An approximate transcript of the show broadcast on December 9, 2012
Brian Gongol: And since Bill Vitka is now doing the Fox News Radio updates during our show, we're going to talk like.
Brian Dean: I don't think we can do this.
Brian Gongol: I can't. I'm sorry. I can't do it. I try, but I can't get anywhere with it. Good evening to you. I'm Brian Gongol.
Brian Dean: Where you taking a picture of your shoe? What were you doing out there?
Brian Gongol: Let me get through the weather and update folks about the icy conditions in North Central Iowa up there on Interstate 380 and Highway 18.
Brian Dean: What are you doing?
Brian Gongol: By the way, it's the Avenue of the Saints.
Brian Dean: I don't like using that term.
Brian Gongol: That's a great term. The Avenue of the Saints.
Brian Dean: I know it is.
Brian Gongol: Saint Paul to Saint Louis.
Brian Dean: Well I guess, but it's not the whole thing because it's only the area that's the Waterloo area.
Brian Gongol: Okay. See I was referring to it earlier in the evening as the section of-
Brian Dean: The Avenue of the Saints.
Brian Gongol: The Avenue of the Saints between Waterloo and Mason City.
Brian Dean: Literally that is correct.
Brian Gongol: Okay. I wanted to make sure it wasn't crazy.
Brian Dean: Now the Avenue of the Saints within the state of Iowa is actually State Highway 27.
Brian Gongol: What?
Brian Dean: Yep. That's the-
Brian Gongol: I thought it was 101 South of Iowa City.
Brian Dean: Well right, but it's one of those things where you know like 35-80.
Brian Gongol: So it has like one dozen designations the whole way?
Brian Dean: Yeah. So State Highway 27 is actually the designation. The official numerical designation for the Avenue of the Saints because it isn't the same road.
Brian Gongol: No. It jumps over.
Brian Dean: All the way.
Brian Gongol: It does which is nice.
Brian Dean: So anything that is the Avenue of the Saints is Highway 27.
Brian Gongol: Okay. I didn't think I'd completely lost my mind there, but I mean so to me it's the section there that one of these days they're going to have to give up and turn it into a full fledged Interstate, but the problem is getting through Waterloo.
Brian Dean: Yeah. I guess so.
Brian Gongol: Because you have to there are stoplights on it even in the stretch where the signs still say 380. So it clearly is no longer an Interstate.
Brian Dean: Well I guess it wouldn't be if there were signs. It's kind of like how Interstate 35 just sort of ends in Duluth.
Brian Gongol: Right. You go, "Whoa."
Brian Dean: Driving along and then you're just on a city street going 30.
Brian Gongol: Well I think if it's in Duluth. I think there's a section in the Twin Cities where you just one of the interstates just kind of stops.
Brian Dean: Well, I think.
Brian Gongol: In downtown Minneapolis, right?
Brian Dean: I think that's true, but yeah.
Brian Gongol: Which one is that? Is that-
Brian Dean: I don't know which one that is.
Brian Gongol: I'm zooming in here. I'm looking at a map right now. Yeah. 35W just terminates.
Brian Dean: From the West, yeah.
Brian Gongol: It's not. Well I guess it's just you take an exit off of it, but it just stops and you kind of go, "Whoa. Hey. I'm off the interstate now. Alright." Same thing with 380 as it gets into Waterloo. So again that's the section of the roadway that you need to careful on tonight.
Brian Dean: Tonight.
Brian Gongol: Especially careful. I mean be careful everywhere. It's possible that this light precipitation we've been getting sort of all day will have re-frozen in a lot of areas and so you want to be careful about that particularly with the winds blowing like they are today. It's just it's a rough day to be outdoors. So you want to take that easy and I don't know why I thought that was Highway 101.
Brian Dean: It's not.
Brian Gongol: It's 218 slash 27.
Brian Dean: 218, yeah.
Brian Gongol: South of Iowa city, getting myself corrected here.
Brian Dean: It's 27 all the way until Duluth.
Brian Gongol: Interesting.
Brian Dean: Even though US Highway 18 in the Mason City area. So it meets up with Interstate 35.
Brian Gongol: And as one who went to UNI, I should be familiar with Highway 27. So it comes up the kind of the Eastern edge of campus more or less. Used to live in a complex that just overlooked Highway. Well there it was 58 slash 27. So that's one other idea or one other combination of roadway Highway numbers anyway. So Brian Dean's question was; was I taking a picture of my shoes?
Brian Dean: It sure is what it looked like to me. Why is? What is he doing?
Brian Gongol: I was not-
Brian Dean: You had an odd angle. You were like down low.
Brian Gongol: I was going for an artsy shot. So I have tweeted this picture of the WHO studios.
Brian Dean: From an artsy angle?
Brian Gongol: From an artsy angle, yes. I was. What I was trying to get, we have this gigantic WHO logo with the owl and everything on the wall over here.
Brian Dean: Yeah. That's classy, with the spot light and all that. Is it very nice.
Brian Gongol: It is. Except it's dark and it's against a dark wall. Meanwhile I have this very bright, white microphone flag right in front of me. I was trying to get a picture of the microphone with the flag, but also with the WHO big logo owl in the background and it was flashing funny. So I was trying to angle the camera just right so it wouldn't reflect off the mic flag and that's what I was trying to do.
Brian Dean: It makes some sense now.
Brian Gongol: Just a little. A tiny modicum of sense, but not very much.
Brian Dean: 43 mile an hour gusts out there right now.
Brian Gongol: Really?
Brian Dean: Yeah. 43.
Brian Gongol: I guess I wasn't listening to you carefully.
Brian Dean: No, you weren't because you were taking a picture of your shoe.
Brian Gongol: So if you want to see the picture that I've taken such great pains to prepare for you artfully and in a qualitative way, go over to twitter.com/briangongol. That's our photo from the studios tonight. You do get a big view of the back of a computer monitor, but anyway I was trying for something there. So I thought it'd be a little different.
Brian Dean: So apparently we're going to have air temperatures down what? Around 10? Something like that? 12 degrees.
Brian Gongol: Single digits.
Brian Dean: And the wind chill right now is at eight.
Brian Gongol: Nice day for football indoors.
Brian Dean: Yeah. There was a big snow in Minneapolis today apparently. The Vikings and the Bears played and right now there's snow in Green Bay where the Lions and the Packers are playing. You would think that if you had a game between the Lions and the Packers or the Vikings-
Brian Gongol: Snow and the Bears.
Brian Dean: The Vikings and the Bears. I mean those games should be snow games in December. They should be.
Brian Gongol: They should be. They should be brutal, outdoor, wintery games and that's just how it. It's just the American way.
Brian Dean: And it is how it is for the Lions and the Packers right now, but for the Vikings it was 70 degrees inside. Something like five or eight inches of snow in Minneapolis today.
Brian Gongol: Yeah and just as again as I had gone to UNI and I'm still a season ticket holder up there, it's kind of nice to go to a football game in a dome. It really is. It's pleasant. I don't know though that it's necessary to pay what they're trying to pay up in Minneapolis for this thing. They're building a new stadium up there to replace the Metrodome.
Brian Dean: Although it's uggo for that. The new Vikings stadium.
Brian Gongol: To a great, great and enormous tax payer expense. To the tune of like half a billion dollars in tax payer expense.
Brian Dean: Because they're building a 975 million dollar football stadium in Minneapolis.
Brian Gongol: We should just round that up and call it a billion.
Brian Dean: A billion dollar stadium, you expect that in New York City or Los Angeles. I mean Minneapolis is like a regular town.
Brian Gongol: Kind of. I mean it's still a top 15 market.
Brian Dean: It is. Well that's true.
Brian Gongol: But you're right. It's not an East Coast snob city and a billion dollar stadium there that they're trying to build. Half of that money is going to come from the public. Public tax paying, folks. State's on the hook for 348 million, if I'm looking at the numbers from the Star-Tribune and WCCO up there. It looks like the state is on the hook for 348 million dollars. So let's call it 350. The city of Minneapolis appears to be on the hook for another 150 million. So between the two of them, half a billion dollars. Interesting at a time when the state of Minnesota has a projected one point one billion dollar...that is to say, 1,100 million...dollar deficit. So the state is on the hook to spend basically a third of its deficit on this building. I mean it's a stadium that they will get to use not even ten times a year basically to place some football games.
Brian Dean: They'll probably has a monster truck show.
Brian Gongol: Maybe monster truck rallies and, I don't know, practices or something like that but it's absurd to me. It really is. That amount of money for the public to be on the hook to pay for these things just baffles me. We have been buffaloed into this bizarre universe in which every want has become a need and has become a need that the tax payers have to subsidize and yet we ignore tremendous things that we could be investing in, but we choose not to. For instance, I have no idea, none, why we don't take a more serious approach to public health in this country. I have no idea why we don't have, for instance, government offering large incentive prizes. These inducement prizes we've talked about before on WHO. To say let's solve our energy problems by offering a big prize. A billion dollar prize, for instance, to make electric motors ten percent more efficient or to turn around and find an additive you can throw in your gasoline to get 20% more fuel efficiency out of it. Whatever it is. I mean big ideas, big prizes, big offerings. Make us think bigger, but don't pay for them until we get the results that, by the way, will be useful to everybody because I understand the mystique of building stadiums and things like that. I understand the mystique of big construction projects, but you don't always have to have government funding to make those things happens. Perfect example is in downtown Des Moines with the Civic Center, which unless I'm totally wrong on my Des Moines history, was built strictly on private funds when it was originally constructed. It's my understanding that that was built totally with private funds and I say good. That's the thing that bugs me about this is we have been infected as a country with the notion that we have to pay for a lot of I don't want to call them frivolities, but they're not needs. They aren't needs and we keep getting the idea that we have to be on the hook to pay for these things because well your share of it isn't very much. I mean for you it's just a couple of dollars a year. Well if it's really just a couple of dollars a year to me and to everybody else, why don't you give us the opportunity to invest in it voluntarily? I mean if it's really going to be such a banner idea, for instance, to bring a stadium to town so that a NFL franchise doesn't leave, which is essentially what Minneapolis was fighting here, why don't you give the opportunity to the people who just in Green Bay how they own the team there let people invest in the stadium? Let people have an opportunity, if it's such a ground breaking, money making, idea. Why does government need to be behind it? Why don't we open it up to private investors to let them do that? Why don't we make it a community effort and say this is open to everybody who lives in this town and every share is ten dollars? Make it ten bucks so that kids can buy it with their paper route money and their lemonade stand money, but we've lost the imagination I'm afraid in so many cases that we just turn everything over to the government. Whether it's the state or the federal or even in some cases the city government, but in many cases it goes higher and higher on the food chain so we are less and less responsible for what happens and yet we still end up having to foot the bill for it someday. You get this is how a nations gets into a 13 trillion dollar or 15 trillion dollar national debt. That's the problem is we just keep on pretending like the bill never really comes due and every want is a need and if we don't get our heads wrapped around this, this massive debt that we have now is just going to keep growing. It's growing a trillion dollars a year under the current regime and it looks like they want to keep on making that happen because we don't really want to face the problems that we have. We don't really want to face the quote unquote fiscal cliff. We don't want to look at that. We don't want to pretend like it's there. We want to pretend like it doesn't exist and so we go on ahead and I'm sorry I got my number wrong. I said 15 trillion. We're actually at 16.3 trillion dollars in federal debt outstanding in this country. 16.3 trillion dollars. That is such an epic number that every want can't be a need anymore. Every wants has to be clearly designated as a want and every need has to be justifiably a need and we can't fake this any more because that's $52,000 for every one of us. $52,000 in debt for every single one of us, but let's go build a stadium and let's do that on taxpayer funding because we couldn't think of anything better to do with our money. That's ridiculous and again I mean I don't live in Minnesota. I don't pay Minnesota taxes. This doesn't affect me directly other than as an aggrieved Bears fan who knows that his team lost today and is disappointed in it, but I mean I can't believe we let this thinking into our minds in the Midwest where we're supposed to be sensible and practical and common sense kinds of people and yet knowing that the nation is $52,000 in debt, knowing that the state of Minnesota which has what? Ten million people in it is going to be facing a billion dollar deficit in the coming year. They're still going to put the state on the hook for 350 million dollars to build a football stadium. That is mind boggling, but it's not so remote that we can't imagine people doing it here. I mean we've built stadiums here in the state of Iowa with public funding and we keep doing it and we keep going on as though nothing is wrong and that is disconcerting. So I'm to a depressing start here on WHO. Just shut it down. Shut the lights off. Go home. I'm done. I'm going to go take artsy pictures and post them on Twitter from now on and just call that the rest of it or not. So a CNN anchor, by the way, thinks that the tenor of Twitter has become un-American.
Brian Dean: Tenor of Twitter?
Brian Gongol: The Tenor of Twitter. I mean if it weren't such a rhythmic sounding phrase, I would criticize it but yes. The Tenor of Twitter has become un-American is at least one quotation here. We'll talk about that here in just a second on WHO. We will also discuss the tricorder, because Brian Dean wanted to get a little nerdy tonight. If you ever watched Star Trek, we've got something for you. Even if you didn't watch Star Trek, I think this is pretty cool. So we'll discuss it with or without the Star Trek knowledge, it's coming your way in just a moment. So stick around because it related to the prize money thing that we were just talking about a second ago that I think is a much better solution for our problems.
Brian Dean: Spock was good with this tricorder. Now that guy could tricord anything.
Brian Gongol: But I didn't think he was a medical doctor.
Brian Dean: He wasn't, but he could use the tricorder for anything.
Brian Gongol: To make anything happen he wanted.
Brian Dean: He would use it. He would not necessarily use it for medicine, but he would analyze a rock.
Brian Gongol: With the tricorder thinking.
Brian Dean: Jim, it's a creature.
Brian Gongol: It's not one of those fuzzy, cute little tribbles either. Back in just a second on Newsradio 1040 WHO.
So it's not really the Star Trek tricorder thing. I think Brian Dean can speak as a better Trekkie than I. You seem to be kind of the Star Trek enthusiast.
Brian Dean: Probably. Yeah.
Brian Gongol: So the tricorder thing was what? It's how they analyze the dead guys for being dead?
Brian Dean: They analyzed everything with the tricorder.
Brian Gongol: Okay.
Brian Dean: They just pointed it at something and then readings came out and you could do all kinds of medical things. You could do mineral analysis.
Brian Gongol: Kind of. Thank you for that.
Brian Dean: Wasn't this the thing though that they'd wave it over the guy and see where he was injured?
Brian Gongol: Yeah. I don't know what that was. That was the little round thing. It would make that sound.
Brian Dean: That's our high tech sound effects section here at WHO radio. I'm Brian Gongol. He's Brian Dean, by the way. So there's.
Brian Gongol: Couple of nerds on the radio talking about some Star Trek stuff.
Brian Dean: Well you started it. I saw the tricorder thing in the pre-show and I thought whoa.
Brian Gongol: There is in fact a tool out now that is designed essentially to get the ball rolling towards this. It costs about 150 bucks and it's very simple. It's called the Scout.
Brian Dean: 150 dollars? Well that's nothing. I thought it was going to be like 150 million dollars to do something like that.
Brian Gongol: No, 150 bucks and you're going to love this part. It's coming at the end of next year is the expectation here. You're supposed to put it to your temple and you hold it there for ten seconds. So after ten seconds, it's supposed to tell you this. This is all from Gizmodo.com. A technology kind of a fun, gadget-oriented site. It says it will read your pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity, temperature, heart rate variability, and blood oxygenation then sends it to your phone. Now you listen to this and go-
Brian Dean: So there's an app for it.
Brian Gongol: There's an app for that now. It sounds kind of cool, does it not? I mean it's kind of a neat little tool here that measures all these things and it's not really what the full Star Trek tricorder thing was all about. I mean that you could wave over a guy and you could tell his medical history and everything that needed to be done to him.
Brian Dean: Exactly. Looks like you broke your arm back when you were 20.
Brian Gongol: What was going to kill him and all of those things. Now this isn't quite that far, but it's a step. It is a step towards that kind of future because there is in fact, believe it or not, a prize out there for this. Qualcom, maker of cell phones, has a ten million dollar prize that they call the Qualcom Ten Million Dollar Tricorder Prize. It's an X prize. It's again from that foundation, that organization, that organized the first private sector flights into space and outer space. This is the same idea here except for them they want to create an incentive. The sufficient incentive for, and here's the exact requirements, a hand held device equipped with sensors that would allow doctors to non-invasively scan their patients, provide instant results on blood characteristics, vital signs, and other tests. All of these things that take a lot of time today. They want you to be able to get more or less instantly and placing a thing to your temple for ten seconds to get some of the basics here. Your body temperature. Your heart rate. Things like that. That's the first step. You start to get some of these things put together and then you get moving down the road. So this Tricorder X-Prize, I think it's kind of a cool idea and I hope that it works and I hope somebody can make it happen. The idea behind the prize approach is that they say, "Here's the money. Here's what you get if you make this result happen. We aren't paying until it occurs." The beauty of these prizes is that well there are multiple reasons for which these are beautiful. First of all, they coalesce interest around a certain project. If everybody just sat around saying, "There's tricorders on Star Trek. This is pretty cool." Nothing would ever happen. This actually says we want to make it happen and it focuses attention on a need and is it an earth shattering need? No, not necessarily. I mean there are other things that we need as well, but if you can create ten million dollars worth of extra interest in it, well then that raises it's profile. That moves it up the chain. It also gives a reward in the way that rewards those who have the best chance of making it happen. The way things are done today in let's say in government quite a lot are they'll put a huge grant out there and they'll say, "Well we hope this happens." And then the grant money sometimes has the right results. Sometimes does not. Sometimes it goes to contractors. Sometimes it goes to research agencies and then it can go in lots of different directions and with no certain return. No certain result on this. Instead of that, when you create a prize offering you essentially say, "If you really think you have a shot at this and you have a way to it done for less than ten million dollars, we'll cover the cost." The prize opportunity and the prize approach opens the field to anybody who wants in and it says, "Once you get the result, here's what you get at the end. We guarantee a certain result." I like that approach because it's very, very efficient on the side of the person who wants something. So in this case Qualcom wants the tricorder. So they have a very efficient offering here. They won't pay anything. It won't cost them a dime until somebody actually makes it happen. I think that's really cool. That's very effective and very efficient. Why the government doesn't use this much more than it does today baffles me, because that would be a very efficient way of getting things done. We want a lot of things from our government and like we were just talking about in the last segment, sometimes we want too much but there are certainly a lot of cases in which there are things that probably would have a reasonable amount of public good but yet we spend tons and tons of money on them with no certain return. Why don't we just turn it around and say we're only going to pay when we get the result? The government then buys the results from you. Lots of people would have a reason to get into this and to chase after it. I mean we just saw the Powerball Jackpot go to how much the other day? I mean I even got wrangled into.
Brian Dean: Half a billion dollars.
Brian Gongol: Yeah. I even got talked into throwing a couple bucks into a pool. We didn't win, but for the possibility of this large return lots of us were willing to put in a couple of bucks to get the chance at it. Well similarly here, if you know there's a big return on investment to coming up with a new technology like this then there is a reason to throw some of your money after it and some of your time and some of your energy. It's a very efficient approach to getting what you want. So I would love to see us using more of these prizes. I think it would be a great approach. I think government would benefit from it. We as taxpayers would benefit from it and frankly the really cool part of it is you can have several of these running at the same time and it doesn't blow your budget because maybe one of them takes three years to solve, maybe one of them takes five years to solve, maybe one of them takes ten years to solve, but instead of trying to bandy about and allocate the money year-by-year to the programs working on these projects. Instead you just say, "Hey when we get there, we get there and we'll cut the check." And that's a very efficient way to get what you want. Again I wish we would use more of these prizes more often on the government side of things because there are a lot of public goods that we want and yet we could pay for them effectively and efficiently and yet we don't. Instead cities and states through half a billon dollars into building a new arena and are building a new stadium with no certainty that they will ever get the money back from tax revenues from hotel and motel restaurant fees or anything like that. No. They just put a half a billion dollars out there and just hope that something works. I'd much rather have the certain return and I think we'd be a lot smarter as tax payers to demand something more like that. We'll be back in just a moment. Stick around. If you've got a comment, go ahead and text it to us at 989-1040. That's the American Toppers and Accessories text line. Again 989-1040 or you can give us a call at 284-1040 or 1-800-469-4295. I'm Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean as we talk about making money and having fun on Newsradio 1040 WHO.
Brian Gongol: Here's your Newsradio 1040 WHO three day weather forecast from TV 13. For tonight: mostly clear and windy a low of 12. A wind advisory in effect for North Central and North Western Iowa through midnight tonight and a winter weather advisory for North Central and North Eastern Iowa through midnight as well. Now they've kind of narrowed some of the areas. So like Clear Lake is now out of the wind advisory. It was in it before, but everybody to the East of Storm Lake, who was under it before, remains there and the winter weather advisory they've kind of cleared out the Southern tier of counties. So Waterloo and Charles City are out, but people North of there on like Decora you are still under that winter weather advisory. So anyway, that's the winter weather advisory for tonight up in Northern Iowa. For tomorrow: Sunny a high of 27 and Tuesday, day three, partly cloudy. The high 38, but again for tonight: Mostly clear skies and windy. An overnight low of just 12 degrees in Des Moines. Cloudy and 23 right now. Winds from the Northwest at 22 and, as Brian Dean mentioned, gusting 43 miles an hour. I should have taken the flags down from the flag pole.
Brian Dean: 43 miles an hour.
Brian Gongol: Yeah. Windchill index: 8. Really did not want to go back to those days, but we have returned.
Brian Dean: I suppose that when it's hitting that 43 mile an hour gust, the windchill is probably quite a bit lower than just 8.
Brian Gongol: Painfully so. Don't spend a lot of time outside tonight if you don't have to. There's really not a lot of reason to do so. Again the road conditions are a little sketchy up in the Northern tier of the state. It's nothing around here in Des Moines, though there's certainly the possibility that there could be isolated.
Brian Dean: Like a slick spot.
Brian Gongol: Slick spots exactly.
Brian Dean: Which can be sometimes worse because you're not expecting it. You've got dry pavement. Things seem fine and then you just hit a little puddle that's now ice and whoa.
Brian Gongol: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.
Brian Dean: That's right.
Brian Gongol: No one expects icy roads.
Brian Dean: So I think, as always, bridges, right? Overpasses would be something to be aware of. Be careful on that particular area and high profile vehicles. It would be a tough one to be a semi driver tonight.
Brian Gongol: And again, the Avenue of the Saints as I like to call it because that's really what it is called.
Brian Dean: Yeah, it is.
Brian Gongol: Between Waterloo and Mason City is reported right now as being partially covered with ice. So do be careful out there. It's lesser traveled, but it's a nice road. I mean it's a great road.
Brian Dean: It's a very nice road.
Brian Gongol: Fantastic. I have to make that trip sometimes. It's a very quick road, but it's icy also and it probably doesn't help that that's also a windy stretch. There's a huge stretch of wind towers up there as well. So the wind is not helping conditions. As Brian Dean mentioned, if you are in a high profile vehicle you certainly want to be careful out there. So anyway, that's where things are at the moment.
Brian Dean: Especially with the gusty conditions, because one can compensate for 20 mile per hour wind, but-
Brian Gongol: A 43 mile per hour gust. It's a somewhat slightly different situation.
Brian Dean: Especially if you got that gust right when you got a slick spot.
Brian Gongol: And it is cold really everywhere. The surface temperatures you were mentioning on roads and overpasses, just taking a look over at they've got a measurement that takes place over on I-35 and Highway 5 over on the Southwest side of the metro area and just kind of the Southern edge of West Des Moines and the road there is actually at 29 degrees on the driving lanes and then on the ramp it's actually 23. So it is possible that there are a lot of places where if you had precipitation earlier that it could be icy now. So just be careful, especially again on roads and bridges. So any of those kinds of places. We just want you to be safe so you can keep on listening to WHO and be back at 4:59 tomorrow morning with Van and Bonnie. That's what we are here for is to ensure your safety from Point A to Point B. Now I've got a question for you here that I think is- I don't know. It's a numbers and a money question and I can't quite figure this one out. So if you're investing in a company, for instance, typically what you'll look at is like what we call the- One of the things a lot of people look at is the price to earnings ratio. You're finding out how much are you paying for a share of stock and how much money will that company make per share of stock and these numbers can vary. The historical average, I believe, is somewhere around 17 on that ratio. So people will pay 17 dollars to buy the share of stock and they expect to get one dollar of earnings out of that in one year. So in other words, you buy it now and it will pay for itself over the course of 17 years and that has varied over time and individual companies can vary. I mean if you're buying some of these high-flying internet stocks, you might pay 400 times on the P-E or you might even pay a huge number for a company that's not even making money yet. People have done that. You could on the other hand get really cheap ones and maybe you can find a company that's got a seven. You pay seven dollars for one dollar of earnings. I mean it's all over the place. They just came out with the new figures here on household net worth in America. The Federal Reserve tracks this and they say that the net worth of this country, the amount of money that we have once we pay off all our bills in this country, on a household basis is up to 64.8 trillion dollars. That's no small cookies. I mean that's quite the significant amount of money. You divide it up amongst all of us and that's, I mean, a good healthy chunk of change. In fact, what the number here? I was just trying to run it through the calculator. 205 thousand dollars per person. 206 thousand dollars per person. That's a lot. I mean that's a great deal of money. On the other hand though, we have an economy that's again bought ourselves a lot of debt. There's a lot of household debt, a lot of government debt, a lot of corporate debt. All of these things tally up against it. So this is the thing that I'm trying to figure out. If household net worth, if we has a country, own about 65 trillion dollars worth of stuff and every year we earn about 13 and a half trillion dollars. I mean that's what the GDP figure. The total size of the American economy. That suggests that we as a nation have essentially a price to earnings ratio of a little less than five and I'm trying to figure out what this tells us. I'm not sure. I'm not even sure that it's an entirely valid measurement, but just out of curiosity. I mean I'm wondering if we have 65 trillion dollars worth and every year we earn 13 and a half trillion dollars worth, does this say that we are not pricing our work correctly or does it say that we're not pricing our net worth correctly? Are we really worth a lot more than that? I mean because this says that realistically that you could buy off everything that we have as a country in five years worth of what we do. I mean so it's a very perplexing number to me, because it could also say that maybe we're just doing a terrible job of managing our household balance sheets. Maybe we're just borrowing so much that in reality we should have a lot more, but that net worth. I mean the net worth, the point to that is it's what you have minus what you owe and maybe we just owe so much that we have a lot of stuff, but we owe so much.
Brian Dean: I think there's a lot to be said with that.
Brian Gongol: That scares me a little bit.
Brian Dean: But it's like the person with the big income that ultimately by the end of the month has three dollars in the account.
Brian Gongol: They want one of those burgers.
Brian Dean: Whether they're making 50 thousand dollars a month or a thousand dollars a month, it's pretty much the same as far you're going to accumulate wealth at the same pace which means you're not.
Brian Gongol: You're burning through everything that you have and leaving nothing behind. Maybe it's because they're advertising those really tasty looking bar-be-que burgers on TV and you just can't hold yourself back, but you're right. I mean there are people who have huge incomes who can't afford a burger at the end of the month because they burn through every penny of it and it's on disposable stuff. Maybe that's what this tells us is that we aren't really buying anything that's durable. We're only buying a couple of year's worth of stuff and then we throw it all away. I mean this is really odd to me though. I mean really and truly this suggests that you could buy off everything that we have as a country within five years of work as a country. That seems really strange to me. I mean and I, again, don't know if I think that number is or why that number is the way it is. I really get the feeling like it says something bad. It seems like a bad symptom that we're- I don't know- not worth as much as we should be for as hard as we're working and maybe that concerns me a little bit or upsets me. I mean even if you look to Biblical allegory, having seven years worth of grain stored up. Well this says we don't even have five years worth of stuff stored up. That I find a little disconcerting. I don't know. I don't know that it means that we're in a crisis mode, but it certainly throws me off a little bit. I'm just not sure. Maybe it's a little un-American. Much like a CNN anchor, apparently thinks of Twitter. I mentioned this before just a couple of minutes ago here on WHO. To intro the idea, we hadn't actually gotten to mentioning it specifically but there was an article posted on the Daily Beast which is such an absurdly titled organization. It baffles me. Essentially a web magazine more than anything else, but now they own Newsweek.
