The Causey Consulting Podcast

Saturday Broadcast 59

August 05, 2023
The Causey Consulting Podcast
Saturday Broadcast 59
Show Notes Transcript

Key topics:

βœ”οΈ ICYMI news, 7/31-8/4.
βœ”οΈ3.5% unemployment rate. No recession coming. Now, defaults are on the rise and credit card debt is the highest it's ever been, but people'r'doin' great! πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’«
βœ”οΈ Maybe if we use adjectives like soft, smooth, resilient, and robust often enough, you'll believe it.


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Welcome to the Causey consulting podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey.


Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Today. It is Monday, July 31. Kind of hard to believe we're at the last day of July. Not a complaint though, from me. We are firmly in the dog days of summer. It's going to be triple digits all week long. Maybe knock on wood. It's going to be dry enough that hay can be cut and bailed. I'm hoping because I feel like we're a little bit behind the eight ball on all of that. But wow, it is so hot. I am happy that I can finally start to see like, it doesn't get daylight quite as early and it doesn't stay daylight for quite as late in the evening. It's becoming more evident that we're in the dark half of the year. Like yes, yes. We're getting closer to the fall closer to Halloween and Thanksgiving. And I'm ready. I'm about it. Over on Yahoo Finance, we find goals be nothing off the table on September rate decision. In the byline we find the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago president said the Feds goal is to stick on the golden path and get inflation down without causing a recession to be determined. We have heard so much insanity. A slow session of rich session. Oh, the recession that's canceled is not even going to happen anymore. We are going to have that soft landing. Okay. Sure. Whatever you say stocks rise and run up to Apple and Amazon and the jobs report. Why Barbie and Taylor Swift matter to the 2023 economy. I am not even going to click on that other than to say, that just makes me sad. Morgan Stanley says home prices will drop next year, again to be determined. In the Midwest, I am still seeing overpriced due to poop houses and not much in the way of inventory. There was a place that came on the market that I admit, initially, it felt tempting. Yes, it's overpriced. But it looked like it was new construction. And it had a pretty good amount of acreage that went along with it. But then when I inquired and ask some basic questions, it was like a house of cards. No, it's not brand new construction. Here's some things going on with it. It's in the middle of nowhere and you can't really get goods and services. And I'm like, Okay, well. Good luck with that. So will home prices drop next year? I have no idea. Quite frankly, this whole bubble has gone on longer than I thought it would. Common sense would seem to suggest that at some point, people are going to be squeezed to a level where they just cannot afford the houses that they paid too much for and that they're upside down on. I understand that sounds gloom and doom. I'm just telling you again, from a common sense perspective. I don't know how it could be otherwise, I could be proven wrong. Because as I just said, I don't know how the bubble has limped along for this period of time and how the media continues to paper mache over the cracks in the foundation is just mind numbing. In a headline that does not surprise me any whatsoever. Generation X faces bleak retirement Horizon. Well, yeah, no shit. Sure. The only thing really that surprises me about that is that they're even mentioning Gen X because so often we're just a footnote. It's like we don't even don't even exist. Over on fortune we find orange themed trucking giant yellow is so far in the red it has ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. teamsters union says Amazon wants to stay on top of the $1.4 trillion ecommerce market and we'll double it same day delivery facilities in coming years. Elon Musk says San Francisco's Doom spiral isn't enough to force him to move Twitter headquarters, but he's getting a lot of good offers a doom spiral. Earlier today on the side panel for LinkedIn, we saw fence Kashkari sees smooth landing. And I laughed. I really did laugh out loud. I recorded a broadcast back on March 23 of this year called get your money for nothing and your job lost for free. And it was inspired by the PBS Frontline documentary age of easy money. So if the name Kashkari sounds familiar to you, that is because he was featured in that documentary and one of the A quote that he says is actually the most valuable asset they have is their job, meaning the most valuable asset that most people have is their job. And so one of the things that I wanted to talk about in that episode is like, well, if you're saying that the odds of people losing their job is not remote, but then you're also saying the most valuable asset people have is their job. It's a bit like, connect the dots. So in this article on LinkedIn, we read, the Federal Reserve official said the US economy would likely avoid a recession, adding to growing expectations for a so called smooth landing, meaning the central bank would manage to tamp down inflation without triggering a downturn or deep job losses. Hmm. Neel Kashkari, president of the feds, Minneapolis bank said he's still expected some slower growth and job losses as a result of higher borrowing costs. Let's just stop right there. What mealy mouthed equivocal language are we getting here, we're being told that the US economy is likely going to avoid a recession. And they're growing expectations for a so called smooth landing, meaning the central bank would manage to tamp down on inflation without triggering a downturn or deep job losses. And then in the very next flipping sentence, Neel Kashkari, president of the feds, Minneapolis bank said he's still expected some slower growth and job losses as a result of higher borrowing costs. Now, it would be like if I wrote a news article, and I said, I think all of you need to save money. And then at the same time, you need to spend money as well. What? You need to eat fewer calories, but you also need to build muscle by eating an excess of calories from high protein sources. What am I the only one that looks at this and feels like we're in crazy town. The Fed has raised interest rates 11 times since last March to rein in rising consumer prices. Yet data Friday show price and wage growth slowing in the last quarter, even as consumer spending increased. Kashkari said he sees the unemployment rate, which has been hovering around a half century low, rising as high as 4%. From the current 3.6%. Right. The US labor department releases its job July jobs report on Friday, a market watch survey projects that it will show the economy added 200,000 payrolls while the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%. Wow. Yeah. Okay. So on Thursdays broadcast, I haven't always been doing Thursday broadcasts. I meant to talk about this on the air. And then I just It slipped my mind. I am not forcing myself to publish the way that I did for a while. I wrote all the time, or recorded podcast episodes all the time. And it was getting to be a lot. And after I published a massive amount of content, I thought, I've got to take a break. I'm getting tired. I love to write. I love creating content. But at the same time, it's starting to be like an albatross around my neck. I'm getting worn out. So I don't I don't force myself to make a Thursday broadcast. If I don't have time, and I don't force myself to write blog posts. If I'm up at midnight, trying to do something. No, that's time that I need to be asleep in the bed. But this Thursday, you can expect a Thursday broadcast and I'm titling it UK is Universal Credit UBI. And a look at the future. Because I watched a documentary from Deutsche Avella titled poverty in Britain, why are millions of Brits so broke? And it's a very interesting documentary, it's less than 45 minutes long, I would recommend that you that you watch it and make up your own mind about things. One of the reasons why this article on LinkedIn triggered my memory about that Deutsche Vela documentary is because in the write up for that documentary on YouTube, they talk about the same flipping thing. Oh, supposedly Britain has this 3.6% unemployment rate and they're nearing full employment for the whole damn country yet. Why are all these people so broke? And I'm sitting here, furrowing my brow, scratching my head, and I'm like, well, it becomes a lot less up obtuse, it becomes a lot more. A lot clearer, easier to understand. If you perhaps assume that maybe just maybe one of those narratives is false, maybe known Ramy. We're getting some unemployment numbers that are


maybe just maybe, just maybe. I will be publishing a blog post tomorrow to talk about the failure of Heartland tri state bank. Because remember, remember old Dave Ramsey telling us play a Silicon Valley Bank was just full of playoffs. And they were venture capitalist and they had a bunch of money. This is not the bank that has grandma's certificate of deposit. It's not the place with Timmies paper out money. Your local bank is not affected by what happened in Silicon Valley. Your bank is fine, calm your butt down and quit doing quote, stupid but thinks. Well, stupid but now. And then also remember Jamie Dimon back in April telling us that the banking crisis was just about over. Thanks for doing great people are fine. Yep, up about that. Over on Yahoo Finance published on Saturday, we find banking turmoil arrives in small town USA. With Heartland tri state failure. The banking turmoil of 2023 arrived in small town America on Friday night. I'm gonna button right there. I warned you about that too. I warn you about the fat cats literally effing telling you. when the shit hits the fan, we ideally want it to happen on a Friday night. Here you go. Now you can choose to ignore this information if you want to, oh, well, it would no. It would never happened to my bank it would never mind or if you want to believe that it is completely totally up to you. Completely and totally up to you. Like Dr. Phil always says you're free to choose your own actions to do what you want to do. You're just not free from the consequences of those actions. I'll start again. The banking turmoil of 2023 arrived in small town America on Friday night when a tiny four bank branch in Kansas failed, becoming the fourth lender to be seized by regulators this year and the fifth two fold altogether. The Heartland tri state bank of Elkhart Kansas is the smallest to go under in 2023. By far, it had $139 million in assets when it went down Friday, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The other banks that failed thus far this year all had assets of more than 100 billion, including Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. The biggest was first republic which had $229 billion when it was seized by regulators in May, becoming the second largest bank failure in US history. Now we scroll down a little bit and we find an isolated event because see we have to put on the pastel sweater and we have to talk in a very calm. Let me get closer to the microphone. We have to talk in a very calm, soothing manner. This is an isolated incident. isolated event. Not a big deal. Maybe if I talk like this, I can melodically and hypnotically soothe you little baby into taking pablum and going back to sleep. It is not yet entirely clear why Heartland went down. The Kansas Office of the State Banking commissioner said in a release that bank Commissioner David Herndon determined that Heartland tri state bank was insolvent and then it became insolvent due to an isolated event. Overall, the Kansas banking industry is unaffected by this event and Kansas banks remain strong the release stated Heartland is one of 1000s of small community banks serve local areas across the US. And here this next bit very clearly, please, most banks in this country are more like Heartland than they are an industry giant like JP Morgan Chase, which has 1000s of branches and more than $3 trillion in assets. Heartless headquarters city of Elkhart has a population of less than 2000 people according to the 2021 US census records, and is located in the southwest corner of the state. This is small town America. I mean, as somebody who lives outside of the small town in the Midwest, this could have been us just that easily and just that fast. Things happen slowly, until they happen very fast. Lynette Zeng has talked about that on her channel. Sometimes you get a warning, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes an article like this may be the only warning you get. It may be the only little slip of a card across the table from the universe to you saying hey, have you really cleaned up your side of the street financially? Do you know where you stand? Do you know how you would handle an emergency? What would you do if your bank went insolvent? Or are you just going to sit back clutching your pearls and saying well that would never happen here? Never happened me I hate to say this because I know it is going to sound absolutely awful. And I know I'll get hate mail. People may just be too far gone. I think I really think and I've said this before, you've got people who pay attention and people who don't. I think that this economic downturn is going to separate out people who paid attention from people who didn't. I also think it's really going to separate out people who are willing to have some kind of emergency preparedness in their life versus people who have a live for today mentality. No, I'm not going to save any money. No, I'm not going to live beneath my means. No, I'm not gonna watch the news. I care more about going to see BB and Hymer and buying into whatever the overlords tell me to watch. Whatever they tell me is culturally relevant. That's what I want to do. I want to hang out on Tik Tok. And I'm gonna screw off all day. It's going to separate out people who screwed off from people who prepped. I don't see any way around that. Maybe I'm wrong. And I could be maybe somebody who is the grasshopper that saying all summer will turn out to have the best possible life. Maybe I'm just being Chicken Little out here. I don't know. It just seems to me that I'm recognizing a lot of signs and signals that I saw leading up to the Great Recession and a conversation just the other day with the cashier in the grocery store. And he was like, I had asked him if they still had a labor shortage, or if things that smoothed down and he said, Well, they really haven't hired any additional help for us. So we're still short staffed, I can't speak to whether people are showing up for the interviews or what's going on from an HR perspective. But I know that we're still short staffed, and I'm just trying to pick up as many shifts as I can and consider job security. Because I do not want to lose my job. I would rather make money and keep my bills paid than to be out on the street looking for something else. And I told him that is the same exact attitude that I had during the Great Recession. I wanted to be the last one standing. I thought if if this sumbitch closes down, I want to be the last one standing and I want to have sterling letters of recommendation following me out the door. I just I kept my head down and I worked the idea of quiet quitting and phoning it in and you only live once and who cares and effort whatever that just did not. It just didn't enter into my mind at that point in time living, paying my bills and having groceries that entered into my mind. I'm not telling you it's right. I'm not telling you it's fair. I'm telling you that in my opinion, you live in crony capitalist America. And or if you don't, if you live in another crony capitalist nation. That's what you're up against. We don't have the decision making power of the central banks and their cronies and the politicians they carry around like nickels and dimes to quote the Godfather film. I mean, come on, man, we don't. So here's my question to you. I'm going to wrap up this segment of the broadcast by just simply putting it back to you. Did you listen to they were just play as in the in the banking system is solvent the crisis is over no big deal. Or did you say you know what, what if it's not? What if this is not an isolated incident? What if the banking crisis is not over? What if this is not just relegated to Silicon Valley with quote playoffs everywhere? What if this could happen in my small town? Did you listen to people that you found to be credible? Or did you listen to people that you found to be hucksters and charlatans that's a decision that you have to make for yourself?


Today, it is Tuesday, August the first today also really kicks off that first fruits the harvest season. In the olden times, this is when the ancestors would go out and start gathering in the first round of harvest the first grains start baking the bread. And for me, mercifully, it's a reminder that even though we're in the dog days of summer, this too shall pass the fall. We'll come we'll have some cool nights and some sweater weather and I am so ready for it, especially as we sit here in the summer swelter and it is so incredibly hot and uncomfortable. I am ready to think about the fall and winter months. Football is starting up again soon. I think the Hall of Fame Game is going to be on Thursday. I know for me, that's my bread and circus. That's my opportunity to unwind to forget about the economy and just tune out watch a good football game. I know some wise and Heimer will write in and say well you know that's rigged they decide before the game. Okay, that's fine. Even if that's the case. I'm just watching it to have fun. Two hours to not think about the nation's debt, the job market the economy fee fiat currency CBDCs etc. I think we need to have those pockets of time to just decompress to do something fun to be with the family to not think about all of this gestures broadly. And on that note, the job market is a big source of news over on CNBC. Today, we find job market is undergoing an immaculate cooling says economist, but there are pockets of heat. Okay, all right. I'm just gonna rub my temples here like Gordon Ramsay when he goes in a bad restaurant. Okay. All right. In the TLDR key points we read, the job market is gradually cooling. As metrics like job openings and quits fall from record highs, workers who enjoyed unprecedented bargaining power in 2021 and 2022. are seeing that leverage start to wane. Economists said, however, there are pockets of strength. That means it's now more important for job seekers to understand what's going on in their industry. One expert said, Okay, let's just let's just stop right there. Gradually cooling, okay. Workers enjoy this unprecedented bargaining power 21 and 22. But they're starting to see that leverage way. Yes, there are pockets of strength. But it's now more important for you to understand what's going on in your industry. Now, I'm going to be a broken record here. If you're only just now, you're only just now coming to grips with reality, in my opinion, you're behind the eight ball. If you're looking at something like this and going oh, well, alright. I guess that'll great resignation is coming to a close, I guess maybe I'm not gonna have as much leverage unless I'm in a pocket of heat or a pocket of strings. I guess I might be in trouble. If you're only just now, in my opinion, coming to that conclusion. Wow. Wow. You are way behind, way behind. If you're only looking at this and understanding it just now. The job market has been cooled off for a while, in my opinion. And in my experience, I would say if we think about the great resignation, that was more so 2020 into the early part of 2022. The entirety of 2021 for sure, but into the early part of 2022. I've said before for me January 1 of 2022. It was like a door slammed shut. I could feel it, it was palpable. Now, can I sit here logically chapter and verse and try to explain a gut instinct to you? I can't. I just I can read the ebbs and flows. I could process the patterns. And for me, I was like, whoa, wait a minute, Whoa, it's time to start battening down the hatches and reconsidering all of this because I could tell, especially in q1 of 2022, that that hesitation that we haven't been able to fill this role so far. Maybe we don't need it filled. These candidates are getting way too high and mighty for us. They want too much money. We can't handle it. Maybe we just need to hit the pause button. It was that hesitation. That rejection of the FOMO and the yellow happening that I saw in q1 of 2022. That made me think, Oh, the tide is turning. And we need to be ready for this change. I have linked to that leaked Bank of America memo that was on the intercept. I don't know how many times about saying they wanted to balance the balance of power to go back to corporate America. If you chose not to listen to these warnings, and you just thought well, great resignation is gonna go on forever churn and burn in 3.6% unemployment rate people are doing great. You bought into the neocon narrative that everybody is just lazy. Nobody wants to work anymore. If somebody's unemployed, it's their own damn fault. Wow. Wow, you are, in my opinion, way the hell behind way behind. And I'm not really sure what somebody could do to meaningfully prepare at this point. Not to say that you couldn't do anything you could rough out an RTO survival plan, you could certainly try to start roughing out a job loss survival plan. But if in my opinion, if your game plan is that you're going to hippity hop across the job market forever and collect more and more money each time you leap. I just don't see that working out really well for us a long term plan. Just saying. Also on CNBC, we find job openings and layoffs declined in June in a positive sign for the labor market. Okay, so the job openings declined, but then you're also supposed to believe that the layoffs declined as well. So overall, this is a positive message. Okay. And the TLDR key points there we read employment openings total nine and a half million for June. Your edging lower from the downwardly revised 9.6 2 million in May. According to the Labor Department's jolts report. Layoffs nudge down to 1.5 3 million after totaling 1.5 5 million in may quit also fell noticeably falling by nearly 300,000 or point two percentage point. A separate report show that the manufacturing sector was still in contraction during July, the isn manufacturing index registered a reading of 46.4 below the 50 level representing expansion in quote. Yeah, I would say that quits probably did also fall noticeably because there are some people who are starting to wake up to reality and go, Oh, shit. I can't just ask up and quit my job right now because I wouldn't be able to find something else quickly. There are people who are aware of that. Some people are some people aren't. Now, there's something else that I want to tie in to that exact discussion. But before I get there, let's hop over to LinkedIn because they have an analogous story today titled, job openings slipped to two year low job openings fell to their lowest number since April 2021. As employers reduced hiring amid rising borrowing costs, the number of available positions declined to 9.6 million in June, the most recent month for which data is available. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday, while hiring also edged down to the lowest level in more than two years, layoffs were little changed at 1.5 million, those mixed signals. Okay, here we go big Oh, my God just can't tell what's going on all those mixed signals point to enduring strength in the labor market, even after the central bank has raised interest rates at the fastest pace in more than four decades. The quits rate or number of resignations, as a share of employment slipped to 2.4% from 2.6%. In quote, I've also linked to that story that was on CBS News about Buckle Up America, the Feds gonna up your unemployment have linked to that. I don't know how many times but you will still have individuals who think that's just propaganda. That's just a conspiracy theory. That won't happen. Or it might happen to the guy down the road, but it won't happen to me, I will somehow be safe from all of this. Okay. It's not surprising to me as somebody who is in the job market every single day. It is not a surprise to me that quits have fallen noticeably. Because as I just said, there are some people who have tuned in enough to go, oh shit, I don't want to be without a job. I don't want to say take this job and shove it and walk off without somewhere else to go because that could really turn around and bite me in the beehive. You have some people that will just simply refuse to acknowledge the truth because they don't want to. They've gotten so pampered and spoiled to being in an echo chamber and people coddling them and telling them whatever they want to hear that the minute somebody comes along who's a contrarian like myself and says, Wait a minute, no. It's time for you to take a bite out of reality sandwich. They get mad.


I will talk about this article more on Friday over on the job market journal. But for the time being over on the Motley Fool we find billionaire CEO says remote workers just need a nice little recession to return to the office. No shit. I have warned you about this. I've been on the airwaves and I have been on my blog warning you for well over a year. This is reality. I also told you and all that mess about Wayne pack rats hit the news. There are certain managers and fat cats who are fiending for recession. They are waiting for the recession to hit or for John and Jane Q Public to wake up to the reality that we're in a recession. They want you to do what they want you to do. Corporate America America wants you to obey period. That this is an unfortunate ugly truth. A nice little recession to RTM Your butt is gonna get a whole lot more compliant. When you realize that there are not two legitimate open jobs for every one unemployed person. When you wake up to reality if your boss man says Get your ass back to the cube farm, you're gonna I warned you can't say I haven't been on the airwaves on the leading flipping edge of telling you about all this because I have been in the TLDR key points here we read Starwood capital CEO Barry sternlicht recently said that the remote work trend is a US phenomenon and that it is likely to go away after a recession. While certainly make some good points about remote work. There's little reason to believe it's going away anytime soon. If remote work is here to stay, the office industry could be at the beginning of a major transformation. Okay, so we've gotten Get our little bump there. Well, even though this guy says there's no reason to think it's Don't go away anytime soon. Right. Okay. In the meat of the article we read. In a recent interview, Barry Stern, like chairman of Starwood Capital Group said that the work from home phenomenon is a US phenomenon. He said that people are back in the office in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. What's more stern like, doesn't seem to think it's going to last. He said that nice buildings are still leasing and then a nice little recession, we'll clear this. Is he right? Will a recession and accompanying uptick in unemployment put pressure on workers to be willing to return to the office? Or is remote work here to stay and quote, and in the article I'm going to publish on the job market journal? It's like prediction alert? No, no remote work is not going to be available for every person. It's just not going to be. Are people going to be more willing to go back to the office in the midst of a recession that they know about? Once john and jane Q Public have woken up? And they're aware there's a recession with high unemployment? Are they going to dig their heels in about Artio? No, no, no, no, no, they're going to go back to the cube farm by and large. Here's what I wanted to say earlier. You will have some people on the first wave that get butchered. I'm sorry, I know that sounds terrible. I know it does. But I'm just telling you the truth, as I see it, you will have some people that decide, yeah, I am going to ask up and quit. Hell, no, I won't go I will sit out here and I will find another remote job, dammit, there's bound to be somebody hiring for remote work. And they will discover that it's going to be really difficult. You will have some people who refuse to listen, they refuse to see the writing on the wall, and they're going to go out and X up and have a fit. And then they're going to wind up unemployed for a prolonged period of time. The majority of people however, now you have too many people living paycheck to paycheck and drowning in debt. And people that like their creature comforts, they want to be able to spend as much of that paycheck as possible. They want to go out to eat, they want to go out and watch Barban Heimer. Apparently, they want to go out and get coffee, they want to go shopping. They don't want to be frugal. I just don't I don't see it happening. I don't think we're going to have this nationwide walkout against RTO where everybody says I will starve. I will sit out here and basically have a hunger strike. I don't see it happening. Also, in the article on the, we read when it comes to the comment of how a nice little recession would cause a return to the office sternlicht is making the point that the labor market has been exceptionally tight in the US. And workers have essentially been able to name their terms. In many cases, One survey found that 39% of workers would quit their jobs if they weren't allowed to work from home any longer. But if a recession made it significantly harder to find another job, would that still be the case? In quote, prediction work? No. No, I have told you and told you and told you? No. Would you really look into the faces of your children and say I willing to let you starve just so I can stay at home? I'm not going back to an office. We're just going to have to go without food. I hope you like eating ketchup on crackers because that's all you're gonna get. No, people are not going to do that. Let's get real. I think we need to quit LARPing and playing games and having one giant round of pretend let's play pretend, let's all be king for the day and just ignore the consequences of that. It's up to you what you choose to believe. Do you think that the job market is gradually cooling? Do you think we're only just now starting to see workers losing some of their leverage? Do you think there are pockets of heat and pockets of strength? Do you think maybe we won't have a quote nice little recession that drives all the worker bees back into the offices. Judge for yourself. 


Today it is Wednesday, August 2, the main news of the day is about the Fitch rating scale downgrading the US. In fact Investopedia is word of the day today was about Fitch Ratings on their website, they have a very good definition which I would like to read for you now so that we can navigate the information as we're going through the headlines and we just keep hearing about the Fitch analysis you'll have some idea of why Fitch Ratings is an international credit rating agency based out of New York City and London. Investors use the company's ratings as a guide as to which investments will not default and subsequently yield a solid return. Fitch bases the ratings on factors such as what kind of debt a company holds and how sensitive it is to systemic changes like interest rates. In the key takeaways we find Fitch Ratings is a credit rating agency that rates the viability of investments relative to the likelihood of default, Fitch is one of the top three credit rating agencies internationally along with Moody's and Standard and Poor's, Fitch uses a letter system for example, a company rated triple A is very high quality with reliable cash flows while a company rated D has already defaulted in quote, over on CNBC front and center it's our old buddy Jamie diamond. Diamond calls Fitch us downgrade ridiculous says it doesn't really matter. Treasury secretary and Yellin surprising Fitch downgrade is entirely unwarranted. The Fitch analyst behind the US downgrade breaks down the decision and how the country can regain the top rating. In this we read, it's not a growing jobs market strong US dollar or a resilient economy. That will help the US regain the top rating from Fitch according to the firm it's going to take a major step up in governance. Fitch Ratings cut the US is long term foreign currency issuer default rating to double A plus from triple A on Tuesday sending global stock markets down on Wednesday, the agency had placed the country's rating on negative watch in May citing the debt ceiling issue. This is a steady deterioration we've seen in the key metrics were the United States for a number of years. In 2007, General Government debt was less than 60%. And now it's 113%. So there has been a clear deterioration. Richard Francis fiches, co head of the America's sovereign ratings said Wednesday on CNBC squawk on the street. Furthermore, we're expecting fiscal deficits to rise over the next three years and we expect it to continue to rise over the next three years. Francis said that in addition to the January 6 2021 insurrection, the rating agency has noted a constant brinksmanship surrounding the debt ceiling among both Republicans and Democrats that has hindered the US government from coming up with meaningful solutions to deal with growing fiscal issues particularly around entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. He said, to regain the top rating, Francis said the rating agency would watch for a long term fiscal solution that addresses entitlement programs and for a willingness to look at the revenue as well as the spending side of such programs. He also said Fitch would look for a reduction of the deficit and for the government to tackle the debt ceiling issue by suspending or getting rid of it and quote, well, we'll see. We'll see how that goes. It seems like we just keep going further and further into debt day by day by day. And we're still getting breadcrumbed and gaslighted into whatever this economic downturn is Case in point over on Today we have the headline, imagine no recession. It's easy if you try Bank of America says in the byline reread Imagine no recession it's easy if you try Bank of America flip flops on its recession call arguing a soft landing is on the way. No wonder we got downgraded.


We keep taking on all this debt and the politicians and the media are not in my opinion being honest with us about what's actually going on. I mean, hello. Over on Yahoo Finance. It's a similar scene us credit downgrade syncs stocks. The byline reads, August isn't looking as bright as July so far on Wall Street, credit downgrades likely to be dismissed by DC Mohamed El Erian on fiches. US debt downgrade. Why now question mark. In this we read. Why now Mohamed El Erian told Yahoo Finance live when you look at the reason you scratch your head as to the timing of this fiches downgrade is the second ever for the United States after Standard and Poor's cut on August 2 2011. That decrease was spurred by Congress's fight to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government debt default. An agreement had been struck four days earlier. SNPs rating on the US debt remains at double A plus sound familiar? A similar debt ceiling standoff and ensuing agreement played out this spring and Fitch put US debt on downgrade watch at that time, followed by the actual downgrade yesterday. The reasons cited by the agency echo the same issues behind SNPs cut more than a decade ago. The repeated debt limit political standoffs and last minute resolutions have eroded confidence and fiscal management Fitch wrote in quote, yeah, it certainly has eroded many things of eroded my confidence in the fiscal management that's happening in this country or the lack thereof. On the side panel for LinkedIn Today we find CVS earnings up amid layoff news. Have you noticed that trend we saw in in big tech. The layoffs happen and people are sad and they're on LinkedIn posting about how their job is gone, but Wall Street sure does like it. CVS Health announced Wednesday that it solidly beat expectations for both revenue and earnings in the second quarter. The company posted earnings $2.21 per share versus the $2.11 cent. projection, its revenue came in at 88 Point 9 billion against the expected at 6.5 billion. The news comes just one day after CBS announced it plans to x about 5000 jobs amid a larger cost cutting effort meant to offset its pricey push into health care services. The company recently spent $10.6 billion to purchase Oak Street health, which operates primary care clinics for the elderly and $8 billion on home health care for signify health and quote, Hey, as long as we turn more of a profit, as long as Wall Street is happy, oh, well, those 5000 people are going to be out of a job. And also, juxtapose this with the sunshine and the roses. Imagine no recession. It's easy if you try soft landing. Yeah, we got this credit downgrade, but kinda like, who cares? It doesn't even matter anyway. Well, what's with the timing of this? It's irrelevant, you don't really give a damn. It's up to you to decide what's important. Earlier today, I heard some whispers on the wind, I'm not at liberty to go into who I heard this from or anything like that. And that's why I'm just telling you, it's a whisper on the wind. It's a rumor. I can't independently verify the validity of this. To me, it's one of those things where I would rather err on the side of caution. Meanwhile, also in the news, we have drama, and treble and Sturm on drawn, boiling up for the orange MAN yet again. As a matter of fact, yesterday afternoon, I was sitting here working and the four o'clock news had come on, on the local CBS affiliate, I was just working away really more so trying to listen to the weather report because of how freaking hot it's been. And in the town nearest to me, they've been having issues with rolling blackouts. So a lot going on with the weather and the infrastructure, and I was trying to work and then keep one year on the television, to hear news about that. And here comes a breaking news special report. And I'm like, Oh, my God, what's happened? Because you know, it's gonna be something bad. And here we go with Orange Man and more indictments. And what does this mean? And I'm like, Oh, my God. I just want to know about the weather and the power grid. I don't want to get sucked into this turmoil about the Orange Man. The Whisper on the wind that I'm hearing is that it is possible. As these indictments continue as trials go on, as whatever it is that's going to play out for him plays out, you could see clashes about that could have people on one side or the other getting mad and fomenting conflict. I'm not here to point fingers, I'm just telling you the Whisper on the wind that I heard earlier today. And I would say that's a plausible scenario. I'm not sitting here telling you, that's for sure going to happen. I don't know. It just seems plausible, because he is such a polarizing figure. And it seems like people either love him and they swear this undying loyalty to him, or they hate his guts, they think he is the actual Satan. And when you get that much vitriol and that much emotion going on about one particular person, then you add in the heat, you add in the economic situation, and the distress and people losing their jobs. I go back again, to my powder keg analogy. You have a pressure cooker, and a powder keg, and it's just waiting for that one thing to set it off. I don't want to be anywhere near a situation where that sets it off. I don't. As an introvert, I'm not interested in big concerts and loud gatherings and crowds and people pushing and shoving I don't want to be out in this damn heat anyway, I have to be to go outside and take care of the animals. But man, I wouldn't want to go out and pound the streets and carry a protest sign or any of that. I'm not telling you what to do. You have the right to free speech. You have the right to decide what it is that you do and do not want to do. I'm just telling you for myself and my family. There's no way in hell, I would get out in the middle of a powder keg situation. No way. No way. No, it's just not worth it. It's not worth getting hurt, getting killed. Having your freedom taken away if you know what I'm saying. And just know just know. But that is that is yet another area of potential civil unrest that could brew up as we get further into whatever actually happens. Do I think that anything will Oh actually happen as far as a prosecution or jail time? No, it never freakin does. It never freakin does. I was thinking about this the other day, because it's like how many times we get these impeachments we get these indictments and I'm not just talking about the Orange Man. I'm talking about Nixon I'm talking about Clinton. I mean we get these Oh, there's big trouble Oh, this this is it's all gonna go down. It's getting crazy now. You'll have somebody trot out the national nightmares over we need to get back to business as usual. We need to heal as a country and then it just goes on. Nobody goes to jail in the flunkies do the unimportant people that can be used as sacrificial lambs they might see jail time but the big head honchos never do. And this is not going to happen. It's not going to happen. So it's like going out and putting myself in danger. Over what? Over what No, no, again. I'm not telling you what to do or what not to do, but I'm sure shit not gonna do it. I'm gonna keep my behind at the house, and just try to stay safe to me. The being being safe and staying out of a big kerfuffle. Like that is the most important thing and keeping my family safe and out of a big kerfuffle not telling you what to do. Just telling you hey, whisper on the wind I heard earlier. Might be worth it to make your own decision about that.


Are you looking for more? Don't forget, you can find Sara on her blogs at And at You can also read her content on Medium and Substack. On with the show.


Today is Thursday, August 3 over on CBS News Today we find the headline Americans are going backward when it comes to saving for retirement, which should frankly come as a surprise to no one. In the article we find a growing number of Americans face the prospect of retiring without a penny and savings. Only one in 10 low income workers between the ages of 51 and 64 had any funds put away for retirement in 2019, compared with one and five in 2007. Prior to the Great Recession. According to a recent analysis by the US Government Accountability Office, those workers have median earnings of about $19,000 annually noted the study which examined data from the Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances and other sources, all but in long enough to say, remember, Mitch McConnell, the turtle saying that people were flush with cash, they had all this stimmy money, they didn't want to work because they were not motivated to because they flush with cash. But then here we're being told about workers that have a median earning of only $19,000 A year and not a single penny put by and savings. well wishes it is it that you have people that are living below the poverty level and they don't have a single penny saved, or they're flush with cash. somehow they've been able to take these stimulus checks and multiply them across all of this time and all of this inflation and they're just sitting pretty and doing great. It feels like to me, one of those narratives is probably not true. That's a stunning reversal for millions of households during a 12 year period that included economic growth and huge stock gains following the end of the Great Recession. All but it again and say how many of these people if someone has earnings of only $19,000 a year, how many of them are investing in the damn stock market? How many of them are shareholders in some fortune 100 company and they're sitting back smoking cigars and living off the dividends? I'm gonna guess probably not many. And well a poor workers lost ground high income Americans who earn about $282,000 per year enjoyed a surge in their median retirement assets which almost doubled to $605,000. During the same period, the GAO found in quote, I'm thinking back to Oxfam presenting at the web to the fat cats themselves and saying the fat cats enrich to themselves. The Hyper elites gained a tremendous amount of wealth during the pandemic while average people and working class and working poor people suffered. Also, let's go back and think about Jared a Brock's article which I'll drop a link to it again, if you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so about the hyper elites jonesing for recession so they can take people's assets on the cheap. Let's go back and look at the statistics in this article. Only one in 10 low income workers had any money put away in 2019. That's pre pandemic, I would be willing to bet you it's gotten worse since then. Whereas one in five back in 2007. Before the Great Recession hit had some amount of money put back. The number is getting lower. So two out of 10 in 2007 would have had had some money put away whereas only one in 10 had any money put away pre pandemic think just think about that and then go and look at Jared a Bronx article about the hyper elites wanting to take people stuff on the cheap no money saved up for retirement no way to get off of the hamster wheel this is very important food for thought unfortunate calm Today we find billionaire Mike Bloomberg is tired of remote work excuses especially when it comes to civil servants this pan this has gone on too long. The pandemic is over excuses for allowing officers to sit empty should into said the media mogul. Oh boy. Yeah, yep, yep, yep. In this we find media Titan Michael Bloomberg has had it with federal employees logging in from home saying taxpayers are footing the bill for empty offices. Bloomberg co founder CEO and majority shareholder delivered a scathing view of federal agencies which are still allowing staff to work from home the majority of the time, in an article for The Washington Post, the man worth 94 and a half billion dollars described the capital city as a shadow of its former self claiming tax money is being wasted on empty offices and the public is getting worse service. This is going on too long. The pandemic is over excuses for allowing offices to sit empty should end to Bloomberg who was the mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. wrote, I'm going to butt in and say I guess the pandemic is over with in the sense that we're supposed to have all of the theater that went along with it. However, for those of us that turned into long haulers that are still having to deal with the aftermath and with residual symptoms and damage that was done to our bodies from this awful evil thing. It's not over it may never be over for some of us. I don't know how long this arrhythmia is going to go on. I have no idea will I wind up at some point with a pacemaker. It's possible. I've had to just make peace with that reality. And just go on because I'm not going to stop living my life. I'm not going to stop taking care of my animals. I'm not going to stop exercising. I'm going to do what I need to do to try to stay healthy and to have some quality of life. So I feel good. I bristle let's say when hey, look, we were supposed to be scared to death. You were supposed to Lysol your groceries and avoid all human contact and be scared to death. Oh, but now it's over with you need to go back to the office because that's what you're being told to do. Meanwhile, as I said, for some people, it's an it's never gonna be overwhelmed. They may have to deal with the fallout of the illness for the rest of their lives. And there's there's just no sensitivity to it now, you're supposed to be hyped up and scared then. But if you're still scared or you're still dealing with the ramifications of now we're just supposed to get over it. Okay. A report from the United States Government Accountability Office published in July revealed that federal agency spend around $5 billion a year to lease office buildings, and a further $2 billion on maintaining and operating offices regardless of utilization. However, the analysis which worked with 24 government agencies found that 17 of the organizations were using the sites less than 25% of the time. Although the report found that agency managers were reluctant to share office space with other federal teams, it pointed out that any reduction in office space would reduce would reduce both costs and energy consumption in quote. So instead of saying, we'll work from home worked really well. And if we're not even on the sides, even half the time, why don't we forget about it? It's no you need to go back. You need to go back. And here we go. Let's think about the children. Let's think about the low ladies who need this. As Bloomberg put it, some people argue that remote work for federal employees isn't a problem. Tell that to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for empty floor space and costs of maintenance, as the GAO emphasizes, tell it to the small businesses that are suffering whose tax payments fun city services, tell it to the many residents who rely on those services, especially poor people and elderly people and quote, oh, yeah, I said it before I'll be a broken record yet again, if you have not developed out an RTO survival plan. What are you waiting for? Seriously. Over on the side panel for LinkedIn, we find bosses confront flex work realities, bosses might still be resistant to it. But the option to work from anywhere could be here to stay writes The Wall Street Journal. So it's interesting. We have this juxtaposition of what Bloomberg is saying to the Wall Street Journal, but then also we have this. That's because workers value flexibility and their own time more highly than before the pandemic Now 62% of employers offer the option to work remotely at least some of the time based on Society for Human Resource Management data. And well, economist Nicholas Bloom says managers find communication harder with remote employees. He adds that this applies mostly to those who are fully remote. remote work arrangements can also save employers costs including on office space, and when workers can live in cheaper places on pay, right? Because you're supposed to get paid by your location, not by your credentials, your experience the value that you add to that team. But hey, we'll pay you a cheaper amount of money if you live in a lower cost of living space. Because we want to make sure we squeeze blood out of that turnip. An average workday has contracted by half an hour according to analytics firm, active track assignment managers are more mindful of work life balance, Bloomberg writes, tech workers may be flocking to New York City, but it's not to work in offices, reports, cranes, and quote, time will tell I've been on the contrarian side of this argument telling you that I think hybrid is just a stepping stone to full RTO.


Will it be that way? For every single company in America, though, there will be some companies that continue to allow work from anywhere and that have a hybrid schedule that they feel works best for their company? Do I think that will be the majority? Probably not. Because it's exactly what Bloomberg is talking about these cities and these mayors want your tax dollars, they want you back downtown to quote cross pollinate. And if it has to be legislated that you do that? Well, I mean, get real and grow up. I'm gonna go back to the article one more time to drive my point home. The Biden administration has been pushing federal employees back to their office chairs, though Bloomberg who himself harbored ambitions to become president in 2020. Feels not hard enough. In April, the Executive Office of the President said there was an expectation that agency headquarters and equivalents plan to generally continue to substantially increase meaningful in person work in federal offices. The cronies work together y'all. Corporate America, Wall Street, the government. They do. We do not have a free market society. And I'm so sorry if you thought that we did. on Yahoo Finance, we find jobs report US labor market growth set to slow further in July. The US economy continues to impress. But the labor market is expected to continue slowing down in July leaving economists divided on whether the Federal Reserve should raise rates again in September or hold tight after last week's rate increase. The July jobs report due out Friday morning at 8:30am. Eastern Time, is expected to show non farm payrolls rose by 200,000. Last month, with the unemployment rate expected to hold at 3.6%. According to estimates from Bloomberg wages, a closely watched indicator of how much leverage workers are exerting in the labor market are expected to rise point 3% over the month and 4.2% against last year and quote to me determined, do you think that we have legitimately a 3.6% unemployment rate and do you think that we had even 200,000 nonfarm payrolls coming into the job market last month? It's up to you to decide. I'm just telling you based on what I'm seeing in the job market being in and out of it every day? No, in my opinion, nyet. 


Today it is Friday, August 4, on the side panel for LinkedIn today, we find did bad vibes ward off a recession. For all of last year's doomsday predictions 2020 threes economy is solid by most measures. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson writes why several factors are at play, including the imperfect science of economics and inflation is relatively quick exit. Okay. I'm totally the about Poppy Bush voodoo economics. But inflation is relatively quick, excellent. Went to the store today. still expensive, didn't see any price drops relatively quick exit, sure. But the Federal Reserve also played a role and not solely through monetary policy officials, including the chief vibe Meister Fed Chair Jerome Powell, were just pessimistic enough in their public statements that they may have triggered just the right level of macro economic immune response to reduce inflation without causing a downturn, Thompson says End quote. Okay, okay, if you believe that I have some oceanfront property here in the landlocked Midwest that I would love to sell to you. Over on CNBC, we have had one such as Google is offering an on campus hotel special to help lure workers back to the office. In the TLDR key points we read, Google is offering a summer special for employees to stay the night and an on campus hotel for a discount. Some employees commented on the proposed hotel deal. The company has been cracking down on Office attendance in recent weeks. And the meat of the article we read, Google is hoping to lure workers back to the office with a new on site hotel special but some workers aren't convinced it's a good deal. The company said full time employees can book a room and an on campus hotel in Mountain View for $99 a night. In what it's deeming a soup Summer Special. According to materials viewed by CNBC, the description states that the special will run through September 30. In hopes it'll make it easier for Googlers to transition to the hybrid workplace. Since the promotion is for unapproved business travel, the company will not reimburse their stays but will require employees to use their personal credit cards, the specials description states and quote $99 A night and that's the special that's supposed to help people get motivated to come on back. What a crazy messed up time that we live in. That's like somebody calling Jerome Powell the chief vibe of Meister and bad vibes have warded off a recession. What in the hell kind of world is this? Wow, just while also on CNBC, here's where the jobs are for July 2023 in one chart. And so if you go I'll drop a link to the article go and check it out for yourself, we can see that information is minus 12,000. Manufacturing is minus 2000. professional and business services minus 8000. Transportation and warehousing minus 8.4 1000. But hey, health care and social assistance at 7.1 1000 up people are mean health care because look at what's going on in the country. And then also think about those of us stuck being long haulers after that. As I've told you before, I don't think in my entire life. I've heard anything but nursing shortage. I don't think I've ever heard of time of hospitals being fully staffed plenty of doctors, plenty of nurses and nurses assistants, etc. I don't think I ever have. But now, supposedly, we have a 3.5% unemployment rate. I had to go to the bank earlier today. And they had one of the news channels on in the background and I was watching the TV while I waited in line and I saw it pop up 170,000 nonfarm jobs added and now a 3.5% unemployment rate. I was like what, what? Also on CNBC JP Morgan backs off recession call even with very elevated risks. Yeah, you don't say? I've made my commentary several times about why are we being gaslighted? Why are we being breadcrumbed into this? Now they're saying it's not even going to happen. And the TLDR key points here we read JPMorgan Chase economist on Friday bailed on their recession call. Given this growth we doubt the economy will quickly lose enough momentum to slip into a mild contraction as early as next quarter as we had previously projected. The bank's lead economist said Michael for rolly added that risk is not completely off the table. Specifically, he cited the danger of Fed policy that has seen 11 interest rate hikes implemented since March 2022. But people are doing great The recession has been canceled. It's not going to rise from the myths like Brigadoon it's just not going to freakin happen at all. Under that we find Astra conducts layoffs raises debt and shifts focus to spacecraft engines and bid to survive. All right, Yahoo Finance it's similar seen Apple plummets as hardware slowdown cast shadow over earnings. Stocks flip into red to end rough weak. Americans owe a record $1 trillion in credit card debt. Okay, but wait a minute. I thought people were doing great recession has been canceled. There's not going to be a recession. All of y'all thought these doomsday prophecies were going to come true and we were going to be really in the poop by now and it just ain't happening. Yet Americans owe a record $1 trillion in credit card debt. If people were doing great, and they were really flush with cash, why would that be happening? In this we read credit card debt hit $1 trillion for the first time on record according to new data. A troubling development is interest rates and also delinquent went C's are on the rise. Total balances on credit cards and other revolving accounts reach $1 trillion the week of July 26, up from $998 billion. The prior week, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported Friday. That's the highest level on record. Wow.


And 193 point 4 billion more than the start of the year, and $264 billion above the $736 billion in April of 2021. The lowest level since the onset of the pandemic. The increase in indebtedness comes as interest rates on credit cards remain near 40. year highs and delinquencies, especially among younger borrowers increase. And with the federal student loan forbearance set to in this fall, millions of Americans may find themselves relying on credit even more in quote, what banks have already said they're tightening down on credit. Not everybody that comes in to apply for a loan or not everybody that puts in a credit card application is going to be approved. I saw a news story the other day, I think it was on CBS about a woman who owed more than $9,000 and back rent was going to be evicted hear in the next few days because the moratorium, like landlords not being able to force a tenant to pay rent. That was all ending and this woman was going to have no way of being able to pay the debt off. But the the recession has been canceled. People are doing great. We also find inflation is still walloping wallets, just ask America's diner. Denny’s just gave investors a lot to chew on even as America's diner cheers falling commodity costs, with inflation slowing overall execs at the South Carolina based restaurant chain noted consumers have reservations about spending. We are seeing a lot of things work in our favor in terms of commodities and disinflation. Hopefully, eventually, deflation. Denise CEO, Kelly Volante told Yahoo Finance live, at the same time, there's still uncertainty from the consumer, as gas prices go up, and they sure have, and sharply as of late, we still see some reason to be cautious. Then a second quarter results came in short of Wall Street estimates, same store sales for the quarter increased 3%, just shy of expectations of 4.16%. However, the company's value offerings and lower price points, one over consumers. We'll see. That's the thing you don't think about duties as being a place where you're really going to break the bank if you decide to go there and have a meal. As I've said, I'm not seeing things coming down at the grocery store. Gas is going up again. Wow. I know I'm a broken record here. quite tired. I want to sign off for the evening. So I'm just going to put it to you this way. Yet again. I really think that this economic downturn is going to separate out people who paid attention and people who didn't. People who listen to hot air and hopium and bullshit, in my opinion, versus people who trusted what they could actually see with their own eyes, what they could hear with their own ears, what was going on in their local community. Something doesn't make sense here. Why are you having people in record levels of debt and people pushing back on getting a meal at the Denny's because of economic concerns? If everything is so damn robust and resilient. Something here is not adding up. Think for yourself. Use your own best judgment on what is true and what isn't. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.


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