Air Logistics

Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal on Economy, Trucking Industry

shipping containers

Between a shipping container shortage and a pipeline hack, our supply chain seems as delicate as ever.

Ted S. Warren/AP

Hello Modes readers!

Here is my full conversation with Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal. You probably know him as @TheStalwart on Twitter or as the co-host of Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast. I was excited when Joe accepted my offer to get on the phone and talk about trucking and non-trucking topics. Here’s our conversation.

Beer is bad

Rachel: I wanted to start with something completely unrelated to trucking or freight. You’re one of the few people who agreed with my take that beer is bad, it seems. And I just wanted to say thanks for taking the right side on this.

Joe: Wait, wait. What was the thing that I agreed with?

Rachel: So I tweeted that there is no way that anyone actually likes beer, and you retweeted that-

Joe: Yeah, oh my God.

Rachel: And it kind of went viral, which was both good and bad.

Joe: Beer is foul. Beer is foul, and I want it on the record that I agree. My view in general is that I think most alcohol is just really foul. But yeah, beer sucks because it doesn’t taste good and it fills you up and makes you feel gross.

The costs of allowing the economy to falter

Rachel: I guess going back to the topic, I feel like you’re always one of the first to speak out on what’s going to be the driving conversation for the next few weeks. You were one of the first to speak out on lumber. When the yield curve inverted, I think I learned about it through your Twitter feed and through your coverage. And obviously you have the Bloomberg Terminal at your hands, but how generally do you spot these trends so early? And what’s your secret behind that?

Joe: Well, it’s very flattering to say that I spot them early, because I’m not often sure that I do, but I appreciate your saying it. I feel like I try to take in a broad range of news sources. I try to consume a lot.

But also, I think I have a framework for how I think about these things. Even going back to last year, during the worst of the COVID crisis, it became apparent to me that the essential challenge was how do we maintain economic capacity so that when the lights come back on and we all go back outside and we resume a normal life, we have an economy to use. It’s like, “Okay, it’s great. Everyone wants to go back out to restaurants, but that doesn’t get us very far if the PPP hadn’t happened and we had let more restaurants collapse.” That seemed like the intuitive thing.

People always talk about, “Well, how are we going to pay for this? How are we going to pay for all this spending?” I’ve always thought that that was exactly backwards. When you look at everything, what we ended up paying for very severely is the downturns.

And I remember this was very stark in the Eurozone crisis in, say, 2010 and 2011. It seemed like this thing where we’re like, “Oh, well. We have to save money. Like posterity. We have to get our books balanced for some reason.”

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