No Obamacare: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey plans to open private office for employees to get free healthcare

Glenn has had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Whole Foods over the years (let us not forget the story about the torture of lobsters during transport), but he has always had a tremendous amount of respect for Whole Foods co-CEO, John Mackey.

Mackey is a libertarian at heart, who has managed to gain favor with the left and the right because of his tremendous business sense and the company he has created. Glenn has been talking a lot about the “Golden Circle” lately – the idea that it is the ‘why’ not the ‘what’ that matters most in business. Mackey’s latest book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, tackles these themes and explains the importance of capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit.

On radio this morning, Glenn interviewed Mackey about his latest book and the business model that has made Whole Foods so successful. View the full transcript of the interview below:

GLENN: Hi, John. How are you?

MACKEY: Very well. How are you doing?

GLENN: I'm really good. I'm thrilled to see someone stand up for capitalism, but a different kind of capitalism that I think is what we all want capitalism to be. Too many people are not doing it.

MACKEY: Yes. Capitalism is the greatest creation humanity has done for social cooperation. It has lifted humanity out of the dirt. In statistics we discovered when we researching the book, about 200 years ago when capitalism was created, 85% of the people alive lived on $1 a day. Toady, that number is 16%. Still too high, but capitalism is wiping out poverty across the world. 200 years ago illiteracy rates were 90%. Today, they are down to about 14%. 200 years ago the average lifespan was 30. Today it is 68 across the world, 78 in the States, almost 82 in Japan. This is due to business. This is due to capitalism. And it doesn’t get credit for it. Most of the time, business is portrayed by its enemies as selfish and greedy and exploitative, yet it's the greatest value creator in the world.

GLENN: I've been reading a lot of 19th century history, especially around Edison, and Tesla, and GE. There is – there was back then, and there is now, the greedy capitalist that doesn't care, and then there's the capitalist that does care, the Westinghouse of the day that is trying to do the right thing and sees his product as something with value, sells it at a proper price but is trying to create something of real value and holds to his principles. When that happens you have happy employees; you have happy customers; and you create value all around. However, even in today's world, look at what the symbol of the person that represents capitalism, at least if you're a conservative, I guess would be Donald Trump. That doesn't seem like happiness at all. The ‘why’ is: my name is in gold and I've got a whole bunch of money in the end.

MACKEY: Business is judged, unfortunately, by its worst actors. There are greedy doctors too, and there are plenty of greedy lawyers. There are bad actors in every profession. Business tends to be judged by its very worst practitioners: the Enrons, the World Coms, and the Bernie Madoff's. And they are the ones that capture the media's attention, and it's extended to all of business. Most business people though are ethical, and they create value for their customers, for their employees, for their suppliers, their investors, and the communities they are a part of. Business is fundamentally about voluntary exchange for mutual benefit. And it shouldn't be judged by its worst actors any more than all doctors should be slandered because a doctor misdiagnosed a disease or took out the wrong kidney. That doesn’t mean all are bad. That means there are a few that are. I think that is the same way in business.

GLENN: The name of the book by John Mackey is Conscious Capitalism. Tell me the difference – you talk about it here – but can you sum it up – the difference between what you're talking about and corporate social responsibility.

MACKEY: The biggest difference between corporate social responsibility and conscious capitalism is corporate social responsibility takes the standard sort of profit centric model of the purpose of business is to maximize profits, and then it grafts on to what it calls corporate social responsibility, which is usually a department that reports through public relations and marketing in an attempt to help the brand image of the company. It may just be skin deep. It may not have any authenticity to it, whereas conscious capitalism starts with the principle of creating a business having a higher purpose than just making money and creating value for all of its interdependent state holders, which includes the community. So creating value for stake holders including the community is at the essence of the conscious business or the conscious capitalistic company. It’s not an add on. It's not grafted on. It's why the business exists in the first place. That's the biggest difference.

GLENN: I have – the Ayn Rand people have a problem with me, and I don’t have a problem with the Ayn Rand people, they have a problem with me because I believe in charity, and I believe in doing good. But I don't believe in forcing anybody. That’s why I have a problem with a lot of our tax structure. You're forcing me to do it, and it doesn't change my heart in a good way. It changes my heart in a bad way. I lived in New York for a while. You eventually end up saying, ‘Why isn’t the city taking care of this?’ instead of you doing it. You know the Ayn Rand philosophy is much of just the greed is good and go make it because you want to do it, and you want to build something, and it only belongs to you. Where I think if you are doing part of that – if you are following that, you are following your passion. Your passion is because you want to it but also because it is doing something good. That's where the real magic happens.

MACKEY: I tend to – on this particular discussion I happen to side with you on it.

GLENN: Hang on just a second.

MACKEY: A lot of the Ayn Rand people don’t like me either for a similar reason. But I admire Ayn Rand’s novels a great deal.

GLENN: So do I.

MACKEY: They are wonderful novels and had an impact on me particularly when I was younger. But I think she is fundamentally wrong when she makes a distinction between the kind of a straw man that people are completely self-interested or they're altruistic. It seems obvious to me that humans are both self-interested but we also care about others. We also have ideals. We also want to do good. And so I don't see it. She's fundamentally, I think, wrong. Glenn when you consider the fact that Gallup shows that the overall approval rating of big business in America is down to 19%. That means 81% do not approve of it. So I think when you say it’s all about selfishness and greed then you have basically fallen into the – you’re reinforcing the critics perspective and it’s harming the overall brand image and reputation of business in the world. Business is about creating value for other people and voluntary exchange. It is the greatest value creator in the world. It's what's making all the different. But if we are going to let it be portrayed as fundamentally selfish and greedy, we’ve already lost the argument before we even begin it.

GLENN: There's no problem with making money. If you are in the banking or Wall Street industry, at the end of your days you can say, ‘I helped create business. I helped lift people out of poverty.’ But the creation of money in and of itself – money is a tool. It’s not a destination. It's a vehicle.

MACKEY: I agree.

GLENN: And too many people don't understand that.

MACKEY: The money is produced through exchange, through voluntary exchange. You create value. You create goods and services that other people voluntarily buy because it is in your best interest to do so. You usually have competition for their money and their time, and their energy. If you're producing a profit, it’s because – and I'm not saying there's not crooked businesses out there, but they are rare and not the most common ones. If you produce money it’s because you've created value for others and they've exchanged with you. Your profit is justly earned through the creation of value for other people.

GLENN: I will tell you John, when I first saw Whole Foods, I didn't go into your store. I think I rolled my eyes when I first saw your store because I thought, ‘oh is this the new marketing thing now? Oh look at us.’ I think that’s the problem with business now. We've been marketed to our whole life. If you were born past 1950, you've been marketed to your entire life. And so you can spot a fraud now really pretty fast. And everybody seems to be a fraud, and I think that the media, and way we spin stories and everything else tends to make everybody a fraud. Over time all I had to do was walk into one of your stores you can feel the difference. You can tell when a company means it and when it's just a show. And that is extraordinarily difficult to do.

MACKEY: Well, thank you. I do think that the world and people today, you are absolutely right, we have been marketed to. We’ve been spun to. It's one of the reasons we have trouble liking most of our politicians. We don't feel like they're telling us the truth. We always feel like they are telling us, they are spinning to us, they are deceiving us. Politicians do that. Advertisers do it. There's a strong desire for basic authenticity, for basic integrity, and truth telling. And we want that in our products. We want that in with the businesses we trade with. We like to have it with our politicians. I do think Whole Foods is very authentic. I appreciate you for recognizing that.

GLENN: I've got two issues, if you don’t mind me having a private session with you here for a second. I have two issues. One, I refuse to dump my employees into government healthcare because it stinks, and I don't even want to dump my employees into cheaper healthcare. I currently pay 100% of the deductible. They don't put anything in it. We have the best healthcare money can buy. But it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult for me to do that. I want to think out of the box. I've told my employees if it comes down to it, if I can I'll build my own damn hospital and hire our own doctors. But we have to think out of the box. A, do you know anything on the horizon that is good for healthcare that is reasonable. Two, how do you move a company and make sure that it stays on that course as it grows? Six years ago we had six employees, and I think we're approaching 300 employees now and it's extraordinarily difficult especially in a fast growth business to hold that culture down. How do you do it?

MACKEY: It's very challenging. And it's good you're asking these questions. First on that – we’ll get back to the culture in a second – I applaud you for your idea. It’s interesting you say that about the hospital. Whole Foods is going to do a similar experiment. We’re going to open a doctor's office in L.A. that will be free for all of our team members and their dependants.

GLENN: That is exactly what we are thinking.

MACKEY: And if that works, we're going to spread it to other cities around the country, where we have our stores.

GLENN: May we watch and learn from you?

MACKEY: Sure, we believe that 80% of what we spend on healthcare in America are for diseases like heart disease and stroke and obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, and they really correlate very closely with what people eat, and the type of lifestyle we live. So the best way we can cut healthcare costs and help our people to be healthier is to help educate them and teach them. We can't force them, and we don’t want to force them. But we want to help educate them to eat healthier, and have a healthier lifestyle. We think that will be beneficial to people's health, and cut down on healthcare expenses so it's a win win. We think we need to do that best with doctors. With doctors that people trust and they know, and will tend to all of their medical needs while we're trying to educate them. We're going to do that experiment. I’m pretty excited about it. We’ve got our office located. We've hired our doctor. We'll be getting going on that in a month or two.

GLENN: Good for you. Good for you.

MACKEY: So good luck with your hospital.

GLENN: Thank you very much. Well, we’ll probably start with one doctor in an office.

MACKEY: Your second question was about culture, and how do you maintain that culture as you rapidly grow. I think it's important that you create what your own higher purpose is for your organization, and make sure everybody knows that. You’re the entrepreneur, so you may have a vision but you've got to be able to communicate what that vision is and get other people to understand it and share it. And then you need to consciously begin to create the culture that will reinforce that purpose. Decide the cultural traits that your organization needs to have. We write about that in the book. Things like empowerment and love and care trying to manage without fear are very important culture traits, and so you have to pay attention to that because if you don't your culture will get created anyway, and it may not be the way you want it to be in terms of the goals you want to see your organization achieve. It's good that you're becoming more conscious about culture, and if you're conscious about it you can act in ways to help your organization flourish.

GLENN: John, it's a real pleasure to talk to you. And I applaud you for what your company has done. I applaud your stance on capitalism, and applaud you for your book on trying to awaken more entrepreneurs and more capitalists. Capitalism has to be saved and the only way to do it is to actually start to highlight those people who are doing it right and proving that it is the greatest system for compassion in the history of the world.

MACKEY: Thank you Glenn. Interesting statistic that I don't know if your listeners know about it, but Of course the United States for the longest time had the highest degree of economic freedom in the world. In as short a period of time ago as 2000, we ranked number 3 behind Hong Kong and Singapore. Now in 2012 we fell down to number 18.

GLENN: Geez.

MACKEY: And as our economic freedom declines so does our prosperity – 7.9 percent unemployment. In the last decade we've actually seen for the first time in American history, the disposable income per capita actually declined. It’s the first time over a ten year period. We're losing our economic freedom and with it our prosperity. I think the first step is for business to begin to defend itself in a more cogent way, and that starts with purpose, and stake holder philosophy, and those are the principles we outline in the book.

GLENN: John. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

MACKEY: Thank you so much, Glenn.

GLENN: God bless. Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the heroic spirit of business. A must, must read by John Mackey. Available everywhere. Finally somebody with some clout is doing it.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

RELATED: You'll Never Guess Who Wrote the Racist Message Targeting Black Air Force Cadets

“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."

What happened?

MSNBC's Katy Tur didn't bother to hide her pro-gun control bias in an interview with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the wake of the Santa Fe High School killings.

RELATED: Media Are Pushing Inflated '18 School Shootings' Statistic. Here Are the Facts.

What did she ask?

As Pat pointed out while sitting in for Glenn on today's show, Tur tried to “badger" Paxton into vowing that he would push for a magical fix that will make schools “100 percent safe." She found it “just wild" that the Texas attorney general couldn't promise that schools will ever be completely, totally safe.

“Can you promise kids in Texas today that they're safe to go to school?" Tur pressured Paxton.

“I don't think there's any way to say that we're ever 100 percent safe," the attorney general responded.

What solutions did the AG offer?

“We've got a long way to go," Paxton said. He listed potential solutions to improve school safety, including installing security officers and training administrators and teachers to carry a gun.

Pat's take:

“Unbelievable," Pat said on today's show. “Nobody can promise [100 percent safety]."

Every president from George Washington to Donald Trump has issued at least one executive order (with the exception of William Harrison who died just 31 days into his presidency) and yet the U.S. Constitution doesn't even mention executive orders. So how did the use of this legislative loophole become such an accepted part of the job? Well, we can thank Franklin Roosevelt for that.

Back at the chalkboard, Glenn Beck broke down the progression of the executive order over the years and discussed which US Presidents have been the “worst offenders."

RELATED: POWER GRAB: Here's how US presidents use 'moments of crisis' to override Constitutional law

“It's hard to judge our worst presidential overreachers on sheer numbers alone," said Glenn. “However, it's not a shock that FDR issued by far the most of any president."

Our first 15 presidents issued a combined total of 143. By comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3721, more than twice the next runner up, Woodrow Wilson, at 1803.

“Next to FDR, no other president in our history attempted to reshape so much of American life by decree, until we get to this guy: President Obama," Glenn explained. “He didn't issue 3000, or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having 'significant economic or social impacts.' That's 50 percent more regulations than George W. Bush's presidency — and remember, everybody thought he was a fascist."

President Obama blamed an obstructionist Congress for forcing him to bypass the legislative process. By executive order, President Obama decreed the U.S. join the Paris Climate Accord, DACA, the Clean Power Plan and transgender restrooms. He also authorized spying in US citizens through section 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military action in Libya without Congressional permission.

All of these changes were accepted by the very people who now condemn President Trump for his use of executive orders — many of which were issued to annul President Obama's executive orders, just as President Obama annulled President Bush's executive orders when he took office … and therein lies the rub with executive orders.

“That's not the way it's supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be," said Glenn. “We have to have the Constitution and laws need to originate in Congress."

Watch the video above to find out more.

Six months ago, I alerted readers to the very attractive benefits that the TreasuryDirect program offers to investors who are defensively sitting on cash right now.

Since then, those benefits have continued to improve. Substantially.

Back in November, by holding extremely conservative short-term (i.e., 6-months or less) Treasury bills, TreasuryDirect participants were receiving over 16x more in interest payments vs keeping their cash in a standard bank savings account.

Today, they're now receiving over 30 times more. Without having to worry about the risk of a bank "bail-in" or failure.

So if you're holding cash right now and NOT participating in the TreasuryDirect program, do yourself a favor and read on. If you're going to pass on this opportunity, at least make it an 'eyes-wide-open' decision.

Holding Cash (In Treasurys) Now Beats The Market

There are many prudent reasons to hold cash in today's dangerously overvalued financial markets, as we've frequently touted here at PeakProsperity.com.

Well, there's now one more good reason to add to the list: holding cash in short-term Treasurys is now meeting/beating the dividend returns offered by the stock market:

"Cash Is King" Again - 3-Month Bills Yield More Than Stocks (Zero Hedge)
'Reaching for yield' just got a lot easier...
For the first time since February 2008, three-month Treasury bills now have a yield advantage over the S&P; 500 dividend yield (and dramatically lower risk).
Investors can earn a guaranteed 1.90% by holding the 3-month bills or a risky 1.89% holding the S&P; 500...

The longest period of financial repression in history is coming to an end...

And it would appear TINA is dead as there is now an alternative.

And when you look at the total return (dividends + appreciation) of the market since the start of 2018, stocks have returned only marginally better than 3-month Treasurys. Plus, those scant few extra S&P; points have come with a LOT more risk.

Why take it under such dangerously overvalued conditions?

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

In my June report Less Than Zero: How The Fed Killed Saving, I explained how the Federal Reserve's policy of holding interest rates at record lows has decimated savers. Those who simply want to park money somewhere "safe" can't do so without losing money in real terms.

To drive this point home: back in November, the average interest rate being offered in a US bank savings account was an insutling 0.06%. Six months later, nothing has changed:

(Source

That's virtually the same as getting paid 0%. But it's actually worse than that, because once you take inflation into account, the real return on your savings is markedly negative.

And to really get your blood boiling, note that the Federal Reserve has rasied the federal funds rate it pays banks from 1.16% in November to 1.69% in April. Banks are now making nearly 50% more money on the excess reserves they park at the Fed -- but are they passing any of that free profit along to their depositors? No....

This is why knowing about the TreasuryDirect program is so important. It's a way for individual investors savvy enough to understand the game being played to bend some of its rules to their favor and limit the damage they suffer.

Below is an updated version (using today's rates) of my recap of TreasuryDirect, which enables you to get over 30x more interest on your cash savings than your bank will pay you, with lower risk.

TreasuryDirect

For those not already familiar with it, TreasuryDirect is a service offered by the United States Department of the Treasury that allows individual investors to purchase Treasury securities such as T-Bills, notes and bonds directly from the U.S. government.

You purchase these Treasury securities by linking a TreasuryDirect account to your personal bank account. Once linked, you use your cash savings to purchase T-bills, etc from the US Treasury. When the Treasury securities you've purchased mature or are sold, the proceeds are deposited back into your bank account.

So why buy Treasuries rather than keep your cash savings in a bank? Two main reasons:

  • Much higher return: T-Bills are currently offering an annualized return rate between 1.66-2.04%. Notes and bonds, depending on their duration, are currently offering between 2.6% - 3.1%
  • Extremely low risk: Your bank can change the interest rate on your savings account at any time -- with Treasury bills, your rate of return is locked in at purchase. Funds in a bank are subject to risks such as a bank bail-in or the insolvency of the FDIC depositor protection program -- while at TreasuryDirect, your funds are being held with the US Treasury, the institution with the lowest default risk in the country for reasons I'll explain more in a moment.

Let's look at a quick example. If you parked $100,000 in the average bank savings account for a full year, you would earn $60 in interest. Let's compare this to the current lowest-yielding TreasuryDirect option: continuously rolling that same $100,000 into 4-week T-Bills for a year:

  1. Day 1: Funds are transferred from your bank account to TreasuryDirect to purchase $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at auction yielding 1.68%
  2. Day 28: the T-Bills mature and the Treasury holds the full $100,000 proceeds in your TreasuryDirect account. Since you've set up the auto-reinvestment option, TreasuryDirect then purchases another $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at the next auction.
  3. Days 29-364: the process repeats every 4 weeks
  4. Day 365: assuming the average yield for T-Bills remained at 1.68%, you will have received $1,680 in interest in total throughout the year from the US Treasury.

$1,680 vs $60. That's a 27x difference in return.

And the comparison only improves if you decide to purchase longer duration (13-week or 26-week) bills instead of the 4-week ones:

Repeating the above example for a year using 13-week bills would yield $1,925. Using 26-week bills would yield $2,085. A lot better (34x better!) than $60.

Opportunity Cost & Default Risk

So what are the downsides to using TreasuryDirect? There aren't many.

The biggest one is opportunity cost. While your money is being held in a T-Bill, it's tied up at the US Treasury. If you suddenly need access to those funds, you have to wait until the bill matures.

But T-Bill durations are short. 4 weeks is not a lot of time to have to wait. (If you think the probability is high you may to need to pull money out of savings sooner than that, you shouldn't be considering the TreasuryDirect program.)

Other than that, TreasuryDirect offers an appealing reduction in risk.

If your bank suddenly closes due to a failure, any funds invested in TreasuryDirect are not in your bank account, so are not subject to being confiscated in a bail-in.

Instead, your money is held as a T-Bill, note or bond, which is essentially an obligation of the US Treasury to pay you in full for the face amount. The US Treasury is the single last entity in the country (and quite possibly, the world) that will ever default on its obligations. Why? Because Treasurys are the mechanism by which money is created in the US. Chapter 8 from The Crash Course explains:

As a result, to preserve its ability to print the money it needs to function, the US government will bring its full force and backing to bear in order to ensure confidence in the market for Treasurys.

Meaning: the US government won't squelch on paying you back the money you lent it. If required, it will just print the money it needs to repay you.

So, How To Get Started?

Usage of TreasuryDirect is quite low among investors today. Many are unaware of the program. Others simply haven't tried it out.

And let's be real: it's crazy that we live in a world where a 1.68-2.09% return now qualifies as an exceptionally high yield on savings. A lot of folks just can't get motivated to take action by rates that low. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't -- money left on the table is money forfeited.

So, if you're interested in learning more about the TreasuryDirect program, start by visiting their website. Like everything operated by the government, it's pretty 'no frills'; but their FAQ page addresses investors' most common questions.

Before you decide whether or not to fund an account there, be sure to discuss the decision with your professional financial advisor to make sure it fits well with your personal financial situation and goals. (If you're having difficulty finding a good one, consider scheduling a free discussion with PeakProsperity.com's endorsed financial advisor -- who has considerable experience managing TreasuryDirect purchases for many of its clients).

In Part 2: A Primer On How To Use TreasuryDirect, we lay out the step-by-step process for opening, funding and transacting within a TreasuryDirect account. We've created it to be a helpful resource for those self-directed individuals potentially interested in increasing their return on their cash savings in this manner.

Yes, we savers are getting completely abused by our government's policies. So there's some poetic justice in using the government's own financing instruments to slightly lessen the sting of the whip.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

NOTE: PeakProsperity.com does not have any business relationship with the TreasuryDirect program. Nor is anything in the article above to be taken as an offer of personal financial advice. As mentioned, discuss any decision to participate in TreasuryDirect with your professional financial advisor before taking action.