04 Mar Saturday Broadcast 38
✔️ ICYMI news, 2/27 – 3/3.
✔️So which is it? Are people financing groceries and high utility bills or people are going wild on spending sprees at restaurants and car dealerships? WTH?
✔️Remote ➡️ Hybrid Hell ➡️ Full RTO. If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it. If you don’t own the company, you don’t make the rules!
✔️Increasing bankruptcies, auto defaults worse than the Great Recession, companies going broke … but hey! People’r’ doin’ great! 😒
Links where I can be found: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2023/01/30/updates-housekeeping/
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Today it is Monday, February 27. on CNBC, we have headlines today such as why Goldman’s consumer ambitions failed, and what it means for CEO David Solomon, a rush of homes go under contract in January, but it’s unlikely to last. Yeah, I would say I agree with the last part of that headline. If you were in the process, and you got laid off, and or spouse or partner were to be laid off, maybe the working adults in the household that are on the line for this purchase, all were laid off at about the same time. Maybe you got the results of the home inspection back. And you discovered that the house was a lemon, and you would be spending 1000s upon 1000s of dollars to remediate the problems and make it right. Maybe you saw the final tally of what your mortgage payment would be given the interest rate and the property taxes and you said, Oh, hell no. There’s no way that we need to be on the hook for a payment like this. There are all kinds of scenarios that could cause a deal to follow through. I remember working with a broker years ago, and he said sometimes it feels like a miracle that any of these deals come together. Because at any point in time, someone could back out or a problem that’s not solvable could be found and the whole deal could go to hell. Well, in an economy like this, you have to think it’s even more volatile. That would not surprise me at all. Treasury yields retreat after two year note reaches highest level since July 2007. So here we go. More things that go back to that. Oh 70809 time period. Union Pacific co to step down as hedge fund presses for change. UK and EU agree to crucial Northern Ireland trade deal in Brexit breakthrough. Putin warns NATO’s nuclear capability can’t be ignored. Future world order is being decided Russia says Warren Buffett calls stock buyback critics economic illiterate in Berkshire Hathaway annual letter. Well, here’s the way I look at it. I’ll put on my unfrozen caveman lawyer hat Your world is strange and it frightens me. I’m skeptical. Anytime some billionaire or fat cat does something and then says well if you criticize it, it’s because you’re illiterate. I’m a little bit suspicious of that. Call me crazy if you want to but just kind of give a little side eye to it. Over on fortune.com we find sacked Twitter exec who went viral for sleeping on office floor defends going all in for Elon Musk. The byline reads Esther Crawford lashed out at gloating critics for jeering from the sidelines rather than standing in the arena. You know I generally speaking appreciate Brene Browns analysis of it’s easy to be a heckler in the cheap seats. Instead of being a gladiator in the arena. If you’re trying to build a business you’re trying to build a brand you’re trying to invent something or do something new people are just heckling and trolling. Well, it’s easy for them to sit up there in the cheap seats drinking beer and acting like a fool instead of being down in the arena fighting it out. I would say that for me working for Lord Ilan and sleeping on the floor pretty much living in an office that’s not an arena I want to be part of No Pass. That’s okay, nevermind. Pass. We also see is $1 million enough to retire these experts say no, I’m not an expert, not an economist of financial planner or advisor and I don’t ever give financial advice. I would say in my opinion, no would $1 million be enough to retire? I know that used to be the sort of golden idea that was your golden parachute if you could get a million dollars saved up or in a 401 K in an IRA that you were you were going to be on easy street no not anymore and not in this economy. Are you nuts? Some companies are already replacing workers with chat GPT despite warnings it shouldn’t be relied on for anything important. Oh boy. So I’m gonna go back to what I’ve said before. I feel like this leftist fantasy of a nationwide strike a hell no, we won’t go. We’re going to be remote only forever. And that is just that periodic to it’s just a fantasy. It is. In my opinion. If people really He did sit it out for a long period of time. In my opinion, in my analysis, what would happen is corporate America would would bring in AI and robots and scabs that much faster, you would have scabs that would cross that picket line because they needed aid. I just don’t think it’s that difficult to figure out. Just my opinion, I could be wrong. But that’s kind of what I see you shaping up. As I went over to look at the side panel for LinkedIn news, I found someone had posted a message. every economist, everyone who’s out here telling you that there are two open jobs for every one unemployed person, nobody is sitting for a long period of time unemployed, they’re all there’s just a sea of jobs, an ocean of jobs for anybody that’s unemployed, it’s not difficult. If you get laid off. Well, it’s almost like who cares? Because you’ll find another job quickly. Right? All of them should read this post. This person writes after 10,000 job applications, I have not landed one. I am seeking the help of LinkedIn to find a remote opportunity, a car accident left my means of transportation completely totaled. And it would be a dream come true to find a position at home. I don’t know this person personally. It is it true that he has applied for 10,000 jobs? I don’t know. There’s no way for me to know if that is right on the money. Or if there’s maybe some hyperbole in that, I don’t know. But even if we assume it’s a 10th of that, if he is applied for 1000 job applications, and still hasn’t landed anything. That tells me that there are not two legitimate open jobs for every one unemployed person. People are doing great. They’re flush with cash. If you get laid off, it doesn’t really matter. remote work is still here to stay the companies of the future as some mansplain or tried to tell me the other day, the companies of the future are all going to be remote. Right? I’m sure they will be of course. So here you go. This person was looking for something that’s remote only due to a car accident and can’t find anything. But there are plenty of open jobs. Of course. When we scroll up to the side panel, we find Millennials are in serious debt. Well, yeah. Gestures broadly, a lot of generations are rage, applying the new quiet quitting. I’m not even going to click on that, because that’s not new news. People have been talking about that for months. And it’s not anything that was new, even months ago, people will have rage applied for years. You get passed over for a promotion, you get told no on a raise or some kind of benefit. And so you go rage apply. It’s not necessarily that you’re even going to leave the company you’re at you’re just pissed off and you’re looking for an outlet for your anger. Winners storm slams SoCal and heads east. Buffett optimistic about the economy. You know, he himself said when other people are greedy, you should get fearful. When everybody else is fearful. You should get greedy. So if he’s telling me that he’s optimistic about the economy, I’m like, Oh, shit. I’m not. Firms thin down but avoid pink slips. Right? That’s why we see mass layoffs announced every day. Sure, of course. Pfizer moles $30 billion biotech deal. All right. On that article we read, Pfizer wants to bolster its cancer treatment offerings through a $30 billion deal with the pharmaceutical giant said to be in talks to acquire Seattle based biotech Cgn reports the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources Cgn specializes in immunotherapies against certain cancers and an acquisition could help Pfizer recover some of the $17 billion in revenue that it expects to lose in coming years as many of its patents expire. Last year rival biotech Merck attempted to buy Cgn for $40 billion dollars but failed to reach an agreement and quote, feel like this is another situation where the house always wins. If they’re concerned that they’re going to lose $17 billion in revenue from Expiring Patents. This is not chump change. They will figure out some way of recouping that money I can guarantee you when we click on Buffett optimistic about economy, we find despite the looming threat of a recession and economic uncertainty, Warren Buffett remains optimistic. In his always anticipated annual letter to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO expressed his faith in the US economy’s resiliency. In his eight decades of investing. He wrote that he has yet to see a time when it made sense to make a long term bet against America. Berkshire Hathaway reported losses of 22.8 2 billion in 2022, following a profit of 90 point 8 billion the year prior and quote, yeah, I feel like this is the same kind of, everything’s gonna be okay. Don’t worry about it pablum that we were given in the lead up to the Great Recession. Don’t bet against America. Don’t assume that anything bad’s gonna happen because we’re going to turn it around. Well, we saw how that went. Yeah, okay. Things got turned around. But it wasn’t overnight. People lost their jobs people suffered, people went through foreclosure and repo and debt defaults. If you have to go through a bankruptcy or a foreclosure, and you get wiped out financially, it takes years to rebuild yourself. That too, is not an overnight process. So I myself would be careful of anything that smacks of hot air hopium feel good propaganda. Just me. Hybrid work, hurting city eateries. In this article we find workers are coming back to the office but not nearly to the extent that bars, restaurants and hotels and urban areas need them to the hospitality industry in many cities is seeing sales plummet on Mondays and Fridays, as the Tuesday Wednesday Thursday in person workweek becomes the norm. CNBC reports. The lags at the beginning and end of the week have forced restaurants to cut hours find creative ways to lurk customers in on Mondays and Fridays and in some cases close and with fewer workers and offices daily, a good portion of spending has shifted to suburban areas. Over the course of a year workers in New York City, LA and Washington DC are spending more than $4,000 less per person near their office, according to a study conducted by W. F. H research and quote, I have several thoughts about this. Let me try to think about where to start. I’ve said many times that in my opinion, I feel like hybrid is just a temporary stopgap. The end goal, I believe is the same for all of these companies, you’re going back two days becomes three becomes four until it finally becomes Oh, hell just come on back. We need to be buttoned seen in the cube farm Monday through Friday. Let’s just do it. You did it before. So why don’t you just go ahead and do it again, I know it’ll be a period of adjustment because we had this three year blip with the but now that we’re telling you that’s over with and you don’t need to be worried about it and we want you to cross pollinate downtown, then let’s just come on back. That’s that, to me, that’s one side of the coin. There will be some companies that will allow you to have one work from home day as a special puppy treat. And I want to interject a story that I was told by an individual I have a business relationship with. He is allowing me to communicate the story on the air with the condition of anonymity, I can’t bring up his name or the company he works for the most that he was comfortable with me saying on the air is it’s a large company. It doesn’t have the kind of name recognition as like a fortune, whatever company. So if I said the name out loud, which I will not do, most of you probably would not recognize it. But it is a large company and it is profitable. And I would say I would expect it to stay profitable based on the industry that it’s in. That’s the most I will say. What he revealed to me was that based on what he’s seeing and hearing in corporate meetings, right now they’re doing a hybrid schedule. But the plan is to herd everybody back. And what they’re going to do, again, according to what he’s been hearing internally, this is subject to change, right? They could maybe they could change their mind. But what he’s been hearing internally is that everybody will be allowed one day to work from home as their puppy treat. And they’re going to divide the company into two teams. So like team one will get to work from home on Tuesday, and then team two will get to work from home on Wednesday. And ask them about that. I’m like it seems kind of weird because you would think most people, if given the choice to select their work from home, they would want to either do it on Monday or Friday. Have a long weekend one way or the other. You know or have a day where Okay, at least on Friday, I don’t have to commute at least on Monday I don’t have to commute seems kind of weird to pick it in the middle of the week like that. So I asked him why do you think that they’re doing it that way? And he said well, I think it’s because they want to have their kickoff meetings and get things started off on the right foot on Monday. And then they want to be have their their they want to be able to have their week close. meetings on like Thursday and Friday. Have people available for feedback able to join in in person meetings kind of cool. After the week off, right, so to speak on Thursdays and Fridays. It could that be the direction that other companies would go in? I don’t know. But as we were talking, the point really became Monday through Friday, there will always be some amount of people in the office. Because on Tuesday, when team one gets to work from home, Team Two will still be there. On Wednesday, when team two gets to work from home, team, one will be there. So there will never be a point in time during the week, where the office is just sat empty, and people are not cross pollinating and potentially going somewhere for their lunch hour, we’re shopping before after work. I really think that that could be for these companies that decide to allow you one day per week for your puppy treat work from home day, that could be the wave of the future for those firms. I think it’s interesting, too, that we’ve heard hospitality, leisure and hospitality restaurants, bars, they’re just hurting, they’re just begging for people. But then at the same time, now, we’re being told that some of these places are having to close down because they’re just not getting enough revenue. So which is it? Is it that they’re hurting for money, and so they’re having to close down due to a lack of business, because you peons won’t come on back, like you’re supposed to, oh, and you also won’t spend money that you probably don’t have, or they’re hurting for laborers. I mean, to me, it can’t be both, you’re gonna have to pick which narrative that you go with. Personally, I feel like this is another example of the house always wins when you boil it down. Is corporate America going to allow all of these restaurants and bars and hotels and shops to just go out of business and say, Oh, well, that was a casualty of war. That was a casualty and the RTO work from home battle, and we’re so sorry about these industries. But the remote workers just one too bad, so sad. I highly doubt it. Because those industries are profitable, and they are a major component of the economy. 70% of the GDP in this country is built on consumption. So I find it really hard to believe that corporate America would just wholesale say, Screw restaurants, bars, hotels, convention centers, shops, were just going to let remote work went out. And we’re not going to worry about these stores and restaurants, etc. In downtown urban areas to hell with them. I find that really, really hard to believe. Another component to this is we’ve heard cities griping about tax revenue, you’re going to hurt social service programs, street maintenance, the ability to maintain public transportation to provide revenues to schools. Essentially, you’re going to hurt the little old ladies and the children if you don’t come back. Likewise, I find it hard to believe that the cities that are squawking and balking about tax revenue that they’re just going to shut up and acquiesce to remote work. Sorry, I don’t believe it. I mean, I think that the ultimate conclusion to this weird pantomime that’s playing out is your going back. Some companies will be full on Monday through Friday, eight to five button seat, and some may allow you to have a day to work from home as a puppy treat. And I bet it will be done in the way that my source confided to me, you’ll have a day on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. But there will always be a time when somebody, some group of people is present in the office. There just won’t ever be a point in time Monday through Friday, where the office is totally vacant, and everybody has gone remote. One of the responses to this article that was posted on LinkedIn has written it seems like Li is the chosen propaganda medium for RTO and financing for Ukraine. And I laughed out loud when I read that and I was like Yes. Welcome. Welcome to reality. So glad you could join us, those of us who understand what’s going on here, and the narratives that are being very deliberately pushed on this platform. Welcome. Welcome. Dobro Kujala have it welcome beyond Vinu so glad to have you here. velkommen V die. So so glad, so glad you realize that. The next paragraph, however, is where he loses me. So he writes, from my point of view, the problem is hybrid itself. Hybrid needs to return to fully remote remote workers are helping local restaurants where they live, they’re probably getting what they want and how they want it. remote workers are expanding not contracting the US economy. People shouldn’t be forced to do something they don’t want to prop up the profit of companies, our society how to Sudden change and that change is permanent in quote, If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a wonderful Christmas. I agree that the problem is hybrid itself. I don’t like hybrid schedules. I don’t know a very many people who do I think some folks, I’ve just acquiesced to them and said, Well, this is the reality that we’re living in. And so it is, I think a lot of people do look at it as a hell of half measures. And if given the choice for real, they would rather just be at home. And yes, people should spend their dollars where they want to, nobody should have to eat in a subpar restaurant that serves sawdust, food, just because well, it’s the only option that’s around here. And they’ll sling some hash at us fast enough to get back to the office on time. I guess I understand what he’s saying here. I also agree that remote workers are not causing this economic failure. The fat cats have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to blame anyone and everyone other than themselves for the economic crisis. I’m on board, generally speaking with what he’s saying. Where he loses me is when he says that our society had a sudden change and that change is permanent. No, it’s not. No, no, in my opinion, that sort of thing is smoking the hopium. Again, a week we had a permanent sea change in corporate America, and they will not force our to Hell no, we won’t go we’re just not going to do it. We’re gonna dig our heels in and we are not going back. Well, when you’re hungry when the kids are hungry when the landlord is at the door with an eviction notice when the bank sends you a foreclosure notice when the car is getting repo. Let’s see what your reaction is, then. I am not