The Causey Consulting Podcast

Bonus Episode: "Living on the brink"

January 16, 2023
The Causey Consulting Podcast
Bonus Episode: "Living on the brink"
Show Notes Transcript

There's an old movie On Borrowed Time  in which Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays Mr. Brink, a reference to the brink of death. It seems more than one economy finds itself on the brink these days. How many are truly on borrowed time?

Key topics:

✔️ People choosing between food and warmth in the winter.
✔️ "The forgotten people."
✔️"Survival for only 19 days" following a job loss.
✔️"Running faster to stand still or even move backwards."
✔️"Many people have cut back right down to the bone."
  ✔️$20/hr jobs and still homeless.

Links I mention:  (even Russell Brand is warning you about the "just sit down and shut up" attitude we're seeing from the power brokers)

Need more? Email me: 

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 I wanted to talk about a series of news stories that I watched that really triggered some unpleasant memories, and unpleasant flashbacks for me to the Great Recession / global financial crisis. I know it may seem and I'm really belaboring this point. But I feel it's just that important, especially in light of the fact that you have, in my opinion, so many talking heads, and public figures going out into the media as though Hush your mouth. There's nothing to worry about. Everything's going to be fine. The other day, Russell Brand published a video I think it has a million views, which is terrific. This message needs to get out. He published a video about the building back better of Украина and BlackRock. Oh, I'm sure there's nothing to that. Right. And I mean, even now, Russell Brand, is saying, it seems a lot like sit down and shut up. The average member of the public is simply being told to sit down and shut up. I have said that for months and months, just sit down and shut up, go back to the cubicle. Take your pablum like a good little baby. And Hush. That is very much the attitude that we're getting from these power brokers. You also have Jamie Dimon who last year said that he saw storm clouds formulating and they could turn into an economic hurricane. Well, now he's walking that back. He's saying, well, I should not have ever used the word hurricane that was too strong. I don't think it's going to be that bad. We're gonna stay the course and do what we're gonna do at the bank. And it's like, well, what changed your mind? Or was your mind changed for you? I'm not saying that's the case. Because I don't know. I just find it really suspicious. For someone to come out publicly and say, the storm clouds could turn into a hurricane. And then later, when actually things seem to be getting worse, not better. That person comes out and says, Oh, oops, no, oh, no, no, no hurricane was much too strong of a word. I'm gonna have to walk that back now. Why? The thing is, the system is set up in such a way that it doesn't perform so well. When the unwashed masses all decide to get together and make a change. Or if there's pandemonium or if there's some kind of genuine panic. We need only go back to the Great Depression. And think about the bank runs that happened. If you go to Federal Reserve Of course, I'll drop a link to it. They have an article about banking panics of 1930 in 1931. I'll read just a little bit to highlight my point, the US appeared to be poised for economic recovery, following the stock market crash of 1929 until a series of bank panics in the fall of 1930 Turn the recovery into the beginning of the Great Depression and quote twas ever thus okay this is what the narrative is and is and isn't it isn't ever will be let the church say amen. Okay, that this is how it goes. The average john and jane Q public out there just trying to raise their kids and work for a living there the problem? Well, we were poised for an economic recovery after the market crash and 29. But these peons, they just let their panic get the best of them. They went for those bank runs. And then that's what spurred off the Great Depression, naughty naughty lessons have been learned since then, and the kind of mass media and social media and just the speed at which information can be proliferated. Now, any agenda that you can imagine can be pushed to huge numbers of people at warp speed. So I believe in my opinion, okay. Dennis Miller has always said it's just my opinion, I could be wrong. I believe that some of these narratives are being put out to make sure that nobody panics, they don't want bank runs. They don't want people taking all of their money out of the stock market. They don't want people I don't know actually trying to prep. You just sit down. Hush your mouth. Let the power brokers worry about this. Let the Fed do what it's going to do. It doesn't need any oversight. It doesn't need to be worried about whether they're being politically correct or people approve of what they're doing. You need to just have a good little sit down and hush your mouth. Don't panic. Don't don't pay so much attention to the news. You need to be worried about what Kim and Kanye are doing and need to be worried about Harry and Megan and the royal family. And just don't worry about economics. Now. Even Jamie Dimon is telling you that the word hurricane was way too strong and he ought not have done that. Yeah. Okay. This is yet again, a scenario where I think back. And I feel as though I have seen this movie before. I feel the same ring of familiarity. Oh, wait. I do. I do. Because Henry Paulson said the same thing. In an article on CNBC, that was originally published on Tuesday, July 22 of 2008, we find we're going to be all right. In case you don't know or don't remember, Henry Paulson is a banker, and a financier. Who was the Secretary of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009. Now, you might also be curious to know that before his role in the Treasury Department, he was the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. I'll drop a link to his Wikipedia page, you can check it out for yourself. But this is yet again, in my opinion, another example of the incestuous nature that we see happening between corporate America and the government. How on earth any rational person couldn't understand, couldn't see the strains of crony capitalism happening in this country, and not just in this country, either. I mean, it happens in Europe as well. It's beyond me. I feel like all of its there, you can find it at any point in time is just so many people choose not to. So we visit this article, I'll drop a link to it. Please read it for yourself. You'll see that I'm not making anything up. This is not hyperbole. The headline says Paulson we're going to be alright. Treasury man, Henry Paulson reassured investors and bank depositors in his speech this morning in New York that the US banking system is okay. Mr. Paulson noted the failure of IndyMac bank the third largest in history, but he said it represents only two tenths of 1% of total banking industry assets, and that depositors are insured up to 100 grand per account. The FDIC took over the bank two Fridays ago and reopened it the next Monday with business as usual, and no one losing a penny of insured deposits. Mr. Paulson went on to say that of the 8500 insured banks and thrifts in the US 99% are well capitalized, while one thrift and four commercial banks have failed this year. That doesn't even remotely compare with the 1980 savings and loan crisis, where there was an average of 255 failures per year. What's more, Paulson noted that the US financial companies have raised more than 150 billion of new capital. So I think the Treasury man was basically trying to say that we're all going to be all right media pessimism, not withstanding, and quote. Again, I say if we were sitting down with a marker board, coming up with ideas for a satire, some kind of dystopian sci fi novel about all of this, we couldn't do it in fiction any better than it's being done in reality. So let's go back and revisit the IndyMac situation. Now, when it was founded, it was founded as Countrywide, so you may recognize it by that name, more so than IndyMac. I'll drop a link, of course to the Wikipedia page, you can see all of this for yourself. Let's read a little bit. When home prices declined in the latter half of 2007 and the secondary mortgage market collapsed. IndyMac was forced to hold $10.7 billion of loans it could not sell in the secondary market. Its reduced liquidity was further exacerbated in late June 2008, when account holders withdrew 1.5 5 billion, or about 7.5% of indie Max deposits. This run on the Thrift followed the public release of a letter from Senator Charles Schumer to the FDIC and OTS. The letter outline the senators concerns with IndyMac while the run was a contributing factor in the timing of Indy Max demise, the underlying cause of the failure was the unsafe and unsound manner in which the Thrift was operated, right. But of course, they want to make sure that they emphasize this idea that your money is safe in the system. And the average peon or pleb, who got too nervous and took their money out, they cause the bank to fail they want to make Sure they push that narrative on June 26 2008, Senator Charles Schumer, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Chairman of Congress's Joint Economic Committee, and the third ranking Democrat in the Senate released several letters he had sent to regulators, which warned that the possible collapse a big mortgage lender in the bank poses significant financial risks to its borrowers and depositors. And that regulators may not be ready to intervene to protect them, some worried depositors began to withdraw money in quote.
Yeah, again, I know it probably seems like I really, really driving this point home. But I feel like this is all being done to create an air of calm. There's no need to worry. The overlords are in charge. We don't want anybody to get too nervous. We don't want you to buck the system. Just don't worry about layoffs. Don't worry about the economy. Everyone's doing fine. It's almost like some kind of weird maths in LP programming. Let's also revisit bank stress tests. You may remember this, you may not. But back in 2009, there were banks that went through these stress tests to figure out if they were solvent, enough to weather an economic storm, and 10 out of the 19 that were tested failed. But we were told that it was okay. Things were going to be alright. It was no big deal and didn't need to worry. In an article published on CNN on May the seventh 2009 We find stress test banks need $75,000,000,000.10 of the nation's 19 largest banks will need to raise a total of $74.6 billion dollars in capital. Federal officials announced Thursday, bringing it into relentless speculation about how much more money the nation's leading banks would need to withstand the recession. More than two months after launching the so called stress test program, leading regulators said that more than half of the bank's tested would require capital to absorb additional losses if the economy weakens further, under the most severe economic scenario, regulators estimated losses could reach $599 billion for the group, the bulk of which comes from residential mortgages and other consumer loans such as credit cards and quote, and they go on to detail the companies that were leading the list Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JMac. So in the midst of this, you might be thinking, Well, surely someone spoke up and said, Hey, this looks pretty bad. I think we should be concerned. Oh, of course. Yeah, sure. So then Federal Reserve Chair Chairman Ben Bernanke was pretty upbeat and positive about it. And he said, markets can be reassured that banks will be strong and be able to lend even if the economy is worse than currently expected. And quote. I just see so many shadows of the past, I was wrong to say the word hurricane. Things are gonna get better. Everybody's doing fine. Just take your baby bottle in your mouth and have your milk and it's going to be okay. Well, why don't we have a little injection of reality? Instead of listening to, in my opinion, the hot air the hopium and then just straight up utter bullshit. Why don't we have an injection of reality. In a news story slash mini documentary on YouTube, called cost of living crisis, Scott's living on the brink. They show a variety of people, one of whom is disabled, and he relies on medical equipment to stay alive. They're concerned about their electricity bill. People are having to choose between heating their home, or eating. In the write up for this news story we find 2022 was a year where living standards were squeezed as the costs of basic essentials like gas, electricity, food and fuel sort. Scotland, tonight's Ali Dickinson hears from a mix of people caught in the eye of the ongoing economic storm and finds out about the difficult decisions they take to make ends meet. Well, at least they don't have difficulty calling it an economic storm. At least they're not walking anything back. There's another man on this documentary Who says that he avoids eating dinner with his kids because he's not going to eat dinner. He wants to make sure that they eat and then he'll just give them an excuse about how he's not hungry. Right then he's going to take his dinner after they go to bed because he doesn't want them to know that he's not going to eat supper that night. You also see people looking at the gas meter wondering, Okay, how much heat am I going to be able to actually The US will I have enough? You know, I guess where the pipes are not burst in the house. And for it to not get so cold that we just can't survive. There are people at the food bank, financing their efforts out of their own pocket as best they can. What we really start to see in this story is a community of people coming together to support one another. And it's like, well, where are the fat cats? Where are the powerbrokers? Where are these billionaires, these individuals who claim to be so philanthropic, you know, they've got time to get on their jets and go have their big WEF meeting? Well, where are they? What are they actually doing to solve any of these problems, they also interview a couple with a coffee shop. And they say we've overcome so many hurdles to make it this far, but we just don't know that we're gonna be able to make it through this. And in one moment, the lady actually says, As terrible as it may sound, or as strange as it may sound COVID was better than this, because at least we were getting some kind of assistance. But now we're just sort of tossed out. We can't afford the utilities and we may have to close the shop after all this time. In a similar news story that appeared on PBS News Hour, on December the 12th, we find increasing number of people in United Kingdom go hungry because of price spikes. A winter of discontent is coming from the United Kingdom. Monday, the first and what will be weeks of nationwide strikes across professions began in protest of the skyrocketing living costs. Now a bleak winter forces many to decide whether to heat their homes or to feed their family. Back in May of last year, I told you that I really believed we would face a winter of discontent. I hoped and pray that I was wrong. But here we are. And these choices are horrific to imagine people saying I don't know if I'm going to be able to eat or keep heat on in the house. In this news story, which takes place in England, we see a similar phenomenon to what we saw over in Scotland. It's really people at these food banks and soup kitchens that are in some ways impoverished themselves trying to help other people that are living in poverty. Where are these fat cats? Where are these powerbrokers? These individuals who want to make sure you think that everything's fine and dandy? And you need to just sit down and shut up? Where are they in the midst of all of this? One of the ladies in the kitchen talks about the forgotten people, people who are living in poverty, and essentially are living live hand to mouth, they really don't know where their next meal is coming from. And they've just been forgotten. It makes my blood boil because it's like these people. They have the ability to get in their sports cars, and their private jets and go jet setting around the world. And talking about how big and important they are. While this is going on? What are their initiatives really doing to help anybody. Then, in this news story, they present the statistic that a recent survey found that if most working Britons lost their jobs, they would only survive financially for 19 days. So we're talking less than three full weeks there but for the grace of God go any of us listening to this program today. As I've said before, unless you just happen to be some billionaire fat cat that tunes in there, but for the grace of God go any of us listening to this program today. They talk about people in the middle class going to food banks, that the food banks are struggling because donations are down and demand is up. And they're seeing more and more people from the middle class people who have jobs, in some cases, more than one job. Yet they're struggling to buy things like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry. So basic things as one of the participants in this new story says it's not like the food bank is giving us flog raw. They're giving us basic things to live on. A bag of pasta, body soap, toothpaste, and so on. We saw very similar things. During the Great Recession and global financial crisis. I've told you before I remember it made an indelible impression on me to see these people on the news crying. I've never had to go to a food bank before. I've never been unemployed this long. I've never had to struggle to feed the family before this is a first time for me. We want to be really really careful of not getting into normalcy bias while Maybe that happens to somebody who has always lived hand to mouth. Maybe they've never really had steady work. And they've always depended on charity, but it would just never happened to me. Are you sure about that? One of the ladies in the soup kitchen, hits the nail right on the head when she's talking about it doesn't trickle down. All this stuff that they want to talk about in the business world. All this wealth is supposed to trickle down, but it doesn't. It trickles into the yacht, or a holiday or a speedboat.
Nailed it? It most certainly does. I think back to old Poppy Bush calling trickle down economics, Voodoo economics. And it's like, yeah, but somehow, we all still believe this idea that as long as we keep lining the pockets of the fat cats and these billionaires and power brokers and politicians, if we keep them fat and happy and sassy, then living off of their crumbs is going to be enough for everybody. They offer the statistic that more than a million British elderly people are wasting away due to hunger. They interview one man who they said was a former bodybuilder at some point, he had to have a leg amputation due to a blocked artery. And if he didn't have access to the food bank, he wouldn't be able to eat. This man says I've worked all my life and to now be at a point where I'm dependent on somebody to bring me food doesn't feel too good. They also profile a debt coach who delivers food parcels to people who are housebound, and he said, I believe many people have cut right to the bone. There's nothing else that they can cut out to try to meet their basic survival needs. I'm so glad that somebody is saying it. Because look at the the bull crap that we get here in America, quit having your lattes, get rid of your cable TV and everything will be fine. And it's like, well, what do you say to people who are not buying lattes? They don't have cable TV, they are living a subsistence life. I think we're just expected to imagine those people flat out don't exist in first world America. on ITV, we find problems created now will last generations cost of living crisis affects whole communities. And this was published on October 20 of 2022. It is hard to overstate just how scared people are right now facing bills, they just cannot pay rent or mortgage payments they won't be able to afford. This is a fear unlike anything many have ever faced the fear of simply not knowing what to do. In this new story, they interview a 65 year old woman who said I've always worked. And I've been through hard times before but nothing like this. At one point, she starts to cry. And she says I've never been in debt over a bill before. To keep the power bill down. There's a whole host of things she just doesn't use anymore. She talks about having toasts as a luxury, because she doesn't want to run the toaster. Can you imagine a piece of toast is a luxury because of what it costs to run the toaster to make the toast. They also talk to a man with a newborn daughter. And in order to clean her properly and make sure that she can have a hot bath. They have to take her to the mother in law's house. Because they really can't afford the proper amount of heat and hot water in their home. They visit bingo night at a little senior get together. And one of the men interviewed says some of the seniors here will go without they're too proud to ask for help. They don't want to say that they're struggling. So they'll just go hungry, rather than ask anybody to help them. There's a man who runs a butcher shop that was started by his grandparents. And apparently it's something of a town institution because it's been there for so many years. And he's talking about shutting it down. Because the utilities have doubled and he just can't keep up. Then you add to that, of course the food costs who can afford to go in the shop and buy anything. It's really such a double edged sword when you're a business owner. They interview a man at a food bank and he said initially we saw a lot of retirees on pensions. But he said things have really changed and now 50% of the people we provide for are working they are employed full time. Some of them are teachers. Some of them are paramedics and they're having to come to the food bank and many of them are having to do it for the first time ever in their lives. This again reminds me very much of the great recession and the global financial crisis. They interview a woman who works full time. And who says I've never felt this scared or anxious about the economy and about my future ever before. And I feel like that is the kind of stress and upset and sleepless nights that these puff pieces out in the media are not factoring in. So while you may be told how oops, you know, that hurricane that I predicted, I think it's one big nothing burger, you don't need to worry about it just settled down, we're going to go on business as usual, while you're being told all of that real people are worried about how they're going to heat their home, how they're going to feed themselves and their children, what would happen in the event of a job loss? What happens if they have to go to the food bank, and the food bank doesn't have much of anything, if anything to give to them. But I mean, hey, they're just the little people who cares about them in relation to the fat cats. Channel Four News published a story the poor are getting poor, how cost of living is impacting those at the bottom. And this was generated on November 17th of 2022. One of them points out something that I can vouch for paying more than ever before for your health care. But if you turn up at the ER or over there, it's accidents and emergencies. If you turn up at the emergency room, you may have to wait four hours in an emergency situation. Now you may get on your soapbox, I feel confident some mansplain er will write into me Well, that's what happens when you socialize medicine, maybe so but let me tell you here in first world, America, you may find yourself going into the emergency room and waiting and waiting and waiting. And they may charge you some exorbitant amount of money and do if all to help you when the dust settles. Been there done that quite recently. In fact, one of the men they interview also said that the night before his wife, it's been an hour, trying to glue the daughter's shoes back together because they don't have the $20 or 20 pounds it would take to go to the store and just buy a new pair of shoes. They interview a nurse who says that 75% of her income goes to the mortgage. And the utilities does not count what she needs to spend to put gas in her vehicle. Insurance food 75% of her wages are spent on the mortgage and these exorbitant utility costs. We see a similar phenomenon at the food bank featured in this news story. And a lady who works at the food bank says we see people not just in poverty, but people in the middle class turning up. And it seems that the poor are getting poor, but people in the middle class are getting poor as well. We see people coming here who are nurses, teachers, teachers, assistants, people who thought that they would never come to a food bank are coming here and our donations are down. So we're having to spend what money we can to be able to provide them with something. So you may be thinking, okay, but that's, that's overseas. If you live in America, you might be thinking that's in the UK. That's not here, and I feel bad for those people. But, you know, over here, we've got labor shortage and all this bullshit that we've heard over and over and over again, nobody wants to work all Millennials are back home on the couch Gen Z, I guess never left. Nobody under the age of whatever. 35 I guess apparently wants to hold down a job and work AlJazeera plus, AJ plus put up a story on December the first of last year. I make $20 An hour and I am still homeless. Jackson Hole Wyoming is a playground for billionaires Teton County where Jackson Hole is located is the wealthiest county in the United States. That's pretty interesting, because I think for quite some time, it was Marin County, so I guess they've been edged out. Teton County where Jackson Hole is located as the wealthiest county in the US it's also the county with the highest income inequality. The town has been home to famous residents like Dick Cheney, Harrison Ford and Sandra Bullock, but it's also home to a sizable unhoused and housing insecure population. Interesting. One of the reasons why I bring this up, is because it's important to understand that somebody can be working poor. Somebody can be working a full time job, not minimum wage, somebody can be working a full time job
and still have issues. That's what we saw over in those broadcasts from the UK repetitively, people who have never had to go to a food bank before, people who are working full time in very recognizable professions like nursing, and teaching. Or having to turn up at a food bank, people are having to make these drastic choices of whether they're going to freeze in the winter, whether they're going to be able to bathe their baby in warm water, or whether they're going to be able to eat, do I skip meals so that my kids can eat? How are we going to do this tonight? That's a horrible situation. And I think this documentary about what's happening in Jackson Hole is such a good dichotomy of the haves and the have nots, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poor and more people getting squeezed out of the middle class, not that they're getting squeezed upward and becoming wealthy, but they're getting squeezed down further and further. I've talked before on the air about Elissa Cortes book squeezed and what's happening to the middle class, if you haven't read it, I recommend it. Now, it does come from more of a left behind. So there's a lot in there about how the government should solve problems. I disagree with that. I don't put myself anywhere on that left right spectrum. I don't count on corporate America to solve any problems. And I damn sure don't count on the government to solve them either. Because as I've told you before, И так и что, six and one half a dozen of the other they all have this incestuous relationship where they trade back and forth between being in politics or being in corporate America.  How can you differentiate anymore? In this documentary, they show a very modest home with a small yard, going for $1.2 million. And they answered this question, why don't you just leave? Well, it takes money to leave. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, and you're wondering where your next meal is going to come from? Or where you're going to spend the night that night? Do you have money to fuel up the car? Do you have a vehicle mean do you have the means of being able to leave this very expensive place to get to somewhere else that's more affordable, some do some don't. But to me, it is an excellent juxtaposition of the haves and the have nots, and these people that preach to us will just go get a job. If you're making 20 bucks an hour and you're working full time, then there's no reason that you can't afford X, Y and Z, you should be able to heat your house you should be able to cool in in the summer. Now we're going to ignore the fact that utility bills are skyrocketing, you should still somehow like Jesus on the loaves and fishes be able to multiply this money out. We're going to assume that you're drinking lattes at Starbucks every day and you have the most expensive cable TV package known under man. So we're going to tell you that if you just stopped doing those things, then you're going to have all of this extra money, all of this additional disposable income that you can use. More and more we really are getting to George Carlin's thesis that it's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. That's not because I think that upward mobility is completely impossible. It's just really freaking difficult. Unless you have a hand up and a hand out from some wealthy relative to begin with, it's becoming more and more difficult to achieve that, especially when I think back to my grandparents generation, even more so than my parents generation, because I know that the baby boomers take a lot of hits. But I just think back to the opportunities that my grandparents had. And then I think about what it's like now, how difficult it is to try to get a leg up. It's like if you fall behind. It's tough to ever recover again. It's like the lady at the food bank said it's not just that the poor are getting poor. The middle class is getting poor to a row wrote a blog post that in my mind living situation, feudalism and workplace feudalism is just feudalism. Full stop. We're headed into this weird feudalism 2.0. And that's scary. My goal here is not to just create fear porn and make you jump at every loud noise that you hear. My goal is really to make you think. And I want to be highly suspicious of anybody that's coming out in the media telling you Oh, well, I thought it was going to be a hurricane. But Haha, no, not really. Things are looking brighter. Things are looking better. So you just sit in your cubicle, and you type your files and you do what you need to do and you just don't worry about it. In my mind, anybody that's giving you that Hush, little baby, don't you cry. Don't say a word attitude is probably not your friend at this point in time. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.
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