Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tax Rates Fell by a Third for the 400 Richest Americans, Whose Average Income Doubled to $263 million a Year Under George Bush's Presidency

January 31, 2009
in print edition C-4

The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2% through the first six years of the Bush administration, and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new data show. The 17.2% in 2006 was the lowest since the Internal Revenue Service began tracking the 400 largest taxpayers in 1992, although they paid more tax on an inflation-adjusted basis than for any year since 2000. The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9% was largely because of President Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15% in 2003. Capital gains made up 63% of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, those taxpayers reported a combined $105.3 billion in adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data. “The big explosion in income for this group is clearly on the capital gains side, although there are also sharp increases in dividend and interest income,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington. In addition, “they are realizing more of their gains due to the lower tax rate,” Baker said. The data may provide ammunition for Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco who say they intend to increase the capital gains tax rate even as the credit crunch roils markets and is producing more investment losses than gains. President Obama pledged during the presidential campaign to increase the rate.


Are You Better Off Than You Were Eight Years Ago?»

Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked America, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

After eight years of conservative rule, it’s worth posing a similar question – are Americans better off today than they were eight years ago?

As our new memo shows, unless you happen to be a big corporation or make enough money to be in the top percentage of earners, the answer is probably no:

A variety of metrics can be used to judge this question and assess what eight years of conservative policies have wrought. The picture painted here is clear: from job growth to debt, and from income disparity to national poverty indices, the conservative approach of putting big corporations and the very wealthy ahead of the middle class has failed to create prosperity that can be shared by all Americans.


Monday, January 19, 2009


By Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009, the last day of George Bush’s term in office

When the stock market came crashing down just before the November 2008 presidential election, politicians scrambled to bail out failing corporate monoliths on the premise that helping them would help the average American. For a lot of the middle class who have or had their retirements invested in the stock market, on the surface this sounded like the politicians cared for them. But since the stock market index, or the Dow Jones, is simply an average of the prices of the stocks of the 30 biggest and richest corporations, ( ) merely shoring up the Dow is trickle-down economics on a colossal scale. The benefits go to the rich and stay there. For much of the Bush years, we have been told that the economy is great, job growth is great!, etc. while housing costs zoomed, outsourcing of jobs to India zoomed, and gas prices tripled. All this “good news” was based on a false barometer of health--the ridiculous rise in the top 30 stocks. The absurdity of it all is that the economic health of the 30 richest American corporations has not trickled down to the rest of us. America was not better off at any time during the Bush years. The people who made money were those that shuffled assets around, buying and selling companies and properties with little regard for the people who worked there. Bush’s friends created fake energy shortages and Enron and Exxon earned billions. Even after bankruptcy no one knows where Enron’s fraudulently earned riches went. Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton reaped billions in overcharges and no-competition contracts to run our war in Iraq. And after their crooked billings were uncovered, they simply relocated to Dubai.

Yes, the Bush insiders, the corporate managers and stock traders and money-movers made out like bandits. For the rest of us, the outcome of the Bush years is that control of things which we can’t live without are in fewer hands at the end of the Bush years than at the beginning.

This “look the other way—business can do what it wants” attitude in our government is not just a Republican disease. Under Bill Clinton’s presidency, the corporate merger mania continued unabated as it did through the 1980’s under Reagan and Bush #1. The difference between Republican and Democrat presidents is that job growth was stagnant under Republicans, while under Clinton we added an average of 3 million jobs per year. So even though mega-corporations gained ever more power under Clinton, American workers didn’t suffer like they did under Reagan and the Bushes. See

Oh, there’s nothing like a disaster to make us all lose our senses. After 9-11, we were asked to give up our civil rights, or we weren’t being good Americans. Then we were told not to question Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which possessed Weapons of Mass Pollution, AKA lots of oil. For the cynical, a disaster is an opportunity to get richer.

So the financial crash last year gave our leaders the opportunity to do real good for the average Americans or to again reward the rich campaign contributors. Guess what the Bush administration chose?

In the aftermath of the Bush years, key American industries are even more tightly controlled by a small group of people. When we debate whether the bailouts of our country’s key industries are really socialism for the rich, who privatize the profits but socialize the losses, it makes me wonder what capitalism really is. I believe that the infrastructure of this country should be owned by all of us. That means that the key industries—the necessities that we can’t live without-- should be owned and run by the government. Banks and oil companies and health care should be like public utilities, like our electric and water companies. They are vital to our existence--so vital that when bankers choose to engage in fraud, it affects all of us. When the oil companies use any excuse to raise prices, and we have no choice but to pay, that causes ripple effects on everything else. I am convinced that when gasoline hit $4.50 a gallon, it was the last straw. An economy that was already teetering finally gave out. Consumers couldn’t pay their mortgages and health care and car loans on top of the huge profits demanded by the oil industry.

That’s why any further bailouts of America’s big businesses MUST be accompanied by mandatory restructuring of their way of doing business. If socialism is good for our key businesses in the bad times, it’s good all the time.



BANKS: By the end of 2008, in the financial industry, we had 4 banks dominating every corner of the country: Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase. When Washington Mutual failed, Chase was allowed to scoop them up. When Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial flopped, B of A gobbled them up. When Wachovia blew up, Wells Fargo picked up the bones. With hundreds of billions in our tax dollars to prop them up, we might as well nationalize the banking system completely—and finish the job. (for more,

OIL: Once America had 7 big oil companies and several smaller ones. Now 4 oil companies are totally dominant and earned hundreds of billions in profits during the Bush years. When was the last time you saw gas stations compete with each other? In the 1970’s, when we still had competition, we had “gas wars”, where oil companies competed for customers by lowering their prices. Now the phrase “gas war” means something completely different: War on Iraq, war on consumers. (for more,

CARS: After getting fat selling SUVs for years, the car industry finally tanked after oil company greed convinced buyers that Hummers and monster gas hog trucks were not family cars. While they blamed workers, (again!), car company executives proposed to let 2 of the remaining 3 companies merge. Gee-that’s always worked before! Thanks to globalization and homogenization (or sameness), today we have worldwide only 9 car makers producing 100’s of virtually indistinguishable models under numerous brand names. These 9 firms have gobbled up numerous car makers. This illusion of choice for consumers, of fake competition by corporate monopolies, is another phony symbol of economic well-being. More monopolization is not the solution—innovation and ending our addiction to oil is. (for more,

AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE: Among the companies that help defend America, seven of the top ten defense contractors in 1995 are owned by three now. (for more,

FINALLY, TV AND THE MEDIA: In 1984, we had 50 media companies serving up most of our news and entertainment, as the famous book on media consolidation, the Media Monopoly, concluded. Now we have 5 companies controlling virtually everything we see or hear. Lest we forget, the taxpayers own the TV and radio airwaves. The big 5 media merely have a license to use the airwaves. Early in the Bush years, hardly anyone with a dissenting view could be found on the many TV and cable channels owned by the big 5. For more history of media monopolism:

A huge thank you is deserved by, which has made it possible for millions of Americans for free to create websites and post videos on their YouTube site to spread the stories that the big-5 media has ignored. Advertisers have discovered that viewers and readers have deserted other media and get much of their news and entertainment through the internet, thereby they are giving their ad dollars to internet sites that are not controlled by the Big-5. Google and YouTube were key to breaking the Big-5 Media’s monopoly and have brought democracy back to the corporate dominated media landscape. And Google accomplished this entirely without a government bailout.

My hope for the Obama years is that enterprising Americans come up with more innovations that further break the monopoly strangleholds on other areas of American business.


compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009



Main Businesses: TV stations and network, cable channels, film and TV production and distribution, theme parks

Bought During the Bush Years: Universal Studios, Telemundo TV network, Bravo, Oxygen and the Weather Channel

1932-Feds make GE and Westinghouse sell stakes in RCA radio networks

1957-MCA Universal buys Paramount’s pre-1948 film library

1980--RCA sells Random House book publisher to Newhouse co.

1985-GE buys RCA, getting NBC TV network and stations

1986-GE sells RCA music division to Bertelsman of Germany. They eventually sell it to Sony.

1987-GE sells consumer electronics division of GE and RCA to Thomson of France

1987-NBC radio programming producer is sold to Westwood One, a firm now owned by CBS.

1988-NBC sells 5 of its radio station to Emmis Broadcasting

1989-Universal buys 1/3rd stake in Cineplex Odeon theaters. Stake is sold later to AMC Theaters

1989-NBC launches CNBC cable channel

1990-Universal and MCA is sold to Matsushita of Japan (now known as Panasonic)

1991-Polygram buys film producers Propaganda and Working Title Films and in 1992 buys Interscope Films. Polygram was jointly owned by Siemens and Philips of Europe.

1995 Universal is sold to Seagrams

1996-NBC and Microsoft launch MSNBC channel

1997-Universal buys October Films

1997-Universal buys out its partner in USA and Sci-Fi cable channels (Viacom)

1999-Universal buys Polygram pictures and recorded music co.

2000-Seagrams and Universal are sold to Vivendi of France. Deal is a disaster financially.

2001-Vivendi buys Houghton Miflin book publishing

2001-NBC buys Telemundo TV network which owns two stations in several major markets

2002-Vivendi sells Seagrams liquor business and Houghton Miflin book publishing

2002-NBC buys Bravo cable channel from Cablevision Corp. and MGM

2003-GE buys Universal Pictures leaving Vivendi with 20% stake in new NBC-Universal company. Vivendi keeps ownership of Universal recorded music division

2006-NBC buys Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants with Donald Trump

2007-NBC buys Oxygen cable channel from Oprah Winfrey

2008-NBC buys the Weather channel


Main Businesses: magazines, cable channels, film production and distribution

Bought during the Bush years: split the #3 cable system owner with their main competitor, Comcast (#1 in USA). Time Warner is the #2 largest cable system owner.

1944-Warners buys Looney Tunes cartoon studio and Bugs Bunny

1948-Warners sells film library to MGM

1967-DC Comics is bought by Kinney National Company

1969-Kinney National buys Warner Brothers, in 1972 Kinney spins off Warner Communications Co.

1972-Time inc. buys HBO pay channel

1978-Warner Communications buys cable system operator ATC

1982-CBS sells paperback publishing to Warners

1987-Time and Warner merge

1989-Warners buys Lorimar-Telepictures studios

1989-Time magazine publishing merges with Warner, which makes films and record

1991-Turner Broadcasting (18% owned by Time-Warner) buys Hanna-Barbera animation company

1992-Turner launches the Cartoon Network

1993-Turner merges with Castle Rock and New Line films

1996-Time-Warner buys Turner Broadcasting, getting CNN, TBS and other cable channels, and old MGM film library

1998-T-W sells Six Flags theme parks to Premiere Parks co.

1999-AOL buys Mapquest internet site

2000-Time-Warner merges with America Online. Deal is a huge money-loser.

2000-TW buys some magazines from the Tribune Company. It resells them in 2007 to Bonnier.

2003-TW sells half stake in Comedy Central to Viacom (already owned other half)

2004-AOL-TW sells music division to Edgar Bronfman

2005-TW buys remains of bankrupt Adelphia cable with chief rival Comcast Corp.

2006-TW sells its book publishing division to Hachette of France.

2006-TW buys half of Court TV channel from Liberty Media (already owned other half)

2009-Time Warner plans to spin off #2 US cable systems division to shareholders.


Main businesses: TV stations and network, cable channels, film production and distribution, theme parks, books and magazines

Bought During the Bush Years: Pixar Animation, top producer of computer animated films

1943-feds force RCA to divest itself of ABC radio network

1960-Disney buys out stake in Disneyland from ABC

1984-ABC buys ESPN channel

1985-Capital Cities co, owner of TV stations and newspapers, buys ABC

1993-Disney buys Miramax films

1994-ABC buys out Viacom’s stake in the Lifetime channel

1995-Disney Buys ABC TV and radio networks

1996-Radio Disney network is launched

1997-Disney sells its 4 daily newspapers to Knight-Ridder

1997-Disney buys asset of Cinergi Pictures, producers of Die Hard series

1999-Disney sells its women’s magazines

2006-Disney buys Pixar Animation, which had been founded by GeorgeLucas

2006—ABC sells its music, talk and news radio networks and stations to Citadel Broadcasting, keeping ESPN Radio and Radio Disney stations


Main Businesses:

Newspapers in USA, Australian and UK, cable channels, TV stations and network, magazines, book publishing, internet sites

Bought During the Bush Years: and Wall Street Journal

1935-Century Pictures and Fox Film merge to form 20th Century Fox

1977-Murdoch buys NY Post

1985-Murdoch buys Fox Pictures and also buys 7 TV stations from Metromedia to set up TV network. Murdoch buys the Boston Herald and Chicago Sun-Times but later sells them

1987-Murdoch buys Harper and Row book publishers

1988-Murdoch buys TV Guide and Seventeen magazine

1988-Murdoch buys William Collins book publisher

1991-Murdoch sells several magazines

1995-Sets up Fox sports channels in partnership with TCI, later brings in channels owned by Cablevision in east coast

1996-Fox News channel is launched

1996-Fox buys New World Communications, getting 10 TV stations

1997-Buys and in 2003 sells L.A. Dodgers baseball team, keeps broadcast rights

1997-Fox/Liberty Media buys control of FitTV channel

1999-Fox trades stock to Liberty Media for full control of Fox Sports channels

1999-Fox sells TV Guide to Gemstar corp.

1999-Murdoch buys William Morrow and Avon books from Hearst

Buys and later sells DirecTV satellite TV distributor

2000-Fox buys 10 Chris-Craft TV stations, gaining second channels in several major markets

2001-Sells Fox Family channel to Disney, had bought it from Pat Robertson in 1997

2001-Fox sells its 33% stake in the Golf channel and Outdoor Life to Comcast, getting full ownership of Speedvision channel in deal.

2003-Murdoch buys DirecTV from General Motors

2005-Murdoch buys

2006-Murdoch trades DirecTV to Liberty Media in exchange for Liberty’s 19% stake in News Corp.

2007-Murdoch buys Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Company. To finance the deal, Fox sells 9 TV stations in smaller market.


Main businesses: TV stations and network, billboards, radio stations, film production and distribution, book publishing, cable channels

Bought During the Bush Years: rest of Comedy Central, and DreamWorks Pictures

1938-CBS buys Columbia record label

1964-CBS buys NY Yankees baseball team, sells in 1973

1965-CBS buys Fender guitar co.

1970-Viacom is formed when feds make CBS divest its ownership of TV show producers and syndicators

1981- MTV-launched 1981 by Warner Communications and American Express

1985-Viacom buys out partners, gets full ownership of MTV, VH-1, Showtime, the Movie Channel and Nickelodeon

1985-Mutual Broadcasting radio network is sold by Amway to Westwood One. NBC sells its radio network to Westwood One.

1987-Redstone buys control of Viacom

1987-CBS sells off it book publishing division to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

1988-CBS sells recorded music division to Sony

1993-Viacom buys Paramount Pictures

1993-Paramount buys Macmillan book publishing

1994-Viacom buys Blockbuster video rental stores

1994-Viacom sells Madison Square Garden and 2 sports teams to partnership of Cablevision and ITT.

1994-Infinity Radio buys Westwood One

1995-Viacom sells its cable systems to TCI (which eventually sold out to AT & T, which sold them to Comcast)

1995-CBS is sold to Westinghouse Corp, which owned 8 CBS TV affiliates, 18 radio stations, the Nashville Network cable channel and 31% of Country Music TV channel. Eventually most of Westinghouse’s non-media assets are sold off and company is renamed CBS.