telling you it’s fair. I am not telling you it’s right. What I am telling you is that the system is rigged. And it is not rigged in a way that favors the average working class person nor the working poor. It favors the fat cats and the billionaires and the Wall Street powerbrokers and the politicos, etc. But it doesn’t favor the rest of us believe. Today, it is Tuesday, February 28. I wanted to go back to the layoff roster on LinkedIn because unfortunately it grows every single day. Cerebro parted ways with 285 employees in the third round of layoffs at the mental health startup within the past year Business Insider reports. Twitter has reportedly laid off more than 200 employees or roughly 10% of a workforce that once was as large as 7500 but now consists of about 2000 workers. I saw this morning the headline that Elon Musk is back on top as the world’s richest person so connect the dots on that data analytics company Palantir technologies is laying off less than 2% of its staff. The company announced about 75 employees were affected by the cuts CNBC estimates based on a recent company filing fashion marketplace Poshmark laid off 2% of its staff in a month that has also seen layoffs from rivals eBay and the real real. Former GEICO employees are posting on LinkedIn about layoffs at the insurance giant fringe biotech firm. Nimmo Therapeutics is winding down its US operations and laying off its US team, according to members posting on LinkedIn. Wow. But hey, people are doing great 3.4% unemployment rate. If you go to this layoff roster on LinkedIn, they’re still going to tell you that the US economy obliterated forecast by adding more than a half million jobs in January and the unemployment rate is 3.4%. Who on earth still believes that? I know they’re supposed to be updating the jobs report soon. I’d it’s laughable because I just I don’t think we’re gonna get anything resembling the truth even when they do update it. Also on LinkedIn this morning consumers nearing breaking point question mark. Do you think Americans were widely expected to curtail their consumption as soaring inflation pushed up the price of just about everything instead, they kept on spending. Personal expenditures climbed 1.1% month on month in January the biggest spending increase since early 2021. But there are signs that consumers could soon hit their breaking point Vox notes, pandemic air savings are shrinking and loan and credit card delinquencies are increasing especially among younger borrowers. Meanwhile, big retailers are pushing back on additional price hikes from brands which are testing the limits of their customers price tolerance and loyalty and quote Yeah, pandemic era savings flush with cash. All that STEMI money living in grandma’s basement or couchsurfing with your friends, right? Because everybody is apparently a 20 year old frat boy in America, this is how they live. But we saw this same bizarro narrative over on NPR. On February 25. They published despite high inflation, Americans are spending like crazy. And it’s kind of puzzling. And they have a photo, the caption of which says people walk along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which is one of the nation’s premier shopping streets on February 15 2023. Well, okay. One possibility is if we’re talking about people who are wealthy or ultra wealthy, and they’re shopping at designer shops, major department stores on Fifth Avenue Sure, if you want to tell me that someone who’s worth a billion dollars is out shopping and they have a let them eat cake attitude, I’ll buy that shirt. No pun intended. Of course, if you’re telling me that the average working class person is on a spending spree, and that they are just full of frivolity and gaiety right now. No, no, I don’t believe it. In this article, we find something unexpected is going on in the US economy. Immediately I’m thinking of Ghostbusters. Something strange in the neighborhood. Like, is it though? It seems to me like the only thing that strange is the bullshit that we keep getting out of the MSM. inflation remains high yet many Americans went on a spending spree last month eating out at restaurants and shopping for cars in ordinary times that additional spending would be welcome news to an economy that’s heavily dependent on consumer dollars. But there’s a catch all that spending threatens to put more upward pressure on inflation at a time when the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates aggressively to keep prices in check. That makes it critical to gauge how long that consumer spending can last and quote. Sure. Couple of things here. So one possibility is we’re being told this because it furthers the Feds agenda, right? We’re trying to cool off the economy. But golly, gosh, gee, bang whiz, and darn it all to heck, the consumer is still spending up yawns will not calm it down. You’re going out to eat in these restaurants and you’re shopping for cars, and you’re buying designer handbags on Fifth Avenue, what the eff y’all quit it. We’re trying to cool this economic jalopy off and you just won’t let it happen. So one possibility there is they’re blaming the peons for their economic car wreck that they’ve put all of us into. This also, to me feels like the type of medical skya propaganda that really turns on Neo cons. And here’s what I mean by that. Neo cons really seem to enjoy the message of it’s your own damn fault. Anything that happens to you in life, whether you get sick with a horrible illness through no fault of your own, whether a drunk driver sideswipes, your car, you’re walking down the street and you have an accident. It’s your fault. It is your fault. Every single thing that happens to you is your fault. There’s never ever, ever a situation where someone is a victim of circumstance. Own it couldn’t possibly be that the system itself is rigged by the hyper elites. No, no, no. And no, the system itself is fine. We just don’t have the right politicians. These are the same people who try to sell you on the idea that some sort of extreme right wing agenda could work as long as we had a benevolent dictator in charge of it. As long as there was food in the law larder and money in the bank that everybody would be fine with it. And we could elect somebody who wasn’t going to go power mad. So to me, this is kind of like the propaganda that Neo cons really like. It’s everybody’s fault. All of these people, these people just out there somewhere, are spending all this money eating out at restaurants and shopping for cars and buying designer handbags, because they love this narrative that working class people and working poor individuals are all lazy, unmotivated, irresponsible, they want a bailout, they want to have a lot of fun and silliness on their credit cards, and then turn to Big Daddy government for a bailout. That is that is a narrative that Neo cons will eat with five different spoons. They love that shit. So while you have average working class people saying I don’t Want to go into debt over carrot. I don’t want to have to put groceries on a credit card. I don’t want to do buy now pay later for food. You have people talking about their energy bills doubling or in some case tripling not being able to hardly afford their water bill. And you expect me to believe that the average john and jane Q Public in this country are on shopping sprees at restaurants and they’re buying cars. The auto industry is in trouble. You have delinquencies for people who bought last year. But supposedly in like December in January, all these people were out buying cars. Okay. Not quite convinced of that one. They were out at restaurants. Not convinced of that one either. I told you about Scott Walters video of going through an upscale mall in Southern California and there was freaking nobody. There were restaurants where the light was on but nobody was home. We’re also told that because remote work is typically not happening on Mondays and Fridays, then the bars and restaurants and these larger cities are suffering. Some of them are having to lay off staff or put them on furlough. Some of them are just having to close on those days altogether, because there aren’t enough people going downtown in urban areas to eat at these restaurants and frequently shops walk which is it? Is it that restaurants are suffering and some of them are going to have to close the doors because the peons aren’t spending enough money or is it that the peons are on a spending spree and they’re eating at restaurants and buying new cars. Just long pause there so that you can think about this contradicting, bizarre clown world that the media expects you to swallow. They expect you to take all of this down and not ask any questions about it. Don’t look for any contradictions just shut up and believe whatever you’re told. In terms of today’s headlines we find on CNBC Dow closes more than 200 points lower Tuesday, major averages in February with losses rivian Post mixed fourth quarter and underwhelming Evie production outlook stock falls as sales slow target leans into affordable joy, and it’s cheap, chic reputation. I guess that sort of depends on your definition of cheap chic, because for some of us go into the old Tarjay has had to get cut out. It’s too expensive. If Dollar General and Walmart are getting to be too expensive, going to Tarjay and twirling your wax mustache, you know that’s too high. In my opinion anyway. Supreme Court questions if Biden plan for student loan relief is legal. If that doesn’t come through, and you were planning on it, if you had your heart set on getting your debt relieved, have you thought about how you will cope with it if that doesn’t happen. FDA advisors recommend Pfizer RSV vaccine for older adults despite possible Gyan Baray risks. So there’s that Novavax shares plunge as company raises doubts about its ability to remain in business. Norwegian Cruise Line shares fall 10% as soft outlook wider losses Eclipse strong demand. Yeah, who has the money to go on a cruise right now, if we can’t go shop at Tarjay we’re definitely not going on a cruise Hello. home price gains lost a lot of heat at the end of 2022 new report shows people don’t have the money. Some of the sellers that are still LARPing that they’re in 2021 need to wake up to the reality of 2023. You don’t have to put down 20% on a home. Here’s when a smaller downpayment makes sense? Hmm. Well, as I always say, I’m not an economist. I don’t give advice. I don’t tell you what to do. I’m pretty sure that if you put down a smaller down payment, you’re going to owe more money. So you’re going to be on the hook for that debt a longer amount of time. Just seems to me that you would really want to think that decision through and be careful with it. If it were me. Over on Yahoo Finance, we find stocks fall to close out volatile month on Wall Street. HP sales decline driven by the macro economy CEO says yeah, that’s like the political slogan. It’s the economy stupid. It sure is. All the recessions that didn’t happen. Oh, well. Speaking of twirling a wax mustache, I assume that’s put there as hopium in my opinion, to make you think maybe this recession that’s already in progress won’t happen either. Wink, wink. We’re in a crazy lopsided world. Something else I want to talk about before I sign off for this part of the broadcast. Yesterday evening. I was Listening to Jocko willings podcast on the whi T. And he had an episode there about how to get shadow banned immediately. And I was like, wait a minute what I mean, this is an experience, as I’ve told you, I am living it as well on certain platforms. I may have 1000s of connections 1000s of followers, and yet 25 people see my content. That’s crazy, you know, in that situation, that you have gotten the golden stamp of disapproval when that’s happening to you. Nobody has to come right out and tell you you know what the truth is? So I watched this episode and he talks about how he had been shadow banned. This just goes back to the situation that I faced with the fan club and the actor. You know, I told you in last week’s broadcast, if they will do it to someone who’s quote, famous, and has spent untold 1000s of dollars in ad spend, they’ll do it to anybody, nobody is safe from this capricious, whatever it is and algorithm censorship, I don’t know. But it’s like okay, when we go on, Jocko is podcast here on why t he has 1.6 3 million subscribers. You know, he has to be generating a crapload of money for that platform, and yet shadow banning him. Wow. In that episode, he speculates on, you know what it might have been that he said that call us the shadow ban. But he would see situations where nobody, no new followers, not many people seeing it, people not being able to find it in the search box. And it’s like, damn. Again, I’m going to tell you, if your ability to provide for yourself to feed your family is predicated on a platform that you do not own and you do not control. It’s like the student loan debt relief. What are you going to do if that doesn’t work for you? If the day ever comes that you get banned, or shadow banned, and this business you’ve built around, some social media platform goes kaput, and it can happen I am telling you, it can happen so fast. And with no warning at all, and they can ice you out to where you get no explanation about what what supposedly happened here. What Why are we being treated this way? You will be like persona non grata to them, I can’t explain it. I don’t know why it’s done, especially when they’re making money off of you. That’s The killing part to me, because it’s like, okay, if this really boiled down to just pure, free market style capitalism, or some kind of extreme greed, they’d be like, well screw it, we’re making money off these people. We don’t give a damn. So there has to be in my mind, and in my opinion, a higher agenda to all this. I also listened briefly, I didn’t listen to all of it. It’s like almost a two and a half hour episode. But I listened to a little bit of episode 372 titled figure out the framework, the rules and the objectives, then play the game. Listen, I don’t give advice, and I don’t tell you what to do. Me personally, I think that is the way you better handle it. If it were me, yeah, absolutely. You better figure out the rules of the game and how to play it. Because the way that you survived during a recession or a depression or a time of 70s era stagflation, totally different from how you navigate something like the great resignation, when there really are two legitimate open jobs for every one unemployed person, or people in your field are in extreme high demand, and they are commanding their own rate. Totally different, totally different from a recession, or depression or stagflation. I’m not telling you that the system is fair, you are never going to hear me say that. It is rigged against the little guy, no doubt about that. No doubt about that in my mind. To me, it would behoove you to figure out the framework the rules, and learn how to play the game. Get your mind right on the objectives, figure out what you bring to the table and play the game. All of this LARPing about people having a nationwide strike hell no. We won’t go will sit at home forever, and just I guess slowly starve to death. No, I don’t think that’s the game you want to play. Again, I don’t tell you what to do as my rams are on the porch trying to tear creation down. I don’t tell you what to do. But for me personally, no, new No, I’m not going to LARP that a big strike is coming. I’m not going to play games. I’m gonna get super strategic about how to make sure that I weathered this storm. I don’t want to starve to death. I don’t want to lose the house. I don’t want things to get repoed I want to stay on top of what’s going on. So I think this idea of figuring out the framework, the rules and the objectives and then play the game. Yeah. Whether you like it or not, I think that’s spot on. Or Are you looking for more? Don’t forget you can find Sarah on her blogs at Causey consulting llc.com. And at Sara causey.com. You can also read her content on medium and substack. On with the show. Today, it is Wednesday, March 1, q1 is flying by. So it’s such a weird quarter and such a weird year in general. At least for me, it has been. We’re now in meteorological spring, it won’t officially from a seasonal point of view be spring until the vernal equinox on March 20. But at this point, meteorologically, we’re in spring, and I don’t know about you, but in the lower part of the Midwest here, it has already felt like spring at various points in February. We’ve had some days that were sunny and 75. We’ve had some days that were humid. Sunday night, going into Monday morning of this week, there was a tornado outbreak. There were like nine tornadoes and one night crazy. And I know people will say Well, part of the Midwest is Tornado Alley. So isn’t that typical? Not in the not in February. That’s the wrong time of the year. This is like April and May type behavior. So it’s been weird. I just have the feeling that like so many recession or downturn type years, it’s this is just going to be a weird time catches catch can and craziness. Before I get into the headlines of the day, I wanted to talk about an article I saw on trading economics.com talking about the Challenger job cuts. So here we go. This is the Challenger gray and Christmas. This firm seems to be ubiquitous on this topic. I’ll drop a link so that you can check all of this out for yourself as they say Seeing is believing. So when you look at the data and you see the charts, I think it really helps you to visualize exactly where we’re at. In the summary we read us based employers announced 102.9 1000 job cuts in January of 2023, the most since September of 2020 and compared to 43.6 1000 in December. It is also the highest January total since 2009. When 241.7 1000 were announced as companies are preparing for an economic slowdown, cutting workers and slowing hiring. The technology sector announced the most cuts with 41.8 1,041% of all cuts and the second highest on record. Retailers announced the second most cuts with 13,000 Real Estate came in at 2000. I’ll just say 2000 as housing demand and prices fall. Meanwhile, employers announced plans to hire 32.7 1000 workers primarily in entertainment slash leisure, we’ll see about that. This is down 58% From a year earlier, and 37% from December 2022. And quote, and then you can manipulate the chart to go back pretty far. So when you look at the when you turn it into a line chart, and you just look at the layoffs. What’s coming down the pike, as I said, seeing is believing it really drives it home. For me this idea that no, no, we don’t actually have a 3.4% unemployment rate. No, we don’t have two legitimate open jobs for every one unemployed person. I still find it very difficult to reconcile this idea of consumers are spending, they’re going on shopping sprees. But then we’re also being told that shops are empty. Restaurants are empty. Everyone needs to hurry up and RTO and come on back. Because the shops and these restaurants and cafes are in danger of closing on Mondays and Fridays when people choose their work from home puppy treat days, these places are empty, the staff is standing around with nothing to do so they have to close. Well, which is it? Are these places understaffed and so there’s going to be all this suppose at hiring and fast food and entertainment and leisure or not. I mean, this is very clearly fishy information in my opinion. If we go over to the latest layoff announcements on LinkedIn, because as I’ve told you before, it gets updated all the time. Someone could make a podcast of nothing but here are the latest jobs being lost today. That’s the dystopia we find ourselves in but hey, people are doing great remember, sure they are. LinkedIn members are posting about layoffs at Nike, that tech consultancy ThoughtWorks and healthcare for firm color. Former color employees right that 300 positions were eliminated. General Motors will cut 500 salaried employee A CNBC report citing anonymous sources