Home » GM Crushed 2023 So Union Workers Are Getting $12,250 Bonus Checks

GM Crushed 2023 So Union Workers Are Getting $12,250 Bonus Checks

Tmd Dm Big Check Ts Final
ADVERTISEMENT

General Motors has released its full-year financials for 2023 and the company just beat Wall Street expectations, which means profit-sharing checks will now get shared. Even better, they’ll get shared with more workers because of the new contract with the United Auto Workers. This is mostly good news, though not without its risks.

It’s going to be a very automaker-heavy day here at The Morning Dump as automakers will mostly report financials and year-end results this week. This includes Toyota, which is still the biggest automaker in the world despite all the scandals going on simultaneously.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

You know who is also doing well? Renault, for announcing it wasn’t going to do an IPO for its EV arm Ampere. The Autopian is also not going to do an IPO this year, which I hope makes us more valuable as well.

And, finally, lawmakers are still trying to make a political thing out of Ford’s EV plant in Marshall, Michigan.

GM Makes $10.1 Billion In 2023, Makes Big Bet On The Economy

Image
Above: GM’s Ultium platform

If you thought the $9.9 billion that General Motors made in 2022 was a lot of money, hold onto your hats because GM made $10.1 billion in 2023 off of $171.8 billion in total revenue, up a lot from 2022’s $156.7 billion in revenue.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s the full earnings report, if you’re curious. The number to pay attention to is $12.4 billion of earnings before taxes because that number is down a little from 2022. This matters because that’s how GM determines its profit-sharing bonuses.

I’ll let The Detroit Free Press explain how that works:

The GM-negotiated formula with the UAW for profit-sharing checks is $1,000 per every $1 billion in annual earnings before interest and taxes, or pretax profits for North America. For 2023, GM’s North America pretax profits were $12.3 billion, down 5% from $12.9 billion a year ago. The checks are paid out in increments of $250, which is why it is $12,250 and not $12,300, GM spokesman David Caldwell said.

That number would have been higher if there hadn’t been a UAW strike as GM itself has said the strike cost the company about $1.1 billion. Was it worth it for workers? Almost certainly.

For the first time in the UAW’s history, temporary employees and GM battery plant employees who meet the 1,850-hour minimum will also get the $12,350 check (that amount is before taxes).

This is all good news for the automaker and probably underlines why GM felt comfortable with doing a big dividend and buyback in 2024. At some level, that’s the point of being a profitable public company. But I’m still going to be critical of this because it feels like a big bet.

ADVERTISEMENT

I didn’t listen in on the press conference announcing the results, but GM posted CEO Mary Barr’s letter to shareholders which has a lot of the same info. Here are some highlights:

In our EV business, we expect our U.S. portfolio will become variable profit positive in the second half of the year based on our current expectations for EV demand and production growth, strong interest in our vehicles, lower commodity prices and other factors.

It’s true the pace of EV growth has slowed, which has created some uncertainty. But many third-party forecasts have U.S. EV deliveries rising from about 7% of the industry in 2023 to at least 10% in 2024, which would mean another year of record EV sales.

All of those things are true and I think EV deliveries will likely increase in 2024, but GM is going to have to get its production fixed and keep prices low to compete and gain market share without the Chevy Bolt. This also assumes that the economy stays strong this year and I’m not 100% convinced that there won’t be a little stumble. It’ll be a great year if GM is correct, of course, I’m just inherently skeptical.

GM does have one real strength I don’t think should be overlooked, however:

We have passed Honda and Toyota in the most affordable quadrant thanks to attractive and profitable vehicles like the Chevrolet Trax, which is one of Car and Driver’s 10Best Trucks and SUVs, and the Buick Envista, which is winning with younger buyers.

Hell yeah. The Trax is great and the Buick Envista probably is also great (going to try and confirm that shortly). I’m extremely bullish on Buick this year.

If there’s a strong economic picture in the United States this year, no war in the Middle East, no weird election madness, and GM can make a bunch of EVs profitably then GM boosting share price through dividends is a good move. If anything goes wrong it might be a little tougher. We’ll see!

ADVERTISEMENT

Toyota Chairman Apologies For All The Things We Know About

Akio Toyoda Honored 600x391
Photo: Toyota

Toyota is the biggest automaker in the world with 11.2 million global vehicle sales in 2023, up about 7.2% year-over-year from 2022. This comes after Toyota admitted its engine-making subsidiary probably faked diesel test results for some weird, minor reasons, and its small car unit Daihatsu faked safety test results in what we’re calling the Daihatsu Charade.

What was Chairman Akio Toyoda’s response? According to Reuters, he said the following to reporters today:

“I would like to express my deepest apologies to our customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience and concern caused by the successive irregularities at Hino Motors, Daihatsu and Toyota Industries.”

Hino is part of the Toyota Industries engine deal if you were curious.

Toyoda also quietly acknowledged this in a presentation he made to leaders of the 17 companies that make up the Toyota Group:

“What I must do right now is show the direction that the Group should go in and create a place for the next generation to return to if they falter. In other words, what I must do is set forth a vision for the Group. The starting point of the Toyota Group is to make ever-better things that make many people happy; in other words, to invent. ‘Inventing our path forward, together.’ Under this vision, we all should embrace the spirit of invention within us, think of others, hone our skills, and continue to make the right things for them. In doing so, we will build a culture in which we can express gratitude to each other and become needed in the future. Today, at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which can be considered our starting point, we made that pledge to each other. As the person responsible for the Toyota Group, I will lead the transformation, and hope that I can count on your continued support.”

The company is clearly faltering now, and its attitude of “honesty first, integrity always” probably hits a little harder today.

ADVERTISEMENT

Renault Shares Up By Not IPOing

Renault Twingo 2x

This is kind of a funny one. One of Renault’s big initiatives for the future is its Ampere spinoff, which is an EV-focused company that’s getting some money from Nissan as part of its trial separation.

One of the ways Renault planned to raise funds for that company was through an IPO. This was in the glory days of 2023 when everyone looked at Tesla’s share price and thought: We can do that! Since then, most EV makers have seen their share prices drop (and companies like Polestar are shedding workers in layoffs).

Renault has reportedly decided this is no longer a great idea and it’ll just fund the company itself. I guess the company found some more Euros in the couch cushions or something. This has been good news for Renault shareholders. Why?

Per Reuters:

ADVERTISEMENT

“Cancellation of the Ampere IPO should be positive for current shareholders as it minimises upfront dilution … and removes a layer of complexity in the investment case,” Jefferies analysts said in a note.

“An organic solution also avoids distracting management at a critical time for the industry and enhances management credibility on capital allocation,” they added.

I’d love to get credit for not doing things.

Ford, Marshall, EVs, Politics, Et Cetera

Ford Ion Park
Photo: Ford

China has done a great job of building up its EV industry and, for the first time in a long time, American companies are looking to Chinese companies for technological help and not just cheap labor. This is no more evident than at Ford, who is leaning on the Chinese tech company and battery maker CATL to help build a massive battery plant in Marshall, Michigan.

CATL, as a major Chinese company, is of course tied to the Chinese Communist Party and military, and other companies related to the deal might be doing some work with the North Korean government according to a letter from Republican lawmakers seen by Reuters. From the Reuters report:

Republicans have been probing Ford’s battery plant plan for months over concerns it could facilitate the flow of U.S. tax subsidies to China and leave Ford dependent on Chinese technology. Ford says the battery plant is “wholly owned and operated” by the automaker.

The lawmakers said a Ford-CATL agreement puts a Beijing-based company in charge of preparing “the concept design” for the Michigan battery plant. The committee said the same Chinese company is providing engineering design services to China’s military.

The lawmakers separately wrote the Treasury and State Departments asking them to investigate possible sanctions evasion activity by one of the Chinese companies that they said will be providing IT tools for the Michigan battery plant that has ties to North Korea.

“It is indefensible for Ford to use the same cloud integration and data provider that is linked to North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs sanctions evasion activity,” the letter said.

The basic idea of making sure critical infrastructure is not being spied upon by the Chinese military is a sound one, but this feels pretty overtly political. There are plenty of Chinese companies operating in the United States and a lot of companies using Chinese-made technology. I mean, how many of these legislators are using Chinese-built iPhones?

There has been a lot of anti-EV sentiment from some of the Republican Party and it’s hard to separate the valid concerns from the more electorally- and ideologically-based ones.

ADVERTISEMENT

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is probably the best album of the 1990s, made more singular and important by the fact that Lauryn Hill hasn’t made another album (other than the kinda-great-but-totally-strange live MTV Unplugged album). It’s hard to pick out the best song from the album because every song is great, though I’m partial to the heart-wrenching quasi-diss track “Ex-Factor” that’s very clearly about Wyclef Jean.

The Big Question

This has come up in the comments so let’s just talk about it together. Do you think the economy is going to be strong in 2024? Will it just sputter along? Are we in for trouble? Bonus points for not using the term “geopolitical risk.”

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
90 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
I. P. Nightly
I. P. Nightly
23 days ago

F**K GM. They should be repaying back the Federal Government (US taxpayers) for the loss we experienced from the federal bailout debacle. Here is an April-2014 article from Time magazine: “U.S. taxpayers lost more than $11.2 billion as a result of the federal bailout of General Motors, according to a government report released Wednesday. The $11.2-billion loss includes a $826-million write-off in March from government investments in the “Old GM” before the company’s 2009 bankruptcy, the report said. The U.S. government spent $49.5 billion to bail out GM, and after the company’s bankruptcy in 2009, the government’s investment was converted to a 61 percent equity stake in the company. The Treasury gradually sold off its stock in GM, selling its last shares in December 2013.”

Hamish48
Hamish48
23 days ago

The GM Ultium platform reminds me remarkably of the base platforms I used to build for my Lego cars. Same designer?

V10omous
V10omous
23 days ago

Objectively the economy is very good, perhaps better than at any point in my lifetime (I’m almost 40). Workers have unprecedented leverage in the labor market, wage gains have been broad-based and persistent, and the stock market is at record highs. All this with interest rates higher than they’ve been in 20 years. If they really start cutting this year, look out.

That said, half the population has a vested interest in portraying the economy as terrible to get their preferred guy back into office, and a few very visible things (groceries, housing) are expensive even as overall inflation has basically subsided.

One thing that’s become very clear to me over the last two years is that people’s hatred of high prices and political biases outweigh the appeal of higher wages, lower unemployment, higher asset prices and stock prices (the majority of Americans are homeowners and own stocks). This I think is unfortunate, because politicians now may not take the risk of enacting some needed policies if moderately higher inflation is a possible side effect.

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
23 days ago

I think a continued stable supply chain and lower inflation, and a trend to slightly lower interest rates will keep the economy running well. Will allow automakers an opportunity to still keep some of the Covid inflated margins.

plus being an election year, money from the fed government will continue to flow. 2025 may be iffy, so folks will want to make their coin this year.

however, I’m not as bullish on EVs quite. Still too expensive with not enough infrastructure for the masses.

lastly, if we have WW III in the Middle East, all bets are off.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
23 days ago

 hold onto your hats because GM made $10.1 billion in 2023 off of $171.8 billion in total revenue,”

It should be noted that Tesla made $14.997 billion in 2023 off of $96.773 billion in total revenue (of which, $82.419 billion was automotive revenue).

So Tesla earned 50% more profit on less than half the automotive revenue.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Tesla has (and deserves) a much higher valuation compared to GM.

Do you think the economy is going to be strong in 2024?”

Yes… but probably less strong than the post-pandemic economic rebound.

“Will it just sputter along?”

It will be fine… especially since it’s an election year. Election years are almost always good years economically

“Are we in for trouble?”

There is always trouble of some kind.

There is trouble in Ukraine. There is trouble in Gaza and the Middle East. There is trouble caused by climate change and weather events. There is trouble caused by incompetent drivers. There are always people with health troubles. There is always political trouble in various places. Hell… even my cats will cause at least some trouble.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
23 days ago

With respect to the economy, I believe that statistically, recent economic history suggests that ours performs better under D administrations no matter how much the Rs like to believe the opposite. So I think the strongest indicator will be revealed in November. Sigh.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
23 days ago

Yeah, saying an album is the best of an entire decade is quite a bold statement. I mean it wasn’t the greatest decade for music, but still. However, never having listened to the album means I can’t really say shit. I’m going to listen to it and get back to you. I’m hoping you’re right because that would mean more good music to listen to.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
23 days ago

-Best album of the 90’s?! Ha! Not even close…Green Day-Dookie is way better (also Nirvana-Nevermind and a lot of others) Just a difference of opinion
-I would hate to be a temp worker w/ not enough hrs yet but have done a lot of temp jobs and that’s just how it is…basically it’s good motivation to stay for bonuses
-I don’t think there will be many problems w/ economy…it was good last year, there’s huge consumer demand and basically everywhere is hiring

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
23 days ago

Ban noodles. All noodles, regardless of where they are made. ‘Murica, Italy, wherever. It’s Chinese IP and you can’t have that.

Ben
Ben
23 days ago

If there’s a strong economic picture in the United States this year, no war in the Middle East, no weird election madness

Well, one of those things might happen. The Middle East is already at war and “weird election madness” is pretty much the mission statement of one political party these days, so I see no reason to believe that won’t happen.

Nobody knows what is going to happen to the economy in 2024. Most of the predictions so far have been laughably wrong about how the economy would react to various things. It’s so complex that even the smartest people in the world can only make educated guesses at how it will go. Maybe the Fed cuts rates and juices the economy further. Maybe all the pent up covid demand for things finally runs out and everything comes crashing back to Earth. There’s no way to definitively predict what will happen.

The best you can do is manage your risk, which is true in good times and in bad. If at all possible, have a rainy day fund so a layoff or major expense isn’t the end of the world. If you’re not making enough money to have a rainy day fund, take a long hard look at your work situation. Workers have unprecedented power in the market right now (just take a look at all the concessions the UAW, writers, and actors managed to get from their employers). If your current employer won’t play ball, then it’s time to look at more drastic action. It’s scary and uncomfortable, but the best thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off from a bad company and finding a better one to go work for, which, in retrospect, I wish I had done years before I was forced to.

Are there people who are completely stuck in a bad circumstance and can’t realistically do anything to get out of it? Sure, but I doubt most of them are reading a car blog.

To be clear, I’m not saying anyone should lift themselves up by their bootstraps. What I’m saying is that if you’ve been standing around yanking on your bootstraps and getting nowhere, maybe it’s time to go look for a ladder.

(Jeez, that post kind of got away from me. I hope it doesn’t come off as too preachy and privileged, but I think most people underestimate their value in the workforce and that lets employers take advantage of them.)

Ilikecarsandbikes
Ilikecarsandbikes
22 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Not too preachy. My comment might be People psychologically struggle with big scary changes. They show (statistically on avg) that time and time again they will choose the known slightly unhappy for years, instead of making a change that might make their life better.

Or another way it has been shown, they will keep doing something in a way that leads to failure because it is the way they know, instead of trying something new out of fear of failure (and with a possibility of improving the result). we prefer the comfort of the known even if it is making us unhappy, over the discomfort of change.

(sounds like your job situation if I may be so presumptuous to say)

Ben
Ben
22 days ago

Definitely a factor. I’m a pretty change-averse person so switching jobs does not hold much appeal. I was also ignorant – I thought I was in a much better situation than I actually was. When I started looking for a new job I discovered that the low end of the salary range for what I was doing was $10k per year higher than what I had been making. In retrospect the signs were there, but I was inclined to ignore them.

Thevenin
Thevenin
23 days ago

If there’s a strong economic picture in the United States this year

Over the last 5 years, home ownership rates are up, but so is homelessness. Educational attainment is up, but literacy and numeracy scores are down. Obesity and malnutrition (particularly among children) are both simultaneously rising. Medical debt in collections is down, but so is life expectancy. Prosperity is on the rise in lockstep with rising poverty.

These apparent contradictions in economic indicators are evidence of a deeply divided economy, with wider gaps between increasingly distinctive classes. So these days, if you say “the economy is strong,” you absolutely must specify for whom.

The Dude
The Dude
23 days ago
Reply to  Thevenin

The economy is thriving for the only people that matter to most of our politicians regardless of party – which is the very well to do.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
23 days ago

>The Autopian is also not going to do an IPO this year, which I hope makes us more valuable as well.

The Autopian’s value is that it’s yet to make a profit.

It’s not about how much you earn. It’s about what you’re worth. And who’s worth the most? Companies that lose money. Pintrest, Snapchat, no revenue. Amazon has lost money for every fucking quarter for the last 20 fucking years and that Jeff Bezos is the king. – Russ Hanneman

Last edited 23 days ago by Baron Usurper
Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
23 days ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

Gotta love Russ’s wisdom

R Rr
R Rr
22 days ago
Reply to  Baron Usurper

“Before you see the light
You must die!”

  • Jeff Hanneman
ElmerTheAmish
ElmerTheAmish
23 days ago

Re: 2024 Economy: Typically, election years hold steady on the economy at best, and are down years otherwise. Many companies hold off on large spending moves until they know what the next 2-4 years will look like from a regulatory standpoint.

Both companies I worked for in ’23 predict down years starting this year, and possibly through the end of the decade. I’ve been hearing a lot of “guaranteed recession” type talk over the last year+, but the real world hasn’t exactly borne that out.

We may see some sectors of the economy improve while the presidential race moves along, so that the Biden team can try and trumpet that from the hill tops, but I’m not sold that it will be the salve the economy needs to keep improving.

Parsko
Parsko
23 days ago

You ask a political question, I will give a political answer.

The only fear we should have is if Trump is elected president. Haley is fine. Biden is fine. Dean is fine. Neither of the latter 3 will push us over the ledge, or incite further chaos.

We are marching towards an EV future. BUT, this year will probably see gas prices tank. This will be nice. We all benefit. And, I look forward to peeling off “Trump did this” stickers from the pump just like I peel off “Biden did this” stickers now. It’s just too bad I have lots of ICE work to do to keep the fleet afloat until those 2nd hand EV prices start dropping below ~$15-20k, my mental hard stop.

Harmanx
Harmanx
23 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

Depending on where you live, second-hand Bolts may well be below your mental hard stop. (They all have new-ish batteries due to that recall — batteries with good range: 259 miles. They all have Car Play and Android Auto.)

Parsko
Parsko
23 days ago
Reply to  Harmanx

I have my eye on them. I have no issues with a 1st gen Bolt. I only want ~100 miles of range. Any more is just bonus.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
23 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

Check out the 2017-2019 e-Golf. 125 mile range. Just about all 17-18 models will be under 20k. 2019 models hover near that, but all 19s come with DC fast charge capabilities, so they get a little bit more expensive. 8 year warranty on the batteries, so a 2019 should be covered through part of 2027.

Harmanx
Harmanx
23 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

My family has two used 2017 Bolts that have been excellent. The more recent purchase was just $14k before incentives — a few thou cheaper than our other one was. The main difference being that it only has L2 charging (which works fine since that one is only charged at home overnight — but just to point out that some of them weren’t optioned with L3 charging).

Parsko
Parsko
23 days ago
Reply to  Harmanx

Thanks. I’ll keep looking more closely then. I didn’t know that about the charging.

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago
Reply to  Parsko

I haven’t seen one of the those “I did this” Joe stickers since prices started falling. I just paid 2.80 for regular. I’m fine with that, I would rather it just stay consistently there than plummet then spike again.

I think Haley is also terrible, however she’s a long shot.

Parsko
Parsko
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

I just peeled one off the other day. I was thinking “Yeah, he did do this, right? Good on him.” Then I peeled it off.

Haley is terrible, but “traditional”. I just want traditional at this point.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

Yeah OP had me until they said Haley is fine. Haley is NOT fine. While I lean pretty far left on a lot of stuff I’ve actually voted all over the place. My record is dominated by Dems/Green Party type folks for sure, but not always. If folks on the other side of the aisle have something meaningful to say, I’ll listen…and there are certain aspects of old school conservative values that aren’t terrible. I’m a big believer in hard work, family being vital, etc.

HOWEVER now that Trump is the de facto face of the Republican Party everything has been pulled dramatically right and their stances on social issues are absolutely draconian. Essentially every American conservative politician right now wants to erode women’s rights, erode LGBTQ rights, give corporations and the 1% unlimited power, increase the police state and military industrial complex, etc.

That shit is beyond toxic and there’s a reason why most of that stuff is considered a non-issue in most other first world countries. I’d consider voting for a moderate Republican if they left all the culture war shit alone and moved to the right side of history on social issues. But as long as it’s Trump’s party and the MAGA crowd remains as cruel and rabid as they are, I ain’t casting my vote for anyone with an “R” next to their name.

What’s delightfully ironic is that if the republicans ran an actual moderate who wasn’t a total Bible thumping ignoramus on social issues they’d wipe the floor with Biden. But they can’t and they won’t.

Peter d
Peter d
22 days ago

In addition to your thoughts on Haley, Haley’s coddling of confederate sentiments and not being able to say that the civil war was caused by slavery make me think she is not fit for national office. I know the daughter’s spent a century trying to re-write history, but you have been living under a rock for the last decade if you don’t think the civil war was caused by slavery (and only slavery).

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
23 days ago

Neat. Now post how much the upper executives got as bonuses, even though they don’t design anything, engineer anything, test anything, assemble anything, or ship anything.

Corporate America; where the leeches at the top steal the productivity of the working class.

Peter d
Peter d
22 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

In many cases upper management is detached from actually running the business and has little operations and development skills, but Mary Barra at GM does at least seem to be a car guy and has worked in product development, so she at least seems like less of a leach. Definitely better than the accounting clerk Roger Smith.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
23 days ago

As long as people keep spending the economy will continue to hum along. Inflation is coming down, wages are up, the labor market is tight and supply chain issues are mainly an unpleasant memory. Rate cuts this year will sure help with affording things.

Housing, yeesh. It’s crazy. There’s tight supply in my area. Anything remotely desirable is snapped up quickly at over list. More buying power chasing too few assets. But if not moving, later this year may well be a good time to take out a HELOC. Probably cheaper than a new car loan.

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago

“Wages are up” is meaningless to anyone that was not a homeowner prior to 2020/2021. My wages went up 4% at the same time my rent went up 40%. My wages are “up”, but I have about $300 LESS at the end of the month. Groceries are still up, insurance is going up. People are spending because they have to, or just doom spending because “fuck it”. We’re still racing to the edge of the cliff.

Parsko
Parsko
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

I want to know what “people keep spending” means. Cause….. I’m not. And, I don’t know who is.

Space
Space
22 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

Insurance, sheesh that’s a big hit, I’ve had homeowners insurance for 10 years and it always goes up with no claims.
Now something like 15% of my income goes to insurance.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
23 days ago

If there’s a strong economic picture in the United States this year, no war in the Middle East, no weird election madness, and GM can make a bunch of EVs profitably then GM boosting share price through dividends is a good move.”

Sorry to be that guy. But there is, in fact, a war in the Middle East.

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Or there damn will be if we (the US) has anything to say about it.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

(Reply meant for both of you)

Death, taxes, the Middle East being at war, etc. The region has been at war for essentially all of human history. I’m personally of the “let’s stop trying to be the global police, demilitarize our presence in the region, stop pumping money into Israel, and let the region do whatever it’s going to do” mindset. I’m sure that’s a pretty spicy take to a lot of people but the west’s meddling in the region has pretty much always made things exponentially worse.

Not to mention the fighting has pretty much always been driven by fundamentalist religion in one way or another….and people that believe they’re being divinely compelled to kill each other aren’t usually super reasonable or open to negotiating. There’s always going to be another ISIS, Hamas, etc. It’s like playing whack a mole.

So why are we there? Everyone’s revving up the retributive war machine because we lost some troops in Jordan but why the fuck do we even have a military base in Jordan in the first place? No shit extremists are going to take an opportunity to attack. It sucks ass that those dude’s lost their lives, but why were a couple of reservists even put in that position in the first place?

I’ve ranted enough and I’m sure I’m going to piss some people off but just. Fucking. Leave. Cut off the money and arms fountain to Israel. Close the bases. Stop meddling. The region is an infinite chasm of doom. Worry about the fact that going to the goddamn doctor can bankrupt you back home. Worry about the fact that the middle class is dying. Worry about the fact racism is running rampant. Worry about the attacks on women’s rights. Worry about the attacks on LGBTQ rights. Worry about the fact that the American Dream is on its deathbed. Etc.

Last edited 23 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Greensoul
Greensoul
23 days ago

preach it brother, preach!

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago

100% with you! There’s always money for war, but homelessness and medical debt are at an all-time high.

All these issues in the middle east, we make them worse by sticking our noses in. Our constant meddling and unconditional support of Israel is making us LESS safe.

Loudog
Loudog
23 days ago

The problem with wars is that they’re portable, and we lost the chance to sit this crap out when Woodrow Wilson screwed us by blowing up the Munroe doctrine. Either we fight it there or we fight it here, and I’d rather fight it there. That said, reducing our need for resources from that area — like OIL — would allow us to easily say, “Fight amongst yourselves, and we’ll smack the everliving crap out of you if it gets out”. But we can’t, because our economy is too tied to Europe (want Putin ruling EU? Walk away from the Middle East) and to the Middle East and Asia (guess where they get their energy from too?) The other stuff you want to fix gets to be a no issue if the government gets out of it.

David Smith
David Smith
23 days ago
Reply to  Loudog

Either we fight it there or we fight it here, and I’d rather fight it there.

This is the part I don’t understand about republicans not wanting to support Ukraine. And in Ukraine’s case we just have to pay for it with money instead of money plus American lives.

Loudog
Loudog
23 days ago
Reply to  David Smith

I understand that, and I think most conservatives feel that way too. It’s also a great opportunity to develop better weapons and tactics for the day we inevitably clash. I’m equally mystified by the Democrats not wanting border security as well. WTF?

David Smith
David Smith
23 days ago
Reply to  Loudog

Bight off your nose to spite your face is all I can figure.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
23 days ago

There really are only two things that would muck up the economy in a way that would even overcome that juicy war machine money:

  1. Biden croaks or something to that equal effect, resulting with Cackles in “charge”.
  2. A terror attack on US soil.

Obviously, no one wants either to happen, but one or both are certainly more than a miniscule possibility. If neither happens, things will remain relatively ok with all other things mostly balancing each other out.

Greensoul
Greensoul
23 days ago

Cackles worthless ass was in charge of the border security project. Total failure. A terrorist attack on our soil is not an if it’s a when. Open borders are a terrorist organizations dream come true. The fentanyl cartels are loving it, too!