1995-Viacom launches UPN TV network using Chris-Craft’s network of stations

1995-Viacom spins off its local cable TV systems, which TCI buys.

1996-CBS buys Infinity Radio getting 77 stations and up to 6 stations in several major markets.

1997-CBS buys American Radio Systems, getting 98 stations

1999-Viacom and CBS merge, with Redstone in full control.

1999-CBS buys Outdoor Systems billboard firm, largest in USA

1999-CBS buys King World-distributor of shows like Oprah, Wheel of Fortune

1999-Westwood One buys Metro Networks, producer of radio traffic reports

2000-Viacom buys Black Entertainment TV cable channel.

2003-Viacom buys other half of Comedy Central from Universal

2004-Viacom spins off Blockbuster video stores to shareholders, writing off big loss

2005-to boost stock price, Redstone splits CBS and Viacom in two, though he still controls them; CBS writes off $18 billion loss from purchase of overpriced radio and billboard assets

2005-Paramount buys DreamWorks pictures

2006-CBS sells Paramount’s 5 theme parks to Cedar Fair, owner of Knotts Berry Farm in L.A area.

2007-CBS sells off 39 radio stations and 10 TV stations in smaller markets


compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009

thanks to and for helpful data

4 Companies control virtually the entire USA railroad industry. The UP and BNSF control the western US, CSX and Norfolk Southern control the eastern US.

The Union Pacific

-1997, bought Southern Pacific RR

-1982 Missouri Pacific RR

-1982 Western Pacific RR

--1988 Missouri-Kansas-Texas RR

-1988 Denver & Rio Grande RR

-1995-Chicago & Northwestern

-Overnite trucking co.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe

--1970—merger of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; Northern Pacific Railway, Great Northern Railway; and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Co

--1980 St. Louis-San Francisco RR

-1995 merged with Santa Fe RR


--1960 merged with Baltimore& Ohio RR

-1979 merged with Seaboard Coast Line

--1991 bought Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac RR

-1992-PL & E RR

--1998 bought Conrail from the federal government, splitting its assets with Norfolk Southern.

--SeaLand shipping co.

The Norfolk Southern

--1964 Norfolk Western bought Wabash, Nickel Plate, Pittsburgh & West Virginia RR and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown RR.

--1974 Norfolk Southern RR bought by Southern Railways

--1982-Norfolk & Western merged with Southern Railways



compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009


In recent years, America’s 5 dominant appliance makers (GE, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Raytheon and Maytag) have merged into 3.


Hotpoint (acquired 1918)

RCA—bought 1985 (but sold GE and RCA TV manufacturing division in 1987 to Thomson of France. Thomson in 2004 transferred all TV production to joint venture with TCL of China)


Roper bought 1988


Bought During the Bush Years: Maytag and numerous brands

Kitchenaid-bought in 1986 from Hobart Corp.

Estate-bought from RCA in 1955

Glenwood ???

Heritage ??

In the Maytag purchase in 2005, brands added to Whirlpool included:

Jetclean dishwashers

Neptune washers-introduced 1997

Jenn-Aire-bought 1982

Admiral-bought 1986

Magic Chef-bought 1986

Norge-bought 1986

Toastmaster-bought 1986 (sold 1987, now owned by Salton inc.)

Gaffers & Sattler-bought 1969 by Magic Chef

Gemini ranges

Amana and Radarange (sold by Raytheon in 1997 to Goodman, they sold it to Maytag in 2001)

Modern Maid, sold to Raytheon in 1979, then to Maytag,

Caloric-sold to Amana in 1967-

Hardwick bought 1981-

Dixie-Narco vending machines-bought 1986 (sold in 2006 to Crane co.(a division of American Standard Brands)

Hoover vacuums-bought 1989- sold 12/2006 to Techtronic --Hong Kong based-owns Royal and Dirt Devil vacuums, and Homelite, omelite, Milwaukee Sawzall (bought 2005) and Ryobi power tools, Stiletto hammers)


--1986-buys White-Westinghouse, getting

Frigidaire (brand was owned by General Motors from 1919 to 1980)

Gibson (bought 1979)

Kelvinator (sold by AMC in 1968)


--in 1986 buys Poulan/Weedeater, yard tools; In 2006-spun off Husqvarna lawn and garden products, including Poulan and Weedeater

--in 2000, buys back rights to use Electrolux name in USA, had sold it in 1968 to Consolidated Foods, later known as Sara Lee, which sold it to management in 1987.