in late January, GM CFO Paul Jacobson said no layoffs were planned. Mm hmm. You know, it’s almost like somebody should have been warning you about not paying too much attention to what you hear out in the public. Oh, yes, I did. And I have told you the same damn thing about RTO. I don’t give a rip about whether or not some company you’re working for told you that you can be remote forever, forever and ever. Amen. We wouldn’t think about buying corporate office space, or we have an office, but maybe we’ll sell it. We don’t know. You’ll never have to come back. If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it. Sorry to burst your bubble at any point in time. They could say we changed our mind. Let me reread that last sentence to you again in late January. GM CFO Paul Jacobson said no layoffs were planned. Now we’re here Wakey wakey. Perkins Coie. hope I’m saying that right. It’s C O ie Perkins Coie, which ranks 42nd on American lawyers list of the 100 highest grossing law firms in the US has laid off 58 business professionals. The firm is one of several in the legal field to recently downsize. Hmm, wait a minute. Wait just a minute. Domina I thought we were told that no mass layoffs were coming. Okay. But then when mass layoffs happened, you were told it’s only going to be big tech in Silicon Valley. Because they got into the Zoom boom, and the work from home boom, and all that and they over hired, they flew too close to the sun, like rigorous and so now they’re having to make downturns. downsizes huh. How is that looking? When you have healthcare firms? Athletic companies, automobile companies, legal firms. Right. Yeah. But somehow you’re still expected to believe that everything is going to be okay. I hope that you don’t believe that. That’s all I can do. I sit here on it. opine for your entertainment only. That’s it. I don’t give advice. I don’t tell you what to do or what not to do. If it were me, oh, I wouldn’t want to make any hard and fast assumptions about how these companies are going to operate. That that would not help me to sleep easy at night. In terms of today’s headlines over on Yahoo Finance we find costly and job destroying. McDonald’s president just blasted a proposal to pay fast food workers $22 an hour, he made $7.4 million last year. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. If you’re still out there with some delusion that crony capitalism is going to look out for the little guy. Where are you at? I want to read a selection from Nomi Prins. His book other people’s money, the corporate mugging of America, my paperback copy was only updated in 2006. So you can bet these statistics have gotten worse, not better. Again, from page two of the paperback copy. Not only did executives managed to grab substantial wealth by exercising their options on company shares at bloated levels, as well as by actually selling their shares outright. But CEO pay relative to the average worker shot out of control. This continued a three decade trend that had spiked in the mid 1990s. The difference in real annual compensation of the top 100 CEOs rose from 1.3 million in 1970 To 37 point 5 million in 1999. During the same period, the average annual salary in the United States only rose from $32,522 to $35,864. Meaning the average worker salary Rose 10%. While CEOs salaries Rose 288%. Put another way in 1983 CEOs made 42 times what the average worker made that factor today is 1046 times again, we can assume it’s gotten worse since then. And those salaries don’t even include stock options or all the ridiculous perks. The million dollar per year corporate jets the $20,000 per month Manhattan apartments and the $15,000 umbrella stands in quote. If it was that bad, like Oh 40506 You can imagine what it must be like now. Rules for the but not for me. I need to be able to make $7 million a year because I sit at the top of this thing and I’m more important than you are. mean it’s so hard to figure that out. Over on Yahoo Finance also we find Goldman Sachs tries to reset firm culture after three unusual years. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon addressed negative headlines surrounding the bank’s culture during the company’s second ever investor day on Tuesday. I hate the noise. Solomon said bluntly, I live in the same neighborhood as you all live in and I wish the noise was different. Various media reports of mass partner exits coupled with recent Wall Street chatter, the bank has lost its way after the failure of its consumer banking project Marcus have all contributed to unfavorable sentiment. And this coming after the company laid off some 3200 workers positions, or a little over 6% of its headcount in January after a challenging 2022 Salomon admitted Mistakes were made telling investors I think we’ve accomplished a lot over the past few years. We got some things right, we got some things wrong. I read things in the paper that don’t match what’s happening inside the firm. Solomon continued explaining there were fewer partner transitions in 2022 than any other year going back to 2014. The culture of Goldman Sachs is incredibly strong. We have an extraordinary group of people working incredibly hard. He said, We also recognize we’ve gone through a very unusual period over the last three years, the pandemic was a very tough thing on a culture like ours. Goldman Sachs shares down about 5% Over the past month, are trading relatively flat year to date underperforming the s&p five hundreds 3% gain over that same time period. Solomon went on to note that Goldman is a human business, explaining the firm has made a conscious decision to invest in its culture with leadership, spending more time with partners throughout the year, to help push a greater sense of community throughout the organization. We’re going to continue to invest in our our culture, I think it’s very good. But I do think we’ve had dramatic shifts, he said, once again, referencing the pandemic which was quickly followed by an unfavorable macro environment that created more noise, more grumbling, but usual, he’s describing this like it’s an angry stomach that just wants to be fed more grumbling than usual. Overall, I feel good about the partnerships and the culture. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to keep investing. He reiterated, Goldman saw a rough into 2022 with profits down a whopping 69% in q4, amid a serious decline in deal making revenues pressured by a weakening economic backdrop. Oh, no wonder there had to be a kalpoe ground up with the investors. You know, they not happy about that. Following Tuesday’s presentation analyst reaction appeared cautiously optimistic, although questions remain over the path to profitability for its consumer banking unit, otherwise known as platform solutions. Shares of Goldman fell about 4% on Tuesday as the company made its pitch to investors. Coming out of the conference, the buzz among investors was whether GS will grow the consumer businesses or sell parts of them. Our interpretation of management’s commentary is that both options are on the table. Morgan Stanley Analyst Betsy gray SEC wrote in a new note published on Wednesday and quote, so go on to talk about net loss, things maybe not being as good as they were expected to be. So yeah, I’m sure that there needed to be a cowpoke round up on that. But the investors are not happy. But when you’re talking about resetting the firm culture after three unusual years, I think one of the things that’s going to happen there is you’re going back, there’s going to be pressure to come on back to the office. This idea of managers and partners having to collaborate more, who ever benefited from having their manager stand right over their shoulder and surveil them all day bulls. That’s a good way to run somebody off not to motivate them to do better. Time will tell, but if you want to know more about the way the sausage is made at that place, you should definitely check out Nomi Prins this book other people’s money because she talks about it in interesting detail and it’ll curl your hair, that’s for sure. Over on CNBC, we find mortgage demand from homebuyers drops to a 28 year low and the TLDR key points we find mortgage demand fell for the third straight week as interest rates increased. mortgage applications to buy a home dropped 6% last week from the previous week. Mortgage rates have moved half a percentage point higher in the past month. Again, I would ask who wants to get in? Unless you have to unless there is no way that you can do like what Orlando minor talks about out, sit it out with purpose, sit on the sidelines, improve your credit score, improve your finances. wait for things to be more appealing to you, as a buyer wait for the market to stabilize some. Unless you’re in a situation where for some reason you just cannot do that I’m not sure who in the hill would want to be in the middle of this market right now. You would have to be in some serious Dire Straits to go in voluntarily. Over on LinkedIn, from s PAC to bankruptcy. We read what happened to all those s PAC deals. While the upsurge in special purpose acquisition companies dominated finance industry narratives early in the pandemic, at least eight Spax have gone bust since June 2020. To Another 100 or so companies are in a similarly precarious position and lack the finances on hand to fund their current level of spending over the next year says Bloomberg. Now questions are intensifying around the merits of Spax as a growing cluster of companies that lean on them have ended up bankrupt. And the trend is likely just getting started as Bloomberg. cue up day from Storage Wars. Yay. Good. This is the tip of the iceberg. My friends, in my opinion, it is the tip of the iceberg. You will see mergers and acquisitions, you will see companies going out of business you will see companies that fold to the point where nobody’s left, the entire company closes, and anybody left working for them gets a pink slip immediately. This is coming. I turn yet again, to jet Hills speech and