The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

An approximate transcript of the show broadcast on December 23, 2012

Brian Gongol: So, just be sure, before this show began, Brian, and I were discussing ecumenical agnosticism, utilitarianism, and canonical authority.

Brian Dean: Yep.

Gongol: But I want to tell you-

Dean: I know what happened between 9:05-

Dean and Gongol: and 9:06.


Gongol: Yeah, that didn't take very long.

Dean: It didn't really. It's amazing how it, um- Well, we didn't cover it very deeply.

Gongol: No. No, it was a pretty superficial glossing over.

Dean: It was more of an identification of what we had experienced.


Gongol: It pretty much is. So rather than delve too deeply into those weighty subjects, I want to tell ya Mrs. Freshley seems to have done a decent job aping the Zingers. So, good work out of them.

Dean: Well, you might need to back track a little bit.

Gongol: Explain what I'm talking about?

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: Well, okay, so as you may recall Hostess having declared bankruptcy, the two of us discussed a couple of weeks ago that, ya know, look, whether or not they go bankrupt, the same product will be available in the not too distant future. Whether it's somebody else buying out the brands and the recipes and making them like that or whether it's just competitors moving into the space, you will not have to live without your much beloved Hostess snack foods. My most beloved Hostess snack food, even though people don't think it's actually a Hostess product, it is. It's the Zinger, and we've talked about our love for Zingers here on the show-

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: For no good reason what so ever other than to humanize ourselves.


Gongol: 'Cause, frankly, I probably sound a little bit crazy if I didn't admit to enjoying some of these things once in a while, and so the Zinger is one of my favorite snack foods, and so when Hostess went belly-up they owned the Dolly Madison bakery, which is the one that makes the Zingers so "poof" the Zingers disappeared.

Dean: The Zingers were gone.

Gongol: They are now-

Dean: We had, the two of us shared-

Gongol: Oh, yeah.

Dean: I think, the final Zinger, or at least here at this building.

Gongol: The very last package out of Vend-o-Land on the second floor here at WHO Radio Studios in Des Moines. So I was kind of worried how long it might take because I, ya know, the Zinger is a more, ya know, niche kind of product.

Dean: It is.

Gongol: It's not, ya know, for everybody and so I wondered if that might have been one of the ones to go by the wayside.

Dean: And it should be. I mean, really.


Gongol: It's a specialty product.

Dean: Because, it's, it's wonderful.

Gongol: It's delicious.

Dean: Yep.

Gongol: And, so we have now discovered the impostors. They've already shown up in Vend-O-Land downstairs under the brand name Mrs. Freshley's, and so I have taken a picture of this and shared it on my Twitter account. It's The picture of the, the mock products. The Hostess look-a-likes.

Dean: Faux.


Gongol: Faux Hostess snacks from Mrs. Freshley's. That are already out there.

Dean: It's so fake.

Gongol: Not bad though. The initial judgement, the initial verdict: not bad.

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: Pretty close to the originals.

Dean: And we spent a lot more time on the Mrs. Freshley imitation, Zinger/Hostess stuff than on the-

Gongol: Than on the utilitarianism.

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: Yes.

Dean: 'Cause we covered that in a minute of just simply agreeing.


Gongol: And that was good enough for us.

Dean: Well, and we had to remind ourselves that we needed to have a fresh palette-

Gongol: Yes.

Dean: In order to do the tasting.

Gongol: One must refresh the palette. So, I was cleansing, cleansing my palette with a Cherry Coke 'cause that's just healthy.

Dean: And, the way I viewed the... What would you call that? The raspberry coconut Zinger imitator.

Gongol: Uh-uh. That's the best thing I can describe it as.

Dean: It seemed more like a traditional Twinkie.

Gongol: Yeah.

Dean: Covered with a very thin layer of coconut and raspberry. Which actually I liked better.

Gongol: And I could have used more coconut, but it was good enough. It was within ten percent of the original quality, so I thought it was okay.

Dean: So, that was fine but then getting into the cupcake. Which, it was a cupcake type thing.

Gongol: Um-um.

Dean: And you said Mrs. Freshley's. See, I didn't even see the wrapper.

Gongol: That's the brand name.

Dean: Um-um.

Gongol: Mrs. Freshley, for both products.

Dean: And it was okay. We may have had, I think we had a dry package.

Gongol: It's possible.

Dean: It might have been a little dry.


Dean: I thought it was a little dry. You liked the filling.

Gongol: I thought it was good. I thought the filling was tasty. It was crunchy sugary, like that, like wedding frosting, wedding-cake frosting.

Dean: We both noticed that the frosting on the chocolate cupcake thing was sparkly.

Gongol: Sparkly. Which it was.

Dean: What is that? Was that sugar?

Gongol: I don't have any idea at all.


Dean: I do know, I think that there's a residual scent that was left.

Gongol: And, so the-


Gongol: We can't get into this.

Dean: Well, yeah, you told me not to talk about that-

Gongol: I warned you we couldn't go there.

Dean: And I...


Dean: I tried.

Gongol: You can't say, "smell my finger," and think that we're going to go anywhere good.


Gongol: So, we're moving away from that.

Dean: Two days before Christmas.

Gongol: Yeah, yeah, we can't do that. So for what it's worth-

Dean: It still smells funny, ya know?

Gongol: For what it's worth. That's it. It's funny that this happened, and I know it may seem totally serious that we're talking about this, but what's funny to me is this: having gone through a store the other day doing the last minute Christmas shopping, like I imagine a lot of people have been doing. I stumbled upon a side-by-side comparison, and I thought it was kind of funny. I guess a good brand name must be worth a 60% price premium because in the store there was a generic spring toy selling for five dollars.

Dean: OK.

Gongol: Immediately next to it, I mean the two boxes are side by side.

Dean: We're talking about a coiled, coiling-

Gongol: Coiled spring toy, yes. Touching it, like the next box over is the Slinky, the brand Slinky for $7.99. Five dollars for generic spring toy, $7.99 for Slinky.

Dean: One would assume, though, that they would have to be a higher quality of spring type metal.


Dean: Associated with the name brand.

Gongol: Isn't that a stretch? Isn't that like saying there was a higher quality of sponge cake in the original Hostess Zinger as opposed to the Mrs. Freshley's lookalike?

Dean: I would think potentially one would hope that was the case. It was same price in Vend-O-Land, though.

Gongol: It was. I think it's all brand naming. I really do. I think this is entirely a brand name issue and it's fascinating to me that a brand name on a Slinky versus a spring toy is worth 60% more. It's a 60% price premium to go from the generic spring toy to go up to the Slinky, and that's fascinating because that really does tell ya maybe brand names are worth more than we think that they are.

Dean: Now, did you notice when you were down in Vend-O-Land that there were three very generic looking cans of green-

Dean: Something.

Dean: Green beans, yeah.

Gongol: I have no idea who left those sitting around the studios.

Dean: And I have never heard of those brands, and I don't even know if they are brands.

Gongol: Uh. I think they're unbranded. They're anti-brand brands.

Dean: Right, right.

Gongol: Ya know there's a place you can go with the no-name burger.

Dean: And it seems to tell me quite a bit that those particular cans are still sitting there.

Gongol: Really?

Dean: Well-

Gongol: How long have they been there?

Dean: This is a radio station.

Gongol: Well, that's true.


Gongol: People are hungry here. You've never seen anyone eat, like, a radio DJ.

Dean: So, I was shocked-

Gongol: (?)

Dean: That they were still here. I left 'em too-

Gongol: See there.

Dean: And obviously you did.

Gongol: I wasn't going to touch 'em.

Dean: Well you were so focused on your snack cake.

Gongol: I needed my mock Zingers, or whatever they might have been, so I was happy to pursue those in the interest of truth, justice, and the American way so I went right after those here at WHO Radio Vend-O-Land. I just, but I do find it fascinating. A 60% price premium for a good brand name because there's no difference between the generic spring toy and the brand name Slinky.

Dean: Well then if, but is there a-

Gongol: There's no difference.

Dean: Status that goes along with having the name brand? I mean we're talking about-

Gongol: That's what it must be.

Dean: What people are willing to pay for.

Gongol: Well, and as you're opening up things on Christmas morning, ya know, as kids are opening up the toys do they want to get the El Cheapo brand or do they want to have the Barbie brand thing or whatever the brand name product for whatever it is that they're getting.

Dean: I think the name brand crayon is better.

Gongol: Well, see.

Dean: And it smells better.


Gongol: I think-

Dean: There's a certain scent with that too that I like.

Gongol: But is it worth 60% more?

Dean: I don't know.

Gongol: Which is apparently the difference when you're buying a Slinky.

Dean: I don't color.

Gongol: Well, that's true.

Dean: Ya know, so that doesn't-

Gongol: Except when you're probably assisting-

Dean: Well,

Gongol: A young fellow in his coloring.

Dean: Then in that case, the cheaper the better because if they're going to be broken-


Dean: And I'm going to get angry because I'm gonna step on the crayons that are left on the floor.

Gongol: Right, so then maybe you'd pay a premium for the most easily removed from the carpeting.

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: So, it tells you though that there is a value there and I was thinking about this as I was driving around, and after I saw the Slinky I thought, "Well, that's kind of funny." So, I guess, then I started to roll it around in my head. Well, what would be the first, if you could only choose one name, the first one that comes to mind for different categories. I think it'd be a really interesting exercise, ya know, if you had to name fast food restaurants, I guarantee you 90% of Americans are going to say McDonald's.

Dean: Right.

Gongol: And if you say, "Name a pop," the 90% of the people are going to say Coca-Cola. Ya know, and if say name a tissue, Kleenex. There are certain brands that are just so dominant. They're heritage brands in a given category. Ya know, name your favorite spring toy, well, Slinky!


Gongol: Ya know, there's no debating that.

Dean: Unless one gets confused and thinks you're talking about the season.

Gongol: Well, yeah, that's true. Let's say spring based toy,


Gongol: We'll call it that.

Dean: Name your favorite spring toy? Well, I think that's a baseball glove.

Gongol: Right. Well, true.


Gongol: Yes, you're favorite metallic spring based toy.

Dean: Um.

Gongol: You'd say Slinky, but it is funny that there is a difference there, and people do associate something valuable with that brand. Even if there is absolutely zero difference in quality between one and another. You're still going to assume, that, ya know, I at least have to give consideration to that higher branded product. That better branded product just because it's the one that's dominant in that field. And you can pretty well name a dominant name in virtually anything. Now, you'll run a fine line if for instance you say computers because some people will say Apple and some people will say HP, but it's almost certainly going to be one of those two. And it just depends I suppose on whether they, ya know, use Windows or whether they don't like Windows.

Dean: That's true.

Gongol: But, it's funny that you could really, you could really bring it down. Ya know, if you could only name one baseball team, as much as it pains me to say this, you'll say the New York Yankees.

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: Ya know, it pains me to say that, but the Yankees are the biggest brand name in baseball, as much as I hate 'em, it's just there, and it's fascinating that that does come with a premium. That people will pay substantially more even though they're not getting anything more really from it, ya know. I mean it's, that's pretty interesting. That we train ourselves to do that and we have this internal logic for how much more is that brand name worth and there are going to be a lot of people as they are opening up presents on Christmas who are going to be thinking different things based upon whether they are opening El Cheapo or whether they're opening the brand name product.

Dean: Well, it's kind of like, speaking of that, I mean a little candy cane.

Gongol: Um-um.

Dean: Ya know, candy canes are candy canes to me.

Gongol: It seems really hard to mess them up.

Dean: But, there are the plastic candy canes that are filled with candy shelled covered chocolate-

Gongol: Um-uh.

Dean: Milk chocolates, alright, and there are the name brands.

Gongol: Oh, yeah.

Dean: Alright, and then there are the not. Now you tell me right now the not is not gonna be nearly as good-


Dean: As the name brand that's in there.

Gongol: You wouldn't dare mess with 'em, would you now?

Dean: No.

Gongol: You just couldn't. You couldn't do it. It's funny how -

Dean: So then the brand though, and in many ways is worth whatever more it is.

Gongol: Um-uh. It doesn't matter in some cases.

Dean: Right.

Gongol: You couldn't, I mean you can't imagine, you know, the notion of, well I mean, for all intents and purposes, ya know, here's a lot of people will be doing things like jewelry right now, ya know, over the holidays.

Dean: Yeah.

Gongol: For all intents and purposes, ya know, you can whether they are synthetic crystals or whether you're talking about when it comes to diamonds there are lots of different things that you can do that look just like a diamond. Ya know, cubic zirconium looks just like it. Lots and lots of things that will look very much the same, but if you get caught, and I say caught because in some cases some people want you to buy the cheaper thing because they do want the money, but more often than not if you get caught delivering the lower grade product or not even the lower grade but just not the brand name product even though it may be exactly the same, look exactly the same, be impossible to tell different I mean without a microscope and perhaps a trained hymnologist there with you, people are still going to want the brand product. Whether it's an actual brand name on some jewelry or whether it's the actual natural stone.

Dean: Sure, right.

Gongol: Even though, you know, they can make a wide range of synthetic stones today that are better than the natural ones because they are created and grown in a lab and they're created without any impurities. I mean, they're perfect, and they can do this. They do this with a wide range of different gemstones, but just, ya know, you might get your ear bitten off.

Dean: Do people still-

Gongol: Get the original.

Dean: Select gas stations based on the name of the station anymore?

Gongol: Oh-

Dean: Or not?

Gongol: Well, I know-

Dean: I mean it's-

Gongol: Shell hopes you do.

Dean: It's certainly used to be the case.

Gongol: Yep.

Dean: I mean there was supposedly; let's do the marketing, that that was a big deal. Right, now it's the same price everywhere.

Gongol: Um-um.

Dean: And for the most part it really comes out of the same pipeline, doesn't it?

Gongol: I...

Dean: Ya know, I don't know much more than that so I don't wanna-

Gongol: Yeah.

Dean: Mislead here, but I shop for price and, speaking of price, $2.94 a gallon I paid for before I came into work tonight.

Gongol: Pretty nice, but see this is it. You're talking about with fuels, BP wants you to buy their BP Invigorate gasoline and Shell is hoping you'll buy their Nitrogen-Enriched gasoline and for the most part I don't know that people really do select their gas stations based upon, ya know-

Dean: I select my gas station cause it's right on the corner.

Gongol: Well, yes.


Gongol: You would have to be nuts not to go to the gas station you go to.

Dean: Yeah, right.

Gongol: Ya know, you could summersault to the gas station -

Dean: Pretty much.

Gongol: Closest to your house.

Dean: It is.

Gongol: So, there's no reason not to.

Dean: So there's no way I can go anywhere really without-

Gongol: Um-Um.

Dean: First going right past that gas station.

Gongol: Right past that. Naturally. It's in a place you can't get around it, but it is funny that, you know, they do want you to think of them differently because for them breaking out of that commodity cycle makes a ton of sense. The more they can say they are something special and different and unique and worth paying even a penny a gallon extra for, and, ya know, to a person who's spending three dollars a gallon of gasoline one penny is really insignificant. I mean it's rounding error, but at the same time if they can get ya to spend that and every time you come in and get 16 gallons of fuel for your car and then the next person comes in and gets another 16 gallons of fuel for their car and then that happens 50 times an hour and then that happens 24 hours a day well sure then a penny apiece makes a huge difference. So it's totally, totally within the incentive structure for Shell, or BP, or anybody else who's delivering fuel to try to convince you that there's something special about what they deliver even though it is a commoditized product, you know? It's all pretty much the same. It's pretty fascinating that they have a reason to do that. They're not going to get the 60% price premium that Slinky gets in the spring based toy technology market, but it's something extra that they're trying to get, and everybody is trying to get that little, just a little something extra out of it. And there are certain brands that are very good at doing that and certain companies that are trying desperately but are never going to make it. Having experienced now the Mrs. Freshley's experience, I don't know that I would pay a price premium to get it, but it's close enough to the old Hostess things and soon enough-

Dean: Uh, I guess...

Gongol: Ya know, hey, this'll satisfy me for now and I think I'll be okay with this, the mock Zingers.

Dean: I would have been happier if it were 25 cents less expensive.

Gongol: Ah, OK. See you wanted a discount-

Dean: I did.

Gongol: Because it's an unrecognized brand. Funny how this works, though.

Dean: That's right.

Gongol: Everybody understands this and practices... This is one of those classic cases of economics that are out there in front of all of us. We all recognize it. We all get it. We just don't realize we get it. It's like the sign that I saw a few months back when I was in Ohio and I went through and the sign was on the outside of a Steak and Shake and it said something to the effect of "because we recognize the difficulty of these economic times we will not be raising prices for the remainder of 2012." Just a, ya know, a sign on the door. Everybody understands inflation. We just don't know that we understand inflation. That was them saying we're going to hold the line on inflation. Of course they can do that because their prices really haven't gone up either but-

Dean: So, they were not going to raise the prices anyways.

Gongol: Probably not.

Dean: Very unlikely.

Gongol: But this a way for them to get credit for not raising prices. Which means that they are fighting inflation on your behalf and you, as a consumer, should love them for it. And, it's funny how everybody understands that. Everybody understands if prices go up but you're getting the same thing, that's inflation, but we don't think that we understand it because we'll call on the high priests of finance, try to make it so confusing and so full of jargon and gobbledy gook that they, that you should just give them large amounts of money to manage your money, ya know, for you and you can just not know what's going on until you get the report that shows up once a year that you're also not supposed to understand. I think that's, I think that's a crime that we do that to ourselves. I think it's a crime that we don't have a better understanding of how all this stuff works ‘cause we get it! You know why you pay more for the Slinky than the generic spring based toy. You know there's a reason you don't pay five bucks extra for a gallon of nitrogen-enriched gasoline from Shell rather than just paying the regular price anywhere else. You know why these things happen. You know why you don't wanna pay three fifty for a burger you paid three twenty-five for last year if it's the same burger. We get this stuff, but there are a lot of people out there with an incentive to make it sound like it's too difficult for you to understand, and that my friends is a crime against America. Nine twenty-five here on Newsradio 1040 WHO.

Gongol: Nine twenty-eight here on Newsradio 1040 WHO. I'm Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean as we are talking about making money and having fun I just posted a link to that picture show on the "mock" Hostess products. The impostors, if you will. Side by side like that. We taste tested them, and I'm not going to say so you don't have to 'cause frankly I found the Zinger look-a-like to be good enough.

Dean: It was OK.

Gongol: So, I just posted that link to our Facebook page here on WHO Radio. Mike from Ames just sent a text I can't repeat on the air. Sorry about that.


Gongol: It's crushing my soul here, but that's just what happened. So, interesting-

Dean: It doesn't have anything to do with strange smells?

Gongol: No.

Dean: OK.

