Think about the headline question at a personal level and also how you think the average person might answer.
Image from YouTube video below.
In answer to my lead question, I would expect a huge variety of opinions including but not limited to: Inflation, putting food on the table, rent, student loans, US debt, rising deficits, Social Security running out of money, broken political system, care of a sick or dying loved one, climate change, Trump, Biden, gas prices, crime, education, employment, unaffordable housing, saving for retirement, the UAW strike, auto repairs, home repairs, the cost of an auto, lack of saving, finding a job after college, credit card debt, and gasoline prices.
That’s over 20 legitimate concerns off the top of my head. Assistance to Ukraine as the #1 top priority is one thing that would not have crossed my mind until I saw this Tweet.
It's interesting that a politician is telling the people what their interest is… it really is mindblowing just how out of touch these politicians are.— Klay Thompson (@Thompsonklay) September 27, 2023
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says “Providing assistance for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans“.
Would assistance to Ukraine be your number one priority? Top 10? Top 20? On your list at all?
Q: Are politicians that seriously out of touch with what people’s concerns are?
A: Of course they are.
It’s not just McConnell, or Republicans, or Democrats. It’s the whole stinking collective lot of them.
They all make decisions based on their priorities, not yours, often based on which donors are giving them the most money for their election campaigns.
CBO Debt to GDP Estimates
Debt-to-GDP image from the Congressional Budget Office, annotations by Mish.
Debt to GDP Alarm Bells Ring, Neither Party Will Solve This
On September 7, I commented Debt to GDP Alarm Bells Ring, Neither Party Will Solve This
US Debt held by the public is soaring out of sight. It’s even worse than it looks for reasons I explain.
Yet, despite deficit spending and the national debt being enormous problems, I wonder how they would rate in a national poll.
The last concern of those struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, take care of elderly parents, pay down credit card or student debt, or pay the bills in general, is sending $100 billion and counting to Ukraine.
No One Will Fix This
Compromise is always more spending for this in return for more spending on that.
Bnd both parties want to spend more on the military.
“Neither party will fix the deficits. Neither party will do anything about mounting debt. No one will do anything about anything because the political system is totally broken.” Mish
Fighting the Surveillance State Begins with the Individual
It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in…
Forget Ron DeSantis: Walt Disney has a much bigger problem
The company’s political woes are a sideshow to the one key issue Bob Iger has to solve.
Walt Disney has a massive, but solvable, problem.
The company's current skirmishes with Florida Gov. DeSantis get a lot of headlines, but they're not having a major impact on the company's bottom line.
DeSantis has made Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report a target in what he calls his war on woke, an effort to win right-wing support as he tries to secure the Republican Party nomination for president.
That effort has generated plenty of press and multiple lawsuits tied to the governor's takeover of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney's legislated self-governance operation. But it has not hurt revenue at the company's massive Florida theme-park complex.
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger addressed the matter during the company's third-quarter-earnings call, without directly mentioning DeSantis.
"Walt Disney World is still performing well above precovid levels: 21% higher in revenue and 29% higher in operating income compared to fiscal 2019," he said.
And "following a number of recent changes we've implemented, we continue to see positive guest-experience ratings in our theme parks, including Walt Disney World, and positive indicators for guests looking to book future visits."
The theme parks are not Disney's problem. The death of the movie business is, however, a hurdle that Iger has yet to show that the company has a plan to clear.
Disney needs a plan to monetize content
In 2019 Walt Disney drew in more $11 billion in global box office, or $13 billion when you add in the former Fox properties it also owns. In that year seven Mouse House films crossed the billion-dollar threshold in theaters, according to data from Box Office Mojo.
This year, the company will struggle to reach half that and it has no billion-dollar films, with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" closing its theatrical run at $845 million globally.
(That's actually good for third place this year, as only "Barbie" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" have broken the billion-dollar mark and they may be the only two films to do that this year.)
In the precovid world Disney could release two Pixar movies, three Marvel films, a live-action remake of an animated classic, and maybe one other film that each would be nearly guaranteed to earn $1 billion at the box office.
That's simply not how the movie business works anymore. While theaters may remain part of Disney's plan to monetize its content, the past isn't coming back. Theaters may remain a piece of the movie-release puzzle, but 2023 isn't an anomaly or a bad release schedule.
Consumers have big TVs at home and they're more than happy to watch most films on them.
Disney owns the IP but charges too little
People aren't less interested in Marvel and Star Wars; they're just getting their fix from Disney+ at an absurdly low price.
Over the past couple of months through the next few weeks, I will have watched about seven hours of premium Star Wars content and five hours of top-tier Marvel content with "Ahsoka" and "Loki" respectively.
Before the covid pandemic, I gladly would have paid theater prices for each movie in those respective universes. Now, I have consumed about six movies worth of premium content for less than the price of two movie tickets.
By making its premium content television shows available on a service that people can buy for $7.99 a month Disney has devalued its most valuable asset, its intellectual property.
Consumers have shown that they will pay the $10 to $15 cost of a movie ticket to see what happens next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars galaxy. But the company has offered top-tier content from those franchises at a lower price.
Iger needs to find a way to replace billions of dollars in lost box office, but charging less for the company's content makes no sense.
Now, some fans likely won't pay triple the price for Disney+. But if it were to bundle a direct-to-consumer ESPN along with content that currently gets released to movie theaters, Disney might create a package that it can price in a way that reflects the value of its IP.
Consumers want Disney's content and they will likely pay more for it. Iger simply has to find a way to make that happen.
Get investment guidance from trusted portfolio managers without the management fees. Sign up for Action Alerts PLUS now.governor
Stock Market Today: Stocks turn higher as Treasury yields retreat; big tech earnings up next
A pullback in Treasury yields has stocks moving higher Monday heading into a busy earnings week and a key 2-year bond auction later on Tuesday.
- Get investment guidance from trusted portfolio managers without the management fees. Sign up for Action Alerts PLUS now.