If you talk to any nutritionist or doctor, they will tell you that sugar kills all of us. The introduction of heavily processed sugar this past century has diseased us with obesity. I’m addicted to Gatorade after every tennis match, while I’m sure many of you are addicted to cakes, cupcakes, soda and the likes. I went to Europe for two weeks this fall and gained 10 pounds, even though I worked out and walked eight miles every day because I couldn’t stop eating all-you-can eat lemon meringue pie! I might even have to get some lipo or a tummy tuck and spend a lot of money, given the price of such an operation.
If there was no sugar, or drastically less sugar in our diets, I strongly believe we’d all live healthier and happier lives. But, sugar is big business. Hostess Brands has been generating over $2.5 billion in revenue through the production of 500 million Twinkies and 127 million loaves of Wonder Bread every single year! Americans can’t get enough sugar, which is why we will all probably die prematurely if we don’t change.
Hostess Brands management decided to shutdown the firm after the 6,700 person baker’s union decided to go on strike. They were the sprinkle that deflated the Twinkie’s back. As a result, roughly 18,500 people will be at least temporarily out of work as a group of investment firms, lead by Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital, look to strip down the company and sell its assets to the highest bidder.
Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, its second trip to bankruptcy court since 2004. It previously emerged from restructuring in 2009 after a four-and-a-half year process. The workers blame management for their ineptitude as the company has been on decline for a long time. What about blaming themselves for not finding something new during this time period if they knew the ship had been sinking for so long?
EVERYTHING IS RATIONAL, OR IS IT?
The Baker’s Union rejected the latest rounds of concessions by management who called for another 20%+ cut in salaries, plus employees to shoulder more of the insurance burden. One worker revealed that his pay would have been cut from $34,000 to $25,000!
“My take-home would be less than unemployment benefits. Being on unemployment while we search for a new job, that’s a better choice than working these hours for poverty wages,” said another worker.
If unemployment is really better than working, then hell yeah, I’d risk going on strike to see if I could get better concessions. It sounds like to the 6,700 baker union members, they rolled the dice and won. Unfortunately, when a company enters bankruptcy, its workers might have a little harder time than those from a solvent company to collect unemployment, because its your company and state who pays!
The other problem is that the 6,700 bakers might not fully represent the entire 18,500 workforce. Some of the 18,500 inevitably would rather keep their jobs, albeit with lower pay and benefits, than enter the cold days of Winter unemployed. Very few companies hire workers during the 4th quarter because budgets have already been spent. And managers get the most bang for their hiring buck when they hire in the first quarter instead.
Unfortunately, you can’t produce Twinkies if you don’t have any bakers.
SOLUTIONS TO FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
* Rely on nobody but yourself. It’s very easy to rely on our jobs as the only source of income we’ll ever need for the rest of our lives. It’s easy to depend on government bailing us out, feed us benefits, and coddling us until we can stand on our own two feet. Instead, I encourage all of us to never rely on anybody or anything but ourselves. A job and the government are crutches that hurt us as soon as they go away. We are left with nothing but hopes and dreams.
* Build multiple income streams. While you are working, work on another income stream. After you’ve built one, build another, and another, and another. Streams of income can include dividends, interest, P2P lending, real estate, teaching, a second job, or online income. Build long enough and you’ll be amazed at the amount of side income you can produce.
* Pay attention to your company’s health. If your company you work for is publicly traded, listen to its quarterly earnings calls. Do web searches on the financial health and news of your employer too. If your company is private, pay close attention to the internal meetings and what’s happening across departments. Where are they expanding and contracting? Generally companies don’t suddenly go belly up. There is a series of unfortunate endogenous and exogenous events that happen beforehand. Start looking for another job as early as possible.
* Be aware of trends. There is a war on obesity in America right now. Mayor Bloomberg of NYC has banned megagulps, and San Francisco is forcing McDonalds to charge for toys in Happy Meals. Congress also plans to pass legislation that denies tax deductions for companies who sell unhealthy products to children. Transfat, sugar, and processed foods are out. Real foods are in! I left my job in 2012 after 13 years because I knew the financial services industry was only going to get worse for the next three years due to declining profits, higher capital requirements, and government oversight. I wanted to negotiate a nice severance package when I could, rather than get nothing later on.
* Cut out sugar. If it’s not obvious by now, cut out sugar and other processed food as much as possible! Well more than 75% of weight loss is due to a poor diet. You can work out all you want, but if you overeat, you will not lose weight. So much of health is about what we eat. You wouldn’t feed gobs of candy and layers of fat into your Ferrari now would you? Food products in America and around the world are overrun with sugar. Food companies know sugar is addicting, just like how Tobacco companies know their hundreds of chemicals are addicting. Replace that soda with water, or real fruit juice if you must.
TIME TO GO WORK OUT
We need to be constantly monitoring the situation around us to avoid getting blown up by landmines. Have you ever done a double take after stumbling across an old picture? What happened to me? Our self-correcting mechanisms make sure we don’t go too far. If we are not fully aware of our surroundings, then we run the risk of ending up financially and spiritually broken.
Sugar kills us all, but it tastes so good. Let’s go on strike against the truth for as long as possible until it’s too late.
Untemplaters, do you think sugar kills? Why don’t we stop eating sugar if we know it’s bad for us? Why didn’t more Hostess Brands employees try and find another job if they’ve known for over eight years the company was in financial trouble? Is it rational to say that the 6,700 bakers would rather not have jobs than have jobs?