Gongol: No, but it's pretty close. So, an architectural firm in Omaha, I think is making a, is proving a little point that I think we have tried to make here on WHO before, and we'll probably end up having to make again in the future. That the economy tends to repair itself. This was a story that was in the Omaha World Herald this weekend, and I was looking into this. It said, it was talking about an architectural firm that's having a lot of growth right now because there's a lot of pent up demand. There are businesses that are doing pretty well that have been holding back for a while and they can't hold back any longer. You know they're, they've got people working in basements and, ya know, windowless offices and they have to get out of their space that they're in. They have to expand, get bigger, and so it's been really good for one of these architectural firms that was featured in the story, and what's kind of interesting is: this is exactly the way the economy is supposed to recover from the slow down like the one that we've gone through. The sellers of goods and services will lower their prices as demand falls and so opportunistic buyers move in and purchase at a, at an advantageous price and things slowly get back to normal. Ya know? We don't have to always think about ways that we need to quote, unquote stimulate the economy in order to make things happen. Ya know? It doesn't really necessarily help us, and I thought that this was kind of funny. An executive at one of the businesses that was profiled said, and I'll quote, "Bids are less because of the competitive climate right now." Which is exactly right. I mean, if businesses slow down people are offering better prices so that incentivizes people to get into the market, and because they're doing that and because that happens that kick starts the economy back into place. Because as that demand moves in and increases, well then there's more demand so they can start raising prices a bit and things start to balance themselves out again. And, this, the problem is stimulus programs rarely act in a way that's really suitable to managing the needs that are out there. Ya know, we're still trying to stimulate the economy today. The Federal government is trying to do it, and ya know there's just lots of hope that we can get somewhere with it but it's not really happening because there's still a lot of residual uncertainty among people in business about what, well, are we going to resolve the "fiscal cliff"? No. Doesn't look like it. We seem to be hopelessly interested in avoiding the problem, and doesn't look like they're going to resolve that in time. Time, I mean clocks ticking. Time is running out, and January 1st is the due date. Ya know, it's kind of like a college student who discovers the term paper is due the next morning, ya know? Or rushing to do something that really we've known about for quite some time. Have known we needed to do something about it for quite some time, we've just ignoring it, and that's unhealthy. And the stimulus programs are the same way. Likely, likewise I think we should be deeply skeptical of the economic development incentive packages that are out there. Ya know, the state just had a new list fand the Register was talking about this a bit. Talking about the packages that are out there that people are going for right now. And the state's looking at, ya know, about a quarter of a billion dollars in different incentive packages for a bunch of different businesses. Ya know, some of ‘em are looking for forgivable loans. Some of them are looking for big tax credits. Some of them are, ya know, promising to create extra jobs because they'll get the money, and some are saying we'll expand out plants or we'll bring in, ya know, these high wage jobs. Lots of promises get made, and, as we all know, those don't always come to fruition. I mean it's self evident that some don't come to fruition. There are businesses that got big incentive packages who then shut down, or left down, or simply didn't hire the people they promised to. And the problem is this war of economics between the states is pretty absurd. Ya know, if the companies that are receiving the incentives, of course here, are doing something that's rational on their own right. I mean, if somebody's offering you free money it relatively rational to want to get that free money, and it's relatively rational for the cities and the counties and the states to be offering these things because if they don't they may lose out on the new plant construction or the new jobs that might then end up going down the road or outside the state. I mean, ya know, the classic case here in Iowa is Gateway Computers moving across the Missouri River and going to South Dakota because they didn't stick around Iowa anymore because of the different incentive packages that were there and because how things were structured. But, the thing is, if the companies receiving incentives wouldn't otherwise leave the country but are otherwise packing up and picking and choosing among the states, then unbalanced tax payers in this country are subsidizing these businesses without really getting anything new out of it. If the businesses were instead going to move to Canada, or move to France, or go to Japan or China then in the aggregate we're just subsidizing them at taxpayer expense without really getting anything new from it. If you think that as an American you're tax payer contributions in Iowa are worth the same as they should be in Minnesota or Montana or Michigan, and if you feel like that then you probably should object to that incentive structure that's out there and the economic war that goes on between the states. And, again it's perfectly rational for each of the individual parties in this game to keep playing the game. It's rational for the businesses to demand the incentives. It's rational for the cities, or the counties, or the states to offer the incentives. Everybody here is doing something that in isolation looks rational, but if you look at the big picture on this and go, well, if we're just shuffling jobs from Iowa to Montana to Michigan to Minnesota, we're just moving them around in this shell game all over the same country well then the country doesn't actually benefit from it. Which is why in a rare break with my normal tradition, I wish the Federal government would do something about this, and say, "Stop it. Knock it off. Don't do this anymore. Stop offering the incentive packages, and find a way to prohibit them because it's just, it's not healthy for us. Even though it's rational for every individual player to do what they're doing overall it's totally irrational for us as a country and the system is flawed and it really, frankly, I think requires some federal intervention. Of course, they're never going to get around to doing that because, well, ya know, they have better things to do like ignoring the Fiscal Cliff. So, if they can't get their act together we're not going to get our act together collectively, but I wish that they would get around to doing that ‘cause we see how this stuff works with the base realignments and closures. Ya know, the word that they're going to shut down the F-16 wing over here at the Des Moines International Airport and replace it with some folks flying some UAV's. Everybody can see that and go, well, we want it. We wish that it were here, and we're going to fight to keep it. That's very rational for us to fight to keep that. Even if that is not what, say, the Defense Department wants. Even if that's not necessarily what the best interest of national security are, we as a state are certainly going to try to keep it here. We're going to do everything we can to keep them here. Even if that's not the best thing overall for the country. It's totally rational for us to do it, and I'm not saying it is or isn't the best thing for the country. I'm not a military expert like that, but it makes all the sense in the world for us to try to keep it. Unfortunately though, for us, but maybe good for the country there are other parties who step in and say, "Nope. That's not rational. It doesn't make sense. We don't need that anymore." Even if it's bad for Des Moines to shut it down, it's good for the country to shut it down so unfortunately Des Moines' gotta take the blow on this one, but overall we're going to do that fairly and equally all over the country where it needs to be done, and we'll do what's best for the nation overall. So, if we can swallow that bitter pill when it comes to things like closing the F-16 wing over here in Des Moines we should also be able to understand how maybe, maybe, just maybe, federal government needs to step in and say, "Just knock it off with these incentives packages. Just stop it with the forgivable loans and the tax credits and all of these gimmicks that are meant to try to encourage economic development." And, maybe just let good things happen where the environment is good for things to happen, and maybe that'll just encourage us to create the right environment for economic activity to take place. Just a little hope. But, ya know, I can dream just before Christmas, can't he? I'm trying. We'll be right back in just a moment. Nine thirty-seven here on Newsradio 1040 WHO.

