WHY NOW?: Boehner Quits

johnSpeaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, announced on Friday that he would resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, as Congress moved to avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.

“My first job as speaker is to protect the institution,” Mr. Boehner said at a news conference at the Capitol, adding, “It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution.”

Looking poised and sounding rehearsed, Mr. Boehner, who stunned the capital with his news, became emotional as he recalled a moment alone with Pope Francis, who had been his guest the day before at the Capitol and who had asked the speaker to pray for him.

Reflecting on his decision, he said, “This morning, I woke up, said my prayers, as I always do, and thought, ‘This is the day I am going to do this.’ ”

Most recently, he was trying to craft a solution to keep the government open through the rest of the year, but was under pressure from a growing base of conservatives who told him that they would not vote for a bill that did not defund Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Boehner’s announcement lessened the chance of a government shutdown next week, because Republican leaders will push for a short-term funding measure to keep the government operating and the speaker will no longer be deterred by those who threatened his job.

It will be up to a majority of the members of the House now to choose a new leader, and the leading candidate is Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, who is viewed more favorably by the House’s more conservative members. The preferred candidate among many Republicans, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said he does not want the job.

“John Boehner has been a great leader of the Republican Party and the House of Representatives,” Mr. Ryan said Friday in a statement. “This was an act of pure selflessness. John’s decades of service have helped move our country forward, and I deeply value his friendship. We will miss John, and I am confident our conference will elect leaders who are capable of meeting the challenges our nation faces. I wish John and his family well as he begins the next phase of his life.”

Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, said: “The next speaker is going to have a very tough job. The fundamental dynamics don’t change.”

Mr. Dent said there had been “a lot of sadness in the room” when Mr. Boehner made his announcement to colleagues, and he blamed the House’s hard-right members, who he said were unwilling to govern. “It’s clear to me that the rejectionist members of our conference clearly had an influence on his decision,” Mr. Dent said. “That’s why I’m not happy about what happened today. We still have important issues to deal with, and this will not be easier for the next guy.”

“The dynamics are this,” he continued. “There are anywhere from two to four dozen members who don’t have an affirmative sense of governance. They can’t get to yes. They just can’t get to yes, and so they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead. And not only do they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead, but they undermine the entire Republican conference and also help to weaken the institution of Congress itself. That’s the reality.

“Now, if we have a new speaker, is there going to be an epiphany? They won’t be happy if it’s Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy, who will have to make accommodations with a Democratic president and the Senate constituted the way it is.”

President Obama said Friday that Mr. Boehner’s resignation took him by surprise. He said he called Mr. Boehner moments before holding a news conference with the Chinese president, and he praised the speaker as a “good man” and a “patriot” who cares deeply about the House of Representatives.

“We have obviously had a lot of disagreements, and politically we are at the opposite end of the spectrum,” Mr. Obama said. But, he added, Mr. Boehner “has always conducted himself with civility and courtesy with me.”

And, the president said, Mr. Boehner is “somebody who understands that in government, governance, you don’t always get 100 percent of what you want.”

The president declined to speculate about Mr. Boehner’s replacement, but he warned that the next speaker should not be someone willing to shut the government down if policy demands were not met.

“You don’t invite a potential financial crisis,” Mr. Obama said. “You build roads, pass transportation bills. You do the basic work of governance. There’s no weakness in that. That’s what government is in our democracy.”

Mr. Obama promised to “reach out immediately” to whoever is the next speaker, and he said that he would continue to work with Mr. Boehner during the month before he leaves the House.

“Hopefully he feels like getting as much stuff done as he possibly can,” Mr. Obama said.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and the previous speaker of the House, learned about Mr. Boehner’s resignation when she read a breaking news alert on a staff member’s phone. “God knows what’s next over there,” she told staff members. “Coming from earthquake country, this is a big one.”

Ms. Pelosi, who had been negotiating privately on a plan to keep the government open, told reporters that Mr. Boehner’s resignation was “a stark indication of the disarray of House Republicans.”

The announcement came just a day after Pope Francis visited the Capitol, fulfilling a 20-year dream for Mr. Boehner, the son of a tavern owner from a large Catholic family, of having a pontiff address Congress. He had a private audience with Francis before the pope spoke to a joint meeting of Congress.

