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Build Back Better Dead? Interview with "Out of Office" Author Charlie Warzel; Interview with "Out of Office" Author Anne Helen Petersen; Interview with Singer Darlene Love Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 22, 2021 - 13:00:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I want to get things done. I still think there's a possibility of getting Build Back Better


GOLODRYGA (voice-over): President Biden fights to keep his signature piece of legislation alive, after Senator Manchin leaves it hanging by a thread.

I will ask Patrick Gaspard of the Center For American Progress if a Build Back Better deal is still possible.

Then: As concerns over an invasion into Ukraine reach a fever pitch, the U.S. and Russia agree to a first round of meetings in the new year. Could

de-escalation be on the horizon? We dive into Moscow's complicated relationship with NATO.


ANNE HELEN PETERSEN, AUTHOR, "OUT OF OFFICE": There's nothing that says that work has to happen between 9:00 to 5:00.

The authors of "Out of Office" tell Hari Sreenivasan how the pandemic is making us rethink the way we work.

And the pick-me-up we all need, the queen of Christmas, Darlene Love, on her incredible life and career.


GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

One of the first U.S. Senate votes in the new year will be on the Build Back Better Act, President Biden's signature social spending bill tackling

a range of issues, including child care costs and climate change. That vote is despite opposition by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who torpedoed the

key piece of Biden's domestic agenda this week.

On Tuesday, President Biden insisted that there is still hope, saying that he and Manchin will -- quote -- "get something done." The West Virginian

senator says he's been consistent for the last five months and that the bill will make inflation even worse. But Biden says it will lead to growth.

Meanwhile, a coal mining union in Manchin's home state wants him to reverse his opposition to the legislation. And the Center For American Progress as

Build Back Better would benefit West Virginians.

Well, joining me now to explain is the president and CEO of this progressive think tank, Patrick Gaspard.

Patrick, welcome to the program.

Before we get to your list in hoping to persuade West Virginians as to what's better for them economically, I caught you in another interview on a

different station today. And you seemed to be making lemons -- lemonade out of lemons, suggesting that, at least now, we know what Manchin wants. Are

you really that optimistic that a deal can be done, because he's been saying all along that he's been crystal clear on this?


And I am actually optimistic and hopeful. But as I said in that earlier interview, hopefulness is not a strategy. The reason why I'm optimistic is

that we finally have clarity from Senator Manchin. And he's told us exactly what he is for.

We have for months now heard what he's opposed to. But now we know he is for universal pre-K in this bill, he is for investing hundreds of billions

of dollars to fight against the impact of climate change. He's given us some real clarity on his determination to roll back the Trump tax cuts in

order to pay for the provisions in this bill.

And so there's a there's a pathway here to getting some extraordinarily important things done for the benefit of West Virginians and all Americans.

So that makes me optimistic. But, of course, we're going to have to dig into those details with Senator Manchin and the entire caucus.

I will also quickly add, Bianna, that there's also been a lot of talk about infighting in the Democratic Party and how progressives and moderates can't

agree. That's actually not the case. There's 99 percent agreement and a broadly shared consensus in the White House, in the Congress, in the

Senate, 70 percent approval from the American people on the provisions of this bill.

We have one senator who wasn't clear about where he stood, but now there's clarity and so we can get this done.

GOLODRYGA: Patrick, where have you been all this week? Because I'm sure you saw all the mudslinging that took place following that shocking news on

FOX News, where Senator Manchin said that he's tried as hard as he could, but he is a no on this bill.

GASPARD: Bianna, I can tell you where I have been the last few years. I have been in politics for quite some time now in the U.S., in Capitol Hill,

in the White House.

I was part of an administration under President Obama that saw the American Care Act, the health care bill, Obamacare eulogized six times in the press

and on Capitol Hill before we got it passed.


You know who was steadfast in that entire period? Then-Vice President Joe Biden, who said, we can get a deal done. We're going to figure out how we

get there. It's going to be tough, but we can settle this because, in our party, there is a broad consensus and what we have got to do to advance

people to get access to an opportunity society.

Build Back Better does exactly that. And Senator Manchin knows that. And he's clear about where he stands now. So, yes, I am optimistic. And some of

the back-and-forth is performative. It's what you get in politics. But there is consensus on the way forward.

GOLODRYGA: But we do know that Republicans, not surprisingly, have seized on this back and forth and the tensions within the Democratic Party...


GOLODRYGA: ... specifically focusing on Joe Manchin himself.

He has expressed frustration, not with President Biden, but with his staffers. And we have seen prominent Republican seize upon this, saying

now's the opportunity to perhaps bring him over to their party. And this is a slim majority that Democrats have.

GASPARD: Well, you know...

GOLODRYGA: I want to -- well, let me first play sound that we heard from Joe Manchin on this issue as to whether or not there is still room for him

in the Democratic Party, and then we will get you to respond.


HOPPY KERCHEVAL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Is there still a place for you in the Democratic Party?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, I think -- I would like to hope that they're still Democrats that feel like I do. I feel I'm socially -- I'm

fiscally responsible and socially compassionate.

Now, if there's no Democrats like that, then they will have to push me wherever they want me.


GOLODRYGA: So, Patrick, what do you make of that? Do you think Democrats need to be careful about how much mudslinging and name-calling we see at

least publicly towards Joe Manchin?

GASPARD: You know, Bianna, it's typical of Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership to lean in very cynical way into division. That's

what they do. They don't have an affirmative vision for the future.

I will tell you, as somebody who worked with Joe Manchin when he was governor and now in the U.S. Senate, Joe Manchin is somebody who has

consistently voted with Democratic priorities, with the priorities of the American people. He voted against the Trump tax cuts that were targeted for

the wealthy and not paid for. He voted against their attempts to repeal the American Health Care Act.

He voted for the stimulus package that Republicans did not vote for this year that got shots in arms, that opened the doors of schools, got our

business going. Gain, and he's been a champion the voting rights provisions that are really critical and existential for our democracy in this moment,

provisions that Democrats -- that Republicans have blocked. And, of course, he was a leader on the infrastructure bill.

So, Joe Manchin, who has now clearly said where he stands on the expansion of child care, the expansion of universal pre-K, what we have got to do to

turn the tide on climate change and turn around these Trump tax cuts, that is very, very much a Democrat who's articulating our priorities.

We're a big tent party that runs the gamut. And we are proud of that, because we appreciate that our diversity, our pluralism is something that

enhances America in the world, as opposed to what Republicans are promoting with insurrections on January 6 and their obstruction voting rights and on


GOLODRYGA: And, look, you could argue that it benefits him. He is also on the ticket at 2024, up for reelection, to present something, rather than

nothing, to his constituents.

And in terms of what West Virginians want, that is what he's come back to the table with every single time that he's reneged on this bill as is, is

saying, I can't present this to the people of West Virginia.

You have taken a stab at presenting to his constituents how you think this bill will benefit them. Can you give us a list of what you have put


GASPARD: Sure, Bianna.

I thought that it might be useful to center West Virginians themselves and the outcomes that we're all looking for, for all Americans. I'm having this

conversation with you from New York, a state that, on average, has a life expectancy that's six years longer than West Virginians have. That's


We shouldn't have that disparity anywhere in America. And West Virginians deserve better, in this bill, a family of four in West Virginia that earns

about $40,000 per year, which stands to save $10,000 in child care, in health care and other provisions as a result of the passage of this bill.

In West Virginia, we have a rapidly aging population, one of the oldest populations in the USA, and we have a home care industry that's reeling

from just not having enough care workers in that economy. This bill would increase the $10 an hour that care workers in West Virginia receive now.

That would enable them to sustain themselves, their families in community to keep them on the job taking care of our frail elderly.

We also have the case in West Virginia where, regrettably, regrettably, so many seniors in the state can't afford their prescription drugs, can't

afford dental care. One out of every four West Virginians over the age of 65 don't even have their original teeth. And that is a shocking disparity

to have in this country.


This bill goes right at all of those critical challenges. And last thing I will say is, I know that Senator Manchin is quite concerned about the

transition in climate. You yourself noted that the Mine Workers, the United Mine Workers, who have their roots in West Virginia, said very clearly that

they need this bill to pass, so that we can invest in their transition, their skills development, and so that we can turn around the health care

ailments that mine workers having to state.

All of these things are addressed in Build Back Better in ways that accrue directly to the benefit of West Virginians and all Americans more broadly.


GASPARD: Senator Manchin ought to be leading on this.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, it was interesting to hear that development from the coal miners union over the past few days.

So you have listed all the things that make you optimistic, in that we now know where the senator stands in terms of what he's in favor of. But let's

talk about what he's most worried about and what apparently he is against. And that is the expansion of child tax credits, right? He believes that

they need to be more tailored.

You talked about some of the concerns in the energy sector that he faces. But the top issue that he keeps raising time and time again is that of

inflation. And it's something we hear not just from him, not just from Republicans, but even Democrats. They are increasingly growing concerned

about the role that inflation has played on their lives and on the economy.

And while the administration says that this Build Back Better bill will address inflation, it will lower inflation, and that this is a paid-for

bill, nonetheless, this is a top concern for voters. What can be done, in your opinion, to relieve some of their concern?

GASPARD: Let's make the distinction between the two things, between inflation and the Build Back Better bill, Bianna.

I think that it's right to be and appropriate to be concerned about inflation. But you noted that the administration says that this will not

have an impact on inflation. It's not just the administration. It's Nobel Prize-winning economists who've said this is not going to have an

aggressive impact on inflation.

And we saw, following Senator Manchin's remarks on FOX News that he was no longer going to be able to support the bill, immediately, both Goldman

Sachs and Moody's Analytics downgraded their forecasts for growth in the American economy, for our GDP, because they understand that this bill, not

only does it not -- it's not a drag on inflation, but it's actually something that's going to stimulate growth.