Gongol: And at nine thirty-nine here on Newsradio 1040 WHO here is your WHO three-day weather forecast from TV 13: for tonight, cloudy skies and overnight low of 10, yeah, 10. Wind chills around 0, and now it gets even worse for tomorrow. Mostly cloudy, high of 18, but the wind chills will actually likely be below 0 for good portions of the day, and on Tuesday, Christmas Day, mostly cloudy skies, the high- 12. But, again for tonight-cloudy skies with a low of 10.

Dean: 12...

Gongol: Brian Dean not liking the fact that Tuesday's high is basically tonight's low.

Dean: Ya know, what I'll take 12 degrees over 12 inches of wet snow that's also blowing around and making-

Gongol: Well...

Dean: It very dangerous on the road.

Gongol: And, you know what's odd, I drove back and forth to the Fort Dodge area this weekend, 141, once you got past Granger, 141, 169, Highway 20, all those clear as day. Totally dry, totally clean. Nothin', nothing, I mean not anything on the roadways themselves. You get back here into the city and there's still snow on major streets.

Dean: Yeah. Isn't that something?

Gongol: All over the metro.

Dean: Ya know, we took a lot of snow.

Gongol: A ton of it, yeah.

Dean: And almost a worse case scenario sort of thing.

Gongol: Um-um.

Dean: With this heavy, wet with lots of traffic still and wind that was terrible.

Gongol: Yep, knocked out power to my office so we had to go out and get ourselves a generator and start it up and some portable heaters everything so that stuff didn't freeze.

Dean: Um-Um.

Gongol: And that was very unfortunate and unpleasant and I could have thought of a lot of better ways to spend my Thursday night. Well, fortunately I know that I was not the only one suffering through that. So, I know that a lot of folks here in the metro area had the very same experience. So, yeah, we'll take cold temperatures, I suppose, if it doesn't mean, or it means that we don't have to deal with heavy snowfall, but unfortunately we also need the snow because we really desperately need the precipitation and we need it to find it's way into the ground. So, what we really need is snowfall and then temperatures to stay really close to melting and then let it melt off and percolate into the ground and then get another snowfall and then melt it again, but unfortunately we can't program nature quite like that. Any way, right at the moment cloudy skies, 17 degrees in Des Moines. Winds in the Northeast at eight makes it feel like seven outside, and they're also reporting a bit of haze. Don't know that I really notice it looking out of our Western weather window here at WHO, but it's what they're claiming. 17 degrees-

Dean: I suppose, ya know, because of the snow.

Gongol: Right, maybe.

Dean: Because of all the moisture in the air. Because of the snow.

Gongol: And it's been a long time since we've had any of that so I guess we can't complain too much ‘cause it's just been so dry. So, one thing at a time. Maybe nature can finally get us back on track. It'd be really pretty nice. 9:42 here on WHO. Give us a call at 284-1040 or 800-469-4295 or you can text us on the American Tippers and Accessories Text Line. That number is 989-1040, and Jeff gave us a call here. Jeff, thanks for calling WHO.

Jeff: Hello?

Gongol: Hey there. How are you doing today?

Jeff: Pretty good. The problem with the, the bitter pill is that, that like, Senator Grassley pointed out the first time when they proposed this is that the Air Force didn't show their matrix how they arrived at this decision, and the problem that they're cutting reserve troops when the Army and Marine Corps are cutting active duty. So the very reason that they can then recall those people, ya know, or they can filter down into the reserves and the Guard.

Gongol: Um-um.

Jeff: But, they've got this Guard unit then basically they're out the door, and there's actually a figure stating that the realized from cutting a active duty F-16's that they cost a lot more to operate it. So-

Gongol: Um.

Jeff: The problem I have with the decision is that the Air Force cut all Guard reserve forces while the Army and the Marine Corps cut active duty troops and then the Air Force has never explained that, and that was the initial response was from our end was A) ya know, how did you arrive at this decision and I've never seen anything that says how they arrived at that decision other than the Air Force is claiming that they've already cut too many active people and it's time for Guard reserve to take a cut.

Gongol: Well, and I can definitely tell you that there are folks on the inside of the Air Force in the active duty who wonder who exactly has been managing the higher and firing and assignment of duties because there is, there seem to be, there is an ongoing cycle, at least it seems from, I've got a number of friends and even family members in the Air Force who have pointed out that, ya know, they go through these cycles where they seem to be over weighted in one career area and they have to let a whole bunch of those people go but they're still short in another area and it's, it seems like-

Jeff: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Gongol: It seems like we're missing the point here. You've gotta smooth this out so that you have the right number of people coming in and being assigned and keeping them. You know?

Jeff: Well, there's always gonna to be some mistakes that way.

Gongol: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: My biggest problem is, I was in a unit- I've gotten out, I retired last year-

Gongol: Um-Um.

Jeff: They've never answered the question why they want to cut Guard Reserve instead of active duty-

Gongol: Sure.

Jeff: When, you know, I don't know how much attention you paid to our unit, but I was in Iraq twice in '08 and '09 and Turkey, ya know. We were (?) The unit went to Afghanistan this last year-

Gongol: Um-um.

Jeff: Over the Christmas time, and, so we cover those jobs. In my experience when you're over there you do as good a job as the active duty guys.

Gongol: Um-um.

Jeff: There's no reason to keep these active duty guys there when they could keep the, keep us and save the United States government a lot more money, and that's my bitter pill to swallow. It seems like it's not the best way to save money. It's just that we have the least political clout.