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
23 days ago

2024: We’ll be just fine economically speaking. Taylor Swift will re-release another album and that alone will account for 94% of the world’s GDP

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago

I’m not one of those people that wastes a bunch of my time and resources worrying about anything Taylor Swift related because I don’t think she’s as bad as the haters do and I don’t think she’s as good as Swifties think she is. I’ve been working hard to more or less adopt a “let people enjoy things as long as it’s not hurting anybody” approach. After all, I’m sure the average Swifty would think we sound like maniacs when we start talking about an engine family we’re fond of or something like that.

That being said, I’ve more or less started thinking of her as a living corporation and everything makes more sense. She’s just one giant brand finding creative ways to sell products. The products themselves are hit or miss, but the marketing and brand identity are strong enough that it doesn’t matter. Most of the art itself doesn’t do much for me personally but she certainly has a ridiculous amount of business acumen.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
23 days ago

Taylor Swift is basically real life Dethklok at this point.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
23 days ago

Who’s not as musically talented

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
23 days ago

Exactly, but good for her. Papa Swift set her up right

The Dude
The Dude
23 days ago

A much better story than what’s going on in the tech/video game world, where companies crushed 2023 and the reward is mass layoffs.

MrLM002
MrLM002
23 days ago

No the economy won’t be strong, just like how it wasn’t strong last year and the year before then so on and so forth.

Still got a housing crisis, cars are still too expensive, in spite of working from home never having been easier workplaces are forcing workers who could work from home to instead go to the office buildings workplaces are stuck with massive leases for, that have lost almost all of their value due to the ability to work from home. Who want’s to wake up early, make a to go lunch or pay more for food not from home, commute (which sometimes can be for over an hour 1 way), all for the same pay as someone who can sleep in, work in their PJs, eat at home, etc.

I’m certain all the statistics will show the economy is doing great until the country is on fire and it cannot be denied.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
23 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Consumer spending is high. Consumer confidence is relatively high. We have finally seen wage growth in the past few years. The US economy is growing at a higher rate than other developed countries. Inflation has slowed way down. Interest rates are cooling a bit.

I realize the economy is so complex that anyone can grab statistics that support their viewpoint at any given moment. But it’s not all bad.

Also, if your employer is yanking you back to the office, do your best to find another job if you can.

MrLM002
MrLM002
23 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

The spending of someone with a terminal illness is high, that doesn’t mean they’re doing great with a great long term outlook.

Consumer confidence in what? Consumers are fairly confident they won’t be able to afford a home. Consumers are fairly confident that they cannot afford a $1000 emergency.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Also, if your employer is yanking you back to the office, do your best to find another job if you can.

For what good that will do you. Without employee solidarity you’re just jumping from the frying pan into the off-shored fire.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

As the line goes “if you can do your job from home, why can’t you do it from India?”.

WFH has certainly exposed a large number of so-called Bullshit Jobs. Definitely not the case for everyone, but man I have certainly been reminded that there are large chunks of the corporate world who serve no actual purpose other than to fill out an org chart.

M K
M K
23 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

I would add to this…If you can do your job solely in front of a computer (which makes it ideal to work remotely), you might want to consider the implications of AI in the near future. Bullsh!t jobs are going to be just the low hanging fruit.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  M K

Bullsh!t jobs are going to be just the low hanging fruit.

I don’t think so. Some fields have strong job protections in place to make sure the bullshit sticks around.

IMO the majority of human pharmacists should have been replaced long ago by robots that can do the job better but so far pharmacies are still staffed by multiple humans instead of becoming pill bottle dispensing ATMs.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That’s because a pharmacists real job is to ask the patient about current medications and conditions they have and to know about potential interactions with their new medications, and to carry liability insurance for said expertise. A pill dispenser is just a gigantic lawsuit waiting to happen.

It’s the same reason automated driving (assuming it ever happens) won’t get rid of truckers- you need an individual to be responsible for the cargo/vehicle and to carry insurance for it.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
23 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

A pharmacist’s job sounds like the simplest use case for replacing with software.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
23 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Pharmacists already have extensive software support. Replacing them entirely would be about as easy as replacing truckers with software (or not, you need a doctorate to be a pharmacist after all).

Which is to say some of the biggest and most sophisticated companies on earth have taken a crack at it and either failed spectacularly or made very little progress because the problems involved in automating are far harder than first assumed.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
22 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

“Pharmacists already have extensive software support.”

That doesn’t mean they use it properly.

“Replacing them entirely would be about as easy as replacing truckers with software (or not, you need a doctorate to be a pharmacist after all).”

That is not true. Robots are far superior to humans at pharmacy work:

Results

“After introducing the robotic dispensing system, the total incidence of prevented dispensing errors was significantly reduced (0.204% [324/158,548] to 0.044% [50/114,111], p < 0.001). The total incidence of unprevented dispensing errors was significantly reduced (0.015% [24/158,548] to 0.002% [2/114,111], p < 0.001). The number of cases of wrong strength and wrong drug, which can seriously impact a patient’s health, reduced to almost zero. The median dispensing time of pharmacists per prescription was significantly reduced (from 60 to 23 s, p < 0.001)."

https://jphcs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40780-022-00255-w

Last edited 22 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
22 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Buddy, if you’re going to compare hurtling a multi-ton hunk of metal down public roads with dispensing pills into a bottle … I think we are done here.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
22 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Buddy, if you are still unable to comprehend for the third time in this thread that pill dispensing is not what you pay pharmacists for, then we are indeed done here. The point has clearly exited your general vicinity at a high rate of speed.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Don’t kid yourself, pharmacists are human. They make plenty of mistakes. Sometimes really bonehead ones. Cross referencing medications, doses and conditions is something a computer can do very well, with time much better than a human with instant access to the patients full medical history and the entire medical database. Robot pharmacies already exist and so far they are doing well:

https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/projects/ucsf-robotic-pharmacy-san-francisco/?cf-view

“Three RIVA (Robotic IV Automation) robots fill doses of liquid medication into IV syringes and bags. The robots work in a protected germ-free environment where there is a less chance of the medication getting contaminated. The pharmacists also don’t handle the drugs, so there is less risk of the medication being mixed.

