125: The End of Retirement with Political Economist, John Tamny
Today’s guest is John Tamny. John is a political economist, the editor of RealClearMarkets, the Vice President of FreedomWorks, and a frequent contributor to Forbes among a number of other publications.
His most recent book is The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job, where he explores why prosperity and innovation aren’t ending American jobs, but making them better. He brings a unique perspective not just to this moment in history, but to the concepts of work and retirement – and how we can use them to make the most of our lives while making the world a better place.
John joins today’s podcast for a more philosophical conversation about why he’s exhilarated, devastated, and saddened by this moment in history. We explore the history and nature of intervention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in America, what recessions really mean and how to think about them, and how all of this impacts not just your retirement, but the very idea of retirement altogether.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why John doesn’t believe that government intervention is a good solution to the Coronavirus crisis.
- The lessons John takes from the rarely discussed major economic crash and recovery of 1920-21, why recessions should be seen as cures instead of problems, and the reasons he would have advocated against bailing out banks and auto manufacturers in 2008.
- The reasons the massive government debt associated with the new stimulus package isn’t actually a problem – and why John would always prefer deficit spending over a balanced budget.
- How LeBron James is a living reminder that retirement is becoming a dated concept.
- Why China innovates despite substantial government intervention.
- The reason John supports a return to stable money, even if it’s not gold – and why he thinks this will happen.
- “Failure can never kill an economy. In fact, failure is the driver of success.” – John Tamny
- “In the future, people will be fighting, working desperately to avoid retirement.” – John Tamny
Casey Weade: John, welcome to the podcast.
John Tamny: Hey, thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.
Casey Weade: Hey, I'm excited to have you here. You're bringing a different element to the conversation as a political economist and you've just written so many different works. You've had such a vast array of different experiences in life and in work. I think it's going to be hard for you to just tell people what you do at this time in your life. How do you respond when someone asks, “Well, John, what do you do?”
John Tamny: Well, what I say usually is I say I'm an economics writer, but you're absolutely right. The work is so varied. I feel like I do lots of things so that I can be an economics writer. Writing doesn't always pay the bills as much today so I'm an editor of a website. I work at an activist organization called FreedomWorks. I do all sorts of things and I love what I do but my passion is writing about economics and I think it's a miracle that I get to do something that I enjoy so much.
Casey Weade: Well, this is a pretty interesting time to be a writer in the economic space. I might rephrase this question. When it comes to being a writer that focuses largely on the economy today, what's that like today?
John Tamny: It's fascinating. I almost feel guilty because I've never been so exhilarated at a time that I'm also devastated and I'm so sad because I see a lot of people who were very recently doing what they love, doing the kind of work that animated them in amazing ways, cooking all sorts of things of movies, writing, you name it, and right now, they can't do it. And so, I'm extra passionate about what I'm doing right now but it's also so sad because I do strongly believe more and more work is an expression of what we are as individuals. And so, to be in a time and place where people are quite literally having their ability to do what they love, to do what elevates them the most taken from them, I find really sad. And so, it energizes me but also just I couldn't be more sad right now.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, I feel much the same way. I think our business has been blessed to be largely virtual and have a lot of outlets there and I absolutely love what I do and we have the ability to continue to do it. But not everybody has that same luxury and I really enjoyed your work, the book, The End of Work, and I want to get into that in just a minute. But I feel like we'd be remised if we didn't have a quick conversation about what's going on out there and some of your thoughts around the coronavirus. We're sitting here. It's about March 24th. So, someone may be listening to this far in the future and looking back and reflecting on some of the things you have to say. And the situation has been evolving very quickly and I want to read a quote that you put out there and get a response from you on this, have you go a little bit deeper. It read like this, "Accept that as this is being read, politicians are doing something and in doing something, they're stepping on the cure’s neck. Give it time but history will conclude that political class ineptitude yet again turned to challenge, fixed by increased capital availability into a needless market and economic calamity.” And so, I'm wondering, are you still holding the position that the government should not be intervening?
John Tamny: Yes, I am, unquestionably. And let me explain. Let's travel back a little. I have a smartphone, which by any measure, 10 years ago would have been viewed as a supercomputer beyond powerful with capabilities that 10 years ago no one could have ever imagined. If you had wanted to own something like this 10 to 15 years ago, it was going to cost you millions of dollars, assuming the technology existed. Yet nowadays I can get something better than this supercomputer I have sitting right here for next to nothing if I sign a deal with a wireless provider. Now, I don't know why I have this. I'll never understand why but it's funny how profit-motivated creative individuals working at what they do best provide all sorts of luxuries and accommodations that billionaires, the richest people in the world, couldn't have imagined not too long ago.
And so, my reaction is no different when it comes to health and viruses. I have no medical background. I don't presume to know anything about health or viruses. But if this is, in fact, a huge risk to life and wellness, why on earth would we empower the political class right now? Why wouldn't we once again say no, let's step away? If this is a huge danger that some say it is, let's let creative, innovative individuals, let's have them all working aggressively, feverishly to find something hopefully being matched with capital. You don't want government to step in and become capital allocator at a time like this. You want the crazies out there, all the people with wild thoughts, figuring out ways to fight this. And so, I think the response is always much worse than the problem.
Casey Weade: Well, how would you say that some of these health care providers and some of these different areas of the economy, it's these small businesses that are going to provide the most innovation in times like this but if small businesses are struggling now, how are they going to be able to innovate if they don't have the capital?
John Tamny: Well, it's a great question and my response is always no business ever runs out of money, ever. Now, let me explain. If businesses run out of money, then Amazon wouldn't exist today because Amazon was just bleeding cash for years and years and years starting in 1996. But Amazon had the trust of investors that the end game was going to be something spectacular and the investors who stuck around and provided capital have obviously been amply rewarded. And so, what businesses run out of is they run out of the trust of investors. Investors no longer trust the future, hence they're not willing to provide the capital in the present. And so, what does that say about the present? Did businesses that were going great guns three weeks ago, did they suddenly become bad? No. Their ability to innovate, their ability to engage in profitable activities was essentially taken from them by a morphing of the freest economy on earth into a command-and-control economy.
I mean, quite literally California, think about it, is the fifth-largest economy in the world if it were a country. It is now essentially shut down via political decree. Add in Illinois and New York, what would that be in terms of a country? And so, there's a lack of capital for businesses because investors are understandably terrified. We have so fundamentally changed in the last few weeks. Why would you invest in a business that's future is uncertain? And so, the answer to me is get the government to pull back and then let investors decide what businesses have viable models for the present and future.
Casey Weade: So, let's define intervention. There's a couple of different types of intervention. I kind of see it as two categories where you've got intervention within the states say to shut down businesses. To shut down the whole economy at this time is the way it views. We're just shutting down a massive piece of the economy in order to protect people and protect them from getting into proximity, spreading the virus and having more individuals potentially die from the virus itself. And so, you've got the health care side of intervention, regulatory intervention. Then on the other side, you have capital intervention where there's capital being injected into the economy, into businesses in order to ensure that they have the profits to continue to run and employ individuals. So, are you just focusing on the economic side or are you focusing on the health care side of regulatory?
John Tamny: That's a great question. I'm largely focused on the economic side because I believe that growing economies lead to much better health care outcomes. Let’s not forget that John D. Rockefeller was arguably the richest man who ever lived but when a favorite grandson came down with scarlet fever in 1901, there was no cure. Rockefeller spent $500,000, which was quite a lot of money at the time to find a cure and he failed. His grandson died. Now, ultimately, this feverish investment by rich people like Rockefeller made scarlet fever a yesterday disease. And so, my view has always been that you do not fight a health scare by crashing the economy. In fact, the greatest way to fight disease and viruses is to have the economy going great guns, precisely because that would lead to more capital availability that could be matched with innovative minds and creative minds.
And so, I do tend to look at it economically. There's no question about that but I think there's something more to it. We constantly hear, "Hey, we're shutting things down for your own good. We're trying to save lives.” I find that insulting because I don't need someone to tell me to protect myself and I don't think most do. I think everyone watching this knows people who constantly wash their hands, who will never open up a door handle in a public place with their actual hand. They always use their elbow. I've got two kids. I can tell you that my wife is very vigilant about when people visit and has always been this way. Please wash your hands once you visit. She self-regulates in the best of times. And so, to presume that Americans and people around the world wouldn't self-regulate even more, keep distance in the worst of times, I think insults what we are as human beings. Of course, we would do those things.
And someone would say, “Okay. But wait a second, what about the people who won't?” Well, lots of people use heroin and cocaine, even though it's said to be life-threatening and they do it even though it's illegal. There are always going to be people who don't abide, but even they provide crucial market signals. “Oh, okay. Well, I used a lot of cocaine and it led to all sorts of bad things. Okay. Here's our example of what not to do and safe idea here.” Some people will never abide these rules and they too will provide information about what to do. “Oh, look, they got really sick. And look at what happens if you don't social distance yourself.” So, I think the idea that we need politicians to hold our hands insults what we are as people.
Casey Weade: So, it sounds like to me what you're saying if we have intervention, then we ultimately may not get that example we need that the rest of society needs in order to justify their actions. I could take this deeper back to the 2008 financial crisis and say, "Well, if the government hadn't intervened, would we have found ourselves in another Great Depression at that point?” And arguably we could have found ourselves in a much worse situation without quantitative easing and that some of the actions that the government took. Are you saying that we should have let banks fail? We should have let it turned into another depression without any government intervention, and that would have led us to having better examples for the future?
John Tamny: Well, yes, but I would answer that differently. I think the intervention is the depression. Let's never forget that in 1920 and 1921, the US economy fell into a major, major recession, much bigger than 1929 and 1930. But the reason you don't hear about it in history books is because it was so short. And why was it so short? Because government did less than nothing in response. The popular view today is government must spend with abandon during times of hardship. Back then, federal spending was slashed from 6.4 billion in 1920, all the way to 3.3 billion in 1923. There is also the view that you have to devalue the currency during times of hardship. Back then, the dollar's integrity as of 1/20th of an ounce of gold was maintained. And so, the nonresponse let the economy cleanse itself very quickly. And so, unemployment quickly fell from 11.3% in 1920, all the way to 1.7% in 1923.
The difference with 1929 and 1930 is that there was intervention to fight the recession and this was from Republicans and Democrats. This isn't a partisan point. Let's never forget that recessions signal recovery. No one wants to acknowledge that but during good times, what do we do? We develop bad habits. Maybe we stay in nicer hotels than we otherwise would when we travel for work. Maybe we buy more expensive plane tickets. Maybe we go to more expensive restaurants. We develop bad habits and recessions force us to fix them. During good times, businesses are more likely to hire someone that they wouldn't hire during rough economic times. They have to take risks. Businesses are also more willing to expand in ways that they would necessarily. Banks and investment banks are willing to finance companies that they wouldn't necessarily touch during more normal times.
And so, all recessions are a signal of the people who comprise an economy, fixing themselves, correcting what's wrong. And so, that's why when you don't touch recessions, historically, that's led to a big economic rebound simply because the recession is the cure. And so, you look at 2008, Citibank was needed to be bailed out again. Well, that was the fifth bailout of Citi in 22 years at the time. How does that help an economy? People said the view was, well, Ben Bernanke said, "If we don't bail out the banks, the US economy will be in a decades-long Great Depression.” I reject that. Now, I find that an irresponsible statement. Let's never forget that Germany and Japan were literally reduced to rubble by World War II and in much, much worse for their outlook. They lost at least one generation, each of their best and brightest, the human capital that drives all progress. But the economies were largely free after the war and very quickly they became two of the richest countries in the world again. Failure could never cause a long-term decline, but intervention in failure logically could.
And you and I know that as individuals, I've made mistakes all my life and thank goodness I was forced to live up to them. It forced me to be better at what I do. It forced me to fix what I was doing wrong. Maybe I wasn't going to stay out until 4:00 AM on Friday and Saturday night, which is what I used to do. And so, you never intervene in what the market signals telling you to do something different.
Casey Weade: Because then I see that the recession leads us to innovation and by not allowing us to fall from recession to depression or have very bad economic times, we're hindering innovation of the global economy. And can we see this going back throughout history as we've had a greater and greater regulation and government intervention? Do you see that continuing to hinder innovation, especially here in the United States?
John Tamny: It's a great question and without question, what you ask is what we've seen happen. Let's never forget that in the early part of the 20th century, over 2,000 car makers were formed largely in the industrial Midwest. Just about every single one of those carmakers failed but did that cause a massive depression and downturn in that part of the world? No, no, no. Detroit was the Silicon Valley of the past. People moved to Detroit from around the world. Cars were the future and that's where the innovation was happening. Massive company creations, just about every single one of them died. Fast forward to the present. Silicon Valley is a monument to persistent failure. Just about every company that's ever been created there has died. There are people rioting in the streets there. No, no, no. It's the richest part of its region in the world. And why is that? Because decline is information. It tells entrepreneurs what not to do. It releases crucial human capital and physical capital to new ideas. Failure can never kill an economy. In fact, failure is the driver of success.
Fast forward to the present with Detroit. Now, we bail out the mistakes there. It's not as though GM and Chrysler were going to disappear in 2008. Consider England, there are more cars produced in England today than ever in the history of that country, yet not one of those carmakers is a British-based company. They're all foreign companies. And so, if GM and Chrysler had gone bankrupt, it seems that they would have disappeared. They've got too many good brands, but a better manager would have purchased them and run them better. And so, without failure, you get stagnation. Nowadays, University of Michigan is one of the greatest universities in the world. But do the kids stay in Detroit after school? No, they leave. They used to stay. Now, they go elsewhere. And why do they? Because no one wants to be part of an industry that is having its hands held essentially by government. They want to be in innovative industries.
Casey Weade: Well, I can sympathize with you and I love the outlook. I love the vision. And I'm in large agreement to less government intervention. It just seems like we're well past that. You know, as we sit here, they're currently contemplating a trillion, $2 trillion stimulus package along with shutting down the country if we're already past that. And maybe you can argue that we're not past that and it can be fixed in a very short period of time but I think it's going to get passed this week. So, what is the long-term and the short-term impact of government intervention that we're seeing today?
John Tamny: My strong sense and, remember, markets never price in the present. They always price in the future. Let's ask ourselves a question. If we had known four weeks ago what we know now, that quite literally over a fifth of the US economy and realistically more of it was going to be shut down by political decree, what's our guess on where stocks would have gone during that time? I'm thinking if it had been me, I would've said, "Oh, yeah, much more than let's just call a 35% decline.” And so, what that tells me, fingers crossed, is that let’s never forget that as Americans we’re different. We are not a race. We're an ideal. We descend from these crazy, remarkable people who crossed oceans and borders, not knowing a language, not necessarily knowing anyone. Knowing there was no safety net once they got here because they wanted to taste personal and economic freedom.
There is a reason that the US is the most entrepreneurial country on earth, and we are because we descend from the people who gave it all up in order to have something better here with no guarantee of any kind of, again, safety net or security once they got here. That says something unique about us. I do not think Americans are going to sit back and have their ability to work and produce and provide taken from them too much longer. I think we will hit a point where they'll say, you know, this is it. It's not worth living if all that we've worked for has been taken from us. Many more people die due to the economic contraction than they do to disease and virus. We're getting back to it. And that's my sense why stocks haven't corrected as much as they may be would have in another country. I've got to believe that investors think that ultimately this is going to end. This shutdown has got to end because Americans do not do well in times of low prosperity. Americans need their prosperity. They’re creators. They’re innovators. They’re doers. They'll get back to it. And if they defy politicians, they will.
Casey Weade: Well, it sounds to me like you're predicting that this intervention will prolong the economic slowdown.
John Tamny: Yes, without question. This intervention is going to prolong it. Let's not call it a recession. Recession is a sign of an economy cleansing itself. This was a command-and-control enforced contraction by politicians. What they're offering in Washington is just going to be more of the same. You don't fix command-and-control by empowering the federal government to allocate another trillion or $2 trillion. So, none of this will work and it's a non-sequitur. Again, let's think about four weeks ago, all the same policies were in place. Stocks were at an all-time high and businesses could much more easily access capital. What's changed? Are these businesses suddenly awful? No. Suddenly, they lack the ability to innovate and produce productively. And so, the answer is not more government control of the economy in terms of trillion-dollar and $2 trillion stimulus package. The answer is always, okay, let's do less and let private economic actors push resources to their highest use. The problem is one of intervention to then presume that you can foist more central planning on the intervention and get a good result. It is just naive and it's childish in it’s depressing to witness.
Casey Weade: Well, after initial stimulus package back during the financial crisis, it was followed up with additional stimulus as multiple after the initial one. And so, I can only imagine that this is just the beginning. We see the first trillion and the next trillion, and I know there's a lot of individuals that are just really concerned with government debt and where that's going to take us. As we continue to take on this debt, what impact does that have on the average American? Is that going to impact the future of tax rates? Is it really a problem in the first place?
John Tamny: I don't believe so. That's going to surprise someone who's been watching this so far. I think a focus on debt is a distraction and it misses the point. To focus on debt versus government spending is to just make a distinction without a difference. Government can either get the money by taxing it away or it can pay for the right to borrow it at present. In 1980, the total federal debt was $900 billion and it cost Treasury 11% to borrow back. Nowadays, what's the deficit or total debt? It's 23 trillion. It's going up. It cost the U.S. Treasury, gosh, under 1%, I think at this point to borrow. Investors line up to lend money to the United States because it's backed by the most productive people on Earth at which point let's ask a basic question. Would we prefer economically an annual balanced budget of $5 trillion where, again, all the moneys come in taxes, in the budgets balanced? Or would we prefer an annual deficit of $1 trillion on $1.5 trillion in spending? To me, the obvious answer is we'd always take the deficit scenario.
The problem isn't how they get the money. The problem is they're spending the money. I don't care whether you're a Republican or a Democrat. When governments spend money, that means that Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump, Barack Obama are getting to control the allocation of precious resources. Money is just a measure. The spending of money is directing where trucks, tractors, computers, desks, chairs, office buildings, office space, where people go. And so, the more dollars government has, the more dollars government spending, that's the economic tax. And so, to worry about how they get it by borrowing or taxing, I just don't care. I think that's a waste of time. The problem is always and everywhere the spending is, some will say, "But wait a second, our grandchildren are going to inherit this debt.” Oh, sure. But so what?
That's not the bad thing they're inheriting. Because, again, if people are willing to lend to us at the lowest of low rates, what we're giving to them, which is much worse than debt, is a less evolved society. Think of all the great innovations in modern times. They've all come from the private. People say, "Well, no, the internet was created by government.” No, it wasn't. Government took resources from the private sector to create an internet that had no practical market use. Innovators in the private economy made the internet useful and presume that absent government and DARPA that internet wouldn't have been created, that producers looking for a way to make it possible or reach more consumers to say that they wouldn't have created the internet on their own defies basic common sense. The differences absent all this government spending, we would have discovered the internet much, much sooner.
And so, what we're handing grandchildren is a much less evolved economy, more diseases that we could have cured. Realistically, transportation innovations that people today can't imagine. My guess is that the grandchildren, I argue this all the time is that the grandchildren will fly around in private jets like it's nothing. It's what we're not giving them in terms of evolution that is the true burden, not some debt that investors line up to buy from us.
Casey Weade: I could see how there could be some confusion here with a quote that I have from you here. You said, "The source of economic growth, economic growth is a consequence of investment.” If we're able to have the government put more dollars in the hands of investors, won't that then lead to more economic growth?
John Tamny: No, because government cannot put something in the hands of investors that it hasn't taken from someone else first. Let's never forget that all wealth is created in the private sector. That's not a knock on government. Look, government exists. It's always going to exist. People can argue how much there should be, how little there should be. I thought the founders had it right. They basically said people can have these disputes in cities and states around the country. Keep the federal government small. Let people choose their bliss. But let's never forget that government only has resources to give out insofar as they've taken from us first. And for those who say that's not true, well, explain to me Haiti. If governments can just spend and if that spending actually powers economic growth, why don't Haiti's politicians just starts spending with a bang? Based on that logic, Soviet Union should still exist today. Government could have just printed more rubles and in the process propped up what made no sense what was anti-human. But in fact, governments can't.
The Soviet government, the Haiti government doesn't have money to spend precisely because its people were then and Haiti's people are now are so unproductive. Our federal government here has trillions to spend, not because it's innovative, but because it's backed by the most productive people on earth. Suddenly, they all left for other countries. Rest assured, no one would lend the United States and the federal government would have very little to spend.
Casey Weade: Well, I just wonder. I mean, the reason I have you on is because you just have such a positive outlook on the future. You know, I came across one of your articles on LeBron James and the retirement savings crisis. And then I wonder how could you have so much positivity about innovation if we feel like innovation is being hampered by a government intervention? And we have so much government intervention today and it's only continuing to expand. It seems like we continue to expand regulations, continue to expand the size of government and spending. Do you think that we can change that? Can we change that direction? Is that realistic? And if so, how?
John Tamny: It's a great question. I wish I hope we can, but I'm also optimistic even if we can't. It goes back to a lunch I was having with an entrepreneur in Houston in 2009. You look back to that time, that was the depths of American despair in many ways. And he had all these businesses. And I said to him, "How are you doing amid all this?” And let me be clear. This is not a partisan guy. He can't stand either political party. He said, are you kidding me? I'm way too smart for Barack Obama. I was way too smart for George W. Bush. I will innovate around these guys every day of the week. They cannot hold me down. And let's never forget that. It's a shame. I mean, we would be a much more prosperous country if we were even freer. And I would argue if we just left all the big government decisions to cities and states, let people choose that, let them be laboratories of ideas. But Americans are amazing and people around the world are amazing.
The billionaire Ken Fisher always makes the point that capitalism will always outrun politicians. And of course, it will. And so, even though I'm pessimistic right now, I think the mistakes we're making are just so needless and they're so devastating and sad and they're going to hurt the poor people the most and that just sickens me. And I want to wring these people's neck because the poor can't, their work is a destination. I can work from home. I'm lucky. For the poor people, they had to go to a place to work and now they're having their ability to do that, stripped from them, and it just it sickens me. But ultimately, Americans keep innovating and people around the world keep innovating around these barriers needlessly, needlessly put up by politicians. And so, it's a shame. It's awful but long term, I believe and I think this is somewhat priced in stocks. There is a view among investors that, yes, invariably politicians make really dumb decisions. They did in 2008. They did in 2002 with Sarbanes-Oxley. They're doing it right now. Let's be clear that this is a crisis of politicians. It was never an economic crisis. I mean, it was arguably never a health crisis but I'll leave that to the doctors. But invariably, we innovate around these things and I'm confident we will in this instance, too.
Casey Weade: Well, let's get past this stuff. Let's get into some positive thinking here. And again, the reason I had you on was your book, The End of Work, and I actually originally came across that because I read an article that you wrote on LeBron James, the Retirement Savings Crisis, included that in our weekend reading for retirees, an email we send out every Friday and wrote some commentary on it myself. And I think people are probably listening. If they didn't read that article they’re going, well, what does LeBron James and the retirement savings crisis really have in common and how do we tie that pack in to maybe what's going on in the economy today?
John Tamny: Well, LeBron James is a reminder of how interesting work has become in modern times. He is a savant. He is a genius. His knowledge on the basketball court is otherworldly. If you and I presume to talk basketball with him, we would very quickly be reduced to blubbering idiots. Now, I would argue that if he presumed to talk retirement with you, he could not stay in the same room with you and I'm convinced that if you presume to talk economic policy with me, that I would very quickly outclass him. I know more than he does. But think about what a miracle this is. Think about what a specialized, amazing world we live in. I get to write about economics. Will you please pinch me? I mean, really wait. People pay me. I get to provide based on my passion about economic policy. LeBron James gets to make a grand living as a basketball player and he works endlessly to delay retirement.
And then you look at the Lakers team that he plays for and all the different specialists. They have a nutritionist on staff. They have computer specialists who break down other teams in terms of tendencies. They have all sorts of specialist, shot, dribble, you name it whose sole job is to help these different Laker genius basketball players be better at what they do. The Lakers have a sleep coach so did the New England Patriots. New England Patriots brought three different sleep coaches to the Super Bowl several years ago. Something as joyous as sleep that are now people who get paid a lot of money to help people to achieve a better, higher performance outcome through sleep. And so, LeBron James is a reminder that retirement, as we know it, is going to become a dated concept down the line. People are going to say retirement. In fact, in the future, people will be fighting, working desperately to avoid retirement.
I'm guessing if someone told you, "Casey, you must stop working,” you couldn't handle it. So, Warren Buffett could hand you billions of dollars and you would still need to work because it's so obvious you love what you do. If someone couldn't pay me enough to get me to stop working and maybe they could, but I would just come up with a pseudonym because I can't not do this. Compare that to the past when people aim for retirement, retirement was a goal to get to. Work wasn't as good at the time.