Hoover vacuums sold 12/2006 to Techtronic --Hong Kong based, owns Royal and Dirt Devil vacuums, and Homelite, omelite, Milwaukee Sawzall (bought 2005) and Ryobi power tools, Stiletto hammers)



Bernzomatic torches


Lenox saw blades

OFFICE PRODUCTS: Sanford, Sharpie pens, Eberhard Faber, uni-ball, Berol, rotring, Parker pens, Papermate, Waterman, Liquid Paper, Rolodex, Eldon, Dymo, Expo, Grumbacher

COOKWARE/HOUSEHOLD: Mirror, Wearever, Airbake, Calphalon, Anchor Hocking, Pyrex (not in USA)

Goody hair products



MeadWestvaco, which was sold to Cerberus Capital in 2005:

Bought Stuart Hall stationery products in 2001, from Pen-Tab Holdings. Pen-tab had bought it in 1998 from Newell Corp.; Brands: Mead, Day Runner, Trapper Keeper, Cambridge, Zwipes, At-A-Glance


EMHART BOUGHT 1989, they owned: Kwikset locks, Price Pfister faucets, Molly wall anchors, POP rivets, True Temper golf clubs

DeWalt tools

Porter cable-bought 2004 from Pentair

Baldwin locks, Weiser locks bought 2003 from Masco


Hamilton Beach, Proctor-Silex


Black & Decker small appliances

Spacemaker appliances



George Foreman grills


Stiffel lighting



Oster, Osterizer


Mr. Coffee

Borg scales


Diamond matches

U.S. Playing cards



Pine Mountain firelogs

Kerr and Ball canning supplies

Coleman camping gear


4/2007 buys Pure Fishing

4/2007—buys K2 inc. for $765 mil., maker of skis, Shakespeare and Penn fishing tackle and Rawlings baseball equipment


Bostitch staplers, nail guns

Mac tools

Proto tools


Delta and Peerless faucets, Hansgrohe, Brasscraft

Mills Pride cabinets

Behr paints

Milgard windows


Crescent wrenches

Lufkin tape measures

Plumb axes and hammers

Wiss snips

Buss fuses

McGraw Edison



Schlage locks

Kryptonite locks

-Thermo-King refrigerated trucks—bought in 1997 from Westinghouse-CBS

-12/2007 buys Trane air conditioning for $10 billion


Trane air conditioners-spun off in 2007

American Standard and Eljer toilets

Crane plumbing



compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009


General Motors,

sells under these brands:


Pontiac-bought 1909,

Buick—original car line of GM,

Cadillac-bought 1909,



Hummer—their SUV’s are actually made by A-M General Corp. , a former division of American Motors and later LTV corp., now a separate company

GM-Daewoo-bought in 2002-in South Korea

Saab of Sweden--bought in ‘89 and 2000,

GM also owned between 2000 and 2005 up to 20% of FIAT of Italy, which sells under these brands: FIAT, Lancia, Alfa Romeo-(bought 1986 from the Italian government), Ferrari, Maserati (bought 1993, 51% owned), and Iveco trucks, while FIAT owns 6% of GM. FIAT sells 46% of all cars sold in Italy, and also owns 90% of Polish carmaker FSM.

GM also sells under these brands in Europe: Adam-Opel in Germany, Vauxhall in the UK. GM also has technology sharing agreements with Toyota, and buys engines from Honda. GM also owned Lotus for a while, but sold it in ‘93.

Discontinued car lines:

Elmore, bought 1909-halted 1912






Rapid Truck-1909-1912

Reliance Truck-1909-1912


Former stakes in other car-makers:

Isuzu (49%)-sold in 2006,

Suzuki (9.9% sold in 2008),

and once owned Subaru (20%) of Japan.

Lotus of UK-1986 to 1993



#2 with 25% of the US market, sells under these brands:


Lincoln and


Volvo cars of Sweden-bought in 1999,

and owns 50% of AutoLatina with VW in Brazil. Ford also has a joint venture with Navistar to build trucks in Mexico

Discontinued brand lines:



Aston Martin Lagonda, made in the UK,- bought in 1989, sold in 2007

Land Rover & Range Rover (bought in 2000), Jaguar, (bought in ’89), in 2008, Ford sold Land Rover and Jaguar to Tata of India

-- Formerly owned controlling share of Mazda of Japan (33.4%, cut in 2008 to 13%, along with another large shareholder, Sumitomo Bank)



#3 in the US with 15% of the market, sells under these brands:

Jeep--bought in 1987 as part of American Motors Corp.,



Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, which is 24% owned by Deutsche Bank, bought Chrysler in 1998. Daimler also owns Freightliner trucks and Puch mopeds. In May of 2007, Daimler sells Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management for $7.4 billion, but most of the cash will go back into Chrysler, and Daimler will keep a 19% share and keep $950 million. Cerberus also controls GMAC, 51% sold 4/2006 by GM for $14 billion.

Discontinued car lines:

Maxwell-dropped in 1925

Chalmers-ended in 1923







Hudson- to 1957


Willy’s-Overland-until 1955

Kaiser-Frazer—until 1955

Chrysler formerly owned 15% of Hyundai, selling it in 2004 (which owns Kia--bought in ‘98).

Hyundai’s first model sold in the USA was the Cortina, marketed by Ford

Mitsubishi Motors--Chrysler owned stake between 1971 and 1993 and sold their cars under Dodge brand in the USA, then between 2000 and 2005, Daimler-Chrysler owned up to 37%.

Mitsubishi also owned 10% of Hyundai until 2003



Toyota, #4 in the US with 8% of sales, sells under these brands:



and Scion

--Subaru. A 16.5% stake is owned by Toyota; this stake was previously held by Nissan from 1968 to 1999, and by GM until 2005



Makes the Honda and Acura brands.

It used to sell the Sterling, which was made in England by Austin-Rover, from 1987 to 1992


Renault, was owned by the French government from after World War 2 to 1996.

