How Work-from-Home Impacts Commercial Real Estate & Cities. Can Airlines Survive? Can We Now Get Deals on New Cars?

Wolf Richter on the HoweStreet.com podcast.

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  107 comments for “How Work-from-Home Impacts Commercial Real Estate & Cities. Can Airlines Survive? Can We Now Get Deals on New Cars?

  1. MCH
    Jul 18, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    You know Wolf, you need to actually add content onto your podcast. After all, how are you going to expand your Richter media empire if you don’t actually put out more podcasts.

    • suny129
      Jul 19, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      I always prefer a transcribed report than a PODCAST, any day. Just too much ‘time consuming’, just like trying HARD absorb the salient points from a video or audio broadcast.

    • M
      Jul 19, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      I agree: more opinion/analysis and predictions would make it better. As to cars, I am salivating at what will happen in October to December 2020.

      The new models (which will likely get delayed) will be coming in and the dealers have to get rid of their old inventory. That is usually the best time to buy for those reasons.

      This year, I plan to earn the name that a dealer once called me when I bought his car at way-below FMV: “legal car thief.” I like my purchases to anger them. :-)

      One problem is that apparently certain American cars now have more engine problems and the other cars are less likely to be discounted.

  2. Willy2
    Jul 19, 2020 at 12:35 am

    – In spite of being supported by the government airlines are still talking about lay-offs and reduction of wages.
    – One airline announced that their workers/employees will “be asked” (forced ??) to take a 20% reduction in wages.
    – I know that in one region there were well advanced plans for opening a new airport. The airport was only months away from opening for business. But with COVID-19 a number of companies have already announced that they will reduce the amount of business travel by plane. Now there are serious doubts whether the new airport will open at all or will be able to make a profit at all.
    – Welcome to the (new) reality of Post COVID-19 !!!!

  3. Yertrippin
    Jul 19, 2020 at 1:13 am

    I saw Wolf getting a nod over on Wallstreetsbets the other day. He’s big time already injecting a bit of sense into that madness.

    • Erich
      Jul 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

      Both George Gammon and J Bravo have mentioned Wolf Street in recent YouTube videos. So yes, the word about Wolf Street is getting out there.

      • Tanstaafl
        Jul 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm

        You mean, we avid followers are already the old breed? Finally, once in my life…

  4. Nicko2
    Jul 19, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Convert obsolete and empty corporate/commercial office space into subsidized housing, rejuvenate urban centres. Winning!

    • andy
      Jul 19, 2020 at 10:19 am

      The Saleforce tower is well suited for section 8 housing. And will fit all homeless as well. I doubt it was 10% occupied even pre-covid.

      • MCH
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

        And during Halloween, they an sit under the watchful eye of Sauron. Or sweaty, fat, Mr. I have a children’s hospital named after me.
        MUHAHAHAHAHA.

      • KRV
        Jul 25, 2020 at 7:52 am

        It gets bombastic noisy when two bubbles meet!

  5. Joe
    Jul 19, 2020 at 8:10 am

    I am a big fan of the Howestreet content as they cover many topics that the mainstream media ignores.
    Keep up your fantastic work Wolf!
    Many people are in the dark to what actually is happening around them.

  6. Gene
    Jul 19, 2020 at 8:22 am

    I remember going to work in the accounting department of Kohler Company in ’72. The whole floor was visible from any desk. A few managers had their own offices. We thought nothing of it. A couple years later, cubicles came along, and people generally liked the privacy. Towards the end of my career, the open office environment was coming back.
    As for teleworking, it requires motivated employees. With my agency, there were auditors who “disappeared” for hours during the day. You would leave a message on their phone, no call back. For trainees, much of the learning process is lost without informal peer interaction eight hours a day. A Zoom video is not the same.

    • JK
      Jul 19, 2020 at 11:33 am

      I have to agree with you. Too easy to do the laundry and other chores while “working.” At least for me. Yes, it’s nice to have a computer/radio playing music or tv in background, but I like the focus work environment brings to work. When I walk out the door, I leave it behind.

    • char
      Jul 19, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      Training needs to be more structural and formal with teleworking. But that is not a negative. It forces companies to think about how they work because you can’t think about improving work if you don’t think about how you work.

    • Lee
      Jul 19, 2020 at 10:01 pm

      And what about the**hole boss that calls you at home at 6:30 or 7:00 pm to talk about xyz?

      Or the boss that stops in for lunch at your house during a business trip to the city?

      Or even better yet, the boss who insists that just because you had an operation and are now at home recovering you can also continue to work at home? “One day of sick leave s enough.”

      And by the way the company went down the tubes with me getting an email the day after New Year’s holidays ended…………..

    • Buddha
      Jul 20, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Yep. Sometime ago I worked for a large technology company. They weren’t great believers in telecommuting but had a great flexible hours policy. So long as you were at work during a few core hours you could come and go as necessary. During those core hours there was a huge amount of face-to-face meetings both structured and ad-hoc in the large hallways. Since then I moved to companies that encourage telecommuting as a way to obtain talent and lower fixed real estate expenses. While everyone promotes the new tools that emulate face-to-face meetings I find that they lack fidelity. Frequently, I notice the person(s) on the other side of the conversation multi-tasking and not really paying attention to our discussion. This is especially true for structured calls. After tracking this for a bit I find that I have to have about 25% more of these emulated face-to-face meetings in order to get the same impact as real face-to-face meetings. Not very efficient and also I tracked many more mistakes that need to be rectified.

      • Canadian
        Jul 20, 2020 at 12:04 pm

        Face-to-face efficiencies are more than subsumed by the insane living and CRE costs in most major urban areas.

        A lifestyle that is 50% lower cost and 25% “less efficient” is superior to one that is high cost and “highly efficient.”

        You, as the worker bee, don’t get the efficiency dividend either way. Productivity adjusted for inflation has skyrocketed since the 70s but wages have remained flat.

        What’s the economic incentive for a worker bee to be more efficient, if there’s no comp bonus for it (and, in fact, he or she must live in an insanely overpriced city with a poor quality of life like New York or San Francisco?)

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Jul 20, 2020 at 1:37 pm

        You forgot to mention the face-to-face meetings with folks “thumbing” away with their smartphones under the table and not really paying attention.

  7. Petunia
    Jul 19, 2020 at 8:53 am

    I watched a few NYC videos over the last few days, the city is dead. One video was a guy riding the subway in morning rush hour. There were some people on the train, but more empty seats than people. Considering the transit system in NYC operates at a loss in the best of times, now it is doomed. Those jobs are among the “good jobs” in the city.

    • char
      Jul 19, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      A transit system always operates at a loss. See the airlines. Loss-making in many years even with massive subsidies. But you get it back in the much greater economic growth

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Jul 20, 2020 at 1:39 pm

        Yup, we lose a bit on every sale, but we make it on with volume.

  8. Satya Mardelli
    Jul 19, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Wolf – during this podcast you mentioned American workers will need to show their brilliance to demonstrate their value to the company while competing against foreign contract workers. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially that was my takeaway from your comment.

    It’s going to be very difficult to show their brilliance if they are sitting in their home office. My gut feeling is that you need face-to-face interactions with your first and second level supervisor to make this necessary impression.

    If I’m right, those that return to the office will have a competitive advantage over those that decide to work from home. The stay-at-home folks might soon find out that their career progression has come to a screeching halt.

    • Petunia
      Jul 19, 2020 at 9:49 am

      I think working from home is a dead end job, unless you work for yourself. It’s hard to keep up with new things, advocate for yourself, and make good contacts. I don’t think you need to be in the office everyday, but access is important.

      A little known fact is most of the foreign workers that come through the large contractor firms, like the Indian ones, have a huge training and support system available to them. These large foreign contractor firms provide their workers with direct support to help keep them working and paying commissions to the firms. American workers are on their own.

      • MCH
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:20 am

        Yep, you guys are right on. Access is important, even if you are in the field all the time, you need to spend time in the office to connect with your co-workers. It’s not just about impressing the immediate boss, although that matters quite a bit.

      • Jul 19, 2020 at 11:44 am

        “American workers are on their own.” One phrase in a job review that was always a downer, “requires constant supervision..” However the trend in employment is to discourage innovation and replace autonomy with supervision, or structure. Rather than one valuable self motivated employee, companies prefer several low paid, drone workers. Keeping up with new things is anathema to an employer, who fear losing the worker to a better job. Problem is these people working at home may drift away to greener pastures.

        • MCH
          Jul 19, 2020 at 11:37 pm

          I was thinking about this whole work from home and social distancing thing. One of the thing this serves is to weaken various social bonds that exists at places like work. As a whole, one wonders who would be the beneficiary of such weakening of various societal bonds.

          The situation is entirely odd, one would think that given the time frame for a real vaccine (not smoke and mirrors from hucksters), there will be a continual expectation for social distancing, and given a few years, this could become the strange new normal. May be not in the rest of the world, but in the US.

          This could shift things in an unexpected way in the next decade.

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Jul 20, 2020 at 1:42 pm

        WFH + no office politics == no career.

        • Nate
          Jul 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm

          Unless you are self-employed. No Office Politics is the main reason I became so 30 years ago. And thank your favorite diety for that.

    • char
      Jul 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm

      The danger is not your direct boss but your CEO that decides India is cheaper. Being part of a team in which only a few work face-to-face does not help in such a situation. Showing tradition “Leadership Qualities” is more difficult online but online needs different qualities anyway. If you have the qualities for WFH but not for F2F than it would improve your career progression.

      • Canadian
        Jul 20, 2020 at 12:10 pm

        India is cheaper, yes.

        But so is your competitor’s pricing, Mr. CEO. I, as a consumer, will expect to see India pricing for your product now that you have India infrastructure as your backbone.

        That means no more premium American pricing, charged at the full union labor rate.

        By the way, the Indians themselves are far more adept at operating in India than you are. They’ll make a better and cheaper product while your company is spiralling downwards in your pointless restructuring.

        Then they’ll buy your remaining assets and brand in the inevitable liquidation.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft
      Jul 19, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      No. I started working from home in 2000 and saved my corporate clients millions of dollars I can document and solved many difficult projects for them.

      You can kick ass from anywhere.

      It’s not about a pretty face in Telecom, it’s about production.

    • Canadian
      Jul 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      The flip side of labor arbitrage is deflation in consumer pricing.

      If an American worker earning $75K per year is replaced with one in, say, India who earns $20K per year, disposable income per employee goes way, way down. Lower priced products take over.

      This is something Apple is learning only too well as $200 handsets from China and Korea utterly destroy its international sales.

      The same thing will happen domestically if the race to the bottom continues. Nobody will be able to afford the products that were priced for American incomes. American businesses will all disappear.

      • Bubba
        Jul 21, 2020 at 3:07 pm

        And what about the tax revenues the employee here pay? That goes away too. Expect big changes in gov services soon.

      • KRV
        Jul 25, 2020 at 8:06 am

        Price is local. If the local is earth-size then the price will be what it it has to be.

        With machine-made products the cost (and price) is going to be related to the cost of labour attending those machines, and firms will go where that labour is cheapest.

        With human-made products the cost/price is going to be whatever the cost of the specific humans making those products. So “american” products have to be products by americans for americans of americana; and firms making those will be foolish to try make those outside america.

        Any every analysis confusing machine-mades with human-mades is just globalist bumkum.

  9. MiTurn
    Jul 19, 2020 at 9:23 am

    It’s a strange possibility that if the pandemic lingers, sufficiently long enough to actually effect long-term changes in employment, such as what we’re now seeing, that much of this might become normalized. I doubt it, as people are inherently social creatures, but imagine a world in which it does. Many people might spend the majority of their work life at home, from a home office. Would online school become the norm or, increasingly, a common option? Shopping would become normalized to online. Strange new world, perhaps.

    Wolf, I look forward to you posting the transcripts. I just can’t ‘do’ podcasts.

    :)

    • Jul 19, 2020 at 9:51 am

      In terms of transcripts, this is not my podcast, so I won’t do a transcript. And HoweStreet, whose podcast this is, doesn’t do transcripts.

      • Paulo
        Jul 19, 2020 at 10:03 am

        Darn.

        I was just going to ask if your transcripts could be released sooner than usual? This is just a personal statement and by no means critical. I don’t like podcasts, and prefer to read. I expect this is because we don’t have smart phones in our local World, :-)….or in our lives. In fact, many of my friends follow suit and refuse to use them. If people walking around with ear buds on is any indication of reality, I suspect we are in a minority for sure.

        In fact, on podcast Sunday submissions I just read the comments and attempt to discern article content by my familiarity with many of the commenters. I then wait for the transcript on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

        Oh well, next time, maybe.

        regards

        • sunny129
          Jul 19, 2020 at 6:04 pm

          ‘ I don’t like podcasts, and prefer to read’

          DITTO!

          I have bypassed many podcasts even if they are premium- content and free!

      • MiTurn
        Jul 19, 2020 at 10:35 am

        Fair enough!

        • U'rOut
          Jul 19, 2020 at 4:38 pm

          Well now, can’t do podcasts? Guess what? Not what a company wants to hear, doesn’t work well from home, no job for you!

      • Erich
        Jul 19, 2020 at 7:59 pm

        Anyone who wants a transcript of this video can find a “speech to text” translator out there. Some are even free.

      • roddy6667
        Jul 20, 2020 at 12:41 am

        There all kinds of Voice-to-text apps and software available for those who don’t want to sit through a podcast.

    • Petunia
      Jul 19, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Online schooling is basically home schooling. Home schooling detaches houses from schools. And also detaches teachers from schools. The county becomes the provider of education and you can live in any neighborhood. No need to live in the high tax area with the good schools. It’s a process that will affect home prices as well.

      • MiTurn
        Jul 19, 2020 at 10:43 am

        Petunia,

        Currently I’m reviewing an article to be published in a regional education journal. The article examines the impact of forced online education (Covid-19
        induced) on remote and rural schools and their students. While the authors noted that online learning was a difficult challenge for many students, as they were now separated from the dynamic social environment that school provides for kids, they also noted that many of the socially-reserved students thrived in the at-home environment. These kids were happier and performed better academically.

        I guess it’s a coin toss.

        • M.Donnelly
          Jul 19, 2020 at 11:09 am

          Let’s get real about education. One hour a week of watching PBS Nova will do more to educate and inspire students than a semester of the regurgitated pablum we are feeding them compliments of the billion dollar text book industry.
          As a card carrying member of the working poor ( low income, single female , first generation immigrant with only a high school diploma) I also taught my preschool age children to sight read by reading to them every night from books borrowed from the public library. No cost…huge payback!

        • IanCad
          Jul 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

          One of the neglected benefits of OOE is the re-education of the parent/teachers. No little snotbrat will be allowed to get ahead of Momma.
          A win win for all.

        • Petunia
          Jul 19, 2020 at 11:51 am

          I home schooled my son through the last 3 years of high school. We did it in two years by doing it every day, except for the Xmas holiday. We rarely needed more than 4 hours of study a day, usually less, 2-4. It was a big wake up for me as a parent. The schools waste a lot of time baby sitting. My only regret was not doing it from the beginning.

          In spite of my enthusiasm for home schooling, I recognize that only kids in organized, functional, and educated households will thrive doing it. Kids with learning problems, or uneducated parents, will fall through the cracks.

          Big shout out to the Florida Virtual School program in Florida. They do a good job of guiding the parent and students through the program.

        • char
          Jul 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm

          4 hours home schooling sounds like a busy day. What i can remember of school was max 8 and weekly average of almost 7 school hours of 50 min. With moving from class to class and not counting P.E., music and other “useless” classes i get something like 6x45min or 4.5 hours. But you have only one student instead of a class full so less repetition for students that are watching out of the window so 4 hours sounds not like a big improvement in comparison to a high school environment.

          You also don’t need to do so many test to check up on student progress and can use teaching methods that are completely unworkable with even a class of 3 but that work great with one student per teacher

        • char
          Jul 19, 2020 at 7:22 pm

          @M.Donnelly

          School has the advantage that it is much more structured and that it also teaches the unfun parts that you need to know.

      • Frederick
        Jul 19, 2020 at 10:43 am

        But you can’t hit the teacher with paper clips when she turns towards the blackboard from home Or can you, remotely ?

        • roddy6667
          Jul 20, 2020 at 12:44 am

          We had a guy who put Greenie Stick-em caps on the metal feet of the teacher’s chair when she left the room. He was the hero of detention.

      • MCH
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:35 am

        You know of course that this idea would be vehemently opposed by the teachers unions who insist that personal touch (over the internet) is still necessary for the children. (read, OMG, you mean kids can leave the failing schools, and go attend online classes in the good school districts? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

        This will also be opposed by residents of select school districts who knows that their property value is held up in part because of decent schools.

        • Petunia
          Jul 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm

          When I home schooled my son in Florida, the teachers lived around the country, as well as locally. Most were women who wanted to be at home with their kids.

          My son and I both had contact with the teachers regularly, more if needed. They took calls, answered emails and were required to grade assignments within a day or two. I can only remember one teacher who was MIA. After complaining she became very available.

        • MCH
          Jul 19, 2020 at 1:48 pm

          Dear Petunia,

          The teachers union would like to have a word with you. We find it unacceptable that your child has not been properly indoctrinated… excuse me… educated in the approved manner. He must have a right balance of equality education, sex education of various types that would encompass a minimum of three school years, lessons associated why the US is a ****** country in dire need of change, and other important subject matters.

          Also, subjects of minor and reduced importance in our society today such as mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, English, history. This should equate to about 3 months in his 4 years education.

          Thank you

          Your friendly neighborhood teachers union (consisting of 99% administrators, hug specialists, safety bubble coordinators and other such important staff, and about two actual teachers)

        • GirlInOC
          Jul 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm

          My kids feel exactly the same about virtual learning as they do about physical school. Primarily because virtual learning still requires an hour or 2 of video conferencing with their teacher (along w/ socializing with their friends over chat). My kindergartener had only about an hour conference lesson but the teacher sent a bunch of recorded videos for lessons.

          So I guess this “indoctrination” is still happening (otherwise known as “education” in perhaps less anti-public schools circles 🙄 )

      • Engin-ear
        Jul 20, 2020 at 2:44 am

        There is little clarity about the real value of school, at least in my head.

        I see about 50% of school time spent on techical skill developement, including Reading.

        The other half is behavioral and motivational : learning to coexist peacefully in a very small overcrowed space.

        This is especially critical for children from dysfunctionnal families.

        Finally school may be more important in formatting soft skills of future law abiding citizens than in filling their heads with hard skills.

        In conclusion, I am not comfortable with the idea of mass home schooling because of uncertain outcomes for social unity in the long term.

        • Lee
          Jul 20, 2020 at 5:47 am

          “In conclusion, I am not comfortable with the idea of mass home schooling because of uncertain outcomes for social unity in the long term.”

          IOW you want brainwashed leftist nuts?

          Funny how all sorts of crap gets introduced as ‘education’ or ‘learning’ and yet many lack the basic skill sets in math and language. It is even happening in Australia.

          When we moved to Australia from Japan we were worried about the kid as her English language skills were somewhat lacking behind her year group.

          She was able to pick up the langauge quite quickly and as far as math was concerned, she was at least three years ahead of her Australian grade.

          And when she was in high school I forced her to take the native level Japanese courses that they offered on weekends rather than sail though the standard Japanese classes offered to the students during week at school.

          But even then I was surprised that a lot of the learning was based on writing ‘acceptable’ essays in the Japanese langauge that espoused a certain ‘viewpoint’……..rather than the type of Japanese langauge skills curriculum offered in Japan at those grade levels.

          I asked why that content was in her essay even though she didn’t agree with it. Well, she said if she wrote something else her grade would suffer.

          But anyway she survived and completed her PhD last year.

        • Engin-ear
          Jul 20, 2020 at 6:27 am

          @Lee

          Apparently I failed to express my point.

          After a decade of schooling, you obtain a certificate in hard skills measured against a relatively explicit program.

          But you gain also soft skills – ability to interact with others. And I feel that this part of education may be forgotten in “home schooling” movement.

        • MiTurn
          Jul 20, 2020 at 8:19 am

          “This is especially critical for children from dysfunctionnal families.”

          My experience is that these are the families that do not homeschool their children. Families that tend to homeschool are really a self-selecting group that value education.

          As for your concerns about socialization (inferred from you letter to Lee, below) they are well-placed. But local homeschool groups are increasingly adopting a co-operative model where a day is set a side for play — so kids can meet and enjoy that social environment — as well as planning group outings, say to the museum, etc.

          These things are not universal nor always available, but the homeschool movement is evolving.

      • Stephen C.
        Jul 20, 2020 at 10:40 am

        As for good schools in good neighborhoods, even if the teachers are detached (they can hardly afford to live in the good neighborhoods anyway, so they are somewhat detached already) the school will probably require the parents owning a house in the neighborhood.