Gongol: Ah, yeah, and it's, there's no doubt that we are lacking some of that in having just lost another seat in Congress. We're losing the clout that we did have.


Gongol: We just lost twenty percent of our clout already, and that, we didn't really need to lose that either.

Gongol: That doesn't really help our situation. Ya know, Jeff, I certainly understand, again, without knowing the exact details- like you were saying. Nobody seems to have revealed exactly how they make these decisions. It's certainly understandable that we would be frustrated here 'cause we certainly see the good that comes from having this unit here and from, ya know, the good that they do. And, so, it's certainly, no matter what the better good is for the country, ya know, whether or not it's to keep them around, we certainly have every reason in the world to try to keep them here. I mean that's obviously makes all the sense in the world for us to try and do that. So, hopefully-

Jeff: Well, I think that it was wrong initially to say that, ya know, it should stay because of the jobs. It should stay because we're the most effective use of the government's money-

Gongol: Sure.

Jeff: The same number of F-16's flying. So it shouldn't be about the number of jobs in Iowa. This is the way to save the most money is to cut an active duty unit somewhere else, but those states where those are at all have more political clout than we do, and they don't want to lose their active duty unit because it's a lot more money than what we're spending in Des Moines at our Reserve unit.

Gongol: Uh.

Jeff: And, as far as I know, Third (?) has never gotten an answer from the Air Force as to how they arrived at the decision.

Gongol: And if-

Jeff: So-

Gongol: If there's one guy who's going to be in Washington to make sure he's sticking his finger in the eye of somebody who's not giving him an answer it would be Senator Grassley.

Jeff: Exactly.

Gongol: That's why we keep him.

Jeff: That's what he keeps doing. So-

Gongol: Well, Jeff, you've shed more light on that then I certainly could've known about so I certainly appreciate the call.

Jeff: Alright. Thanks a lot.

Gongol: Thanks so much and thanks for your service too, and you have a good one. A merry Christmas to you as well. Nine forty-six here on Newsradio 1040 WHO. See that's the kind of thing that people know about here, and he makes a good point.

Dean: And, yeah, and we're glad to have those kinds of calls.

Gongol: Absolutely.

Dean: As that helps us out too. Now interestingly, when you talk about political clout though.

Gongol: Yeah.

Dean: We have two very senior senators.

Gongol: We do.

Dean: And very powerful within their own parties. I would think that they would be able to use some of that clout, if that's necessary here, but again as the caller said we haven't really heard much back from the powers that be. As Senator Grassley said that he's not getting an answer.

Gongol: Well, and it's, ya know, on one hand you know why they might not want to reveal some of their decision making because they want to avoid undue influence. On the other hand, you know that there's influence that's happening there anyway. Ya know it's inevitable that there's some such activity taking place, ya know, there's some kind of incentive for people to respond to the demands of local communities, and, ya know, the problem that we have and it's just inescapable is we're a relatively low population state. It doesn't help us that, by the way, they just came out with that we're in the bottom third basically for state population growth in the last couple of years. The Census Bureau just reported this: from 2010 until this year Iowa gained about 27,000 residents. Now that's not a decrease. Michigan shrank and Rhode Island shrank, but it's about half the rate of increase of the nation as a whole. So, that's why we lost a seat in Congress. It's not that we shrank. It's just that we didn't grow as quickly as the rest of the country. Now, growth for it's own sake isn't necessarily a good thing. I mean there are lots of places where lots of people are moving to, but they're lousy places to live. Ya know, there's certainly a lot of that that happens. I've been to Houston.


Gongol: OK. There are places that lots and lots of people show up but it doesn't necessarily make them great it's just really crowded. On the other hand, we do need to understand, for our own good, why we're growing or why we aren't, or why we're growing slower than the rest of the country, or in some places you grow faster than the rest of the country. It's understandable that North Dakota is in a boom right now because they've got the oil money that's there. I mean they've got the huge oil reserves and lots of people have moved there. So, it's a population, which started from a really low base, has grown a ton because they need a lot of people to get the oil out of the ground. Now it's important for North Dakota to understand that, ya know, they've grown but let's not think, let's not confuse this with having attracted people to North Dakota for the lovely climate. The fantastic cultural opportunities. Ya know, they have to be, you have to understand that the growth is because of a boom which means it won't last forever, which means you have to be careful about how you spend the money that comes in from the boom so that you're not left holding the bag years down the road like Oklahoma and Texas did after the oil booms there dried up. So, it's really important to understand that if you're growing faster than the rest of the country while you're doing that and it's imperative for a state like Iowa to understand why are we growing at about half the rate than the rest of the country. Are we doing something wrong? Or is this the healthy growth rate for the state? Do we need to be doing something different or do we at least need to understand why it's happening before we can understand whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, and if we don't get that then we're in trouble. And, then we just have to acknowledge that there's a reason we're not going to have political clout because with four members of Congress, ya know, we mean less than metro Chicago or metro Minneapolis, St. Paul. Ya know, to Congress, there are more people there than there are in the entire state. So, as a result, we're not going to have a lot of clout. We're never going to have a lot of clout. So we have to understand what that means to us and maybe we need to be relatively independent of federal money for, ya know, keeping our way of life afloat here. Maybe that's a good thing for us ultimately, but understanding why we're not growing as quickly as the rest it's also pretty important. So, if you have thoughts on then give us a call or send us a text at 989-1040 on the American Tippers and Accessories Text Line. We'd love to hear from ya about that. It is 9:50. I'm Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean on Newsradio 1040 WHO.