malice. This is the here and the now. I wish it wasn’t believe me but if you’re not awake yet, we also find car debt and delinquencies are spiking. A record share of consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on auto loans. As more households struggle with high inflation, rising interest rates and the end of pandemic era benefits. payments on more than 6% of subprime auto loans were at least 60 days late in December, according to s&p global a higher share than during the 2008 2009 Great Recession. Let’s say let’s say that again, payments on more than 6% of subprime auto loans were at least 60 days late in December according to the s&p Global a higher share than during the Oh 809 Great Recession. Oh, we would just never holonomic greatness. I don’t know how long it’s happening now. Meanwhile, auto dealer, auto dealers tell Bloomberg that they’re seeing a growing number of trade in customers carrying up to $10,000 in negative equity. The amount that car loan debt exceeds a vehicle’s value subprime lender American car center which operates some 40 dealerships, mostly in the southeast shuttered last week amid the spike in loan delinquencies and quote, wow. Wanting to come in with a trade in with $10,000 of negative equity being upside down to that point. People are doing great though. They’re going on shopping sprees. They’re playing around with their credit cards just having them a good old time. Just sitting here, pulling this information together for you gives me such a huge flashback to like oh nine I hope I pray. You know whether you’re spiritual or not, I don’t care if you believe what you want to believe. I just want to really speak it over you right now. Send positive energy, sin whatever I can just just like I am putting some kind of anointing some kind of something on you and saying if you are listening to this broadcast today, it is it is my hope is my declaration over you and your life. That you are safe. You have prepared you have done what you needed to do to get through this. You are not being caught off guard you are not being blindsided. I roof, man, I hope not. I don’t want that for anybody that’s listening. We also find GM to cut 500 jobs. General Motors is cutting approximately 500 executive level and salary positions. Media outlets including CNBC, Reuters and the Detroit News are reporting citing anonymous sources and an internal memo to staff members. The automotive giant is looking to save $2 billion over the next two years as it continues to invest in electric vehicle production. CNBC reports. In the internal memo, GM said the cuts are coming as the company undergoes a fundamental cultural shift to be more performance driven and accountable. And quote, interesting. So we’re seeing that same kind of verbiage about a cultural shift coming out of GM and then over at Goldman Sachs. So they’re saying they’re trying to reset firm culture. Ignore these narratives at your own risk, you know, is this part of the great r e. S E T in general? Maybe it also could be hot air hoopla and corporate propaganda, in my opinion designed to just make everybody obfuscated from the truth. Oh, we’re just having some changes. We’re resetting the culture, because we don’t want to call it what it is, we’re in trouble. We want to cut costs. We don’t want to scare the peons. So we think if we call it resetting the company culture, maybe it won’t seem so scary. Right? Well, I mean, it’s, it’s gonna be obvious for anybody that pays attention. Meanwhile, the running ticker of layoff announcements has been updated even just since this morning. In its second round of job cuts in 2023 Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, laid off 137 employees. This adds up to 8% of staff that has been let go this year. Despite CEO Julia Hart’s his assertion in 2022, that live events are recession proof. Eventbrite is laying off 8% of its team. That’s estimated to be around 80 people based on the company’s stated headcount in a December 31. Filing, the ticketing service will also relocate 30% of its rolls to Spain in India, in quote, recession proof live events are recession proof, I’m not sure where in the hell the evidence is for that. Thinking back to the Great Recession, we tried to really remember as best as I can, I don’t remember that we went to concerts or some fancy pants theater performance, who had the money. Recession, live events are recession proof On what planet. So again, I’m going to tell it to you again, gonna tell it to you again, if you wait to be officially told something, you’re waiting too late. If you trust something that’s coming out of the mouth of a CEO or a president or any kind of publicity type person, and it’s just being put out to the unwashed masses for their consumption, I would really, really be careful. So careful whether that’s our our company would never have a layoff. Our company is recession proof. Our company would never have financial trouble, our company would never demand RTO, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, blah, and blah, blah, I would really, really be careful believing any of that, if it were me. Today, it is Thursday, March 2, over on Yahoo Finance, we find mortgage rates surged closer to 7%. In this article, we read mortgage rates jumped higher this week, getting even closer to 7% and crushing homebuyer activity which hit a 28 year low, I will button and say I hope that you would factor that into your decision making. I don’t tell you what to do. If it were me and my family, I would really want to pay attention to that information. homebuyer activity is at a 28 year low. Because I am sure there are still realtors and brokers out there that will try to pee on your leg and tell you that it’s raining. They want your money, probably more so now that they’re desperate. So if it were me and my family, I’d want to be very careful about who I listened to. And I want to independently verify anything that I could. Also we read the spike in rates is another blow to would be buyers who are also facing still high home prices and a shortage of affordable homes for sale. Sellers also appear to be pulling their listings rather than cutting prices further to spur interest in quote, that does match up with what I’m seeing here in the Midwest, I still see people LARPing that were in 2021 that there are tons of buyers with FOMO and Yolo. Just ready just begging and clamoring and waiting to show up at the doorstep of their burned out myth trailer and offer them half a million dollars with a full steak dinner and a bouquet of red roses. So what I’m seeing is that they will either just allow the listing to sit there until it ages out of the MLS and it just goes away. They will do a very nominal price cut. I’m talking about reducing it by $500 or maybe $1,000. Which is nothing when you’re thinking about your monthly mortgage payment. Oh, okay, so you’ve overpriced this house by $200,000. But you’ve reduced the price by 1000. Wow. Allow me to turn cartwheels and get really excited. Or they just take the listing off the market and say we’re not going to we’re not going to sell right now. For people whose only motivation was greed. They wanted to get a pot of cash for a poopoo house but they don’t really have the need to move. Of course that’s what they’re going to do. This is a situation where what we’re being told in a mainstream outlet actually does matter. match with what I am seeing in real time. I’ll read just a little bit more. I think the biggest concern is buying into a market that would continue to go down. Jeff Reynolds, broker at Compass and founder of urban condo spaces recently told Yahoo Finance in my 18 year career, I have never seen rate moves like we are seeing now and quote, I really, really think that you have to pay attention to the stories and the statistics that are as bad or worse than what we witnessed during the great recession. So when you’re seeing things like auto delinquencies and debt on cars being worse than it was at the peak of the Great Recession, I feel like if you ignore that, you’re ignoring it at your own risk. If it is that important to you to get high on hopium. You may not make it. I understand that’s Debbie downer, but I am trying to be real with you. There was an article from fortune.com that I shared yesterday on some of my social media. The headline reads, Salesforce reportedly pays actor Matthew McConaughey $10 million a year despite layoffs. In this article we read it seems McConaughey is similarly being looked after. With the Wall Street Journal reporting, the popular film star is paid $10 million a year to offer creative advice in front campaigns. It is unclear when the contract began and what the terms are. McConaughey also does not appear on sales forces website under either the executive team or the board of directors. However, the news could be tough to swallow if you’re one of sales forces recently laid off employees who were promised a relatively generous severance package having been notified that they had lost their roles and a 3am Slack message to staff in quote. A Slack message how gross how gross but Okay, so my editorial comment on this is ever notice how companies can find the money for something they really want slash really think is important. Because they can, if they want the money to give to an actor or a pitch, man, if they want the money to invest in something else. If they want to line their pockets with that money, they will find a way to do it. Now they’re not nearly as committed to finding a way to make sure that your butt stays in that seat and you have a paycheck and benefits but if it’s something that they really for real think is important. Yeah, they will find a way trust and believe. Also unfortunate.com Today, the gifts that just keep on giving. Salesforce is Marc Benioff wished he could employ staff for life. Now he’s asking if he should unleash his inner Elon to slash staff headcount. Man, this gives me a headache. But I did tell you, I did warn you. Whenever Lord Ilan last year was making his