        If not, all hell could break loose because the entire nation’s real estate geography is, I suspect, based on “white flight”, and property taxes used as gating, to keep the lower orders out. If parents started moving away but tried to keep their kids enrolled in a good school, expect some really contorted bureaucratic patchwork to keep the “lower orders” from enrolling in all the “right” schools. It would look bad if they just asked for proof of income or assets.

        And eventually we could have school teachers calling it in from India and elsewhere. I mean, why not? Zoom knows no boundaries, and neither does Neoliberal Capitalism.

  10. BuySome
    Jul 19, 2020 at 10:38 am

    It looks like we’re now caught in an efficiency spiral. The main question has been “What do we not need now?”. And the answer so far has centered on the great labor force. Work From Home may become very liberating as an increasing number of office workers are liberated from their current employment when it becomes apparent that they no longer serve any function due to decreasing activity. And corporate lawyers can WFH when they file the final bankruptcy forms. The only answer for “What do we need now?”, has largely been isolation like masks, social space, less travel, and less direct human interaction. Other than shifting some people around for various delivery systems, there seems to be no future in building anything to increase employment. You can only go so far with having the entire world stay at home and gaze into a screen. So where’s the plan for the new world when the old one suddenly dies-at-home?

    • Frederick
      Jul 19, 2020 at 10:45 am

      “ No longer serve any function” You mean like 90% of govt employees right?

      • BuySome
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:10 am

        Welllll, no. I mean like everbody. Since WWII, most of the economic activity has been tied-in or supported either directly or indirectly to government spending and that wave of workers it carries. So, when they go down so does everything else. There’s very little left that can be labled purely “capitalism” as most is “kapitalism” with that socialistic bottom line. Our greedy rich guys know what butters their bread too. Kill the cow and the dairy farmer ain’t got no business plan.

      • Cas127
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:17 am

        Selling your vote for a salary isn’t a function?

        (sarc)

      • timbers
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

        Frederick,

        have you read about the guys who documented many prescription drugs don’t contain what they claim? They went to the company CEO, who promptly ordered their report and laptops destroyed. The FDA used to be properly funded and tested for stuff like this.

        Not any more. It’s been austerity’d into uselessness. Then, people come out of the wood work and say things like 90% of government employees don’t do anything.

        Ditto Post Office.

        Something to think about.

        • Petunia
          Jul 19, 2020 at 12:13 pm

          Most govt agencies have been politicized and captured for decades, if not generations. They only serve the interests of big business and big donors.

        • VintageVNvet
          Jul 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm

          timbers,
          Starting in the fight against use of agent orange’ in our national forests and other fed managed lands the 70s, it seems to me that I remember FDA being known clearly and widely as a puppet of the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, including supporting non science and other fraudulent reporting by various manufacturers, which is all over the news these days.
          Maybe FDA was actually doing its job in old days of yore, but asbestos scenario doesn’t support that in the 30s either.

        • data003
          Jul 19, 2020 at 5:59 pm

          That makes no sense whatsoever. All the studies, doctors, and patients are being deceived by placebos? That’s just false. Maybe you meant supplements?

        • timbers
          Jul 19, 2020 at 6:12 pm

          VintageNVvet, I don’t doubt what you say, and I agree with Petunia’s point, but I neglected in the example I mentioned to include the part of how the FDA did used to check drug content but this has evolved to no testing and just taking the company’s word. In this case the company was an Indian firm. And I also recall there being a shortage of FDA inspectors.

        • timbers
          Jul 19, 2020 at 6:19 pm

          Data003…no this actually happened, when a number of doctors patients started reporting odd side affect with their meds. Article at NC yesterday. 2 honest and conscious employees investigated and reported to CEO, believing he do the right thing. They both resigned after he destroyed their report.

      • AlamedaRenter
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:48 am

        What a dumb comment.

        Remember when the City of SF powelines from Hetch Hetchy burned down the town of Paradise or when they burned down Wine country or when their pipeline blew up 10 people in San Bruno….yeah…me neither.

        Not to add 2 bankruptcies in 22 years.

        They just deliver clean power water and sewer service to almost 3 million people and manage to not kill anyone or be multiple convicted felon.

