Ray Dalio, the 66th-richest man in the world, thinks it’s dangerous and unfair that some people are hoarding all the money.
(Gee, Ray. I wonder how you got to be the 66th-richest dude on the planet.)
Dalio, whose day job is co-chairman of the world’s largest hedge fund, says that the wealth gap is larger now than it’s been since the 1930s. And the larger the gap in wealth, the more likely violence becomes.
“Disparity in wealth, especially when accompanied by disparity in values, leads to increasing conflict,” says Dalio.
Or as the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau put it: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will #EatTheRich.” (He was the 18th century’s finest Twitter philosopher.)
Dalio (with an estimated net worth of $18.1 billion) is referring to statistics that show that the bottom 60% of income earners are falling further behind the top 40% every year.
Meanwhile, the percentage of children who grow up to earn more than their parents has fallen to 50% today from 90% in 1970. (Meaning this generation is the first that will be poorer than its parents since the Great Depression.)
“If I was the president of the United States. What I would do is recognise that this is a national emergency.
“The American dream is lost. For the most part we don’t even talk about what is the American dream. And it’s very different from when I was growing up.”
And suddenly it all starts to make sense.
What’s the one thing that makes billionaires suddenly start “caring” about the lot of the poor? (Apart from the threat of being eaten.)
I’ll give you a couple of hints:
“If I was president of the United States.”
Dalio is clearly testing the waters for a presidential run. (And he ain’t being subtle.)
Dalio’s proposed fan for fixing the system?
“It doesn’t need to be abandoned,” Dalio said on an interview with 60 Minutes. “Like a car, like anything, a plane, a school system, anything, it needs to be reformed in order to work better.”
Yeah, it just needs to be reformed. Like a car or a plane. Two great examples of things that we reform all the time. (Is it possible Dalio is thinking of Transformers?)
Waiting for a Savior
You know, Dalio is right.
Americans are in an income crisis. No one knows that more than those facing retirement.
According to PBS: “Nearly half of Americans nearing retirement age (65 years old) have less than $25,000 put away, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual survey. One in four don’t even have $1,000 saved.”
But if you plan on waiting for a billionaire to become president and swoop in to save you… you’re going to be waiting a very long time.
Amazon to Launch Thousands of Satellites into Orbit
Amazon started more than 20 years ago as a dumpy little website where you bought the latest John Grisham.
Today, the all-encompassing mega company sells everything from stationary to exercise equipment to a robot AI that carefully monitors your entire life. (Alexa: don’t be a snitch.)
As of January 2019, Amazon’s market dominance has made it the most valuable company in the world. And when you’ve amassed that much power, there’s only one thing left to do:
Start Sending Crap Into Space
According to an investigation by Geekwire, Amazon plans to send more than 3,000 satellites into space in the near future.
The project’s goal is supposedly to provide high-speed internet to under-served and disadvantaged communities across the globe. (Because if you don’t have the internet, you can’t buy stuff from the Bezos store.)
Basically, the satellites would act like an enormous wireless router orbiting the earth, beaming internet down on the folks below.
If all goes according to plan, Amazon’s service will be available between the 56th South parallel, just below the southernmost tip of South America, and the 56th North parallel, cutting through the halfway point of Scotland. (Sorry Aberdeen. No space internet for you.)
Ground Control to Major Bezos
If that sounds like a lot of junk to put in our space trunk, that’s because it is.
Currently, there are only 4,987 satellites in orbit the earth. It’s already pretty crowded up there (what with all the space debris and discarded pieces of spaceships from past launches).
And it’s about to get a lot more crowded.
I’m talking Trader Joes on a Sunday afternoon crowded. But instead of yoga fiends diving for tofurkey burgers, it’s going to be thousands of six-ton satellites launched by three of the biggest assholes in the world.
Professional man-in-trouble-with-the-SEC Elon Musk has plans in place to send 12,000 satellites into space. And reportedly even Facebook is working on its own satellite system (though I’m pretty sure Mark’s just building a way to get back to his home planet).
Do you think this is a benevolent act of world-changing charity? Or the next step in Amazon’s plan for One World, One Company?
Pinterest Files for IPO: Wall Street Shrugs
Pinterest filed for IPO bright and early this morning, among some confusion about what the f**k Pinterest actually is.
The website-for-mostly-moms set a price range of $15 to $17 for each of its 75 million shares — a notable drop from the $21.54 its shares sold at in the last round of private investing in 2017.
In an effort to try and explain what Pinterest was to the bros on Wall Street, Pinterest said it was “where more than 250 million people around the world go to get inspiration for their lives.
They come to discover ideas for just about anything you can imagine: daily activities like cooking dinner or deciding what to wear, major commitments like remodeling a house or training for a marathon, ongoing passions like fly fishing or fashion, and milestone events like planning a wedding or a dream vacation.”
Nailed it. A website for inspiring dinner, house remodeling, and fly fishing.
Please take my money.
This inability to convey what the website actually does gets to the heart of one of the biggest risks with Pinterest.
Pinterest (which is basically a digital scrapbooking app) has got the mom market locked down. (Come on down to the Mom Market for discount moms! I’m slashing prices on soccer moms, stepmoms, even my own mom! All moms must go!)
According to Pinterest, 80% of U.S. moms between 18-64 years of age already use the website. But Pinterest has never been able to pitch itself effectively to male users. And that’s going to be a problem going forward.
In order to grow, Pinterest’s needs to grow its user base outside of the mom market. (And those dang millennials just aren’t having enough babies to replenish the user base.)
Admittedly, I don’t really use the app. So I’d like to get a mom’s perspective.
What am I missing here? Does Pinterest have huge untapped potential? Or is this as good as it gets?
One Last Thing
The Crisis is Simple Math
I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.
The good news is: Thanks to advances in medicine and health, people are living longer today than they ever have before. You could easily live as much as 30 years after retirement.
The bad news is: living for 30 years after your retirement costs a fortune. (If I knew being alive was so expensive I wouldn’t have.)
The sad fact is the public isn’t financially prepared to live that long after retirement. In fact, most funds won’t even get them to the end of their first decade.
Every day, 10,000 baby boomers reach age 65. And one-third of those boomers have between $0 and $25,000 in savings (a far cry from the recommended $1 million needed for a comfortable retirement).
These folks will be depending largely on their Social Security, which will likely mean taking a huge cut to their quality of life. Meanwhile, the number of people paying into social security is rapidly shrinking.
At this rate, Social Security will be totally depleted by 2028, causing a full-blown, nationwide retirement crisis.