The Riches of This Land

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to the richest of this land edition. This leaked money or guy to the business and finance news of the week. I'm Felix Salmond of axios. I'm here with ANA chairman ski of breaking, News Hello and we are also here with Jim Tankersley for the New York Times who are you and what is your book Jim Tankersley Tax and economic policy. For The New York. Times. My book is called the riches of this land the untold true story of the American middle class. We have a great episode. This week we are GonNa talk to Jim About. His Book of course we'RE GONNA learn all about the middle class and how it got to where it is we are going to talk about China and whether Tiktok. Banned or whether Tiktok is going to wind up being merged into link tin, which would be quite a thing. We are going to talk about the digitization, the virtualization of the American economy whether that's going to last and we. Also enslaved US going to talk about Donald Trump and what kind of credit he can claim or blame we can let his feet for the state of the economy all of that. Coming up on. Slate money. Money is sponsored this week by Sam Adams a brewery in Boston Boston is loud and wonderful people who speak their mind that a kind of people you want to share a beer with especially when it's the hometown brew Sam Adams because there's nothing better than the crisp refreshing Boston Lug. So grab your favorite drinking buddy and crack open the Sam Adams. Beer that brings together New England is and non new Englanders alight. Just stay away when that watching sports. The Boston Beer Company Boston Massachusetts Savor the flavor responsibly. Jim You've written a whole book about the American Middle Classes and it's a book full of. People and. Lot of the people in your book as. With a lot of Americans. Had generally positive experiences up until a certain date, and then since that date they have had generally not so positive experiences. So what is the middle class from? When did things start going sideways? Great Question. The American. Middle Class is actually a relatively new phenomenon is this thing that Americans have in our minds that Oh we've always had this fabric middle class, but really wasn't true for decent part of the nation's history in really the big rise with middle class. The boom was after to starts with the war effort and continues in the decades that end somewhere in the late seventies early eighties when millions of Americans get pulled into what we think of perhaps somewhat arrogantly as the near the American dream you know. It's really I think about economic security being able to own a home the able to own a car being able to send your kids to school and have a retirement and just some sort of assurance that even if things get bad for a little while you're you have enough of a cushion that you're gonNA, make it and that period after World War, two win those decades that followed was the time in America when there really wasn't growing by middle class and since then it has not been like that at all has it been shrinking has it is it growing just more slowly than it was previously so there's this amazing debate in. Washington, and around the Community, about how to measure this there are people who will tell you that the middle class has been completely obliterated since nineteen eighty. There are people who tell you that Oh, no, it's it's been doing fine by the numbers that I see it's actually been going backwards in the twenty first century village people have been falling out of last millions of people and it has you know along. Those lines not been performing anywhere close to expectations people have which I think is the noncontroversial way to say this there is no question that the middle class grew and thrived much much more afterward to than it has since the Reagan era and particularly the twentieth century has been brutal the last grade stretch for the American middle class was the Clinton late nineties growth and since then we've had. Really, disappointing income growth, really disappointing job gains, and very little of what we would think of as labor markets that workers one of the things I found really interesting about your book was that you didn't just focus on white working class workers and especially white male working class workers. You certainly talked about them but I think one of the really interesting things that you bring up is the idea that the middle class has always involved people, of color, and women. It is this great myth that Americans so many white Americans have sold to the country is this idea that we have this leave it to beaver middle class and was certainly something that political reporters and I include myself in this criticism and talk about it. A lot of the book really overemphasize in two thousand sixteen, which was the role of white working class Americans. Truth is actually the real economic research shows us is that the reason the middle class grew and thrived in those decades after World War Two was that we opened up the American labor market and the highest skilled talent highest pay jobs in the country to non white guys to of all races to men of color who had been held back by overt discrimination by. Laws. From doing those jobs and in the struggle for civil rights and starting with the necessity of the war effort women and men of color gained entry to the patients. They didn't get full of quality that they still do not have about opportunity. But that simple progress of opportunity unleashed what economists call productivity boom does this reminds me very much of one of my favorite economics papers by Joe, Stiglitz where he looked to the