        Oh well…guess those private industry guys have it all figured out.

        • Seneca's cliff
          Jul 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm

          My wife was the director of a public works department for a small city in Oregon that had a private utility running the water and sewer system for 40 years prior to her arrival . Just before she got there the city ended up taking the system back because it had been so badly managed by the private company. They had run the infrastructure in to the ground. It took her department over a decade to get it all back in properly working order.

        • MCH
          Jul 19, 2020 at 6:43 pm

          Public utilities should be public. See Santa Clara power, much better than PG&E, was so sad that they never went beyond the city of Santa Clara.

        • Lee
          Jul 20, 2020 at 5:52 am

          Never interacted with a local council in Australia have you?

          Ours is between useless and worthless. (Except at taking bribes and handing out various kinds of tickets and infringement notices!!!)

          All elected council members were removed by the State government and replaced by administrators.

          Don’t know if we are better off or not as a result of the virus mucking up things.

      • MonkeyBusiness
        Jul 19, 2020 at 12:25 pm

        90% of Social Media employees perform the equivalent of digital surveillance. In other words, they are peeping toms with cooler toys.

        I’ll take my “useless” government employees over those people.

        • timbers
          Jul 19, 2020 at 12:52 pm

          It’s there a shortage of FDA inspectors? Isn’t there tens of millions who need jobs? Doesn’t everyone agree making prescription drugs safe is a valuable contribution to everyone? Hmm…I have an idea…I have an idea…there it is…there it is…oops it’s gone!

        • Frederick
          Jul 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm

          Been to Motor Vehicles Department in NY lately, I thought NOT

      • nodecentrepublicansleft
        Jul 19, 2020 at 9:55 pm

        Yeah that Pandemic Response Team and all those scientists and epidemiologists are useless.

        Glad Covid Don disbanded that response team. Utterly useless bro!

        We should privatize everything, using the big donor’s companies.

    • Engin-ear
      Jul 20, 2020 at 2:52 am

      I am afraid that this WFH movement will bring us to the oldest WFH occupation: peasantry.

    • Lisa_Hooker
      Jul 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      There was a film about the evolution of work from home a number of years back. I think it was called “The Matrix”, but I’m not sure.

  11. Jul 19, 2020 at 11:52 am

    For some reason the telecommuter revolution never happened. Necessity is the catalyst like always. The end of the automobile, and suburban culture, are another statue, whether you pull them over or push them over. Employers are being scrooge-like if they want to cut pay because employees have fewer expenses. It’s about productivity, carbon footprint, a lot of things beneficial to corporate America (or why are stocks on a tear?). They should pay people MORE to work at home.

  12. Pedro
    Jul 19, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    If you’re a tech worker and you now work from home realize your contributions are no more valuable than a remote worker in a foreign country that can deliver similar results.

    Tech workers will now understand what happened to manufacturing workers in the 00s. Your skills will be outsourced to much much cheaper labor abroad.

    • data003
      Jul 19, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      This is just fear mongering. Working with remotes teams across the planet is extremely difficult. The success stories you hear about are definitely the exception and not the norm. I’ve been a remote tech worker for over a decade and I’ve never once been concerned that my job will be offshored. It’s hard enough to find good programmers regardless of where they live.

      • Yertrippin
        Jul 19, 2020 at 9:40 pm

        Truth. Also many jobs also involve tricky cultural references and behaviors in the market they serve. I work with competent offshore talent, but they would be nearly unable to do much of the work without domestic support. From my experience this support is also less likely to be from the top earners in the company.

        Globalization only got so far.

      • MonkeyBusiness
        Jul 19, 2020 at 9:58 pm

        True, but as Facebook said, local salaries will be adjusted.

  13. Peter Simmons
    Jul 19, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Having worked at home for many years in various positions (including my own gigs), these are valid comments. The shift to WAH is permanent – it increases productivity and outsources RE cost to employees. What it also does is reveal that much in-office “work” is make work. Online monitoring tools show this. Long term, businesses are seeing that they need fewer people to achieve their goals. And these people can be WAH. Which implies a downward trend in employment. And a downward trend in the need for office space. And a downward trend in new business formation. IMHO, Zoom doesn’t enable people to form the emotional attachments that enable risk taking – starting a new venture, buying from a new supplier, etc.

