Too Big To Disappear

S1: So to be clear, in terms of the news here. Yeah, France recalled its ambassador to the United States because and this is like where I was headed the. French were the people who had the contract to build the in the previous version of the Australian submarine. This is a massive contract. This is like a $50 billion contract, which is just insanely enormous given that the entire population of Australia is like 25 million. Right. So like, it’s a huge amount of money that Australia’s wanting to spend on submarines, and it was going to be spending it all on French submarines, you know, conventionally powered French submarines. The French do make nuclear subs, but this was a contract for diesel subs. And then the Americans and the Australians basically said the problem with diesel subs is they’re too noisy and the Chinese will be able to hear them. And there’s no point in having the submarines, which are, by their nature, meant to be super stealthy things that China knows exactly where they are because they’re so noisy, because the diesel. So we’re going to make nuclear ones instead. And then they did this deal to build nuclear subs, which France didn’t even have the opportunity to pitch for, like, well, we can make you nuclear ones. Instead, it just went straight to the US and the UK.

S3: That kind of goes back to what we were saying before. Like we thought Tony Blinken and Joe Biden were so good at international relations. Yet according to the reporting that I’ve read, like they didn’t even give friends a heads up on this, which seems like an unforced error.

S1: Yeah, I think they I mean, reading between the lines, they basically they were talking to Australia and they’re like Australia. You’re going to tell the French and the Australians are, yeah, we’re going to tell the French and then Australia just never told the French.

S3: That’s like something that’s a mistake that I’ve made, like at a new job where you’re like, Oh, we’re supposed to fill in legal on this and you only figure that out after, but no one’s compliance.

S2: This is like

S3: an 80 year old president who’s been like doing foreign relations for decades and stuff. So it’s quite puzzling to me that this happened. It’s not the usual kind of blunder that you would expect the administration to make, but it

S1: is the kind of move that you would expect from, like global hegemonic that doesn’t really care about relations with Europe, as is the, you know, the decision to pull out of Afghanistan without telling the Brits, you know, but they’ve managed to piss off a bunch of people? Necessarily.

S2: Well, and it’s interesting. So the Brits are pissed, the French rapist. And so of course, now they’re talking to each other because they’re both like, we’re both annoyed with those Americans again. One of the the headlines I saw this morning is that, you know, Johnson and Merkel said they’ve reaffirmed the importance of the UK France relationship.

S3: So the New York Times The Daily podcast had, you know, an episode on the whole incident, and they basically said, what you two have already hinted at on state money here today is that like Europe’s just not that important anymore. Womp, womp. That era is is ending, and these are the signs. I think that’s

S1: true.

S2: OK, well, all right. European listeners of Slate Money, please email us. I mean,

S1: the European Union, you know, has a bigger economy than the United States, has more people in the United States. You know, it’s a very important part of the global economy. And yeah, it does seem that the U.S. administration is totally taking that for granted, which I guess probably they can. What is Europe going to do about it? Right.

S3: Like, they’re not going to do war or anything.

S1: Yeah, exactly. They’re not going to do what they do. Well, Europe is not going to invade the United States.

S2: It’s quite glad that Europe isn’t going to do war. Like I don’t think I can handle waking up and somebody is like, Well, here’s a war. I’m really not suffered enough in 2021.

S3: Are they like, you know, like the retired veterans who are kind of cranky but ultimately not so significant, you know that they’ll just live in life and they want you to give them respect, but they’re kind of just hobbling along.

S1: Stacey, you’re the international markets. What is the like realpolitik geopolitical reason why, you know, Tony Blinken should actually put a bunch of effort into being nice to Europe? What would America get back out of that?

S2: Well, they’ll get the good parties again. There is that, but no. So I think one of one of the things that is I am very interested in the Caribbean and Latin America and over the past, you know, I suppose decades at this point, depending on how you want, you want to look at this like the relationship between LATAM and the U.S. has been, yeah, fraught, adversarial, sort of quasi colonial. And in that space, the you’ve had quite a lot of financial and diplomatic intervention from China, right? You know, there was a period in which everyone was talking about, Hey, you know, China’s funding, really interesting infrastructure projects in various countries in Africa. They’ve been doing the same thing in Lausanne, in the Caribbean for quite a long time. And I think that if either the U.S. or Europe are actually committed to that sense of a realignment of either of those folks perceive other countries to be a threat, I do think they need to be doing a better. Her job of kind of cultivating between themselves, the relationships with other countries who, you know, I think the Caribbean and Latin perspective on Europe is except for the ones where there was a more recent history of colonialism, slightly less tense than it sometimes relates to the U.S. politically. And if I’m thinking about this in terms of like, where do we want to be in 20 or 25 years, which is why I’m not in government. I do think that the U.S. restoring or at least taking Europe seriously has kind of potential knock on effects in other parts of the world,

S1: which I think is a good place to to leave it on that kind of, you know, big picture geopolitical lens on the whole thing. So we have a numbers realm. Sure. Yeah. Or that you support the theory of a No. Of.

S3: Yeah. Yeah, it seems to be a successful feature of slate money.

S1: I will start why New York is this one came out of the Axios Closer newsletter, which is the one that comes out in the afternoons. Written by Courtney Brown, 1.2 trillion is the quarterly increase in dollars in the amount of wealth in America, just from real estate appreciation. This is a record. Americans became one point two trillion dollars richer in the last quarter. Just by the house is going up in value.

S2: Americans, so Americans own homes.

S1: Wow. Yes. Which is what is it? I think it’s about 60 percent of Americans own her.

S2: Congratulations to homeowners.

S1: Congratulations all you homeowners. You are now multi-trillion heirs. Wow. That’s a record which I just want to mention, like home wealth has never increased that fast in the history of America, not even during what we think of as the housing bubble in the mid-2000s.

S3: Let’s make sure to include that in the show notes, because I want to read the whole thing from Courtney Axiom, OK? My home has increased in value and I’m like, OK, well, so what? I still have to live here.

S1: Right? It feels like a liability rather than an asset when you’re in it, right? Because you have to pay to fix it, you have to pay your mortgage. Yeah. Just like the thing about living in the house is that it doesn’t feel like you’re wealthy. It feels like you’re having to keep on shelling out cash.

S3: Oh yeah, I mean, right now I’m like, Where is the dryer guy? Our dryer has been broken for weeks and we can’t get the part. We need to fix it because of Hurricane Ike and climate because of supply chains. Apparently, the warehouse fell down in the flooding or something. And yeah, I don’t feel I don’t feel any richer. Your house poor.

S2: I guess as a renter, I have no comment.

S3: I could segue into my number. I think, Yeah, do.

S1: What’s your number?

S3: My number is $400000.

S1: That is how how much the value of your house is going up.

S3: No, honey. That’s how much Congress says you have to make to be a rich person

S2: in any state.

S3: In the United States. The proposed tax changes basically say a wealthy individual is someone who earns $400000 a year or a couple with four hundred and fifty thousand a year an annual income.

S1: This is a Biden thing, right? Biden made the promise on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400000 a year. So the pay falls when people are trying to work out how to come up with three and a half trillion dollars to pay for the infrastructure bill. Everyone’s contorting themselves to try and make sure that no one earning less than 400000 gets their taxes increased.

S3: So I wanted to ask our listeners because there’s this piece in the Times talking about this from last week in which a financial psychologist is quoted as saying that the definition of rich is subjective and that $400000 is super arbitrary and might make you rich and middle America, but won’t make you, you know, rich on the coasts. And then, of course,

S1: you rich on that.

S2: Come on.

S1: Mean, what does he say? Erika, there’s no way in America that four hundred thousand four hundred thousand is actually the new 250000. Right? Yes. It used to be that two hundred and fifty thousand was like the like if there was any broadly agreed upon. No, no. The point at which, OK, you are now rich. It was 250000. And now some point there has been sort of rich inflation and now it’s gone up to 400000. But yeah, like if someone wants to try and write in and say, Look, I’m earning 400000 and I write us and sending my kids to private school and I have a second right, I say, take vacations and I’m maxing out my four one guy and I have all of this wealth. But I can tell you it doesn’t feel like I’m rich, you know? Fuck off, of course.

S2: These are problems I wouldn’t mind having, frankly.

S3: What is the email address? Late money like I. I want to hear from you. Are you struggling to get by on 400000 subject line?

S2: I’m rich, but

S1: Stacy, what’s your number?

S2: Four thousand six hundred seventy six. That is. The number of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, oh, called timepieces that Time magazine attempted to sell recently, but you know, the hook obviously was that, yes, an NFT, you can get in on this and of course, you also get a subscription to Time magazine. But they got booted, so they they had tried to implement some protections in place so that during the sale, you know, they wouldn’t suddenly just get bots. And for those of you who are not deeply in the weeds of NFT, you can think about this like in terms of eBay, like when you get sniped at the last second, you think you have an auction, you’re there and somebody like five cents higher than you. It’s a very similar thing. So everybody who thought they were going to be able to buy an NFT of the original price of $310 did not, and there was a point in the secondary market when these things were trading. I think as much as ninety nine thousand five hundred dollars because of all of the sniping activity against Time magazine.

S1: Does that mean that Time magazine made even more money from selling these things than anticipated?

S2: This is actually a great question. So one of the things I’m trying to figure out is whether time was at all participating in the secondary markets. This is kind of like an IPO question or if they really only made money on the initial sales.

S1: But with the initial sales all done it like a set $310 price or with it was that an auction.

S2: The initial sales were their goal was for them to beat us at $300000 prize. All of those got swipes up in minutes and then they were trading on the secondary market at up to ninety five bucks. Shortly after,

S3: Kevin Roose managed to make a lot of money off his the Danny do an NFT or something, it

S1: was sold for half a million or something.

S3: Yes, they donated to charity. I’m telling you this time I’m going to do money tide.

S1: No time is pocketing it. I mean,

S2: yeah, well, I mean, one

S3: of the way to fund the journalism these days, I guess

S2: one of the interesting things about the way that sniping works is in order to jump the queue as it were, you have to be like transaction fees. And I think Business Insider had a line that one of the folks who did buy 10 timepieces, the original ish price ended up paying $60000 in line cutting and transaction fees associated with that acquisition.

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