By Jack Kelly
Here’s a ludicrous idea: our politicians should immediately stop all of the name calling (Although, Nancy’s morbidly obese taunt was pretty funny. I would’ve went with “chubsy-ubsy,” an old-school Little Rascals reference), corporate executives stop pumping their stock prices and looting their respective companies for their own enrichment, and the rest of us normal Americans put a moratorium on all the vile things we say to each other online. Basically, my long-winded point is that we should all pull together to solve this health-economic-job-loss crisis. After all, if we don’t collectively act soon, we’re toast.
Don’t take my word for it. I’m just a dopey recruiter, business guy and hack writer. Take a cold, hard look at the Department of Labor’s recent unemployment numbers. Last week, 2.44 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits. Since mid-March, roughly 39 million people have filed for unemployment. About 25% of Americans are now out of work. As bad as these numbers look, the job landscape is even worse than what’s being reported.
The 39 million total fails to include people who were unemployed prior to the pandemic. Back in February, before Covid-19 really hit hard, the U.S. economy had record-high levels of employment with the lowest level of unemployment in 50 years at around 3.5%—representing millions of people. The government data also doesn’t count those who’ve finished collecting unemployment benefits and have yet to still find jobs. The real number has to be, at the very least, over 40 million people who are out of work.
The *40 million* might even be a low estimate, as it doesn’t include gig-economy and self-employed workers receiving first-time unemployment benefits via a temporary program, according to the Wall Street Journal.
I promise, after we have our “Kum Bah Yah” moment and pull together to get through this mess, we can then return to hating on each other again.
There is one person who we’re not too sad that she’s out of work. Hot Aunt Becky from Full House is going to the hoosegow.
Becky, otherwise known as Lori Loughlin, along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli (yes, that’s the guy’s name on the jeans you bought from Target five years ago), agreed to plead guilty to fraud conspiracy charges. Aunt Becky and her Target-brand husband were involved with a college admissions cheating scandal, paying half a million dollars to some dude who promised to get their allegedly not-too-bright kids into the University of Southern California. The dude, William Risk Singer, presented Aunt Becky’s kids to USC as top athletes.
The irony is that her daughters had no interest in college, never played sports and only wanted to be social media influencers. For $500,000, Becky and Jeans guy could have set them up in their own businesses. The couple’s net worth is over $80 million, according to the internet, so their kids didn’t have much to worry about.
According to their plea agreements, Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to the same charge, as well as one of conspiracy to commit honest services wire and mail fraud.
Prosecutors will recommend two months in prison for Loughlin and five months for Giannulli, as well as fines of $150,000 and $250,000, respectively.
Speaking of jailbirds, do you remember Michael Cohen? Yes, the guy who was President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. He’s just been released from the federal prison in Otisville, New York and heading home to his Manhattan apartment. You gotta love it! Prisoners are released because they may get coronavirus, but the police will throw you in jail if you try to get a haircut or don’t wear a mask.
While we’re reminiscing, Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort—who was serving a 7½-year sentence on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller—was released to home confinement Wednesday due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in federal prisons. I wonder if the three amigos will have a reunion?
A lot of jail stuff today, huh? U.S. authorities arrested a former Green Beret and his son on suspicion they helped smuggle former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of Japan inside a musical equipment box. I’m not gonna tell you anymore about him because you have to read a piece I wrote about him: “The Intriguing Story Of How Carlos Ghosn Went From A Top CEO To An International Fugitive.” Ghosn makes the Dos Equis guy look like a boring wimp.
I think we’re getting a little tired of all of China’s nonsense. No, I’m not referring to the Kung Flu because that would be wrong and racist. The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that could block some Chinese companies from selling shares on American stock exchanges. It would require overseas firms to follow U.S. standards for audits and other financial regulations. For some unknown reason, China did not allow the U.S. regulators to audit China-based companies that trade on American stock exchanges. I suspect—without any evidence to back it up—that prominent wealthy people pulled some strings to let them get away with this.
Rules require companies that sell shares publicly in the U.S. to be audited. The bill would require Chinese companies to establish they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government. Furthermore, they would be required to submit to an audit that can be reviewed by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the nonprofit body that oversees audits of all U.S. companies that seek to raise money in public markets.
Investors say the consequences of China’s disclosure evasions are evidenced in the alleged fraud at Luckin, a China-based cafe chain whose chief operating officer fabricated some $310 million in sales.
You have to love how everything becomes political nowadays. Have you noticed that the “open the economy” vs. the “stay at homers until nobody dies anymore” camps fall neatly along political orientations? The same seems to hold true for wearing masks. Liberals are likely to be on the side of staying indoors and Karen-shaming non-mask-wearers. Right-wingers wanted to open the economy two months ago and think wearing a mask makes you a sissy (sorry for the cuss words). It’s interesting how this plays out on almost EVERY. DAMN. TOPIC. In case you’re curious, I love everyone and don’t take sides. Don’t knock it till you try it. It’s the best way to stay Zen.
The Supreme Court Justices are a bunch of killjoys. The judges granted Trump’s request to block disclosure of Robert Mueller’s grand jury materials. If the documents were released, CNN and MSNBC (the Lame-Stream Media, as per Trump) would have had a field day litigating the whole ordeal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is savage. He predicts that 50% of the company’s employees could be working remotely, saying, “We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale.”
Now, you Facebook drones don’t have to work in expensive San Fran or Silicon Valley, according to Zuckerberg. They can now get the hell out of the dirty, crowded city, littered with needles and human poop.
Of course, there’s a catch. Employees who are currently working at home, nearby the company’s office, need to notify the boss if they move to a different location. Employees who leave to lower-cost cities “may have their compensations adjusted based on their new locations.” “We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point. There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.”
This week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey permitted his employees at Square and Twitter (yes, he’s the CEO of both companies) to work from home “forever.”
It’s a trick. These guys didn’t become billionaires by being nice. They know that a person can work from home in San Fran, Alaska or India. Now, they can hire anyone from anywhere, especially places where there’s great talent that don’t need to pay as much as folks living in big, expensive cities. This could be the worst trend for workers, as CEOs will arbitrage the best, cheapest talent from around the world.
*I’m not trying to offend or mock anyone. I’m just as tired, angry and frustrated as you are. This is my cathartic way of making light of a really tough situation that we’re all in together.