    • Petunia
      Jul 20, 2020 at 10:10 am

      Zoom archives a session forever which others can review. Nobody is going to say much worth knowing in these sessions. Unlike a colleague dropping by to share the dirt.

      • Stephen C
        Jul 20, 2020 at 10:55 am

        Isn’t gossip just a tax on a person’s intelligence? Not to mention a drag on productivity?

        • Lisa_Hooker
          Jul 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm

          Nope. Gossip lets you in on what’s going on politically in the projects that surround you. And gossip through a computer (or smartphone) is very much a risky proposition these days.

  14. The Bob who cried Wolf
    Jul 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    There’s anecdotal evidence that buyers in San Diego are looking for houses with a space for a home office. Office furniture businesses are advertising on radio that they have everything you need for your home office. I’m a general contractor and am in the process of bidding a bedroom addition for a customer and part of the need is for the other areas of the house to be used as an office. I suspect this will become more the norm as people realize that they really don’t need to be in an office when most of their work is looking at a computer and being on a phone/zoom. Just about anything “customer service” can work out of a corner in the house. There’s going to be glut of office space leading to extreme reductions in cost per foot rent reductions. Covid exponentially hastened what was already happening.

  15. Dave k.
    Jul 19, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Just picked up a 2020 Toyota Tacoma 4wd brand new for $26400. I was happy with the deal. Not the easiest truck to get, most dealers around here have very few. One would think the car market slows dramatically, however this dealership was jammed.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft
      Jul 19, 2020 at 9:57 pm

      It was worth 25% less, the moment you drove it off the lot.

      • Happy1
        Jul 19, 2020 at 11:58 pm

        Not for a Tacoma, they hold their value very well

        • MiTurn
          Jul 20, 2020 at 8:24 am

          What, -18%? Still took a loss. Automobiles are a form of transportation (and, conspicuous consumption), not an investment.

          I bought a new chainsaw, used it once, and now it is worth less than I paid. Same idea.

    • Mike
      Jul 20, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      I’m looking for a deal to do the same. In my case replace a fuel efficient hatch back with a pickup. Since I’m working from how now, and driving almost never, gas prices are no longer an issue. Why not get what I want instead of what’s the most efficient?

      The used market for Toyotas (Tacoma, Tundra, 4Runner) is insane. The used market is very close to the 2020 new market. Almost no reason to buy used for one of these vehicles.

  16. sierra7
    Jul 19, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Liked this podcast….
    Especially your quite lengthy and detailed explanation about the FED and repos, etc….
    Made some of those subjects a bit clearer……

  17. Josap
    Jul 19, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    If a company decided I was to work from home and incur costs in my home to have the job, the company would be paying for those costs. Increased utilities, higher speed internet, dedicated sq ft that looked professional for zoom meetings with clients.

    Sure I am saving gas or transit costs, but those are far less expensive than my newly incurred costs.

    • Happy1
      Jul 20, 2020 at 12:00 am

      You think commuting costs are lower than internet that you are already paying and a green screen shot for Zoom?

      • Engin-ear
        Jul 20, 2020 at 3:00 am

        I think the main WFH cost is shifting working square ft to the worker himself.

        Dedicating a decent working space for EACH family member may be a big hussle under current real estate prices.

  18. Island teal
    Jul 20, 2020 at 1:57 am

    Home Office is what was the LR in my house and has been since we moved in 15 years ago. Had a large office at my last Silly Con Valley corporate job and had spent as much time as possible not being there 😉😉

  19. Canadian
    Jul 20, 2020 at 11:59 am

    I just purchased a new high performance high end European compact sport sedan for what a Camry would have cost a year ago.

    There are deals to be had if you have cash or credit.

  20. Enlightened Being
    Jul 22, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    People don’t want to work from home- they want 4 day weekends and vacations 1/month.

    I believe that the overwhelming % of workers will return their office jobs when it’s deemed safe (Q1-Q2 2021) for the sake of social interaction, productivity, separation from spouse/children and of course the demands of the employer.

    However, that % may be 75% leaving a gaping hole in the office market. It’s possible as well that more personal space for social distancing may be a factor that offsets the loss of demand as well.

    Wolf I’m curious what % of the workforce you think will stay permanently in WFH mode.

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