpeg

Musk stands to recover $1.25bn in wealth if the pre-market indications of Tesla prove correct. A $20mn fine from the SEC which effectively wiped $1.3bn of wealth will all but be restored. Is it just that investors think that nothing will change even if he isn’t chairman? Did the SEC fold to his star power or did they receive a free flame thrower to lighten the charge? While $20mn looked like a proper slap on the wrist he can shrug off the incident like it didn’t happen. All in all pretty impressive. He lives to fight another day.

NYT – try doing some research for a change?

8CBEB2D5-AC7B-4995-BF98-D10C6EF75249.jpeg

It is true that many airports are built near sea level. In fact many airports are built around swamps/marshland (less suitable for residential areas) which actually makes aircraft more susceptible to avian events (bird strike) than crashing sea waves. So how convenient it must have been to The NY Times to blame the recent terrible typhoon in Japan on climate change when in reality Kansai International Airport’s well known drainage inadequacies were exposed. The airport opened in 1994 and engineers quickly realized it was sinking through poor design. It needs to pump water out constantly to prevent it from drowning. It has zero to do with rising sea levels but the softer base beneath the waves. Yet The NY Times wrote about the plight of stranded passengers and how it portended their imminent peril. Puhlease.

So why didn’t NY Times journalist Hiroko Tabuchi write about the UN IPCC’s own climbdowns from their alarmism in recent years? Note climate skeptics did not write these claims. No, it was easier just to join two dots together without facts.

The IPCC wrote with respect to heavy rains:

“there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale“

With respect to storms and cyclones:

confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low. There is also low confidence for a clear trend in storminess proxies over the last century due to inconsistencies between studies or lack of long-term data in some parts of the world…Over periods of a century or more, evidence suggests slight decreases in the frequency of tropical cyclones making landfall in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, once uncertainties in observing methods have been considered. Little evidence exists of any longer-term trend in other ocean basins…”

As for rising sea levels impacting Pacific Islands.

Professor Paul Kench of the University of Auckland and Australian scientists have shown in a study of 600 coral reef islands in the Pacific, 40% are growing in size, 40% are stable and 20% shrinking…

Yet The NY Times went further. Who knew Roger Federer was also a victim of climate change?

US Open performances. 

Well the brilliant minds of The NY Times suggested Federer’s loss was caused by global warming even though it was 0.19 degrees above average. Maybe that is why Serena got hot under the collar? Or was it because 20yo Naomi Osaka’s youth allowed her to weather the heat more effectively?

Air Travel

Yet the true litmus test of humankind’s blind panic is best described by the IATA’s air traffic forecasts which point to a doubling of air traffic by 2030. It is only fair that the general population follow in the footsteps of the 50,000 climate disciples that fly half way around the world every year to COP summits to kneel at the altar of the IPCC to warn us of being destroyed by our recklessness.

Once again, ridiculously researched junk journalism is put forward by a paper that assures us “All the news fit to print.” Joke.

Is Musk losing it?

F52C5B1C-71A6-4BC6-9339-4CDDC6AD7F10.jpeg

Is Tesla CEO Elon Musk losing it? More senior resignations from accounting and HR this week  reveal more cracks in the automaker. He emailed a journalist, calling him a “mother f*cker”. He went further to say he hoped the cave rescuer he called a “”pedo” sued him because a UK man who is single and spent so much time in Thailand must be a child rapist.

He rattled off he had “secured” funding of $420/share to go private and then all of a sudden he didn’t, prompting the SEC to investigate. He was then on radio with comedian Joe Rogan toking what is reportedly a mixture of tobacco and marijuana. Are these the actions of a man running a $50bn market cap company?

Clearly his board can’t control him.  With the shares collapsing and bond prices falling, refinancing will become problematic. Chief  Accounting Officer Dave Morton quit the company after revealing his concerns about the various obstacles Tesla faces.

Tesla’s Chief People Officer, Gabrielle Toledano, took leave in August and said she wouldn’t be returning to Tesla.

Musk has been a genius and visionary to get Tesla where it is today. Yet he is a direct victim of his own hubris. Sleeping under boxes with Tesla bankrupt written on them to living on the factory roof to rattling off about production hell while accusing families of drivers dead due to over reliance in a system he aggressively promoted.Tesla was technically asking for suppliers to refund a portion of the monies they were paid since 2016 to the EV maker so it could post a profit which is borderline accounting manipulation in an attempt to give the impression of an ongoing concern.

He also complained at the lack of support in the media despite being called out on this nonsense.

Musk’s compensation is also linked to a $650bn market cap, which is effectively saying to the market that his company will be worth more than Daimler, BMW, VW, GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Renault, Fiat-Chrysler, Ferrari and Porsche combined. Just read that last sentence again. Do investors honestly believe that Tesla which consistently misses and is going up against companies that have been in the game for decades, seen brutal cycles, invest multiples more in technology and forgotten more than they remembered will somehow all become slaves to a company which has no technological advantages whatsoever?

The Tesla story is on the ropes. Expect more mega-releases on new products to try to keep the dream alive and the disciples faithful. I guess ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ worked for The Beatles…

#MakeActivismGreatAgain

E35AAF93-69F6-4C3B-97A9-7158D4994E2D.jpeg

There is a sense of irony that Democrat Party protesters still fail to get. Boycotting business doesn’t work very well. In fact the opposite could well be true. This is a picture from the front of In-N-Out burgers on Sept 2, the day after Democrat activists called for a boycott for the fast food chain donating $25,000 to the GOP in California. Why didn’t they protest and call for a boycott when the same burger chain donated $30,000 to the GOP in 2016 and again in 2017? Shouldn’t they be embarrassed for their inconsistency? Perhaps they could thank the burger chain for reducing the size of the donation? One thing is for sure Democrats need to make blue caps with ‘MAKE ACTIVISM GREAT AGAIN”

When people boycotted the NRA post the Florida school shooting, membership surged. It seems more Americans are growing tired of this constant harassment.

There is a pattern from boycotts. People can decide for themselves if they abhor such donations. They don’t require a bunch of idle pot smoking basement dwellers to yell at them and tell them how to spend their hard earned dollars.

Even in Australia, activists called for a boycott of supermarket chain Coles for reintroducing plastic bags to convenience customers. Despite studies by the UK Environment Agency which showed that man made reusable “eco bags” we’re told are so green would have to be used 286x to match the environmental footprint of the single use HDPE disposable shopping bags they replaced. If people dispose of rubbish in these same bags (using them twice) then the eco bags would be required to be used 572x to offset the environmental impact. Ironically if people can’t use such bags for their rubbish they’re forced to buy plastic bags off the shelf to do so meaning plastic consumption is neutral, not reduced.

As these activists conjure up new schemes to makes us feel bad they probably do so sipping a latte from Starbucks in a paper cup. The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup. In any event no protest.

Boycotting businesses seems to help their fortunes so keep up the good work! Perhaps they should work it into being a platform policy such is the unbridled success