Welcome to This Week’s Leyendecker View
There are more regulations on sandwich shops than there are on AI companies.
– Stuart Russell, UC Berkeley computer science professor
A BIG THINK
There’s Good News
A newsletter reader recently sent me a note saying, “Doug, is there no good news to report?” That got me thinking. After some pondering, I’ve decided there is some good news to report. Actually, some very good news.
When a very successful and rich, tech-bro Democrat starts to praise Donald Trump and suggest he was a much better president than many know, it makes me believe the woke world may finally be waking up from its stupor. (You can watch the full episode from which that clip was taken here.)
The good news is that more and more people in our country seem to be returning to common sense thinking. This is certainly good news, but it will take time for this new social awareness to spread over a critical mass of the population and then turn into better government policy and better decision making by all manner of people.
One would think it’s about time, as America’s trust in media is at a new low, America’s trust in government is close to a new low, suicide rates are at record high, the country is in a mental health crisis and more and more people can’t afford to live a normal life so they are living in their cars.
So yes, there is some good news out there. The country is starting to wake up from its self-absorption, consumption-addiction, meme-following and woke-worshiping stupor. It is of course profoundly unfortunate it took an evil and atrocious massacre to remind us that life is not all about YOLO and FOMO.
THE ECONOMIC VIEW
Advanced economies face fiscal reality
Cut spending, raise revenue and grow the economy.
THE INFLATION BOGEYMAN
Grocery stores pitch “sales”
Consumers still say prices are too high.
Homeowner costs in NYC
Are rising at 3X inflation rate.
THE LABOR VIEW
CEOs are quitting in record numbers
Cashing in their equity before what happens?
Work from home rates
State to state.
MEANWHILE IN EUROPE
Europe’s economy stalls out
Is a recession close?
While US debt keeps exploding
Europe’s been more disciplined
German producer prices collapse
Less inflation because of fewer orders.
Brazil raises taxes on the rich
A sign of things to come?
13 Mexican law officers murdered
Are drug cartels domestic terrorists?
Germany is about to eclipse Japan.
And become 3rd largest global economy
PLAYING WITH FIRE
The root of all evil in the Middle East
Emanates from Iran
Turkey president supports Hamas
Should Turkey really be in NATO?
Xi courts Colombian president
As he tries to gain allies.
Turkey ready to let Sweden into NATO
But can NATO manage its growth?
Is the dollar at risk?
Check out this chart
Private debt market to grow significantly
So suggests BlackRock.
Active money managers, a dying breed
Assets keep moving to passive management.
PE is kicking in more equity
As they refinance portcos at higher rates.
And start to attract individual IRA savings
While they prepare to pay themselves big bonuses
Even as their portfolios are losing value?
New homes sales at 19-month high.
While median sales price is down 12.3%
America’s downtowns are in trouble
How can they be fixed?
Revenge of the Rust Belt
The country’s hottest housing market.
Is social media bad for kids?
The surgeon general thinks so
Meta is accused of preying on children
Don’t you just love this company?
The Techno-Optimist Manifesto
VC Marc Andreessen gives us his utopia.
THE CHAT ON AI
AI funding soars to $17.9B
As the rest of venture flounders.
AI growth is “utterly reckless”
Suggests some AI “godfathers.”
The world wants to regulate AI.
But doesn’t know how
THE NEXT NORMAL
Our mental health crisis
Has put libraries on the front lines
Healthcare has a worker problem
More workers are burning out.
Don’t mix business with politics
Say more and more consumers.
THE WAR ON CARBON
Global climate talks collapse
Rich countries are not ready to pay up.
BlackRock’s $3B+ carbon project canceled
Couldn’t get it past regulators and landowners.
A fertilizer shortage is spreading desperate hunger
Imagine the global famine without oil and gas.
THE NEW ENERGY TRANSITION
Solar stocks at three-year low
Demand for solar is dropping.
The green power grid just isn’t coming
It’s too expensive and too dirty to build.
Solar panel waste will cost many millions.
States would like industry to pay the cost
THE EV DREAM
GM walks back its EV goals
Consumer demand isn’t as expected.
Ultra-cheap EVs are available
Would they decimate US automakers?
Repairing a Tesla
Is way more expensive than you’d think
THE CHINA SYNDROME
China looks to expand its nuclear arsenal
Making the same mistake the Soviets did?
Mitsubishi exits China
Will other Western car makers follow?
Corporate retreat from Hong Kong accelerates
Western companies continue to leave.
We have a new speaker of the House
And he wants to cut spending.
US budget deficit doubles in 2023
Does the US have a debt crisis coming?
MAKING A BETTER YOU
The best decision-makers
Follow these two principles
Grow your brain and learn easier.
Use “adaptive plasticity”
Is easier than seeking brilliance
HOW ABOUT A BREAK
The cost of trying to live much longer
Quality of life continues to decline.
Ancient statues were originally painted.
Here’s what they might have looked like
The secret life of Druids
Did they know something we should learn?
SONG OF THE WEEK
CASTING AROUND THE PODS
The Dual Challenge: Energy and Environment
Some practical thoughts from Dr. Scott Tinker.
ExxonMobil’s 2050 forecast and overall energy thoughts
Veriten interviews Exxon’s director of economics and energy.
VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
The ancient demons of Mesopotamia
And how they dealt with these monsters.
The Conker World Championship
Does this sport have global potential?
The reefer gold rush of 1977
When a drug plane crashed in Yosemite.
FROM THE HEADHUNTER’S KITCHEN
The Bombay sandwich
New to me, seems worth a try.
15 15-minute dinner recipes
From Martha Stewart.
Chicken soup for the soul
As well as the immune system.
Is the Fed waiting for something major to break in the economy before lowering interest rates?
I am not yet convinced that a recession has been avoided. If it’s not caused by higher interest rates breaking some important part of the economy, then it may come because consumers are tapped out of YOLO and FOMO spending.
A possible reason we’ve not yet entered a recession, despite the Fed pushing up interest rates as far and as fast as they did, is that our federal government is about to end its fiscal year with a $1.7T deficit. That $1.7T in government spending trickles down to a lot of YOLO and FOMO spending.
One of the newsletters I read did an analysis of the last seven periods of Federal Reserve tightening. Based on these examples, the average time between when the Fed started raising rates and the start of a recession was 26 months. For this cycle, the Fed began to increase rates in March 2022. Do the math.
Once Israel starts moving into Gaza, it will be interesting to see if some Muslims in Europe and/or the US start creating domestic problems.
In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of potential jihadists already living in Western democracies. A Hamas terror chief actually lives in public housing in the UK. And at the US Southern border, a record number of people on our terror watch list have been arrested this year trying to enter the country. You think a few other bad folks were able to sneak in?
And in case you don’t know the real enemy to peace in the Middle East…
“The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.” That’s right from the mouth of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Sure seems like the head of the snake is not in Gaza or Syria. It’s in Iran.
When I read the calls to “decolonize” Israel, it makes me think that, if we extend that logic, then every American whose family immigrated here since Columbus needs to pack up and leave this country, too.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Welcome to War
October 20, 2023
America’s Most Strategic City
October 6, 2023
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