Human pharmacists were appointed to check the work of robots. Once the phase-in is fully operational, the human intervention will be eliminated and doctors will start prescribing medicines directly through computers.”

And that’s the way it should be.

If a human interaction is required there’s no reason that job can’t be handed over to a human and there’s no reason that human pharmacist need be onsite. I myself consult over the phone with my pharmacist (who promises to call between the hours of x and y but somehow always manages to be late) and who for all I know or care could be anywhere in the world.

Sure there are some tricky cases where a human would be advantageous but I think most pharmacy interactions would be better done by a robot just as most banking is better done by an ATM.

Other advantages of robots: They can’t be bribed, threatened, killed or taken hostage. They don’t gossip, they don’t harass, and they treat everyone equally. If there’s a disaster nobody gets hurt, they just keep going till they can’t Robots can run 24/7/365 like an ATM and they can operate just fine buried behind layers of steel and concrete to prevent thieves from breaking in with a truck.

I for one welcome our new robot pharmacists.

Last edited 23 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
22 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Sure there are some tricky cases where a human would be advantageous but I think most pharmacy interactions would be better done by a robot just as most banking is better done by an ATM.

Er, yes, that’s my point? The routine mechanics of pill dispensing can and should be automated. But there sure are still a lot of local community bankers around even though most people just use the ATM. Turns out the edge cases that require human judgement matter, and matter enough to support an entire industry that on first glance shouldn’t exist.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
22 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Ye but one robot can replace how many human pharmacists? 5? 20? 100?

Its not just dispensing but also compounding, packaging and so on. That dosen’t leave much for the humans to do. The robots are being pushed as the saviors of pharmacists, doing all the grunt work and freeing up the pharmacists valuable time to work with customers but the writing is on the wall – not so many on site pharmacists will be needed, especially when so much of that interaction can be done remotely.

Last edited 22 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
22 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

So, you are aware that in all but the smallest pharmacies, pharmacy technicians do all the grunt work? And they usually outnumber the actual pharmacists by a significant amount? And that the pharmacists actual job is patient care and consultation?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
22 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Those grunt jobs are the first to go. My bet is as the AI becomes more sophisticated the Ph.D. holders will be next on the chopping block.

Ben
Ben
22 days ago
Reply to  M K

I work in tech and have spent a fair amount of time considering the implications of AI on the job market, and I think most of the impact will be much lower than AI evangelists would have you believe. Because the dirty little secret that they don’t want you to think about is that AI is just really good at plagiarizing. It’s entirely based on human-created content. Without the humans, you don’t get the AI.

Do I think this will stop some companies from trying to replace people with AI? Not at all. I think they’re going to try it and it will be a disaster in most cases. But the most useful implementations of AI that I’ve seen so far are mostly new things that didn’t replace anyone.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
22 days ago
Reply to  Ben

I would agree with this. To me the distinction is interpolation vs extrapolation. Machine learning models are really good at taking a large set of data (the public internet) and interpolating just about any conceivable point that could be contained within that data set. But ask them to extrapolate outside that data set and you start getting hallucinations real quick.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I guess you’re talking about collective bargaining power, which I am all for.

But it’s not crazy to say that if your work place sucks, look for a better one. There are a lot of shitty employers out there, but there are plenty of places that are decent to work at.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

YMMV. Some skills are in higher demand than others.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I tried to draft my original comment to not sound like, “just get a new job!” As if you can get into a job canon and shoot off to Jobland, where jobs grow on jobbies. I know that’s not reality. I just meant to point out that lots of place ARE hiring remote.
Our mileages all vary. My comment was not well-drafted.

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

THIS. I don’t know anyone who thinks they or the economy are doing “good”. On the other hand, I HAVE heard reasonable people talk about how suicide is in the running as a potential future retirement option.

Last edited 23 days ago by Mike B
Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

I know quite a few baby boomers who have done quite well with their multiple properties and giant retirement accounts- the economy is honestly very good for those who got in decades ago and have amassed a decent amount of capital.

Those same boomers at least have the grace to recognize their offspring are in a much more precarious situation, and if you didn’t already have a decent amount of cash for buying a house and/or making investments for the long term, the recent skyrocketing in prices of everything has crippled your ability to accumulate any sort of wealth.

ElmerTheAmish
ElmerTheAmish
23 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

A Baby Boomer guy who is related through a Spaceballs-esque chain told me a few years ago (just before the Pandemic) that the economy was doing great, and couldn’t believe I could think differently. I mentioned the economy was great, “if you could have a good chunk of your money in the stock market.” He looked at me like I had grown a second head there on the spot, and ended the conversation.

Mike B
Mike B
23 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Oh yeah, there’s plenty of boomers (and older gen x-ers) that are doing great. Like I said, anyone who bought a home prior to 2020 is doing well, especially if they’ve owned that property 20, 30 years ago. About ten years ago 3 families in my area were going from 150-200-ish, generally. Now they’re going for 600-700 or more. Anyone who invested then is sitting pretty.

I DO appreciate it when older people acknowledge that things are hard on the younger generations.