It controls:

Nissan-bought in 1999 (and owns 44% of its stock, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault),

Infiniti –launched by Nissan in 1989

Samsung Motors of South Korea-70% stake bought 1998 (not sold in US)

-beginning in 1979, Renault bought a small stake in AMC-Jeep, eventually owning 47%; Renault sold that stake in 1987 to Chrysler


BMW sells under these brands:


Rolls Royce (bought ‘98),

Mini Cooper, bought in 1994 as part of Rover (Rover Cars used to be called British Leyland, and made the MG, Triumph, Austin Healey and Morris Minor; BMW sold off Rover to Ford in 2000, which sold it in 2008 to Tata Motors of India. BMW also kept the right to make a Triumph brand.)


Porsche bought a controlling stake in VW in 2008, they own:


Audi, bought by VW in 1964 from Daimler-Benz

Lamborghini (bought in ’98 by Audi),

Bentley (bought in ‘98,


SEAT in Spain-bought in 1986

Skoda of the Czech republic, bought in 1991

Bugatti bought 1998



Makes Mercedes-Benz

Daimler also owns Freightliner trucks and Puch mopeds.

Owned Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep from 1998 to 2007


compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009
4800 branches, 15,000 ATM’s
Bought During the Bush Years: FleetBoston, MBNA, U.S. Trust, LaSalle Bank, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch
Fed law change in 1956 forced spin off of Transamerica Insurance co.
Nevada N & L,
Harbor Security,
Montgomery Securities,
Robertson and Stephens,
and used to own Charles Schwab investment adviser co.-sold back to founder in 1986
1987-Rainier, but sold off after Security Pacific purchase due to monopoly concerns
1989-Nevada First
1990-Mercury savings
1990-Mera Bank
1990-Western Savings
1990-Ben Franklin Federal Savings
1991-Security Pacific
1991-Valley Bank of Nevada
1994-Continental Illinois
1994-Arbor National
1996-Boatmen’s Bancshares
1997-Barnett Banks
1998-Nations Bank bought BofA, kept BofA name
2005-buys MBNA-credit card issuer
11/2006--buys U.S. Trust, a money manager, from Charles Schwab for $3.3 billion
4/2007 buys La Salle Bank Corp. From ABN Amro for $21 bil.
2007-buys Countrywide Financial
2008- buys Merrill Lynch stock brokerage

Bought During the Bush Years: CalFed, Banamex
1988- Bank of Arizona
Early 1990’s—Travelers buys Shearson Lehman Brothers, merging it into Smith Barney
1997-Salomon Brothers joins Traveler’s Group
1998-merged with Traveler’s Group brokerage and insurance co.
2000-Associates First Capital Corp
2002-CalFed/Cenfed/Glendale Federal/First Nationwide
2002-Spun off Traveler’s insurance, keeping brokerage and financial service divisions
2009-Citi to put Smith Barney in joint venture with Morgan Stanley (keeping 49% stake)
Grupo Financial Banamex, (#1 in Mexico)
Diner’s Club,
Carte Blanche credit card
Franklin Fund


Bought During the Bush Years: Wachovia Bank
1986-Crocker-Citizens purchased from Midland Bank of UK
1987-Allied Bancshares
1988-Barclays Bank of California
1989-American National Bank
1989-Valley National Bank
1990-Great American Savings branches in Calif
1994-Bank of A. Levy
1996- First Interstate
1998-Norwest-actually, Norwest bought Wells Fargo and kept the Wells name,
1/2007-buys Placer Sierra Bancshares-based in Sacramento area-50 branches
5/2007-- buys Greater Bay Bancorp (SF bay area) for $1.5 bil, has 41 branches.
2008-buys Wachovia, which had taken over First Union, Corestates, First Atlanta, Jefferson National, Central Fidelity, 1st United Bancorp, American Bancshares, Republic Security, Southtrust, Prudential Financial, Metropolitan West Securities, Westcorp, Golden West Financial, World Savings Bank, A.G. Edwards
Homefed Bank,

Bought During the Bush Years: BankOne, Bear Stearns brokerage, Washington Mutual
1986-Texas Commerce Bancshares bought by Chemical Bank
1991-Manufacturer’s Hanover bought by Chemical Bank
1994-Margaretten Financial
1995-Chemical Bank buys Chase Manhattan, renamed Chase
1999-Hambrecht & Quist
2000-Chase bought J.P. Morgan and Co.
2004-Bank One/First Chicago/City National
2006-Collegiate Funding Services
2008--bought Bear Stearns stock brokerage
Chase Mellon Shareholder Services???,
--2008, bought WASHINGTON MUTUAL
1986-Leucadia National
1986-Southern Home Savings
1987-First Commercial Savings
1987-Bowery Savings
1997-Great Western Savings
1997-Coast Federal
1998-Home Savings
2005-Providian National Bank
American Savings,
some branches of Western Federal and Household Bank
market share of banks in L.A. area

there is $7 trillion in deposits in FDIC insured institutions

total deposits of bank holding cos. As of 6/30/2008
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION 6,146 branches $701 billion
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 3,195 branches $497 billion
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY/WACHOVIA 6741 branches $715 billion
CITIGROUP INC. 1,079 branches $271 billion
Which totals $2.184 trillion or 31% of all deposits are in the top 4
(the FDIC does not list deposits for WaMu, so most likely they are counted in JPM’s total)

at time of WaMu takeover by JPMorgan Chase, WaMu had $188 billion in deposits

number of offices in L.A. MSA—top 4 have 1142 branches out of 2481 total in L.A. metro area, or 46% of branch offices are the top 4 banks, BofA, WaMu, Wells-Wachovia and Citibank (JP Morgan not in the list as no presence in L.A.)

Temasek Holdings, owned by the government of Singapore, owned Merrill Lynch. When ML was sold to BofA, Temasek and the government of Singapore become a big owner of BofA. (America’s largest bank!)

Aerospace and Defense Contractors

Consolidation of Control of U.S.Defense Contractors

compiled by Rex Frankel, 1/19/2009

One interesting stat: 7 of the top 10 USA defense contractors in 1995 are now owned by the top 3, Lockheed, Northop and Boeing. list the top 10 in 1998




1996 Loral

Defense-contracting divisions of:








1992-GE-RCA aerospace divisions

1993-General Dynamics’ Atlas rocket division




Bought During the Bush Years: TRW

1994 Vought Aircraft

1994 Teledyne’s Electronics Systems

1994-Northop bought Grumman

1996 Sperry Marine

1996 Westinghouse defense division

1997 Logicon

2000 Litton

2000 Newport News Shipbuilding

2002 TRW


1960 Vertol helicopters

1984 Hughes Helicopters

1996 McDonnell Douglas

1996 Rockwell Defense and Aerospace (owned North American Aircraft which was originally spun-off by GM in 1948)

1997 Argo Systems

2000 Hughes Space and Communications

Boeing once owned United Airlines and United Technologies in the 1930’s

Boeing sold the Rocketdyne rocket engine division to Pratt & Whitney in 2005




Beech Aircraft

1992 General Dynamics’ missile division

1995 Magnavox aerospace division

1996 Chrysler defense division

1997 Hughes Aircraft (from GM)

1997 Texas Instruments missile and defense division

2006 sells Hawker and Beechcraft airplane divisions to Goldman Sachs/Onex Partners for $3.3.bil.

At one time, Raytheon owned Amana Radarange ovens (sold to Maytag) and made Speed Queen washing machines—sold 1998 by Raytheon to Alliance Laundry Systems


2001—had U.S. OK to buy Honeywell but European Union killed deal

1/2007-Buys Smiths Group aircraft control systems unit for $4.8 bil.

5/2007 sells GE Plastics for $11.6 bil to Saudi Basic Industries corp.


Continental Engines

Brown Engineering


1982 Chrysler combat systems

1995 Bath Iron Works shipyard

1997 Acquired Lockheed Martin Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin Armament Systems

1998 National Steel and Shipbuilding

1999 Gulfstream Aerospace

2002 General Motors’ armored vehicle division

2003 Veridian Corp.


Pratt & Whitney

Hamilton Sundstrand

Sikorsky Helicopters

1975-Otis Elevator

1979-Carrier Refrigeration


2001-Chubb Security

2004-Schweitzer Aircraft-2004




Westinghouse nuclear plant division

EADS (Eurpoean Aeronautic Defence and Space) formed in 2000 bymerger of top European aerospace firms:

Daimler-Benz aerospace

Aerospatial Matra

Marconi Electronics






Bell Helicopter

1992- Cessna (bought from General Dynamics)



Aerojet General (rocket and missile propulsion)


1999 merged with Allied-Signal



compiled by Rex Frankel

British Petroleum (major brand name in USA is ARCO):

competitors bought out:

1969-Sinclair oil

1968-SOHIO merged with BP, BP took full ownership in 1987.


1988-Dome of Canada-bought by Amoco

1998-Union Texas Petroleum

1998-Amoco (Standard of Indiana



Gulf stations in 8 SE USA states,

also has joint refining and marketing venture with Mobil in Europe.


Bought During the Bush Years: Texaco, Unocal

competitors bought out:

1984-Gulf Oil bought by Chevron,

1984-Getty Oil –bought by Texaco, causing a disastrous lawsuit for Texaco filed by Pennzoil

1997-Monterey Resources--(was originally spun-off by Santa Fe Energy in ‘96),



Dynegy-owns electrical power plants-26.5%,


Conoco was formerly owned by DuPont Chemical co., bought in 1981 and spun off in 1998

Bought During the Bush Years: Phillips Petroleum

competitors bought out:

2001--Phillips bought Tosco (The Oil and Shale Corporation), which had bought western US division of Unocal and 76 stations in 1997; Tosco owned Circle-K stores and gas stations-which they bought in 1996, then sold in 2003 to Alimentation Couche-Tard of France.

2001-Gulf Canada Resource

2002-Phillips 66-merged with Conoco,

2006-Burlington Resources—was formerly oil division of Burlington Northern Railroad co.

BP stations in N. Calif.,

Alaska oil fields formerly owned by Arco,


competitors bought out:

1987-Celeron pipelines-from Goodyear Tire co.,

1989-Texaco Canada

1999-Exxon merged with Mobil Oil

Imperial/Esso in Canada,

joint venture in Calif. Oil fields with Shell, called Aera Energy

Royal-Dutch Shell:

Bought During the Bush Years: Pennzoil

competitors bought out:

1979-Belridge Oil

2001-Texaco’s refining and marketing division in USA

2002-Pennzoil/Jiffy Lube/Quaker State/Slick-50

European joint refining and marketing venture with Texaco.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Watch Out for Sky-High Cell Phone Bills from Internet-Connected Phones!

Cell Phone Bills that Truly Roam
1/7/2009 L.A. Times

Not long after I returned from a recent trip to Canada, I was surprised to find a $400 cellphone bill in the mailbox. This seemed odd because I'd made only two phone calls when I was there, the longer one for 15 minutes.But when I looked closer at the breakdown, I saw what was going on. It wasn't I who'd been making dozens of long-distance calls back to the States -- it was the phone itself. While I thought my iPhone was sitting "unused" in my jacket, it had been constantly checking my e-mail for 72 straight hours. You see, using a data-enabled cellphone in a foreign land has become a little like falling asleep on a train in Naples -- if you're not careful, you could end up with empty pockets. And if you ever have, you know the feeling. "Shock, fear, panic," said Mike Cottmeyer, a software consultant in Suwanee, Ga., referring to an $800 iPhone data bill he'd been hit with after visiting Toronto for a few days last year. "It kind of makes you sick to your stomach."The roaming ripoff stems from a sad new kind of Catch-22: With all the contracts, agreements and stipulations we've signed on for, there's more fine print than ever and less time to read it. And like a high schooler's nightmare, if you fail to memorize everything, you could be in big trouble.For an idea of how easy it is for travelers to rack up a nauseating data bill, consider that most phone companies charge roaming customers about two cents per kilobyte. How much is that? Well, your average e-mail message might be 10 kb. So that's around 20 cents per e-mail. Not instantly fatal.Well, what if someone sends you a message with a snapshot in it --that might run a megabyte or two (about 2,000 kb). So while the picture of your nephew in his first snowstorm might be priceless in one sense, in another it just cost you 40 bucks.But even that is child's play. The real action comes when travelers use their phones to surf the Web or watch videos -- both of which can consume thousands of times more data than checking e-mail. The blogosphere is littered with ghastly tales of "bill shock" over such unanticipated fees, like the American who visited London for two weeks, bringing his Web-enabled iPhone, not a laptop, for all computing needs. The price tag on that bit of light traveling? $3,000.Then there was the Briton who, while vacationing in Portugal, decided to download an episode of "Prison Break" to his cellphone. The guy ended up owing close to $60,000. Most of the really galactic fees -- like this one -- end up being partially refunded. When I complained, mine was too -- but it took me 20 minutes of arguing with the customer service rep, more than most people would likely bother with."You get this false-positive feeling of comfort," said Gerry Purdy, an Atlanta-based mobile communications analyst for the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. "You get off the airplane and say, hey, the phone works? And my e-mail's coming? That's great."But unwitting consumers and Web columnists don't realize they've been silently shifted to a new set of much more expensive "roaming" rates that are, as Purdy put it, "almost insane."You might wonder if sending all this data around the world costs the telecoms that much money. But consider your home broadband connection, a kind of all-you-can-eat buffet that allows you to scarf down as many Web pages, photos, songs and movies as you can in one month. All for about $40 -- about the same as what they charged you for that pic of your nephew in the snow.If you had to pay that kind of price for every byte of your monthlong smorgasbord of home broadband, you'd probably be paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. So wherefore the discrepancy? AT&T, the only telecom that offers the data-hungry iPhone, won't say whether the roaming rates reflect the real cost of keeping users connected internationally. A spokesman wrote only that "roaming fees are established by the carriers whose networks are available to our customers while traveling abroad" and that "AT&T must pay these fees to the carrier per the agreement."This response sidesteps the rather obvious fact that AT&T is itself an international service provider -- charging roaming fees to visiting foreigners -- and therefore knows precisely how much or rather how little data transfer costs.For a hint at the real answer, we can look to the European Union, which recently agreed to caps on both the price of text messages -- about 14 cents U.S. -- and the price of data: 1 euro, or about $1.50, per megabyte, more than 10 times less than what AT&T and other U.S. telecoms charge for roaming.Our own Federal Communications Commission declined to comment on the issue, noting only that if consumers have a problem with roaming charges, they should send complaints.Frustrated with "unbelievable" roaming costs, Howard Thaw of Nova Scotia has found ways to scrimp when traveling with his iPhone. For one: Make sure you use it near a wireless connection point -- at a Starbucks, say, so you can access the Web without always hearing a cash register. But as Thaw noted, that sort of "defeats the purpose of what the phone was designed to do" -- i.e., work anywhere.Thaw speculated on the mentality behind the pricing: "If you can afford an iPhone," he said, "why shouldn't you be able to afford the data charges, especially if you're traveling on business and you have a company paying?"Cottmeyer, the software consultant from Georgia, did exactly that. Admitting he should have read the fine print, he gritted his teeth and expensed the $800 charge. "Did I feel like it was fair? Absolutely not. But I didn't feel like I had a leg to stand on."Cottmeyer's boss told him not to let it happen again and asked him to write a warning memo about it for his colleagues. The post is online at Cottmeyer's blog,, if anyone, including the FCC, would like to read it.