proclamations about RTO or it’s your job. There’s a new sheriff in town, there’s a new regime in here, you’re doing it my way or you’re leaving, I warned you. I told you that all this was doing was opening the door wider for other companies to follow suit. If you chose not to believe that if you bury your head in the sand. And you thought that okay, well, that will happen because it’s Lord Elon, but it would never happen at my company. It would never happen here. Woof. I hope that you are taking a good old bite out of a reality sandwich as Martin crane would say. The byline reads like Twitter Salesforce plans to run lean and mean Amid growing pressure from investors. Told you that to these companies don’t answer to John and Jane Q Public they don’t. They don’t. They answer to the shareholders, the board of directors, the investors, the people that they think are actually really for real important, but they do not answer to you and me. They don’t. We also read Elon Musk loses crown as world’s richest person just 48 hours after regaining it. I’ll get my teeniest tiniest violins out. Bank of America warns the Fed will hike rates to the point of pain as experts say there’s no serious signs the economy is under control. Well, whoever said that the economy was under control. The hot air and hopium crowd people that want the band to play on forever and ever, I guess. Russia could be broke by next year and it desperately needs foreign investment according to billionaire oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. What is the deal? You know, these European nations demanding foreign investment? That’s something else that just doesn’t pass the sniff test for me. Maybe I’m too suspicious, I don’t know but but foreign investment and making making Ukraine better building it back better making it a more digital economy. I just, I find that suspicious. Again, maybe I’m just overly suspicious maybe I just find things to be too cynical at times. But me personally, I just don’t trust it. And on that note, speaking of cynicism and things, I just don’t trust the article that I received in the Atlantic’s daily little newsletter thing that I get. Wow. Wow, the amount of what that I felt reading it was an unreal. So in this article, and I will drop a link. I think I’m going to write a blog post about this. I published the podcast episode about Potemkin villages earlier. And I think I’m going to post this blog as a sort of piggyback off of that, because it’s like, what on earth it just completely justifies everything that I talked about in that episode, like a piece of plywood with Scenery painted on it, and it’s held up by some two by fours, but it’s not real. It’s an illusion. So in this email newsletter, it reads according to the predictions of many economists last summer and fall, America should be in a recession right now. But as my colleague Andy Lowery wrote in The Atlantic today, the facts reveal a very different state of affairs. Unemployment is holding steady at its lowest rate and half a century, layoffs are not increasing. What the economy is growing at a decent clip, wages are rising, and households are not reducing their spending. What corporate profits are at a near all time high? Okay, probably so because they’re gonna make damn sure they stay paid. Okay. Consumers report feeling confident. What? What, I don’t know, I don’t know how you publish something like that with a straight face it like, I can’t I can’t get there. I don’t I just I cannot get there. Unemployment is holding steady, layoffs are not increasing. Oh, meanwhile, every day, every day on the roster of layoff announcements on LinkedIn, it’s more information, more companies, more people being let go. As I also predicted your social media feed gets littered with people saying I can’t find a job. I was part of the layoff. I’ve been made redundant. Can you please help me but you’re supposed to believe that layoffs are not increasing? The economy is growing wages are rising. Households are still doing great and spending money willy nilly. What is this clown world that we live in? i i This is something else where I can’t get there. I can’t make this make sense. Unless I assume that it’s full of hot air and bullshit. I can’t make it make sense. Excuse me, sir. Since you enjoy standing outside the office and making noise whenever I’m trying to record a broadcast, I wanted to ask you what thoughts that you have about the mainstream media, the narratives that were being given about the job market and the economy? Do they seem highly suss and fishy to you? Today, it is Friday, March 3, there are some headlines over on LinkedIn that I want to call out. One is zoom suddenly fires its president. Zoom has abruptly fired its president reported Bloomberg with effect from Friday. According to a regulatory filing. Former Google exec Greg Toom, who only joined Zoom video communications in June will receive severance benefits following his termination without cause. Tomb was on a $400,000 annual salary and had been granted $45 million in stock that would vest over four years per Bloomberg. Earlier this week, the video conferencing firm announced better than expected earnings as well as a 27% year over year jump in large enterprise customers. Zoom laid off about 1300 employees as part of a 15% workforce reduction in February, while CEO Eric Iwan reduced his own salary by 98% for the fiscal year and is foregoing his 2023 Bonus unquote, something is definitely going on there. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of exactly what it is. But I feel like there has to be some kind of a shift. They wouldn’t be having these shakeups and we’re talking about huge amounts of money, a $400,000 annual salary plus $45 million in stock that would vest over four years. This is not chump change. And he’s already gone. This feels strange to me. And I still wonder, okay, I’ve got my tinfoil hat on, I still wonder if some of these video conferencing platforms are aware of the reality that I seem to be aware of too many other people don’t seem to be aware of it, but you’re going back. If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it. If you don’t own the company, you don’t make the rules. And if at any point in time, they say, come on back, or it’s your job, like Lord Elon did, guess what you’re either going back are, it’s your job. So I still think that these video conferencing platforms that had their boom during the pandemic when the peons were allowed to work from home. I wonder if they know what’s coming. And they’re downsizing, and they’re trying to put revenue and other directions because they know there won’t be as much of this video conferencing happening. Once most of the peons and plebs go back to the cube farm. Now, am I telling you that every computer is going to dump things like Skype, or teams or zoom? No, I’m not. No, I’m not I unfortunately, you know, I hate those platforms. Look, we know. And it’s not personal about anybody, I just don’t like the surveillance culture. I don’t like the digital pan Opticon. And I don’t like this idea that we can’t just have a phone call anymore. We can’t just talk verbally on a telephone. No, I have to do the pantomime, I have to go and get in the mirror and comb out my hair and put on makeup and put on a dress shirt to sit and talk to somebody for 10 minutes. When it 100% could have either been a telephone call, or better yet an email to use the phrase does your Come on, man. So I don’t think that all of these video conferencing platforms are just going to totally disappear. Would that it were so but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I just think that they will be used less frequently. Because if everybody is back in the cube farm, for the most part, what’s going to be the point, if they can hurt you into a conference room, and everybody sits together and has the joy of being together in person again, then why would they need to have all of this infrastructure around video conferencing? Maybe that’s just me and my tinfoil hat. But it’s kind of where I think this is going. Oh, look. On that note. When remote jobs become hybrid. At least one big company is bringing employees back to the office by simply reclassifying them as hybrid. Even if they were hired as remote workers. USAA informed employees if they lived within a 60 mile radius of the San Antonio based company, they were expected in the office three days a week, according to an internal email cited by the Wall Street Journal. The maneuver comes as many employers way not only the pros and cons of remote work, but how strictly to enforce our to policies. The New York Times called it a phase of trial and error that comes with staggering stakes in quote. And when you go through and you look at a lot of the commenters that are on LinkedIn right now, I mean, it’s like, oh, oh, the hopium Oh, the butthurt. And it’s like, I hate to do it. But I think I have to. Sarahwas right yet again. I am definitely not going to be shy and taking some credit here and patting myself on the back. No, I’m not gonna sit here and give some false humility. Because I told you this was coming. When plenty of people in HR and staffing and recruiting were shining you on and trying to blow a bunch of smoke at you and saying no, remote work has taken over. Oh, like the man splinter? Who came at me saying the nascent companies of the future will all be remote. And I’m like, dude. Oh, the strain of hopium that you’re smoking today must be some good, good if you think that because no. So looking at these comments, I’m just like, what, what did you think was going to happen? Like, oh, the problem is short term thinking. The problem is bait and switch. This is not going to work in recruiting. You’re not going to retain your people. You’re not going to attract good talent. It’s almost like they don’t care. And I’m like, yeah. Do you think? Do you think hell no, they don’t care. Listen, I’m one of the very few voices that will get on a platform and tell you that they don’t care. You can sit there and talk a blue streak and tell them and tell them and tell them you are going to kick back the geographic boundaries and have picking choice. So many people enjoy being remote. Only if you allow us to consider remote candidates in this search, you will have prime choice you can cherry pick whoever you want for this role. They don’t care. They want you back. I have told you and told you and told you and told you that another commenter is talking about 60 miles. Can you imagine what your commute would be just all of a sudden? And it’s like, I recorded that episode. I told you, you had better rough out and RTO survival plan. That includes what if you have to suddenly commute? Orlando minor on his channel, read a post from social media about someone who had moved way away from their office. And then this man and his wife were both called back at about the same time. And they were looking at like a 90 minute to two hour commute each way. And they were wondering what to do about it. And I’m like, Well, this is a situation. Now I’m going to paraphrase Lynette Zang here. It’s better to be 10 years too early than 10 seconds too late. I think it’s the same thing with RTO. It’s better for you to be too early and to wargame your strategy out maybe three or six months before you’re going to need it. Instead of having no strategy and getting an email or some garish Slack message saying, Hey, you’re counting back and then having no clue how you’re going to handle it. If you want to keep smoking hopium if you want to keep playing games with the hot air patrol, you’d be my guest but who I just I hope that’s not you. I hope that’s not you. When we look at the latest layoff roster, and to be honest, I may have to update this again before I sign off and start doing the production work to put this episode together to go out in the morning. I may have to come back to this because this list refreshes constantly. Now we find Citigroup is laying off hundreds of staffers across its investment banking operations it and mortgage team Bloomberg reports citing anonymous sources, the cuts effect less than 1% of city staff of 240,000. Yeah, did that. Qurate, which owns QVC and Hsn. Let go of 400 people employed by the television shopping networks. Hmm, probably because they know you’re not going to have as much disposable income to go shopping on QVC and home shopping network. Okay. About a dozen people including longtime staffers have been let go from CNET. The Verge reports citing anonymous sources, new leadership at Bridgewater reportedly intends to cut 100 jobs as part of a hedge fund wide reorganization. If the hedge funds have started cutting people, you know, they know what’s coming. These people that manage money for billionaires and have billions upon billions of dollars that they’re responsible for, you know, they know what’s coming. Wheels upset it hopes to save $30 million via cost cutting efforts and layoffs through the aviate. Though the aviation company has not yet said how many will lose their jobs. LinkedIn members are posting about layoffs at the freight matching company truckstop. Who a 2600 person workforce reduction at BASF was expected to mostly affect European workers but LinkedIn post suggests us workers are also feeling the German chemical giants cuts Hmm, that’s something else I want to say. Don’t ever think, well, it couldn’t happen here. It couldn’t happen to me. Oh, well, I know that there have been these banking collapses and turmoil that have happened in places like Cyprus and Lebanon it’s happening now in Nigeria but it doesn’t know where the layoffs are gonna happen in Europe because my boss said so which has never happened here. Loose I mean, y’all out there plans so many games. Two months after being acquired by bending spoons note taking app, Evernote is losing 129 employees to layoffs. Instead of adding 1000 workers and 2022 as planned. yellow.ai has now conducted its second round of layoffs in six months, leaving the conversational startup 15% smaller than it was six months ago. Saunder which once had a valuation of $2 billion has let go of 100 people or 14% of its headcount, the short term rental startup previously shed 21% of corporate staff and 7% of frontline staff last June in a second round of 2023, job cuts, alphabets Waymo has laid off 137 employees bringing its personnel losses for the calendar year to 8%. Every day robots another subsidiary of Google’s parent company was shut down. It’s not known how many of the units 200 Plus staff members were laid off only that both humans and robots lost their jobs. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be funny, but like, Gee, damn, the robots are out here losing their jobs to Lord. Something else I want to point out that was on CBS News rather quietly in the middle of February. Now that pandemic aid has vanished bankruptcies are on the rise. Do you remember hearing about that? Because this is right in the thick of being told people are doing great. Oh, they’re just spinning willy nilly and having them a good old time. The end of federal pandemic aid is putting many Americans and businesses under mounting financial pressure, leading to a spike in bankruptcies. Total bankruptcy filings in January shot up 19% to 31,087, up 19% from a year ago, according to data from Epic illegal research firm. The number of Americans who filed for bankruptcy across chapter 711 and 13 shot up 20% in January from a year ago. The surge in filings comes as rising interest rates and high inflation, continue to stress household budgets and quote, I would also add to that job loss. Especially if you think about someone who bought a house and 2021 they got into the FOMO and the Yolo. And they overpaid. Maybe they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t know what they were getting into. Or they listened to some bullshit realtor or bullshit mortgage broker who just wanted the money they got into a house they can’t really afford and then they get laid off. Or if you’re talking about a two or three adult household What if everybody of working age gets laid off at about the same time? Then how are you going to make ends meet if it was a struggle anyway? Hey, it’s gonna take all of us working full time, but I believe we can do this. I believe we can have this dream house. What if that goes away? I mean, looking at the numbers going up of bankruptcies. That’s scary. Difficulty hiring in a tight labor market. The ongoing war in Ukraine and fears of a recession have also prompted some companies to file for bankruptcy. That said, while bankruptcies have increased, they still haven’t reached pre pandemic levels in quote, oh, sure. Well, look, you have to have some kind of silver lining there. I guess we still get the narrative of difficulty hiring in a tight labor market, fears of a recession, not that the recession is already here. And by the time they tell you we’re in a recession, it will be a depression. No, we need to keep everybody from panicking. Now bankruptcies are going up. It’s looking real freaking bad out here. But they haven’t even reached pre pandemic levels. So you can feel free to go back and be in a coma. Be in a slumber worry about Harry and Megan, worry about royal gossip and do all of that. But don’t worry about your finances. Don’t prepare. Don’t pay attention to things that really matter in your life. Just go back to sleep, little baby. Unfortunately, just as I suspected there were more layoffs added to the roster. It’s Friday evening, I’m going to have to get this episode prepared for production. But I wanted to squeeze these in. On the heels of its first profitable year in 2022. Air b&b laid off 30% of its recruiting staff point 4% of its total headcount of 6800 Zscaler, a provider of cybersecurity tools that has doubled its headcount over the past 18 months, says it will restructure and cut 177 jobs about 3% of its 5900 employees. LinkedIn members are posting about layoffs at truckstop. Orchard homes, the TOPS company, abnormal security slowness, and right point. This is horrible. I have so many flashbacks to the Great Recession. I heard someone earlier saying what if instead of the Great Recession, this is like the greater recession and not in a good way obviously like what if it’s even greater than the Great Recession and I’m like, I don’t even think in that direction. But I think we have to also on CNBC before I go, here’s here’s a little bit of hopium that we can smoke. Hey, it’s Friday night we don’t have anywhere else to be let’s just smoke some hopium full time office work is dead. Three labor experts weigh in on the future of remote work. And the TLDR key points we find remote work balloon during the COVID pandemic as a public health Measure, the share of full time remote work seems poised to flatline at a level five times that of 2019. workers and companies have reaped benefits, especially in so called hybrid arrangements. There’s that narrative again, that hybrid work is the way of the future. And I’ve told you before what my prediction is remote goes to Hybrid Hybrid goes to full RTO. And if you care to read this article, if you want to smoke this opium with the people that they are labeling as experts, you are more than happy. More than be might be my guest. Go ahead and go ahead and do that. I will be talking next week probably in the episode I will publish on Thursday about crony capitalism, cronyism and RTO. Because there was an interesting article published on MIT Sloan, about it to be determined future regulations that would impact work from home and how those potential financial costs and regulations could wind up driving people back to the office. And I’m like, I told you, if you want to read this, in my opinion, in my analysis is hopium. This is plain and simple, hopium and hot air for the unwashed masses to keep you load and pacified into a relaxed state. In my opinion, that’s what it is. Stay safe, stay sane. And I will see you in the next episode. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We’ll see you next time.