Peter d
Peter d
22 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

I do worry about affordability, but, I read a recent news report that in the Boston metro area, which has ridiculously high housing costs, 20% of the households make more than $225K – which puts a $800K house right in their sweet spot – and you can find (small, older) houses in Boston metro for $700K. I do feel bad for those in parts of the country where remote work has driven up prices in part because the newcomers are coming from California, Boston, or New York and have lots of cash from selling their real estate. Phoenix seems to have been hit really bad in the last five years – prices seem to have doubled or tripled – which is good for those that have property, but bad for those that need to buy-in. This is bad for Arizona – and I am not sure the California refugees are especially blue which would be an improvement for the state.

Mike B
Mike B
21 days ago
Reply to  Peter d

I’m from about 45 min south of Boston, on the coast. The problem with Boston is that it’s a ripple effect, as prices go up in Boston, people that work in Boston start to relocate out of the city, and that increased demand drives those prices up. There’s a new commuter rail from Boston to points on the Southcoast, and that has raised prices quite a bit in those areas as well.

Median home price in MA is 585k, median income is 96k. That doesn’t really work. In the blue collar area I’m from, the median home price is 499K with income at 79k.

The median income in Fall River MA is 49k, median home is 380K. Rents have skyrocket in that town the last few years, I believe the avg is right around 2K now.

It’s the same thing with RI, because most points in RI are commutable distance to Boston and Providence, so those prices are high as well.

I suppose this is no different from the other places you mentioned, high earners in a high cost area find lower cost areas more affordable even after they’ve driven up the cost. The peon who sold their home in CA for 1.5mil has no problem paying 500K for a home elsewhere that was 250K two years ago, meanwhile the locals could barely afford the 250 in the first place.

MrLM002
MrLM002
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

Not that I’m exactly reasonable but for people my age Social Security is supposed to run out many years before we’re eligible for it, and it’s not like Social Security pays out enough to live off of alone, you have to own an home and either have a lot of savings or passive income.

Meanwhile the IRS is looking how to target more low income individuals because they can’t afford an audit, let alone to fight it.

Meanwhile the largest individual tax bill in US history couldn’t even fund the US government for 24 hours (~$11 Billion)

But don’t worry, when we get drafted financials will be the least of our concerns.

Perhaps that should be the new recruitment strategy. Not only do you not need a High School Diploma or GED, but your creditors can’t reach you on the front lines….

Last edited 23 days ago by MrLM002
Salaryman
Salaryman
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike B

Personally, I’m going for Freedom 75.

Mike B
Mike B
21 days ago
Reply to  Salaryman

If that’s a reference to something, it went right over my head.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Who want’s to wake up early, make a to go lunch or pay more for food not from home, commute (which sometimes can be for over an hour 1 way), all for the same pay as someone who can sleep in, work in their PJs, eat at home, etc.

I have been assured that the epiphanic meetings in the office hallways more than make up for the hours and $ lost to the commute.

Also I have been assured that employees secretly crave a return to the office. The boss really does know what’s in their best interest. They miss having the boss stop by, steaming cup in hand to helpfully remind them to file their TPS reports or to insist they put in unpaid overtime. To bask in the comforting drone of coworker’s blather The petty politics of the office. Having to wear pants again. Long commutes and being forced to eat (and tip) at overpriced restaurants or risk having one’s lunch stolen from the break room fridge are just icing on the cake.

Really, what’s NOT to love? Besides everything that is?

10001010
10001010
23 days ago

What I’m listening to while reading TMD:
David Lee Roth – Paradise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUBARAhO9EY

I sure hope the economy will be strong in 2024. I’ve found that most of the naysayers are affiliated with one political party or another and hoping it will be up/down based on whichever will help their candidate the best. This disappointing fact has been true for too long.

AssMatt
AssMatt
23 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I wish there were video of Eddie, Alex, and Mike hearing that song for the first time. However glad they were to be rid of DLR, I bet this track made them smile, what with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

10001010
10001010
23 days ago
Reply to  AssMatt

I’ll be honest, I like both VH and when Diamond Dave went solo. After participating in a small number of bands back in my teenage years I’m honestly surprised that any bands manage to stick together for any length of time. It was literally like trying to date 4-5 guys all at the same time. This guy is always upset with that guy but they’re not talking so these other 2 guys are trying to be go-betweens and now we all “need to talk”. So I completely get why they broke up but I’m glad we got the music we did.

AssMatt
AssMatt
23 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I used to wonder about “creative differences;” why would anybody quit when you’ve got such a good thing going? Revolving doors are one thing (see: Pearl Jam, drums or RHCP, guitar), but choosing to break up and walk away (see: Soundgarden) seemed extreme to Young Me. But yeah, whatever interesting elements stem from tension, eventually it’s just not fun anymore. And while a name change may have been preferable for fans (see: Audioslave), props to the remaining members for moving forward…and indeed, for Van Halen at least, arguably getting better or at least developing a new sound with a new frontman (unlike, say, Maiden with Ripper or dare I say AC/DC).

Anyway, records we have are better than records we don’t, and Dave is way entertaining whatever he’s doing, so Hooray for Everything!

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
23 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I’ve read that Eddie and Alex weren’t innocent in the whole thing, but I also can’t see Diamond Dave being part of many bands for very long. It just isn’t in him. Especially a band that is named after the guitarist and drummer.

10001010
10001010
23 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

Well Dave did have a plenty of turnover in the lineup for his solo albums while VH stuck with Hagar for years so I’m guessing DD was the harder one to get along with but that’s must my suspicion.

90
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x