effects of microfinance and. Dead Insofar as microfinance is really had a positive effect in poor countries it seems to be entirely a function of its ability to bring women into the workforce and to no one's great surprise if you bring millions of women into the workforce, then that creates economic activity and that and microfinance their ability to sort of employ themselves in the highly discriminatory environment web people want giving them jobs made a big difference even without creating equality, and this seems to be like a very similar story that you're telling about America absolutely and. It's just sort of so intuitive when you think about it, if you look if you were a an alien coming to earth and give nothing but sort of statistics about the economy saying here is the types of skills that are demanded in the modern economy and the types of people who hold the skills. You would assume the vast majority of of the top Americans in in top jobs are women they're more educated. They have dramatically improved their skill attainment over the last few decades. Particularly compared to men who have stagnated and that's not the case. Right. So that's to me I see that as a huge amount of opportunity we we have policies that hold women back whether it's childcare policies or or again the overt discrimination in boardrooms. But yeah, empowering women has this opportunity to put more talented people in jobs they should be in where they can contribute more to the economy in that lives everybody up and I. This is really interesting because it kind of cuts a little bit across the right and left divide 'cause I on. The you know kind of populist rate right now you have this idea of immigrants taking jobs, that kind of thing, and then on the left, you sometimes also have this idea that it's it's almost like a limited pie, the economy's a limited pie and while we do need better reallocation of wealth, we all know that it's also about growing the Pie. It's the idea of getting more people and also using people's skills in the most productive way possible. Yeah. No one I think again, that's it's both of the lesson of history of also i. Just, think it's it's a really intuitive end optimistic way of the economy. Now, if we better allocate the resources in the Pie, the pie will grow faster and what we know is that a faster growing pie at a time of low unemployment is the recipe for big income gains and so I think that the most sustainable version of that is these productivity gains and you're right. It's it's the first excerpt of this book. Got A lot of blowback from both of the populists left in populous, right? The populace right wanted to tell me. That now, immigrants don't actually lift the economy which I are you interested they clearly do and the populace left wanted to tell me that no, this is all just about taking money from billionaires and giving it to workers in that'll make everything fine. But I I I really think there's something in here. No matter how you view the economy that you could pursue. There's a path for market oriented policies. There's a path for government or policies to try to correct these productivity failures we have right now so I have a question about productivity and Looking at it more from maybe the capital side of the equation or the or the employee side of the equation above them labor side of the equation, which is the during the boom that you were talking to, which ended around nineteen. Eighty. Employers would. You know one to employ people who are coming more productive Nafez people became more productive as they had bargaining power thanks to unions. They could reap the fruits of those of that productivity and what I'm seeing now. For a lot of Americans especially for ones without college degrees is the when employers look at them and say like how much You know money. Can We? Can we make from these people lay? Maybe they can make a bunch of money but on the other hand has no real need to a lot of time to pay them because they can make even more money if they pay someone in Mexico instead like where we're in a very global world now, and so I guess my question for you about how to bring living wages back into the middle classes. Or to I, guess that would be. Ring. Living wages back into the people who who should by rights to the middle class. This is how. Did. Those people compete. With Mexico Vietnam China and the rest of the world. This may be a frustrating answer certainly been a frustrating answer for some of the people I've talked to about it but I actually, I don't think there's a very good chance that most of the jobs that have been outsourced are coming back I've covered this long enough I've seen enough politicians promises donald trump promised to repatriate all these jobs. And he's actually tried a bunch of different levers of trading tax policy and they haven't worked. So I don't when I talk to CEOS there's very, very low chance. They are actually bringing their supply chains back so. We've seen this in America before entire like groups jobs just dry up and never come back and usually what happens is they were pleased with something that makes better use of those workers over time you know when when farming technology made enormous amounts of the agricultural workforce redundant a lot of those workers moved onto factories where they were more productive. But what hasn't happened now as better jobs better uses of those people have appeared. So my argument is sort of really. Again frustrating to they're not gonna I can't tell you where it's GonNa come from but I really believe if you empower the people who actually have a view towards solving human problems with capital and want to invest in that in healthcare in in carbon mitigation in in a bunch of other industries where there are new frontiers of ways that putting people to work can be helpful and productive I think those will be good jobs and so I don't know where they'll be exactly or whether it be located but. I believe they'll be the sorts of things could put even the the workers you're talking about without college degrees to use it, and in ways that pay more and make better use of their skills, which are essentially not in demand right now in our economy. Well, one of the things I think it's really interesting about the kind of kind of golden age of the American middle class that we think of post World War Two was that you had a significant amount of government investment in basic science and Across the country kind of universities across the nation and as a result of that, you then had the private sector kind of jump on that investment from the public sector and create these incredibly dynamic productive industries that could afford to pay people a lot because they were so productive whereas now the government invest very very little in basic science and frankly the private sector is never going to invest in basic science because it doesn't make any sense you know, but they will they will jump off of it. So it seems to me that part of this could also be where the government is choosing to invest to kind of stir this productivity. Also the question is the even if you can afford to pay people a lot like what's your incentive as an employer to pay people a lot because? What we've seen is this massive explosion in corporate profits the. Balance between capital and Labour has has really favored capital for the past few decades and when companies make more money they go. That's great and we'll send out the shareholders. We'll spend on share buybacks rather than paying it out in terms of wage hike. So what's the incentive? How is? Profitability going to turn into increased wages? How does that happen I? Think it has to be mindset shift not in there's this sort of false choice between sort of prophets in labor I I actually think profits would be higher longer term if companies were investing more in their workers, I think that's it's sort of a sustainable resource you invest in kind of an argument and I don't think that that's how a lot of companies. See the world but I do think there are some companies that do that and who have reaped the benefits and we've seen it personally for highest skilled with the most in demand high skill workers. Clearly, they are. You know Google invests a lot of money in its very high skilled engineers I I think that we can get to a point where that is true of a lot of companies with a lot of very highly skilled workers. We just live in a in a time right now particularly when the when the labor market has been so loose for so much of the last twenty years where companies could view workers as eminently replaceable and disposable, and so they didn't want. Invest in them because there's always gonna be somebody else who needs a job who can work for less so that's why I think keeping the labor market tight is so important because it does generate that sort of bargaining power that allows workers to demand. Hey, you need to invest in the and we're seeing some of that right now by the way in the pandemic, some companies that really want to keep their work from home workers. Happy are trying take some steps to keep them engaged to keep them from jumping ship even at a time when when obviously, there's enormous unemployment. So I. Think it's possible is just not right now a win spread I agree with that I think. On the one hand when you have really productive industries, they pay their workers more for the simple fact that if they didn't, they wouldn't be able to find those workers like and they also because they are productive, very profitable, they're able to do that. But I do also think you're right that there's also a side of this probably is going to have to revolve around. Government policy or labor mobilization in some way so that you can start to get more of the Games of the economy to be more widely person I think I agree with both of you that by doing that, you probably would actually end up generating larger growth because part of the reason that you have a lot of companies not investing even though you have low tax rates capitals. Essentially free, but you don't invest because there's no demand. So why are you going to build a factory? Why? Why are you going to invest in training? If there's not a difficult demand if you can generate that demand by having the people actually spend money which are the lower income lyles having more than you could actually stimulate demand, which could perhaps create more of a virtuous cycle. Right, well, if you look at the stock market, people are desperate to find. Money. Losing companies to invest in like it's never been a better time to be a money losing company. Especially if you based in California the what fascinating to me is the The one type of losing money that the market doesn't like is like well, we're losing money because we're hiring a bunch of people and that's going to increase A. Macho. Of Long like the increase in full time salaried employees is exactly the kind of investment that the market really is disincentivising Veggie any other form of losing money even if it's just spending money online marketing is better right although. The market seems to have no problem with with increased compensation for executives. So I mean again, it's not necessarily paying people. The market doesn't like it's paying your typical worker. There's a real market bias toward paying your quote highest skilled workers in your company, and so again, I don't know I. I don't like to always argue it's easy to say, well, the market is just clearly wrong. There's clearly incentives that the market is responding to here and I think one of them is this shift away from this sort of corporate allegiance that is basically complete. Now, people very I don't know anybody who thinks they're gonNA spend their entire career with one company like a lot of people thought they did maybe in the in the fifties or sixties but you know on the flip side, I think that they're that fraying that relationship discern mercenary transactional ism between companies and their workers. Does rob everyone of a chance to build the kind of trust over time where'd where you really do feel that you're taking care of and then you really do feel a ugo the extra mile for your company right now companies can demand that you go the extra mile because if not, they'll kick you out and replace you. But if the again the labor markets tightened up, that's not some they can get away with. 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Ziprecruiter the smartest way to hire. Let's talk about the big news of the week, which is the ever worsening relationship between the United States and China Hannah what the Hell is going on here we're banning TIKTOK. WE'RE BANNING WE CHAT WITH SANCTIONING CARRIE LAM chief executive of Hong Kong. This is I. You know I thought things were bad like a week ago and suddenly things have seemed to get a hell of A. Lot Worse. Yeah. At this stage, it seems like the trump administration is simply throwing anything at the wall that they possibly can I think most likely as an election maneuver more than anything else. So Jim, you're the you're the political SAV on here. Can you explain to me because I have to say I am I find this a baby s how does banning TIKTOK help anyone politically I I would say two things. One that the president's has a core group of advisers who are true like actual true believer China Hawks in Peter Navarro. Absolutely has been pushing from day one for the president to take much more aggressive measures against all sorts of Chinese companies and. This is sort of a natural extension of that, but it is also true if you look at their political messaging that they think making a villain out of China is helpful for them in this election and I am going to go out on a limb here and wager that it is in part because they really see it as a way for them to deflect corona virus playing the more. That you can message us as China in least this virus on us. China has these Trojan horse companies trying to they're spying on US China. Is the is the enemy is a way to try to end insane Joe Biden his shot soft on China I mean that is a way to an I don't think anybody's GonNa vote on like Oh, I'm excited you took away talk that doesn't seem like. I do a lot of teenagers might complain to their parents. About it but I think that there is a political narrative that they are helping build here on top of true actual desires of the president's advisors to crack down on all sorts of the. Is. One hundred percent agree I I really think this is far more about that narrative that kind of Cova Narrative and it is actually economics and that isn't to say there are legitimate concerns about China that there are legitimate concerns about Carrie Lam but I don't think that this is a well reasoned policy to deal with them so. I I do think this is more just posturing. However, I do think it will probably have consequences. Far after hopefully, trump is out of office. I think that what has been done in the last few years and especially now what has been done in the last six months I don't think that is something you quickly fix even if Biden. Comes into office definitely not if tiktok disappears, it doesn't like spring back. You know on January twenty first if if Biden comes into office but it's even bigger than that I wrote a little bit in my newsletter this week about HSBC which has. Its the sixth biggest bank in the world and it has just imploded because it's I mean the it's in the name Hong. Kong. Shanghai. Banking Corporation and their UK Bank, they do most of that business in Hong Kong and China and the tension there between like do you support democracy to support the people of Hong Kong support that the Chinese party is irreconcilable is tearing my bank apart and is destroyed that banks prophets and the greater the geopolitical tensions between the US and China less money HSBC makes and I think HSBC. Is a little bit of a canary hit when it was while way, we didn't cab because they were like this a Chinese company and who cares right HSBC is a big UK company. Maybe we don't care about big UK companies, but I'm thinking about apple China's basically apple second biggest market apple. His is probably the most successful American company in China entirely. Thanks the fact that a lot of Chinese people like unused iphones if apple con keep we chat in its apps still then no one in China is going to use knife. It's as simple as that you did a mobile phone is we chat in? China. So without does no. Apple in China and I feel like the oft is obvious to me that no one in the administration has their story. If you take one look at the executive orders that trump it out incoherent, it is absolutely impossible to understand what they're saying but. There is going to be a huge number of on unintended consequences, many of which are gonNA fall on American. Companies. Yeah, absolutely, and I, think that the that the grand hope that other companies have had for for more than a decade now of the Chinese market being their next, you know the true great growth frontier and that's something they have to be thinking about reassessing right now what how tenable that's going to be just given us. One of the things I think is interesting too that I've heard for much of the past. Six months or even a year is that. In the Chinese government in a lot of ways despite all of this kind of nonsense would much rather have trump in office than by. Because what trump is doing is unfocused and its unilateral whereas when you get a Biden administration in. They're much more likely to work with the rest of the world and they're much more likely to be able to get real change out of China and the the model that we've had in the relationship between China, the way that been able to grow some of the things that China's been able to do. Those. That's probably done like that. That stage of globalization is is probably done regardless of who is elected this fallen. If anything if you do get a more reasonable administration that does not mean that all of a sudden, we go back to having this. Nice relationship. What to Goldman Sachs experts and leading thinkers have to say about trends, shaping markets, industries global economy. Stay informed with the latest insights from Goldman Sachs on economic and market implications of covid nineteen. Available on their podcasts at G. S. dot. com. Slash Kobe. or any of your favorite podcasts platforms. Jim. Can I talk to you about the New York Times for minute. Please you just had a digital milestone you now a making more money from. The electrons than you off from selling print. Ads, this is the D. Physical Education of the New York Times I mean when was the last time you went into the actual office I haven't been in in more than five months at the spend one hundred and forty eight days since I was in the office. So like offices disappearing print newspapers disappearing when. News doing great meanwhile. So my question to you is is this. Some kind of cynic Deke for the economy as a whole is this what is happening across the economy? We'll all economics is local, right? So I'm GonNa just wildly extrapolate from my employer. I do think that it is I. Think there's we had six, hundred, sixty, nine, thousand, new digital subscribers. Last quarter we are well on our way to the School of ten million digital subscribers and I think. It was not that long ago that people were criticizing the New York Times strategy of Digital, subscriptions in San you couldn't do it. You couldn't make that work on the Internet and and I feel like maybe in the pandemic, we have accelerated that shift clearly for the Times I think a other newspapers enlarge media outlets are going to be there with us the post in the journal and others and on. The flip side I. Don't think it's just a media story. I really don't I. Think you know brick and mortar retail is really struggling right now and the way that you're just in my neighborhood the way that so many restaurants have just kind of reinvented themselves away from their physical spaces debase largest kitchens were you pick things up on? You know they deliver to your pick things up right outside I. Think we are seeing a dramatic shift to a virtual economy that we all knew was coming slowly but has really picked up and I'm not sure we're we're fully anticipating or understanding just how many business models have been on totally reshuffled under is here. So is this permanent or temporary because this is the big question which I've been struggling with for the past couple of months says like obviously people change their. Behaviors during quarantine when there's lockdown when they go into the office, that kind of thing obviously, at some point, the pandemic will end when pandemic ends do we snap back to the status quo ante or something similar to it because we just hated this horrible pandemic period one nothing to do with it or do we suddenly realize that we kind of preferred this new life in some ways especially on retail i? I think I'm more in the snapback camp when it comes to shopping people like that more is physical activity and sure they might do the actual transaction online after having walked around all of the stores and it's a little Omni Channel on the store's ads for the. Or Front or whatever but ultimately. Especially, when it comes to clothes, you know people want to be able to walk twisters, touch them look around I. I think that is maybe more temporary. Maybe I, don't know I would I would have agreed with you two months ago I'm not sure that I agree with you. Now part of it is like I don't know I never WANNA go back into an electronic store again I just it's just easier to order a new computer speaker online now and have showed my door two days. Later I don't WanNa have to like get up and fight traffic at the mall or whatever and. I can think of the the stores I really liked going to I definitely will return to I really hope Rei does not go all virtual but I even think about things like that are beyond retail i. think we will see a lot more virtual. Innovation in the home buying spins like the way that that realtors have innovated with being able to stage a home virtually now. So you can put really cool furniture in doesn't actually exist, but they are on the on the tour I think we will see a lot more of that. Now I don't think that's going to be. There's nobody goes to an open house anymore, but it may dramatically change the way people buy homes and I wouldn't expect that fully snapback. I agree I think that number one, the longer this goes on obviously the more it's going to result in some type of permanent behavioral changes but I also think what will probably go back to will be a different model. One of the things I found really interesting I mean I've been someone who per a longtime has been like the New Yorker with Doorman building, that has everything delivered. Like but bill that was my reality long before the pandemic and it was interesting for me. Then to see my relatives who were not used to ordering groceries or these kind of things, all of a sudden start doing and being like this is great like why would I want to go back to the way things are done before? So I think as some of these models were. Moved beyond just kind of the urban centers I have a hard time believing we're just GONNA. Go back to you know pre covert world. So who are the losers here presumably, it's commercial real estate. Yes. Yeah, really feels like it talked to people commercial real estate and they'll give you these feels about. People are going to need more space because I'm social distancing like no. I commercial real estate is GonNa Struggle I think short-term. That's right and I think there's also just a bunch of big incumbent brick and mortars that are that we're seeing you know have have filed bankruptcy or. Close to it and they were not doing great before started but I'll tell you the other losers here. Are the smaller business brick and mortars who have not been able to adapt who who don't have the instant ability to go more virtual of like target or Walmart, and I think that they anecdotally that is one thing I'm also hearing from a lot of places like. We had a decent sized for US neighborhood market share from our hardware store. But you know we had closed for a few weeks and we haven't been able to figure out this like you know low contact curbside pickup model and you know Home Depot's blowing us away. So I worry about that because I think that a more dynamic more competitive market in those with with more local businesses better. But but I think there's a real chance will lose a lot of this permanently. What one thing we've definitely seen in the stock market is not just the S. and P. Five, hundred outperforming the market is a hall, the the the market but really just a handful of big digital companies dominating the rally and hitting new highs while the rest of the market is is lagging behind them and I do definitely worry that this is the winner takes all recession, and at the end of this recession, anyone who has an enormous is going to be dead and we are going to wind up in a world of monopolies. I think that's certainly certainly possible. I hope that is not the case. Yes. I think there is definitely a possibility of that. I would say I think that even though. While the economy is really really really struggling. You may not have quite the interest in antitrust despite what we saw with all the know congressional hearings. I think that once the economy starts recovering now that you are almost certainly going to have more government involvement in the economy moving forward I think that that is just a reality I do wonder if you're going to have more pushback on some of those companies that are experiencing essentially windfalls right now. If. You look historically, it wouldn't be surprising if we end up getting more government pushback and we end up having changes and I don't know if it results in a bunch of smaller really really small companies thriving obviously I have no way to say whether that's going to happen or not. But I don't necessarily think this means that it's just gonNa be you know Google facebook Microsoft Amazon and nothing else not even if Microsoft buys took took. Maybe Microsoft then all bets are off. Just seems like a world owning conglomerate right there. I have mentioned my my theory here, which is the Microsoft has really become the dominant enterprise computing company in the world. It's astonishing to me how Microsoft Office in particular retains ninety percent market share when. Google docs so much better but they they just haven't really made it into excel. Sorry. No. Excellent. It's not. Every day what I loath with a Thousand. Suns. But yet Microsoft also has a bunch of random. Consumer facing products like everyone kind of ignores at least when it comes to the stock market, but they really big things. minecraft is a huge thing. xbox is a huge thing on my idea. The reason they wanted to buy Tiktok is because if you have something as big as Tiktok and then you combine it with minecraft and Xbox, and maybe link thin I'm not sure about that. But a few of these more consumer facing things then spin that old out into consumer facing. Company. Then you create a bunch of value that way even though they probably couldn't do that kind of a spinout unless it was big anchor in the phone something like. This is not going to happen by the way. This is my fantasy but like this is my my mental model if Microsoft, I can't imagine scarier more horrifying thing than a linked in Tiktok. scenario right? I mean it's just. I, mean linked. I. I just like to scroll through linked in watching watching thirsty teens. This is. Excessive both worlds. Tovia. That's. Talking Dystopia my number this week is sixty, eight point, two percent, which is the. Latest homeownership rate from the Census Bureau it has absolutely skyrocketed in the last couple of months and there's lots of talk about why that might be this obviously, very low mortgage rates people when they aren't able to go to the office a go shopping and stuff like that. They really value. Personal home space much more, and so there's been this big sucking sound of people have been buying up property in the suburbs. Suburbs have much higher homeownership rates in cities do. So every time you buy in the suburbs tight increases the homeownership rate and all of these other similar things. But honestly, I also suspect that that we have some very noisy day to here and the Census