Brian Dean: They do.
Brian Gongol: So I guess we've got to take them seriously even though their name is stupid. I mean I'm sorry, but the Daily Beast? That's a stupid name. Sorry, just tell you. It's my opinion. I think it's stupid, but they had a column here the other day talking about how. Actually I shouldn't even say the other day, it was today. It was a commentator on social media and other things and she said, "I think that we're getting to the point where the language that people are using on Twitter and the conversations people are having there have turned toxic." And I think that's an interesting thought. I don't know if it's true or not and she goes on though to quote a CNN anchor, Ashley Banfield, says and I quote here, "The tenor of Twitter has become so un-American," she says, "What we're left with is a steady stream of concussive attempts to weaken resolve, opinion, or thought." Now first of all, kudos for using the word concussive. That's a pretty creative way to describe this but it's basically saying everybody's just trying to beat each other up in front of everyone else on Twitter.
Brian Dean: Really?
Brian Gongol: And to a degree, I shouldn't. We shouldn't say everyone because there are certainly a lot of people who are literally using services like Twitter and we shouldn't limit it just to Twitter here. It's also Facebook and it's also Google Plus and it's also any of these other services but Twitter is maybe the easiest one to look at because it's so public. It's not like you're just sharing with your friends like you do Facebook. Most people are sharing on Twitter with everybody else and anybody in the world can look and read what's there and it's done in 140 characters at a time. So it tends to be very terse and it can sometimes be curt. It's terse bordering on curt anyway.
Brian Dean: But everybody gets a chance to be, in a sense, heard.
Brian Gongol: That's true. It's very democratic. It's extremely democratic. I mean it's totally open to everybody and one of the appeals to it is that you can send a message directly to an anchor on CNN. You can send a message directly to the President of the United States or the Governor. Every politician has a Twitter handle. I mean every politician. That's actually one of the areas where it's really found a niche is that it is just really heavily populated with people who talk politics and who are in politics and it's really great if you do want to converse directly with them.
Brian Dean: The Pope is now on Twitter.
Brian Gongol: The Pope is now on and perhaps more relevantly to the state of Iowa, Charles Grassley is still on Twitter.
Brian Dean: Charles Grassley, he was on Twitter like three days after we did.
Brian Gongol: Sort of the other day. Pretty much and we were early adopters.
Brian Dean: We were very early.
Brian Gongol: And by the way, somebody the other day had apparently aggregated all of Chuck Grassley's anti-deer tweets. Apparently and I haven't noticed this, but apparently Senator Grassley just hates deer and talks about it on Twitter all the time. So that's one of the beauties here is that it is so democratic. It's an ultra-democratic tool for conversation especially because there are so many people in politics who are there because politicians want to look like they are engaged and want to be involved in the flow of conversation. So I mean there's there, but I worry if it really is true and I don't know. It maybe gives me pause for thought whether there are some people who are a little too abrasive on Twitter and, by extension, who are simply too abrasive in general about their conversations and that they maybe are a bit un-American in spirit. Not saying they're legally un-American about it. Not saying that they're violating any legal rules or anything like that, but I feel like there is sort of a I guess maybe in older days would have called it a gentleman's agreement. Now we can just call it a gentleperson's agreement, but maybe that you can disagree with other people without being disagreeable. That we can understand that you certainly have a right to say whatever you want, but you also have a human obligation to be better than that and to better than to just say every angry thing that comes to your head. I wish that Paul Krugman, for instance, would learn this lesson. He got into trouble this morning on ABC. He was on the Sunday morning talk shows this morning and-
Brian Dean: Paul Krugman is an economist and he's won the Nobel Prize for economics?
Brian Gongol: He did.
Brian Dean: And he writes a column for the New York Times and he's-
Brian Gongol: Which I routinely read and find myself nauseous thereafter, reaching for the Pepto. It's bad.
Brian Dean: And he is a very liberal political thinker, economic thinker. Is that?
Brian Gongol: Yeah. I want to take away the word liberal from him because I still retain this belief that someday, someday, we will recover the use of liberal meaning having an open mind about things. Like classical liberal in the sense that you read in your high school text books. He's left though. He's very, very left. He likes government intervention a lot. He opposes a lot of private- I won't say thoughts, but private ideas. Private sector iniatives and things like that. He's very pro-government intervention. I would almost say borders on State-ist a bit. He wants a lot of intervention all of the time and it doesn't matter what the consequences are.