Casey Weade: When people fear some innovation, I think this article largely came down to innovation and the fear that people have about technology and robots and artificial intelligence and the outsourcing of manufacturing to other countries, the elimination of jobs. And you've kind of twisted that to say, "Hey, that's actually a good thing.”
John Tamny: It's a beautiful thing. Let's not forget that 150, 175 years ago, you kind of knew your path in life when you were born, and this was true even in the rich United States. Once you were able not going to go to school, once you were able you were going to work six days a week dawn to dusk on a farm. All of human effort, so much of human endeavor was directed toward the creation of one thing, food, and it didn't work very well. Lots people starved. It was unsuccessful. And then these robots came along, the backhoe and then the tractor and fertilizer. And they enabled the mass production of food with exponentially fewer hands. Arguably the biggest job destroyers in the history of mankind is let's not forget everyone around the world, that's what you did. You made food. You were trying to survive. And so, did this cause people to go into breadlines? No, it freed people up to cure diseases. It freed people up to create automobiles, to create airplanes, to create computers, to become math teachers, to become retirement consultants, to become economics writers.
All these things, technology by its very name is the destruction of old forms of work but it doesn't cause us to be desperate and poor. It just enables us to specialize. Let's imagine if you, me, and Emily were on a desert island, no one around and we were working with each other. Our lives would be defined by unrelenting drudgery simply because there wouldn't be enough time for us to create all the things that we needed. So, let's imagine that suddenly some boat runs ashore and 10 people get off. Would suddenly the three of us be out of work? No. Suddenly, we'd be dividing up work with 13 people and we could work much more productively and plenty of our creation would multiply. So, robots, imagine this, suddenly you have entities that can work 24/7, 365 days a year, these extra hands. Think of what that means for people. It means that people are going to fall in love with the work because they're going to specialize on a level that they never were able to before.
And so, work is going to become a passion. The title of this book was initially The End of Laziness. I don't agree with it because I used to think it's lazy. The beauty of robots is precisely because they're going to remove from work all that's disagreeable about it. We'll be able to specialize in the aspects of it that we can't get enough of so that more and more people are like you on Mondays thinking, "Yes, I get to go to the place where I'm a superstar.”
Casey Weade: Well, now, over the long term, I can see this. Over the long term, I can see that we evolve to really take advantage of technology but if we even go back to the farming days and the transition to equipment, as you mentioned a moment ago, isn't there quite a bit of short-term pain, especially for manufacturing-driven economies?
John Tamny: It's such a great question. I love your question. I'm so glad you asked it. That is the assumption but I reject the assumption. There's a great book called Playing Through the Whistle by S.L. Price, a Sports Illustrated writer. He's writing about Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, which is a formerly great steel mill town that produced Mike Ditka, Darrelle Revis, Sean Gilbert, Tony Dorsett, all these amazing football players like Ty Law. The list is long. And so, he wrote about this and so he wrote about the history. It used to be that people, I mean, immigrants from around the world would come to the U.S. into Aliquippa because there were jobs there. These mills paid pretty well and the steel mills were very good to the workers and they did all sorts of amazing things for them.
But anyway, the point of this was this Tony Dorsett’s father told him and his sons, "You go into these mills, you may not come out alive. You may come out maimed. Avoid this the best you can.” Another story from this was a kid by the name of Frank Morocco. He was a great football player in Aliquippa. He got a football scholarship to North Carolina State, goes down there as so many kids do. He became homesick in the early days and so flew, got himself back to Pittsburgh. His six brothers who worked in the mills that are now shuttered, showed up at the Pittsburgh airport and said, "You get your A back on this plane and you never come back.” The parents working in the manufacturing steel mill think they were desperate that their kids not have to do the work that they did.
And so, I reject the notion Aliquippa is not a monument to the economic past because the steel mills closed. Aliquippa is a desperate monument to the past precisely because the steel mills stayed open too long and they drove away. The kids who could get out did everything they could to get out. And so, to pretend that things were somehow better when we were manufacturing economy, no. The parents who worked in the steel mills and the factories did everything they could to help their kids avoid it and that's always the case. Parents always want better. That wasn't a good life and to presume that it was, all you need to do is go to countries like China and see how unhappy the existence is in these mills.
Casey Weade: Well, I'm going to ask you to get your crystal ball out now. These are always dangerous questions when we get into predicting the future but I would love to hear your thoughts on just which countries do you believe have the edge here as we continue to innovate, we continue to automate? Which countries do you believe have that? Do you believe that that's the United States or is government hampering that too much for us to continue to be the leader in that space?
John Tamny: It's a great question. I'm a bull on the U.S. always, always, always, always. People have been betting against the United States since before it was the United States and they've always been wrong. And so, the idea that suddenly the US is set for a decline, I reject. Warren Buffett, I always remind people has become a very rich man buying from pessimists who felt, "Okay, this is it. This is it.” And so, I reject the notion now that the US's best days are done. I think there are things we could do better. I'm a strong believer that what makes us great are the people who come here with nothing. If it were my choice, we would have basically open borders. I want the world's strivers who would give anything to live in a country like this because the minute you step in the United States as a worker, your productivity surges to levels that you never could before.
And so, I think there are things we could do to ensure a great outcome. But I'm still convinced no matter what, the US is full of remarkable people. Clearly, China, if you look at what they've done, their innovation is amazing. In 1978, there were 12 tall buildings in Shanghai. As of 2006, there are 3,780. That number is so dated now. If you go to Shanghai, everywhere you look is a tall building. The ability of the Chinese to innovate is otherworldly. And so, thank goodness, I think the growth in China is going to be amazing for the United States. The more you have people around the world innovating, the more that you can specialize here. And what's exciting is China's a large country. I've got to believe there are several, let's call it 5 or 10, hopefully, 20 Steve Jobs types there. They're going to come up with innovations that utterly transform our living standards here. So, I like the idea of China.
I suppose I'm a little bit worried about Europe. It seems there's an embrace there somewhat of the past but the economy's still large there. So, yeah, and then broadly, I would say I'm optimistic about the world because with all this wealth creation, I think we're getting once again to what I'm talking about. What I mean by the end of work is not the people will stop working, but the people will get to do something they don't view as work. Again, in my free time, I work because I love what I do. I'm not working. I'm getting to do something that I feel so lucky to be able to do. And I'm convinced that the technology, the automation, all these things that scare some, look, they're happening either way. Globalization is going to happen either way because it leads to so much plenty. And with that, you're going to see people get to do the kind of work that they never imagined. Our kids and their kids, well, they'll be doing things and we'll say, "Wow, you get paid for that,” and that's a beautiful thing.
Casey Weade: Now, I've got to say this, just to play devil's advocate, if we're looking at China, China has arguably some of the highest degree of government intervention amongst the developed world. Why would you say China has been able to be so innovative with such a high level of government intervention?
John Tamny: Another great question. I reject the notion that government intervention is nearly as big as people assume. The state couldn't have built that. China used to suffer from massive intervention and it led to the death of tens of millions of Chinese. It used to be that there was no economic freedom. You talk to entrepreneurs there now, you talk to venture capitalists, there's huge amounts of growth of innovators pursuing all sorts of exciting ideas and being matched with capital. This is a largely free economy. Could it be freer? Of course. Well, the U.S. economy could be freer too. We’re not perfect and China is not perfect, but overall, the people there are very free to innovate. And with that, we see immense progress because they used to not be and China was a monument to stunning poverty. When I was growing up, the saying was at the time, "Finish your dinner. They're starving in China.” We no longer say that. And we no longer say that because the people are much freer than they once were to pursue their brilliance. It's not perfect, but much, much better.
And I think that's going to be hard to reverse. The Chinese people have fallen in love with prosperity in the way that Americans have. I think it's going to be hard for any - there will be authoritarian regimes or something like that. There are always bad leaders. There are bad leaders in the US. There will be those in China but the broad stroke I think of history is going to be there are people free and freer to pursue great things. Let's hope.
Casey Weade: A lot of your view here seems to be predicated on the notion that everyone has a passion and everyone has some unique skills that they could apply towards that passion to just love going to work and not even call it work anymore. Not everyone wants to retire. And part of our planning process, the beginning of our planning process starts with purpose and helping individuals identify their purpose and what brings meaning to their life. And quite often I find that people have difficulty defining what purpose is or what their passions are in the first place. Many will say, “I just don't feel like I'm passionate about anything.” So, if you believe that's the case, that everyone really does have a passion, how do you help someone determine what that is, what that passion is, and what type of unique skills and intelligence they have?
John Tamny: It's such a good question and my answer to you first will be that happiness is hard. Happiness is extraordinarily hard. And my point there is that it's I don't think people can be happy unless they're passionately doing some. I work endless hours but I'm happy. I would be miserable if I couldn't do this and that's my source of happiness or it's one of my sources but I had to lose a lot of jobs over time. I've been demoted. I was laid off by Goldman Sachs. I've had lots of bad experiences. I witnessed at Goldman Sachs people who were very passionate about equities and I couldn't beat them. I thought I was lazy back then. No, I was doing the wrong thing. And so, I think a lot of people can't find the passion because they’re probably in a job that probably pays pretty well that has afforded them a lifestyle that perhaps they never imagined but they're not necessarily doing the right thing.
And so, sometimes you have to take a step off. Sometimes you have to be lucky like me and be fired and demoted to find your passion but it's not easy to do. You have to go through some rough stretches to do it. And so, my view is that it's rare for people to immediately happen on their passion. I think there's going to be a trial and error process. There will be jobs lost. There will be failure that puts you on the path to finding the kind of work that, "Wow, I'm really excited. I can't wait to get to my computer in the morning because I get to do something that I really feel elevates me.”
Casey Weade: Well, this is really developing for me. I think you could say maybe necessity is the mother of passion. And we see that with retirees that we work with. It's difficult to identify where their passion, where that purpose is before they retire. But once they retire, they live in this period of bliss for a few months then they go, “Well, this isn't what I thought it was going to be,” and now that necessity results in experimentation which typically leads to passion or purpose.
John Tamny: Without question. There's just lots of different things that you do and it's that blood, sweat, and tears. And let me be clear about this. This is not grit. I think grit is the biggest lie ever foisted on the American worker and on workers in general. The US is not the richest country in the world because we pursue grit. We're the richest country in the world because we have the ability to avoid grit. LeBron James gets to do what is uniquely suited to his remarkable genius. Warren Buffett has freely acknowledged that if sports had been his only avenue, I bring this up in the book that he would have been an utter failure. He pursued his swim lane that worked for him. And so, Americans avoid grit. And in avoiding grit, they find a capacity to work that they never knew they had. And so, the pursuit of passion is the pursuit ultimately of endless work. But when you're doing something that reinforces you, it's not work. It's yes, you're expending enormous amounts of effort, but it's something, "Well, I can't wait to do this because this is what animates me.”
Casey Weade: It gets me thinking about entrepreneurship. I think entrepreneurs are the ones who typically find that love going to work. But it wasn't always that way. I know for me, when I started, I always knew that I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be on my own. I wanted to run my own business but I wasn't really sure what I was passionate about. But I had to do something in order to create revenue to support a family. And eventually, as that develops, you earn the ability through experience and through hard work where you find that purpose, where you find that passion. And now I found myself in a place today where I spend the majority of my time coaching, leading, visioning, and behind a camera, behind the mike. These are the things that I really enjoy to do and that also gives me the ability to spend more time with family, which I enjoy as well but that was developed over time.
I think the problem today and maybe the lie that we're telling our kids is that we'll don't do it if you don't like it. Just go find a job that you love. And now the reality is you got to start somewhere. You have to have a job. And as you develop over time, you identify what you fall in love with. You can't know that on day one. I don't know what your view is on that.
John Tamny: You are so right. I couldn't agree with you more. Yes. Sometimes we have to do jobs that we don't like that we're not good at which is exactly as you say. Identify what it is that we're good at or what we're interested in. Hey, look, we've got to pay the bills. And so, to some degree, people have to do. I did fundraising. I did all sorts of things so that I could be a writer but to your exact point, you got to get out there. I'm so glad that I worked at Goldman Sachs. I learned so much there and I was around such talented people. It ultimately wasn't for me, I don't think. But I am a much smarter, better person at what I do today because of that. And so, I'm 100% on board with you that you got to try things. And it's not just about if you pursue work and you do things, you'll ultimately define, "Oh, this is what it would pain me not to do.”
Casey Weade: You know, I've got a similar view and I think this is where you'll offer a good argument. I've got a similar view about education. Individuals say, "Well, I'm not ready to go to college yet because, well, I don't know what I want to major in. I don't know what I want to specialize in.” And so, then they end up doing odd end jobs when they could, they had the money, they had the means, they had the ability to go ahead and go to college and just do general studies before they figured it out, ultimately. And I still am a strong believer in college, also, technical as well but I believe education is a huge benefit, especially if we're in a very highly innovative and technological society. And in your book, Chapter 3 said, "Education isn’t meaningless, but it's grossly overrated.” So, I just wanted you to expand and kind of relate that to what I said there.
John Tamny: Well, let me first say that I'm with you. I tell anyone I say in the book, if you can go to college, do. It's the ultimate. The people you'll get to meet there, the contacts you'll make throughout life, the stories you'll get to tell, it makes you more interesting to have done that, not necessarily because of what you learned, but when someone says, "Oh, I went to Clemson,” suddenly you've got something to talk about. There's an immediate bond. “Oh, you went to Alabama. They won a national championship while you're there.” It's just an immediate thing and you make connections throughout life with it. My main point there is that I don't think you can learn anything about how to succeed necessarily. It's not as though they can teach you a trade in college. Almost, as a rule, they're teaching you yesterday's news.
When I was in college, I didn't have a computer. I didn't have email until I was nearly 30 and yet everything I do today is on the Internet. I didn't take any computer classes in college. But I just gradually adapted that this is what happens. Market forces force things to happen. And so, I did. None of that I learned in college, but I'm still glad I did it. And what we know is I point out in the book is that college doesn't make you rich. We have lots of colleges because we're rich. China has experienced enormous economic growth in modern times. Many of the authors of that growth never had a college education because not too long ago, most Chinese never had the chance to do that. South Korea is what I think the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world. Not too many decades ago, it was one of the most illiterate countries on earth. What led to prosperity there was not going to school. It was economic freedom.
Now, what do rich people do? They give enormous sums of money to colleges. You know, John D. Rockefeller didn't go to college. Thomas Edison I think had an eighth-grade education. But rich people like to give to schools. And I love, I think colleges are amazing. Just what I try to tell people is don't expect anything you learn there. Don't say, "Well, I'm going there to learn this. I want to learn business.” No, if you want to learn business, just go out and learn business. Go out and do it. There's nothing they're going to teach you in school that's going to get you farther along but I still think you should go to college.
Casey Weade: I hate it when I hear someone say they're majoring in entrepreneurship.
John Tamny: Yes. That's the ultimate. Yes. Thank you. Can we just say entrepreneurs by definition are doing something that just about everyone rejects? That's why they're entrepreneurs. Because they’re offering something almost entirely new. The idea that college could teach you how to think differently defies common sense. No. Entrepreneurs are so outside in their thinking the idea that you could teach what they do is no.
Casey Weade: Well, I want to make a transition here. One of the things I wanted to talk to you about more than anything else was the gold standard. And as we kind of run out of time here, I know you're in support of return to the gold standard and I want to debate that a little bit and probably play devil's advocate as well. Why would you support a return to the gold standard?
John Tamny: Well, it's going to surprise you. It doesn't have to be gold. What I support a return to is money that holds its value over time. I just want stable money values because money has no purpose other than as a medium of exchange. I've got bread, I want your wine, but you want Emily's meat and some money is just this agreement about value among producers that allows us to trade with one another. And when we're trading with one another, we can specialize and when we're specialized, we’re much more productive. So, to me, all money is, is just this enabler of economic activity. And so, it's most useful when it holds its value over time. Because think about it, if I say to you, “Okay. Casey, give me all of your bread and then in six weeks, I'll give you commensurate amounts of wine.” You might say, “Okay. But wait a second. The dollar's value keeps bouncing around. I don't know that I'm going to get equal wine in return.”
So, all money does is when it's stable, it facilitates the exchange of equal value for equal value. And when we're trading more, again, we're specialized. I just want something to hold its value. It doesn't have to be gold. If something’s better, then fine.
Casey Weade: And I wonder how you say it’s something that is a stable value, and if we look at gold and just in 10 days here in March, it lost about around 10% of its value in 10 days. How would someone have confidence that the money they're earning or the money they're exchanging isn't going to be substantially devalued in a short period of time?
John Tamny: It's a great question and I'm so glad you asked it. What you're seeing here is you’re not seeing gold decline or rise in value. When you see the price of the yellow metal go up and down, you're seeing changes in the value of the dollar in which it's priced and how you know this is just to go on any website. Notice how the forward price of gold is the same as the spot price. That's the market's way of saying that gold itself doesn't change. What changes is that is the dollar in which it's priced. And that's why it's not as though is just sunspots or mysticism that gold historically became the value of the definer of money. What it was is people tried seashells, they tried cigarettes, they tried all sorts of things to make money hold its value. Money was not a creation of politicians. It was a creation of entrepreneurs like you. You're thinking, "Okay, I'm doing what I like or what I’m best at and I want to get in return for it.” And so, producers came up with measures of value, mediums of exchange that enable trade.
And so, gold was happened upon because per John Stuart Mill, its price is least affected by other things. It holds its value the most over time. And so, that's why I say if there's something that's more stable historically than gold and this was market actors happening, okay, we've tried everything. Gold is the most stable. If there's something more stable, let's go for that. But let's not deny that money's only purpose is as a facilitator of exchange. You can take money to the Amazon River. What's it going to get you? Money's purpose is it allows us to change real wealth that we're producing. Money is a consequence of wealth. It's not a creator.
Casey Weade: You know, when we have this conversation, I wanted to ask you about the impact during times of crisis but I think you've made it pretty apparent that you believe that this would be – we’re going to be substantially better off if we don't have government intervention. And if we were to make the shift to the gold standard, that would be kind of the ultimate way to restrict the ability of the Fed and the government as a whole to continue to intervene in the economy.
John Tamny: Yeah. Stable money would just remove a big risk because governments have historically during difficult times, devalued the currency. Think about that. Your own retirement plan, you know this well. What are retirees doing when they save? They are saving now to get back more dollars in the future. And so, imagine if the dollar were in constant devaluation phase. You think you'd have a lot of clients? Do you think you'd have a lot of optimistic clients? No, because why would you save? Why would you hold money back if any returns you get are going to come back in dollars that exchange for less and less and less and less. And so, the beauty of money that holds its value is that enables those who want to save for retirement to transfer that wealth to entrepreneurs who will then innovate in ways that people never imagined before. But if the dollar is in constant decline, why not just spend it now?
Now, the result is stagnation because investment is the driver of economic progress. It's what enabled us to go from the backhoe to the tractor to fertilizer to basically the rest of the world creating food for us as we focus on Internet and all these amazing technological advances. That's all based on investment. But our investor is going to do that? Are they going to commit capital to new ideas if the view of the government is that we're going to continue to devalue the dollar? Well, of course not. Why would you do that? Because any returns you get are going to be near worthless. And so, a devalued currency is anti-progress and that's another beauty of a dollar that holds its value over time is suddenly you're removing a huge risk. Investment drives economic growth. Devaluation is a huge barrier to investment. It's a huge risk factor.
If you're saying, "We're out of this game. We're going to define the dollars, I don't know, 1/1000th of an ounce of gold,” what you're suddenly doing is you're unlocking enormous amounts of wealth from inflation hedges and having it directed toward new ideas. Even more important, humans drive all progress. Suddenly, the George Soroses, the Paul Tudor Joneses, the John Paulsons, all these brilliant financial minds they would get out of hedge funds. Nothing against hedge funds. I think hedge funds are a consequence of unstable money largely, and they'd be curing cancer and creating new ways for us to transport ourselves around the country. There would be more Elon Musks and fewer Paul Tudor Joneses and Paul Tudor Jones is a brilliant man. But ultimately, he is a consequence of money that doesn't hold its value so he trades the chaos. Imagine having these brilliant minds in productive work.
Casey Weade: Well, I’m going to ask you to get out that crystal ball again. So, if you were to do a little predicting of the future here, you know, you mentioned, well, I don't care if it's gold. It could be something else. Why not a cryptocurrency? Will it be a cryptocurrency? Will it be gold? Do you believe that there will actually be a change? And if so, when?
John Tamny: Yes, I do. I think it's coming. Going back to the seventh century in China, there was a debate between the Confucians and government about who should issue the currency. And it might interest the listeners and watchers that the Confucians were saying, "No, no, no, let private business issue the currency,” because if they devalue, they'll pay for it in the marketplace. Think about it. And so, you fast forward to the present. Americans want the dollars they earn to hold their value. In my case, though, I don't care where the dollars come from. I would happily earn a JP Morgan dollar or a Wal-Mart dollar or a Target dollar or an Amazon dollar. Why would I? Because I know they're not going to devalue because if they do, I will go to the entity that's not devaluing my wealth. Because remember, your income, the dollars you take in represents all that you can exchange it for.
So, when they devalue the currency, when Treasury devalues the dollar, they are devaluing your earnings. They’re making it up so that you get less in return for your work. And so, my strong sense is that sooner rather than later, the Amazons of the world will issue currencies and gradually, just like, "Well, do you take Discovery? Do you take American Express? Do you take Amazon dollars? More and more or we will see those circulated and more and more people will say if you're going to sell your business someday, okay, I will either buy your business in dollars or in Amazon dollars and you'll make a choice and many people say, "Oh, I'll take the Amazon dollars. They hold their value better.” And so, my sense is that gradually businesses will push out the U.S. Treasury as the issuer of medium of exchange that we use.
Casey Weade: Boy, John, I would love to sit here and talk. I think we'd probably go for another hour, but we talk about a wide-ranging discussion here.
John Tamny: We could go a lot longer than we have.
Casey Weade: We've hit a lot of different topics with a lot of depth and a lot of complexity. So, maybe we'll have to do this again.
John Tamny: Any time.
Casey Weade: I know we're wrapping up here. Do you have time for a couple of philosophical questions?
John Tamny: Sure, of course.
Casey Weade: Well, I know, Claire, your daughter has been popping in and on the background there. So, if we're good, then let me ask you this one. Now, what does retirement mean to you?
John Tamny: Retirement means to me nothing more than it does today. Retirement means to me getting to continue to do what I do. I can't imagine not writing. I could not, not write. And so, what it means to me is ideally just a little bit more financial security. Certainly, I am scared right now. And so, to me, it would be the financial security to continue to do what I can't get enough of.
Casey Weade: Well, you talked about retirement shifting and the idea of retirement shifting and I believe that's where the idea of retirement shifts. It's this more well, I'm job optional. And that's why I wrote the book entitled Job Optional because I think individuals today, they're not stepping away from work at 65 and just sitting around for the next 30 years. They're going to be stepping away from work at 50 or 55 just because they have financial independence and following their dreams, following their passions and giving them the opportunity to create more meaning and purpose in their lives. Now, with that, how do you define meaning and purpose?
John Tamny: Historically, I would have said it just comes from the work because I enjoy it, but I'm new to fatherhood. I've got a three-year-old and a three-week-old. And so, that brings meaning that I never knew could bring it. And so, I feel lucky that I have them. I feel lucky that I get to do something that I enjoy endlessly in order to help support my wife and my kids. And so, the meaning comes from work and all this. Well, I'll tell you, one of the things that's getting me, as you know, I'm very frustrated about what's happening right now. If I did not have Claire and Reid and my wife, Kendall, and if I did not have the ability to write, I would probably be a very difficult person to be around.
Casey Weade: Well, let me follow up with this question. If you had more maybe already have, you're finding yourself financially independent but if you had more financial freedom, more financial independence, how would you leverage that to create more meaning and purpose in your life?
John Tamny: Great question. I'd like to think that my work wouldn't change at all. For me, it would be more about figuring out things that my wife and kids want, the things that they want to do, travel, things like that. I would use it more for them. For me, I feel like I've got all I want in them and the ability to do something that I enjoy and so I'd like to think it would be about educating them in different ways, seeing the world, things like that.
Casey Weade: Our Vice President, Marshall Johnson, was asked the best piece of financial advice he ever received, and he said it was experience over the collection of money and things. And it sounds like you would just have greater experiences. That's awesome to hear. John, we're going to wrap it up here. Anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
John Tamny: That's it. I just want to compliment you. What a great show you do. And again, it's so obvious you love what you do. And I will say, your clients are so lucky to have you. So, I'm floored. You don't need me to say this but what a great job you do and it's obvious why you do a great job. You can't get enough of it.
Casey Weade: Well, thank you so much, John. And I'm sure we'll be reconnecting very soon. Thank you.
John Tamny: Let’s do it.