The Journeyman Meets Politics Done Right
My interview with progressive YouTuber Egberto Willies covered everything from OPEC to $15 Subway sandwiches
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Egberto Willies, host of Politics Done Right, his progressive YouTube channel. We discussed a lot—how corporate America focuses on shareholders instead of stakeholders, my former life as a program trader on Wall Street, and why in my view, President Biden can do very little to control the price of oil.
When Egberto asked me my thoughts on inflation, I explained that, while I feel the pain of rising prices like everyone else, I’m not as alarmed as most people, especially media pundits.
Why? As I explained in the interview, when I started my finance career in the early eighties, mortgage rates approached 20 percent:
…I started in finance in 1983, so I don’t quite have the visceral response to what’s going on now. When I started, I remember one of my aunts was buying CDs [certificates of deposit] at 13 and a half percent so…with interest rates really just being at zero, if mortgage rates go up, it seems to me to be kind of an adjustment to the mean to some extent.
But at the same time, let’s face it, four dollar a gallon gasoline affects me and you and people that aren’t even as fortunate as you and I a hell of a lot more than it’s going to affect Elon Musk, right? He’s probably not even going to notice. So that’s certainly something that I think about, notwithstanding the fact that there’s very little the president can do about it, because these are unregulated markets.
I have read…and it’s something I’ve thought about drilling into a little bit…you look at Saudi Arabia and OPEC [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] and they’re really keeping these prices uh high and there are some people that say it’s in anticipation of them [OPEC] losing market share as electric vehicles become more prevalent. So that’s that’s certainly something to think about.
Then I shared something that one of my brothers told me happened to him recently. This story underscores how inflation impacts us in our everyday lives:
…it’s not just them [OPEC] because if you look at a variety of different companies you see Chipotle and different ones raising their prices. They don’t have to raise prices, but they see the opportunity to do that and that’s, you know, back to what you say about capitalism and why I consider myself let’s say a reformed capitalist, in the sense that I can remember the day when I would be saying that’s a good thing, but now that I’ve stepped away from that bubble and you see how it affects, you know, real life…
My brother actually called me yesterday uh we were talking on the phone…he was on his way to get a Subway sandwich and he calls me by five minutes later he says, “Man, I just walked out of Subway!” What I’m thinking, you know, is a fight broke out or something like that. He said, “Man they tried to charge me $15.00 for some sort of beef sandwich!” I said, “Heck man, you could go buy a steak!”
Egberto’s YouTube channel has thousands of subscribers, so if you’re into progressive politics, you’d do well to check him out. You can check out my entire interview with Egberto Willies here: