Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Why I'm Not Hiring"

So there's a WSJ piece that people are talking about; it's from the POV of one "Michael Fleischer" from Bogen Communications, talking about why he isn't hiring people. Supposedly it's because of health care and benefits and all that horrible stuff that employees need to, you know, live.

Here's the thing, though. If you actually look into Bogen, you find out that there are far better reasons for why Fleischer isn't hiring. Like the stock price absolutely cratering last year. Or the settlement that they reached with a contractor who alleged "multiple causes of action for breach of contract and various torts"; a settlement that came after the contractor had already been awarded a cool $12.5 mil in "compensatory and punitive damages."

It also didn't mention that Mr. Fleischer's own compensation includes a cool half a mil a year in direct compensation and stock options, or that he's getting this money despite the stock price cratering under his watch. Hell, it was delisted from the NASDAQ in 2003. And it's losing money this quarter to boot. It did in 2009, too, if I'm reading this financial report correctly.

The best part, though, is that for all that he's railing against taxes, his company appears to have benefited from the current tax structure. $5.5 million in tax benefits, as a matter of fact, that they can carry forward to reduce tax liabilities against future profits. (Assuming, of course, that they turn a profit.)

So the answer to "why he's not hiring" turns out to be really simple: his company ain't doing so well. It's understandable, and I hope that Bogen pulls out of this intact. But it's sure as hell not the answer that he's pushing, and it's more than a wee bit dishonest to pretend otherwise.

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