Brian Dean: So we probably need to talk about him when we get back from the break then?
Brian Gongol: I guess we should, because we are overdue for one of those and we are cruising towards the final segment here. So we'll get back to that in just a moment. Paul Krugman: Is he un-American? How about that? A way to bait you into the next segment. Right back after this on WHO.
Brian Gongol: Better yet, you can text us on the American Toppers and Accessories text line at 989-1040. We've got a couple of messages here. Robert from Marshalltown was saying, "You could bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota with a new stadium and that would bring in money." I mean I suppose he's right in one sense.
Brian Dean: That's true. One Superbowl has been played up there and I think they had a Final Four at the Metrodome or whatever they call it now.
Brian Gongol: But I hope he's being and I hope he's just ribbing me a little there, because that's not justification for spending half a billion dollars in government money and by that I mean tax payer money in order to build a football stadium. I mean half a billion dollars. There are so many things that could be done with that money if you're committed to spending that volume of money.
Brian Dean: A billion dollar building. I mean that's a building.
Brian Gongol: It's amazing. I mean that's the thing. It's so big. A billion dollars can do so much. You could build a high school for 20 million dollars. It's a billion? A billion? It just baffles me. It really is such a huge number. You could build 50 high schools for this and if you're committed to the idea of spending a ton of money, at least know that you're spending it on the best possible thing that you could. It's like I think of it as an investment. I think we very rarely look at government spending with the same critical eye that we should take to our own personal investments and we should be looking at everything that's out there and saying, "Is spending an extra dollar on X better than spending an extra dollar on Y?" If we are committed to the notion of spending, have we committed to spending it in the best way possible? And I just don't think that we take that critical eye like we should and I think that's going to come back to bite us. I think it's a terrible idea. Now meantime, Shawn responding to the idea here about using inducement or innovation prizes to try to encourage people to find ideas and the government doesn't pay for them until we actually get the ideas and it doesn't always have to be government funded. These x prizes are all privately funded, but I say the government could certainly use them too. Historically governments have, that's why we have latitude. It's why we have canned goods. I mean the canning of food happened because Napoleon needed portable food for his armies. So he offered a prize if somebody could figure out how to make it happen. That's how canning occurred. These things that have been with us for so long that we've forgotten how they came about. Prizes have been offered for generations and we should continue to do that. Shawn though points out and sadly I feel like he might actually have a point here. He says, "Bureaucrats love to have oversight too much to offer an x prize-style award." He might be right and it scares me that he might be right because then the point of whatever government does is not to get the job done. In this case if he is right, the job is to perpetuate the job.
Brian Dean: The job. Sure.
Brian Gongol: Which is not healthy either. Again I like to see openness to new ideas and I think that would be healthy for us, which is wall Paul Krugman rubs me the wrong way sometimes and he was on This Week, this week.
Brian Dean: That's one of those news shows on T.V. on Sunday morning?
Brian Gongol: It is. Exactly and it's really interesting. He just going after Paul Ryan and he was just skewering Paul Ryan's approach to the budget and remember the man who was the Vice Presidential nominee of the republican party is still the House budget committee chairman. He got re-elected. He's going to continue to have this job and Krugman literally called it a fake document. This proposed budget and just went off on a tear because, unfortunately, I believe Paul Krugman has started to believe his own hype which is the worst thing you can do as a public thinker. I want to make sure that any time I'm on the air here on WHO, I point out that I could be wrong and I am willing to accept the possibility I could be wrong. I could be a complete moron about things that I take very seriously, but at least I want to be open to the possibility that I could be wrong. Krugman, I think, has jumped over that and no longer thinks that he can be wrong. So I really appreciate the fact that George Will took him to task and said and I quote here, "I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees you who you don't think is a knave or corrupt or a corrupt knave." Now only George Will could say something like that. I don't know anyone else alive who would just bring out the word knave. Now of course he was modifying an Alexander Hamilton quote.
Brian Dean: You're either a knave or a corrupt knave.
Brian Gongol: Right, but at least he knows how to quote Alexander Hamilton. I mean good grief. Credit to him for that. So before we go, the A Capitals and Baby Prize is former NASA mangers think that they can do a moon mission for a billion and a half dollars, but on the private sector. They formed a company to do this.
Brian Dean: That's a stadium and a half.
Brian Gongol: It's a stadium and a half to go to the moon and come back. That. That is what Capitalism is all about, because somebody with a whole lot of dough is going to want to go to the moon and if they're willing to pay for it and these guys can make it happen; God bless them. I love a story like that and it's a very happy way to end this show. We'll be back next Sunday night at 9 here on Newsradio 1040 WHO.