Mr. Boehner wept openly as the pope addressed an audience gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Thursday. He no doubt understood that it was his last grand ceremony as speaker and, indeed, a capstone to his long political career, which began in the Ohio Statehouse.

“I am happy that one of his final memories will be watching the pope address an institution the speaker loved and served for many years,” Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, said. “He had an incredibly hard job, as whoever takes his place will learn.”

At the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which was taking place just a few blocks from the Capitol, many jumped to their feet and cheered when Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, announced that Mr. Boehner was resigning.

“It’s time to turn the page,” Mr. Rubio said, deviating from his prepared text in an assertion tailored to the audience, whose views align with many who wanted to oust Mr. Boehner.

One of those fed-up Republicans is Joe Glover, a retired businessman from the Dallas area who was at the conference and could barely restrain his jubilation.

“I think it’s awesome,” Mr. Glover said. “No. 1, he needed to go, and No. 2, it should give us an opportunity to have a fresh voice and fresh leadership, because we haven’t seen the leadership from that office we need to see.”

Addressing reporters after his remarks at the conservative summit meeting, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke harshly of Mr. Boehner.

“The early reports are discouraging,” Mr. Cruz said. “If it is correct that the speaker, before he resigns, has cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of this year, to fund Obamacare, to fund executive amnesty, to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund implementation of this Iran deal, and then presumably to land a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities, that is not the behavior one would expect from a Republican speaker of the House.”

Mr. Cruz declined to offer his view of Mr. McCarthy, saying only that he hoped House Republicans “select a strong conservative.”

Mr. Obama said he expected Republicans to debate who would be their next leader, but he was sanguine about the decision bringing significant change, saying, “It’s not as if there’s been a multitude of areas” where Republicans in the House have worked with him in the past.

“There were members in his caucus who saw compromise of any sort as weakness or betrayal,” Mr. Obama said of Mr. Boehner. “When you have divided government, when you have a democracy, compromise is necessary.

He urged the next speaker to work to avoid another shutdown. He said a shutdown would not just “hurt the economy in the abstract, it hurts particular families. And, as I recall, it wasn’t that good for the reputation of the Republican Party.”

Still, Mr. Obama said he expected “significant fights” on issues like the funding of Planned Parenthood and the overhaul of immigration.

While some conservatives were celebrating, one prominent Republican was upset at the news.

Senator John McCain of Arizona said that he was taken aback and that Mr. Boehner’s resignation had perilous implications for Republican prospects going into next year’s elections.

“It means that it’s in disarray,” Mr. McCain said in a brief interview. “Basically, he has been unseated. And that’s not good for the Republican Party.”

His advice? “We’ve got to unite and recognize who the adversary is.”

For decades, Mr. Boehner legislated as a stalwart Republican institutionalist. He became speaker after a Tea Party wave in the 2010 election swept Republicans into the majority in the House on a call to drastically curb federal spending and the role of government.

It was an agenda Mr. Boehner supported, but he quickly found himself hamstrung by the new members of Congress, who were undaunted by the fact that Democrats controlled much of Washington and that their ability to fulfill their goals would have its limits.

That conflict resulted in a 16-day government shutdown in October 2013, the brink of default on the nation’s debt and the undoing of former Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who was the House majority leader. Mr. Cantor oversaw the movement of the right to empower Republicans, but he was ultimately defeated in a primary in 2014 by an unknown challenger whose candidacy was fueled by Tea Party energy.

A similar dynamic is shaping the Republican presidential primary process, with both Donald J. Trump and Mr. Cruz openly critical of congressional leaders.

On Friday, even as Republican members of Congress reeled from the news, the architects of the right-leaning movement cheered.

“Americans deserve a Congress that fights for opportunity for all and favoritism to none,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a policy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “Too often, Speaker Boehner has stood in the way. Today’s announcement is a sign that the voice of the American people is breaking through in Washington. Now is the time for a principled, conservative leader to emerge. Heritage Action will continue fighting for conservative policy solutions, and we look forward to working with the new leadership team.”

Most recently, Mr. Boehner, a warrior in the anti-abortion movement for 30 years, was under pressure to try to cripple Planned Parenthood as part of a deal to keep the government open.


Trump Exaggerating His Net Worth (By 100%) In Presidential Bid

howCampaign exaggerations are as much a part of politics as kissing babies. In announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination this morning, Donald Trump started with what Forbes believes is a whopper. He claimed his net worth was nearly $9 billion. We figure it’s closer to $4 billion — $4.1 billion to be exact.
This discrepancy is noteworthy, since Trump’s financial success – he put his fortune at exactly $8,737,540,000 — is core to his candidacy. “I’m proud of my net worth. I’ve done an amazing job,” said Trump at his circus-like announcement, before referencing his autobiography. “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.”
Since 1982, Forbes has been tracking Trump’s net worth in great detail. That’s more than thirty years. Over those decades, we have worked both with him and outside experts who can help us come up with a fair market valuation of his assets. Every year, Trump shares a lot of information with us that helps us get to the figures we publish. But he also consistently pushes for a higher net worth—especially when it comes to the value of his personal brand.
There is  no doubt that Trump is a billionaire and a savvy deal-maker. He turned his father’s construction company into the massive empire it is today. He is also a survivor: having gone through a corporate bankruptcy that, according to our research left his personal net worth in the red in the 1990s, Trump clawed himself back to enormous wealth. (Though let’s be clear: Trump entities have filed four times for corporate bankruptcy, all related to Atlantic City casino property that he today has a 10% stake in. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy. As Forbes‘ Clare O’Connor explains, only during the first corporate bankruptcy was his personal fortune at risk.) He owns trophy New York properties like 40 Wall Street, Trump Tower, as well as his Doral golf resort in Miami. His brand keeps growing, too, with Apprentice appearances, books, speaking engagements, Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants and menswear at Macy's M +0.00%.
Below we break down what Trump says he is worth v. what we at Forbes estimate he is truly worth. The major difference: his brand. Trump claims that his brand and brand-related deals are worth some $3.3 billion. We value his brand at just $125 million; we give him another $128 million in management fees for Trump-branded hotels. Another major discrepancy is golf courses: Trump has been advocating for a valuation for his chain of American golf courses as high as $800 million. Independent valuation experts tell us our figure of $200 million is much closer to the mark. The other difference is properties under development. Trump claims nearly $300 million here; we don’t give properties full build-out value until they’re actually fully built and running.
Cash & Marketable Securities: $302.3 million (Trump); $302.3 million (Forbes)
Forbes agrees. We’ve seen the bank statements.
Commercial Properties 100% owned by Trump: $1.38 billion (Trump); $1.3 billion (Forbes)
Trump claims $1.697 billion in assets – $312.63 million in debt = $1.38 billion
Forbes values (net of debt):
Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue, NYC: $470 million
40 Wall Street: $475 million
Niketown Store, 6 E 57th St., NYC: $285 million
Trump International Hotel and Tower, Central Park West and South: $53 million
Residential Properties 100% owned by Trump: $315.2 million (Trump); $410 million (Forbes)
Trump claims $334.6 million – $19.42 million in debt = $315.2 million
Forbes values (net of debt):
Trump Park Avenue, 502 Park Ave., NYC: $240 million
Trump World Tower/ UN Building, 845 United Nations Plaza: $10 million
Trump Parc East, 100 Central Park Avenue South: $30 million
Trump Plaza, 3rd Ave.: $16 million
Trump’s penthouse: $90 million
Club facilities and related real estate: $1.86 billion (Trump); $866 million (Forbes) 
Trump claims $2.009 billion in assets – $146.47 million in debt = $1.86 billion
Forbes values (net of debt):
Doral, Miami: $300 million
Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach: $290 million
Additional golf courses in the U.S. $200 million
Golf courses in Scotland and Ireland: $75 million
Properties under development: $293 million (Trump); $0 (Forbes)
Trump claims $300 million in assets and $7.14 million in liabilities. This is not a piece of the portfolio that we’ve valued. We’re looking forward to seeing the documentation and doing our own assessment.
Properties owned less than 100% by Trump: $943.1 million (Trump); $940 million (Forbes)
1290 Ave. of Americas (Bank of America BAC +0.00% Center), NYC: $695 million
555 California Street, San Francisco: $160 million
Trump Las Vegas: $87 million
Starrett City, Bklyn, NY: 0
Real estate licensing deals, brand, and branded developments: $3.3 billion (Trump); $253 million (Forbes)
We value the Trump brand at $125 million. Trump apparently thinks that if he spun-out these kind of deals and his good name into a separate company, he’d net over $3 billion for it. Good luck with that.
We do give Trump another $128 million for management contracts for running his Trump-branded hotels.
Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants: $14.8 million (Trump); $0 (Forbes)
We find these of negligible value compared with his other assets, and Trump seems to agree.
Other Assets (net of debt): $317.4 million (Trump); $88.5 million (Forbes)
D.C. Post Office hotel project: $14 million
Helicopters, Airplanes: $50 million
Kluge Winery: $17 million (We’ll likely be revising this up)

Carly Fiorina: 30,000 HP LAYOFFS


Behind Carly Fiorina’s 30,000 HP layoffs

It’s hard to run for president when your name is synonymous with massive layoffs.

The No. 1 criticism lofted at Carly Fiorina is that she oversaw the disastrous 2002 Compaq merger, leading to some 30,000 layoffs at Hewlett-Packard during her tenure as CEO. 
Fiorina has tried to spin the layoffs, saying they were the result of bad timing that coincided with the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000. 
She has also noted — correctly — that despite bruising layoffs, she hired more people than she fired. HP and Compaq had a combined 148,100 employees just before she was hired in 1999, and 150,000 by the time she was fired in 2005. 
Still, along the way, the cuts were painful. 

2000: Voluntary Buyouts

Fiorina was named CEO in July 1999 and eight months later, in March 2000, HP offered 2,500 employees a voluntary buyout package. 1,300 employees accepted the offer. 

2001: Furloughs and Job Cuts

In 2001, Fiorina asked employees to volunteer to take furloughs, hoping that the unpaid time off would stave off further job cuts. HP said the 80,000 who volunteered to take the furloughs saved the company $130 million. But many of those people ended up getting laid off anyway. 
Later in 2001, HP laid off 7,500 employees. The tech bubble had burst sending many countries into a recession. People weren’t buying as many computers, and HP needed to cut costs to save money. 

2002 and 2003: More furloughs and job cuts

In 2002, HP asked employees to once again take furloughs over the Christmas break. HP was hardly alone: Dell and Gateway (remember Gateway?) also furloughed their employees. Unlike its competitors, HP allowed its employees to use accrued vacation time. 
But HP remained the biggest job-cutter. The company also laid off 8,600 more employees in 2002. 
In 2003, HP laid off another 9,000 employees. 
In all, the terminations cost HP 26,400 jobs. And that doesn’t include that five months after Fiorina left in February 2005, HP announced another 15,200 job cuts. 
For sure, HP was not alone in cutting jobs during the dot-com bust. Many tech companies went out of business. 
And the job cuts did help HP save money through a particularly difficult time in the tech industry. Of the $3 billion a year HP said the merger helped save in “cost synergies,” $2 billion of the annual savings were attributed to layoffs and plant shutdowns. 
But Fiorina made a huge gamble in acquiring Compaq — and it didn’t work, sending HP into a tailspin it is still trying to climb out of. 
HP has announced more than 100,000 job cuts since Fiorina left. And current CEO Meg Whitman is now spinning off the PC unit that Fiorina created with the Compaq merger. 
When Fiorina was fired, she took home a $21.4 million severance package, which included $50,000 for career counseling. (Shareholders later sued, saying she got too big of a golden parachute)

Carly Fiorina, THE TAKER: Received a $20 million in severance when fired from HP


She received a $20 million in severance when fired from HP

Fiorina’s time at HP was marred by controversy with several business publications later naming her one of the worst-ever CEOs. The company board ousted her in 2005. By that point, the company had lost half its value, approved a controversial merger with Compaq and cut 30,000 jobs. Still, Fiorina received the complimentary golden parachute. The GOP candidate defends her time at HP by saying she was in charge during the worst ever tech recession.