Published on: March 24, 2022
Yesterday, MNB reader Tom Hahn criticized my endorsement of an SEC decision "to propose regulations that, for the first time, require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their exposure to climate change risks."
Of course you have no problem with this approach Kevin, it’s consistent with your leftist POV. You hope the SEC gets guidance from “climate change experts”? The same ones that are running the Biden administration? The same ones that have been wrong on most policy decisions over the last couple years? Not a very comforting thought.
In your green fantasy world, do the Chinese, the Indians, and the Russians also mandate these measures for companies operating in those countries? If not, what sense does it make to add bureaucracy and cost to US companies to do nothing but further fuel inflation and joblessness among American workers? As with most policies pushed by the left, this is a solution looking for a problem.
Prompting another MNB reader to write:
Tom Hahn’s extremely “rightest” point of view ignores the facts and tries hard to make a fallacious point. His “Why should we try to do better when the other guy isn’t?” argument suggests that no one should ever try to improve because we can always find a guy who is preserving the worst of the status quo.
I would agree with the suggestion that we should not follow the Chinese, the Indians, and the Russians off an environmental cliff if we have the ability to affect our own behavior and its consequences. I think that's called leadership.
I'm also not sure that at this particular moment it is fair to talk about joblessness in America being attributable to climate policies. Unemployment is pretty low and there seem to be more jobs out there than people who want to or are able to fill them.
I would also suggest that the current geopolitical situation highlights one very good reason that we need to be aggressive in our shift away from fossil fuels - it takes a weapon away from the war criminal in the Kremlin.
None of this is easy, none of this can be accomplished overnight, and there almost certainly will be pain. But if you accept the notion of climate change, then this all seems pretty inevitable. If you don't … well, I guess we'll have to talk about something else.
Responding to yesterday's story about LL Bean reacting to a record sales year by giving all its employees a 20 percent bonus, one MNB reader wrote:
The retailer I work for could learn a lesson from LL Bean. I get a yearly cost of living increase that is always right around 1.73%. Except for the fact that yearly inflation is just over 2% and insurance premiums go up yearly. We get thanked a lot for our hard work, but "thank you" doesn't pay the bills.
We had a piece yesterday about how "the rich may be different from you and me, in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but they also are worried about the state of the economy." For different reasons than less affluent people, but still worried.
Axios wrote that "even though they're still flush with cash from the booming market, wealthier people are increasingly worried about the economy, especially inflation … In March, consumer confidence dropped 7% for those earning more than $100,000 — a much larger dip than for those earning less than $50,000, according to a measure of consumer sentiment out today as part of the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index."
One MNB reader responded:
Interesting point. My only question is when did $100,000 income become wealthy? That level especially now, is smack in the middle of middle class and they need to be conservative in spending. So wealthy? I don’t think so.
But if $100,000 a year doesn't make you wealthy, then what does $30,000 a year make you?
On an other subject, from another reader:
I always perceived Starbucks as being a very progressive company, hiring across all genders, socially conscious, almost hippie like. That to me was the vibe I got in the stores, like it or not. Now it feels like an angry, overworked vibe. Sad. I don’t have a solution, but I do think $20 to pour coffee is not it.
And from another reader:
For me, there has been a culture change in what Starbucks is a business. Is it a destination? Not for many, as you can see the lines of cars lining up for coffee to go where a Starbucks used to be a place you would actually *stay* and enjoy your coffee. Is it a differentiated experience? Not so much anymore, as Dunkin and others offer similar flavored coffee drinks. Is Starbucks offering a value proposition? I doubt anyone would claim that. So where does their staff fit in this equation? Are they adding to the experience of going to Starbucks anymore? At one time they did, but I don’t think so anymore with the business model seemingly to crank out coffee so fast they are yelling your name to expedite a line. I think their team members feel like they got a bit forgotten in the shift. If Starbucks wants to stop union gains, they should rethink the role of what their employees are and maybe what value they feel they are in the dynamic.
Yesterday we took note of a Financial Times piece about how companies should not just hold "exit interviews" for people who are leaving for greener pastures (or, as seems to be happening more and more recently, just leaving). Rather, FT says, companies should consider holding "stay interviews" with people who appear to not be leaving, as a way of retaining them and have a better sense of the temperature of the workplace.
One MNB reader responded:
Employers may see this more as a punch in the eye, rather than an eye opener. Stay interviews sound great, but, do they truly generate true feelings? In the past if you wanted to stay employed you better not state negative comments, constructive or not.
You're right. If that's the climate, then stay interviews won't be worth a damn. I'm arguing for a cultural shift that values employees as essential, and this is one way to show it.
I wrote yesterday that "I like the idea of commandeering ships taken from Russian oligarchs and turning them into aid vessels serving Ukrainians."
One MNB reader responded:
You and Chuck Rhoades--two of a kind.
Maybe. Certainly "Billions" season six-style Chuck Rhoades.
Though there are other personal characteristics/predilections that Chuck Rhoades and I do not share. (At least, none that I care to admit to.)