Gongol: 9:54 here on Newsradio 1040 WHO. I'm Brian Gongol here along with Brian Dean as we talk about making money and having fun here on WHO. Our Tinfoil Hat Award this week for [sigh] just general nuttiness. The Economist magazine, which again, it's one of those "I read it so you don't necessarily have to-"

Dean: But I would encourage them. But I appreciate that you do that because you know I don't.


Gongol: But I would encourage it. It's a great magazine, but, ya know, maybe you're more keen on-

Dean: Every once in a while I'll come across an article that is recommended.

Gongol: Um-um.

Dean: By some other site, or sometimes you-

Gongol: I try.

Dean: Well, you're feed me those, and then I read 'em.

Gongol: I appreciate that, and, well, I've got one for you here, and I"ll try to remember to share it over on the on the Brian Gongol show page, but the update here on globalization and they point out that some research was done actually by DHL, the, well it would be the third to Fedex and UPS-

Dean: Oh, sure, yeah.

Gongol: And I'd say that if they hadn't, I think, left the United States, I mean-

Dean: You used to seeing their vans all the time.

Gongol: Yeah.

Dean: They were smaller.

Gongol: I think they, I can't remember exactly what happened, it was a couple years ago and they essentially said that they were going to merge with one of the others or kind of combine operations and stop trying to be number three in this market but they do still do a lot of international shipping. And, they actually produce what they call their DHL Global Connectedness Index, which looks at how much of any given nations economy seems to be tied into the rest of the world. Whether they're, and they measure both on depth of the amount of connection and then the breadth, ya know, the wide area to which they are dispersing those connections. And, their overall conclusion, and the important point to this is, they say the world is actually less connected globally in terms of trade and interaction than we were five years ago. Before really the economy went into the pits, and I think it's not a surprise at all. It's unfortunate but it is not really a surprise. The problem is, is that any time you have an economic slow down, like what we had, there's a whole lot of incentive for folks to stand up and start demagoguing about just how important it is to protect jobs right here in this country and we should never pretend like we are the only ones who do this. Everybody does this.

Dean: Oh, sure.

Gongol: The Canadians do this. The French do this. The Italians do it. The Russians do it. In fact the Russians at this point are trying to stop the adoption of babies from Russia to the United States-

Dean: Because they basically have no babies there, ya know-

Gongol: That's part of the problem.

Dean: They're losing their population.

Gongol: Yeah, and Vladimir Putin is saying, "Well, we can't let that happen. We can't let Americans adopt Russian babies anymore." And that's, I can't even begin to get into that.

Dean: We're talking about a brain drain there, ya know.

Gongol: It is. It's truly a brain drain. They've got a huge problem. They really do. They have a huge national problem that they're going to have to deal with, but this is a global problem that they're talking about the, a decrease in connectedness of the global economy in the last few years. Every time the world goes through a major systemic disruption like we did, and it happened back in the days of the Great Depression. It happens during World Wars, ya know, and things like that. There is a contraction in the amount of international trade because everybody turns nativist. Everybody starts saying, "Well, we're better than they are. We're only going to deal with us." It's us versus them. Us versus the world. That's how is going to be, and that's not necessarily the healthiest thing for the world as a whole or for any of us as individuals but the problem is certain people have a whole lot of incentive to stand up there and demagogue about it and they get applause for it and they get votes for it even though that might not actually be the best thing for us overall. And, I'm not saying that every time international trade occurs or that every time we get more globalized that it's good for everybody. There are people who are hurt by those processes. There are people who benefit. The question is overall do we tend to be better off than we were without it, and overall we do tend to be better off with more trade. Overall we do tend to be better off when there's more exchange of ideas, people, goods, and services across borders. That does tend to make us better off, and if you don't believe that, where do you think all the soybeans and pork go from the state of Iowa? It's, they're not all staying here, and so we have to realize that there has to be some exchange there. There has to be some trade and overall it's going to tend to be good for us even if individual instances of it do hurt, and there are individual instances that do hurt. The shutdown of the Maytag plant hurt, and it hurt Newton. There's no question that that hurt and it was obvious that it hurt. The problem is there is an incentive then for somebody to stand up in front of a crowd of people and say, "I can keep it from hurting again. We'll just stop trading with other people." And, they're wrong because overall, in the aggregate that makes us worse off and that's just not a healthy thing, and that's unfortunate. Now on the "Yay Capitalism, Baby" side of things, another bit of research came out that's suggesting the connection between rising incomes around the world and longer healthier life spans. No big surprise but it's always nice to have firm evidence that backs up the point that When we talk about making money and having fun here, as God given rights, as they declare in the Declaration of Independence, it's also a real rubber meets the road kind of thing. It makes people better off. It makes their live healthier, and happier, and that ultimately is the best reward of all. So, we should really be interested in that. Merry Christmas to you. We'll see you right before the New Year, next Sunday night here at Newsradio 1040 WHO.