In 2002 members of the Hewlett-Packard workforce were asked to sign up for voluntary pay and benefit reductions in order to avoid potential lay-offs. 80,000 people agreed to the plan, but a few weeks later 6,000 people were fired, followed by another lay-off of 4,500 people, and by the end of the process, 30,000 people were out of work.

When Fiorina says that she has created jobs she’s referring to Hewlett-Packard purchasing rival PC manufacturer Compaq that netted an increase to the company payroll of about 100 jobs all together.

30,000 people were out of work though.

But those people are just numbers.

That’s Fiorina Math.

In 1998 Fortune Magazine named Carly Fiorina “The Most Powerful Woman in American Business.” A title she would hold for quite sometime. She received this title for her position at Lucent Technologies, a company while under her tenure increased it’s employment by 22,000 and doubled revenue from $19 Billion to $38 Billion.

The company didn’t really do that though. They acquired a few other companies (hence the payroll increase) and through the magic of accounting they were able to figure out a way to loan customers money to buy their products. That way they were able to claim product sales and the loan dollars on those product as assets.

Think of it this way. I give you $1,000 to buy my car. I’ve both sold you a car and sold you a loan. You owe me $1,000 for the car, and since I own the title, I still own the car worth $1,000.

That’s how I’ve doubled my money.

I’m not kidding. That’s how that works.

That’s Fiorina Math.

In 1999, Hewlett-Packard thought that kind of math was pretty cool and wanted a piece of it too. They named her CEO without even so much as an interview and she got to work right away. Pay reductions, benefit reductions, lay-offs, acquisitions of competitive companies.


Hewlett-Packard went from one of the top rated employers in the world to one of the lowest. Though streamlining was supposed to increase innovation . . . it crippled it instead (prompting InfoWorld into calling Fiorina “The Anti-Steve Jobs”). In 2005, after several steady quarters of lack-luster reports, Carly Fiorina was forced out her position by the board of directors and her and her golden parachute were sent packing. HP stock prices shot up dramatically the day after the announcement.

In 2006 Fiorina published her autobiography Tough Choices and in 2007 she signed up to be a business analyst for Fox News; 2008 saw her on the campaign finance committee for Presidential hopeful John McCain, clearly money well spent. 2010 was her interesting bid for a California Senate seat in which she lost by a whopping 10%, again, money well spent.

She sits on the board for numerous philanthropical organizations. Good360 which helps companies distribute their overstock to people in need. The One Woman Initiative (OWI) which helps to teach entrepreneurship and provides micro-loans to women in impoverished countries. While an interesting philosophy, micro-loans haven’t shown the positive financial impact that basic education has, so there’s no validity to Fiorina’s claim that she’s helped millions of people out of poverty. She has sold them insurance on those micro-loans though . . . which is thoughtful.

Fiorina is pro-life. She would repeal Roe vs. Wade and defund Planned Parenthood if given the chance. She hasn’t said if she’s prepared to offer micro-loans for the 4 million services that Planned Parenthood provides to poor women across the world, but she has promised to take away their insurance provided through Obamacare.

She agrees that climate change is real and man-made but doesn’t think government should have anything to do with fixing it.

She blames the current Californian drought on “liberal environmentalists.”

That being said . . . she also wants to defund the Department of Education.

In 2010 she praised both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top for their metric-based accountability standards. In 2015 she called No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core “big bureaucratic programs that are failing our nation.”

She really wants to provide micro-loans to children across the nation. She calls them vouchers.

She has criticized the Iran Nuclear Treaty, sort of failing to mention that Hewlett-Packard was involved in illegal sales to Iran during her tenure as CEO.

It’s lucky she wasn’t asked about that.

She created a strong program for domestic partners while at HP, but voted in favor of Proposition 8 (the California initiative to ban gay marriage) and DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, believing the sanctity marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Both her and her current husband have been married twice.

For the record . . . that’s two women and two men.

Today polls show her gaining on republican front-runner Donald Trump and unseating Ben Carson from his second place spot. Her strong showing at last week’s debate has given her candidacy momentum.

She’s a strong candidate for the Republican Party. She speaks well, has clean precise opinions
on a variety of topics, and is neither quiet nor boisterous.

She also thinks laying off 30,000 people is job creation, that big business is good but somehow big government is bad, that gay people can’t have marriages but she can have two, that climate change is real and not her responsibility, that poor people should have access to micro-loans and life insurance but not health care or education. Maybe we should be a little less worried about her leadership skills and slightly more terrified by her math skills.

Especially if people really are just numbers.

photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons