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Electoral Dysfunction, CEOs Behaving Badly, Battle of the Generations

By:Vonetta Logan

Vonetta Logan's weekly recap of the big business, news, markets, political, cultural and viral trending stories featured this week on Daily Dose

What’s up tastynation! Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekly Dose! Each week, I recap the top stories that I covered on Daily Dose. If you missed any eps of Daily Dose you can catch up on them here

We are less than a week away from the most glorious holiday of the year: Feb. 15, International 50% Off All Chocolate Day. What? Is there another holiday that I, as a single cat lady, am not aware of? Are you guys on Team Stover or Team Whitman? 

Let’s get to this week’s recap. 

Electoral dysfunction

Turns out when you have a rematch between two super old dudes who may or may not lead the nation to the brink of a cataclysmic implosion, it tends to freak people out a bit.

A new survey from JPMorgan (JPM) finds 27% of traders see inflation as having the biggest impact on driving the global economy, followed by 20% who are concerned about the November election.

Markets are bracing for further volatility as the U.S. presidential election looms. I mean when a candidate can’t even defeat “none of these candidates” on a ballot, that’s sort of a problem. America’s big business leaders seem to agree.

A new survey released by the Conference Board (pretty cool, vague and ominous name for your organization) found most CEOs (51%) say political uncertainty ahead of the 2024 election will be the greatest challenge affecting U.S. businesses this year. But 36% of CEOs expect economic conditions to improve in the short term, up significantly from 19% last quarter.

So, the economy is fine, it’s politicians who will drive us to our detriment. This does seem in line with how the market is performing as we look to close out the week with another new record high.  

I can be CEO. What, like it’s hard? 

This has been an epic week for CEOs who have no qualms about running their enterprises into the ground.

Coming in third place this week is financial guru Cathie Wood. Her funds gave arks more press than the bible and were all the rage in 2020 and 2021. But Wood's Ark Invest has destroyed an estimated $14.3 billion in wealth over the past decade, according to a recent Morningstar analysis. Her fund attracted $30 billion in assets which she then incinerated. The surprising part is that she did all of this during an amazing bull market. 


Speaking of incinerating funds, in second place this week, we have WeWork (WEWKQ) founder Adam Neumann. Neumann helmed the company at its very lofty $47 billion valuation but in the wake of his messianic cosplay, the company’s value was a mere $9 billion at the time of IPO. Now, WeWork, which filed for bankruptcy last November, may now be forced to take on a new bankruptcy loan to make up for slower-than-expected progress on rent negotiations.

Aaaaand here comes Neumann popping up like a bad penny, or the chainsaw wielding villain in a horror flick who just won’t die. Neumann, possibly backed by Third Point’s Dan Loeb, now wants to buy back WeWork. This man needs to be straight up banned from business. 

Finally at No. 1 this week: Elon Musk. Buckle up kids this was a bumpy week. The week started with a recall on literally every single Tesla (TSLA) ever. Then, news came out that Musk maybe does drugs with his entire board and his pal Larry Ellison offered his private island for Musk to dry out. (That is a sentence I never thought I’d ever type).

Photo by Kendall Polidori

Tesla’s stock also got downgraded this week. And the chorus of voices asking if Tesla even belongs in the Magnificent 7 continues to grow. Tesla is worth less than Broadcom now.

Musk also embarked on a quest to sue Disney (DIS) this week. And finally, it seems like Tesla managers have been tasked with finding out which of their workers are “critical”, sparking fears of layoffs at the auto manufacturer. Musk still has his fanboys as some traders are piling into leveraged Tesla ETFs. Good luck with that.  

Meanwhile, this week, a massive competitor to Musk’s improv comedy outlet, X (formerly twitter), launched this week. Bluesky Social, backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, allowed open sign ups this week.

Talkin’ bout my generation(al) trauma 

It’s always fun to incite a little competition between the generations. Boomers hate millennials, millennials hate boomers, and everyone hates Gen Z.

Meanwhile, Gen X is just out here waiting to be let into the Zoom meeting room. I learned this week that boomers are reaching “peak burden” on the economy.

Haha, that sentence is **chef’s kiss.**

There is some economic foundation to the argument. The youngest boomers are rapidly approaching retirement, and a bigger retirement population means more of a drag on the U.S. economy, a burden that Barclays senior economist Jonathan Millar expects to stretch on for the next 20 years.

"The peak burden," Millar told Business Insider, is when essentially all living baby boomers have hit retirement. "And we're getting there." Listen, I had to help both Tom and Tony with Apple (AAPL) iPhone issues this week. They are definitely a peak burden.

Household debt at new high

Meanwhile, millennials are running up more debt than ever before. During the fourth quarter, U.S. household debt hit a fresh high of $17.5 trillion, up 1.2% from the three months before, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit.

These so-called YOLO spenders are in a "buy now, worry about my credit score later" mindset. It’s good for getting good Instagram pics, but bad for things like generational wealth.

My note to economists, stop producing awesome names for terrible things. YOLO spending sounds amazing! You should probs change it to ‘future cat food eater’ or something like that, reminding us that we’ll probably have to sustain ourselves on cat food because we will not have a retirement. In fact, things are so dire economically for millennials and Gen Z’ers that real estate company Zillow (Z) had to create a new type of listing. The rental marketplace announced the option to search for individual room listings.

That’s right, younger buyers can no longer afford a whole-ass house, so now we’re just knocking on people’s doors asking how much for a room. Pretty much a real estate version of “can I get one rib?" What a time to be alive! 

Random Chicanery 


That’s it for this week! See ya next week! 

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