Bureau isn't able to count as well during a pandemic as it was before they, they actually had a note in a release about that, and maybe that number might get revised down a bit because I still believe in my heart of hearts that homeownership is on the longtime secular decline. That's I. think that's really possible. I also think I mean we have seen this urgent home-buying but I also I wonder what how that all interplay with this sort of potential wave of evictions that we could see and whether those turn into landlords than trying to sell properties and feeds on itself, and there's Higher Rental Properties mostly remain rental properties, but if you are. From Your Brooklyn Apartment and then you wind up going back to Nebraska and buying way that increases the homeownership rate on the margin. Although I don't know if you're being a victim if you're probably GONNA go immediately by plane. The, overlapping. You. Could probably buy a place in Nebraska for the price of late six months. Rent in. Brooklyn. We live. But yeah. So my number is sadder my number is two, thousand, seven, hundred, fifty tonnes of is at the ammonium. Yes the ammonium nitrate I it really is just unbelievable and you start to dig into what actually happened, in Beirut, and the the fact that through complete incompetence and really criminal incompetence of the Lebanese government they have you know killed over one hundred people injured thousands of people I think there like three, hundred, thousand people. Are Homeless and the size of this was like twenty times larger than the largest non nuclear bomb and I heard like a shock wave was something like twenty or thirty percent of Kiro Shima's shockwave I mean just unbelievable and just through incompetence I? Mean I feel like not only should Lebanese just be created the entire world she just be like this is horrible. This is this is like it was not only foreseeable foreseen. No, it's a steady stream. Of letters from the ports people saying we are sitting on a bomb and it's going to explode unless we get this stuff out of here and the government was like, yeah we should probably do something about that and never did and it shouldn't in an in the sense it's not surprising because you have this is the same government couldn't pick up the trash on the street for how long have you had trash piling up that has completely destroyed their economy because they. Turns out you can't run a Ponzi scheme for that long before it breaks down it's just. The more about it the more I'm just like this the worst thing I've ever seen. In terms of foreseen disasters the other big one I'm really worried about right now is the Three Gorges Dam. which you know the Chinese government is coming out and saying the Three Gorges Dam is perfectly safe, which is the least reassuring thing you can possibly. But yeah. That would make the Beirut plus looked like a walk in the park. collapsed. Jim What's your them? All right. My number is a a gratuitous. Promo, but it's also of we love gratuitous book premise but Orleans. It's also an attempt to be just as depressing. As as you so. So. Numbers eighteen seventy, which is a year and it happens to be. The year that AH, some researchers including Marion. Wanamaker of the University of Tennessee who was on president trump's castle economic advisers. It's the year they looked back to. A big longitudinal study of economic mobility for black men and they were looking at to see how had changed over time and is it easier has never become easier for black men to get ahead of where there where they were born a do better than their fathers than win and and the depressing answer is since eighteen seventy, the penalty being black in America in terms of economic mobility. Has Not changed. It is just hard today for black men to get ahead as it was at during reconstruction and that I think is one of the more sobering and depressing statements on our economy right now in the midst of this summer of protests, end calls for equality that it is just still incredibly difficult and there is this deep deep penalty just for blackness in our country. I to jump in and say like the BusinessWeek had a really good cover package on this I think it was last week and best this general feeling among. My circle at least you know there's a lot of systemic racism and does a lot of room for improvement and the things are getting better fell too slowly for. Black Americans, but I, think what's not being realize it's there are definitely significant parts of the economy where things are getting worse. And Wall Street is one of those and it does really seem as though Wall Street was more welcoming to black Americans twenty years ago, and there were more black Americans in senior positions of Wall Street twenty years ago. Then there are now and there has been this backwards movement and I'm sure we'll street is not alone in that but there is this kind of complacency that well. At. least we're not getting worse I. Think we are getting less than significant parts of the economy. It's it's sobering but again, I mean the hopeful thing is that means there's opportunity if we can get better dramatically better, there's just all that talent to be unleashed on the economy and I. think that would be great for wall, Street frankly, and it would be great for the rest of the country. Which I think brings this episode of sleep money to close Jim Tankersley if neo times thank you so much for joining us. It's been great to have you here. Thanks to just mean molly for producing and thanks to all of you guys keeping the emails coming on sleep money at slate dot com. We will talk to you next week on sleep money.

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