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January 10, 2019

Spoiler alert: a shut-down government costs more than an open one.
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Turns out, it’s expensive to shut the entire government down

If you’re reading this, you already know: The United States government is closed for business.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been furloughed, national parks have shuttered and, while the Border Patrol has stayed on the clock, they’re doing it pro bono, which certainly feels less secure than paid security.

But we’re not hear to talk politics. We’re here to talk money. And, as the NYT reports, closing the government actually costs more than keeping it open.

Maybe the government hates revenue?

Americans are still expected to file their income taxes by April 15, but the IRS has furloughed employees in charge of collecting back taxes, meaning the government will miss out on that revenue in the interim. 

It will also miss out on revenue from closures of national parks like Joshua Tree, which lost about $7m in revenue during the 2013 shutdown, among many others.

No money, no spending

The longer a shutdown lasts, the more it pulls at the thread of the economy, and with that comes more deficit.

A total of 800k federal workers will go unpaid through the end of the week (barring a miracle), which cuts into consumer spending. Those workers buy fewer cars, eat out less, sometimes miss rent — the list goes on.

Mind you, furloughed workers will eventually get paid for their government-mandated “sabbaticals.” According to a report commissioned by the Obama administration, employee back pay cost the government $2.5B during the 2013 shutdown (its highest cost) — and that only lasted 16 days (we’re currently at 20).

Clocks are still getting punched

While 9 out of 15 federal departments are closed, as well as dozens of agencies, about 75% of government services have kept the lights on.

More than 420k federal employees are working without pay, including agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA, and CBP, as well as staff from the State Department, Coast Guard, IRS, and Department of Homeland Security. 

Airports have also remained open, though there has been an odd hike in TSA agents calling out sick. Coincidence? Don’t make us say it.

Starting 2019 off with a bang
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Don’t buy that bulldog! The ‘puppy scam’ dashes the dreams of 10k dog lovers

The internet’s latest and greatest scam involves tricking people into paying for puppies that don’t exist. 

According to a blistering Buzzfeed News report, the Better Business Bureau received 10k puppy scam complaints in the past 3 years, and in 59% of cases, no doggos were delivered.

Internet scams are going to the dogs

In the course of the internet’s long and troubled history, a few scams have achieved legendary success: The timeless online dating scam, the classic ‘Nigerian prince scam,’ the ‘fake antivirus’ scam, and Facebook all come to mind.

But, thanks to a natural human weakness for puppy videos, the puppy scam has joined these ranks of rip-off royalty. 

“If you look at more than one or two [puppy sites], you’re going to run across a fraud site,” Steven Baker of the BBB told BuzzFeed. “It’s that bad.”

Hide your credit cards, hide your dog-loving mother-in-law

The scam works like this: Fake breeders lure people to imposter sites with false credentials. Then, after building attachment with fake videos, they trick buyers into paying upfront for dogs they’ve already fallen in love with. 

Victims often end up paying between $100 and $1K before they realized they’ve been tricked. 

   @ Me Anything
Conor Grant, News Writer at The Hustle
@conor_p_grant

How do you protect loved ones from barking up the wrong tree in these troubled times? Here’s our advice: If your new best friend looks suspiciously like that viral video you saw last week, don’t Venmo $2k to an anonymous account called @ScoobyDoo4U.
Show this thread
» Woof

Hoping for a skyscraper of a sale price, Abu Dhabi put the Chrysler Building up for sale

An iconic chunk of the New York City skyline, the Chrysler Building, is up for sale to the highest bidder.

The 89-year-old skyscraper last changed hands when its current owner, Abu Dhabi’s state investment fund, purchased a 90% stake for $800m in 2008. Now, a recession and a decade later, Abu Dhabi is hoping it can sell for even more.

More highs and lows for the Chrysler Building

Built in 1930, the 77-story tower was the tallest in the world for just 11 months before it was overshadowed by the Empire State Building.

The Chrysler family owned the building until 1953, and for the last 6 decades, banks, real estate tycoons, sports franchise owners, insurance companies, and Abu Dhabi have traded the building like a baseball card.

But the tower remains the 6th-tallest building in the Big Apple and the 9th most-recognizable building in America. Now that other old buildings have sold for top dollar, Abu Dhabi wants to cash in.

Vintage skyscrapers are suuuper trendy this season

Chicago’s iconic Willis (formerly Sears) Tower sold for $1.3B in 2015, and New York’s historic Waldorf Astoria sold for $1.95B the same year.

Last year, Google bought Chelsea Market, a building built in the 1890s where Oreos were invented and first produced, for $2.4B. 

Now, the Chrysler Building is a perfect piece of real estate for any tech giants that wants to go ‘retro.’

» Billionaire antique shopping

Harley-Davidson debuted its first all-electric motorcycle as the electric hog market revs

Harley-Davidson announced that it will begin taking preorders for its highly anticipated electric motorcycle, LiveWire, this fall and expects to have them on the road IRL by August.

And, for all you rough-ridin’ traditionalists worried that going electric may strip your street cred, Harley-Davidson released some specs that may bring you peace as you roll into Nazareth and take a load off that fanny.

“Motorin’ what’s your price for E-bikes?”

The LiveWire will rev from 0 to 60 in under 3.5 seconds, can travel 110 city miles on a single charge, and — for those who need that Harley rumble — will reportedly produce a “new signature sound.”

But it isn’t going to be cheap: The LiveWire’s list price starts at almost $30k, which is significantly more expensive than other electric motorcycles poppin’ wheelies into the market today.

For example, Zero (hailed as the “Tesla of motorcycles”), which starts north of $10k and has seen a compounded annual growth rate of about 40% each year since it hit the road in 2006.

Wild (and environmentally sustainable) Hogs

The motorcycle industry as a whole has struggled since the recession but, as emission standards change, demand for alternative transportation is expected to increase — hence H-D’s push into EV.

But it’s not just Harley. The moto market as a whole is accelerating, expected to grow nearly 42% by 2021, with around 40m units projected to be sold by 2023.

» A new meaning to biker gangs
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