Friday, February 19, 2010

CNBC's Tyler Mathisen Should Go Off-Air

Did you see CNBC's Tyler Mathisen get all cranky and irritable during his stint on the network's noontime program yesterday?

I did. Boy, he needs to get off camera again.

My recollection was that he is the Managing Editor of CNBC, but apparently he's been kicked out of that job, and given the rather empty-sounding post of "Vice President, Strategic Editorial Initiatives."

Here's the official CNBC bio on him:

"Power Lunch" Co-Anchor Vice President, Strategic Editorial Initiatives

Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch" (12PM-2PM ET) and is Vice President for Strategic Editorial Initiatives working closely with CNBC's Business Development and Marketing teams on strategic initiatives and alliances. Previously, Mathisen was Managing Editor of CNBC Business News responsible for directing the network’s daily content and coverage. Mathisen also hosted CNBC's "High Net Worth."

He looks a whole lot older and, well, crankier nowadays than in this obviously old, more flattering picture.

The topic that set off the old codger yesterday afternoon was a report on the rise in temporary hiring in the US. As various panel members debated the good or bad implications of such hiring, Mathisen began whining...and I mean whining....that he was so afraid companies would just never hire full-time workers anymore, but only temporary ones, leading to long term lower standards of living of Americans.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera retorted that with all the government regulatory red tape involving hiring, compensating and firing workers, it's no surprise that many choose to hire temps for as long as possible.

Mathisen shot back, with a grimace and angry tone, something like,

'Go ahead and blame the government for everything.....Companies will hire people when they need them, and government regulations won't matter.'

If nothing else, that retort illustrates how out of touch old Tyler is with today's economy. For example, here's a passage from my January post about the recent BusinessWeek cover story discussing this trend,

"But since the 1930s, government and the unions it has, thanks to a long run of Democrat-controlled Congresses, supported, have cemented into the US economy the notion that employees are entitled to health care, pensions, and vacations, all provided by the companies for whom the employees work.

Within the cocoon of that system, it all seems to make sense, doesn't it? Fair, compassionate minimum standards and lifestyle provisions which, otherwise, workers would never receive?
Here's an alternative view.

For every non-cash benefit, workers receive less cash compensation. Mandatory vacation days means that companies implicitly adjust cash wages and their increase to the number of actual hours worked by employees. More vacation days means less in terms of wage increases.

It's the same thing with employer-paid insurance and pensions.

As my colleague put it so well, they are all simply another variant of the old-style 'defined benefit' compensation system. And every non-cash mandate or demand by unions or government decreases cash compensation to workers."

Old Tyler doesn't seem to understand the global marketplace in labor, does he? More encumbering labor regulations in the US will only lead to more temporary hires here, and more long term employment overseas in more forgiving labor environments. That's just good business and economics.

It's a testament to how liberal CNBC is that Mathisen reflexively dismisses anyone blaming government for anything. And then reflexively insists, categorically, that government regulation has no affect on business hiring decisions.

What sort of fantasyland is this guy living in?

He needs to be shipped off to the rest home for old, out of touch media execs. Maybe replaced with someone better-informed and relevant to today's business climate.

Someone like, oh, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera?

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