In the Biden first year in the White House, we have seen six million new jobs grown in this economy. We have seen unemployment lowered to 4.2

percent, the lowest that it's been in decades, months, months ahead of the forecasts for what we could lower growth to. And we have seen that the

jobless claims are at a 50-year low in this economy.

So Joe Biden and this administration and the Democrats are going to have really a lot to bring into the debate and the conversation in the midterm

elections, and Build Back Better will only further burnish that, it will not have -- not only will it not have a negative impact on inflation, but

it's actually going to stimulate growth. That is abundantly clear here. And independent forecasters are saying exactly that.


GOLODRYGA: Yes, it is interesting.

Listen, Patrick, I hear you. I hear all of the experts saying that not only will it lower economic growth to not pass this bill, but it won't have a

substantial impact on inflation. And, nonetheless, I don't know why that doesn't seem to be resonating with voters the way you would think it



GOLODRYGA: But let me ask you, moving forward, though, on a potential bill that the president is still hopeful for and you are as well, where can

there be negotiation and wiggle room to get to a place where enough Democrats, progressive Democrats, are on board with a revamped bill, a

slimmed-down bill?

GASPARD: So it's not just progressives, Bianna. We should be clear that there isn't really much division in this big tent party about this bill; 99

percent of House and Senate Democrats have signed onto this bill.

Joe Manchin has had a number of questions that have not always been transparent to all. They're much more transparent now. I think that he has

said that we have not listened to him. But we are listening loud and clear to what he has said about pre-K, about climate, about the other provisions

that he believes that we should be investing in right now and about those Trump tax cuts.

So we begin there as the foundational springboard for negotiations in the new year. Senator Manchin, I think, signaled very powerfully yesterday that

we're ready moving in an affirmative direction when he decided to join the Senate caucus meeting last evening. He didn't have to do that.


He came, was transparent about both his concerns and where he sees an opportunity. He gave everyone an indication that he's going to continue to

negotiate in good faith and push this conversation into the new year. We have every reason to expect there to be some success around the points

where there's a broadly shared consensus already.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we have to say, what started out as one of President Biden's worst weeks of his administration has taken a positive turn, I

would say, midweek.

We have got news now that there's going to be a pause on the student loan debt payments for another few months, another six months, until June 1 now.

The antiviral drug has been officially approved. And it doesn't appear that we're going to be having some of the supply chain issues in getting

presents and other utilities to people as there had been concerns earlier, so all good news from the administration now, when clearly it needs some.

Patrick, great to have you on. Thank you so much. Happy holidays to you.


GASPARD: ... year. Happy holidays to use you as well.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, you too. Stay safe and healthy.

Well, we turn now to tensions with Russia. Moscow has tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, and fears are ratcheting up about a

possible invasion as early as next month.

On Tuesday, President Putin threatened military action over what he calls Western and NATO aggression. But now the U.S. State Department says

bilateral talks are slated for January.

So are tensions simmering?

With me now to discuss this is Professor Mary Sarotte, author of "Not One Inch" about the role that the U.S. played in NATO expansion following the

fall of the Soviet Union.

Thank you so much, Mary. Always great to have you on for your perspective on this issue.

It has been a tense week for all Russia watchers, I have to say, since November. This has been the one week where there had been real concern that

Russia would in fact act on its threats. Now that we know of a meeting between the two sides slated for early January, do you think tensions have

at least simmered for now?

MARY SAROTTE, AUTHOR, "NOT ONE INCH": Well, I am glad to hear that.

But I am also still worried about the fact that the 30th anniversary of Soviet collapse is coming up on December 25, which is, of course, the main

Christmas Day celebration in the West, but not the main day in the orthodox East.

And I am worried that Vladimir Putin, who cares a great deal about these anniversaries, may want to in some way show that Russia is back on that

day, and not incidentally mess with the Christmas vacations of a lot of officials, very tired officials in Washington.

GOLODRYGA: He's not someone to focus specifically on a day out of symbolism.

If you listen to his rhetoric and follow his words, as you closely have for many years, he has talked a great deal about the dissolution of the Soviet

Union as the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century. It is this sort of where this all has led to, to this point?

And describe to our viewers why he feels that way.

SAROTTE: Yes, I think what's happening, even though it's physically on the borders of Ukraine, it's actually an attempt to refight the outcome of the

Cold War with the West.

It's in, essence, a kind of hostage negotiation, where, as you said, the troops are amassing on the border with Ukraine, but the requests and

demands that Russia is making are mainly directed at the United States and NATO.

And, as you rightly said, that's in part because Vladimir Putin, of course, he was born in the Soviet Union. He was a KGB agent who was serving in East

Germany when it collapsed and the Berlin Wall came down. He still feels very deeply the loss of that country, the Soviet Union.

He has said, as you have noted, that it was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. And if you think about it, there's a lot

of competition for that title.

And the fact that he chooses that, and, in fact, some of his allies in Parliament have just in the last couple days proposed a resolution for

Parliament to declare that it was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, that suggests to me that, if you feel that way, if the

country into which you were born collapsed, and the anniversary was coming up, you might not want to let it go by without doing something.

So at a minimum, he's got a deadly force crouched on the border of Ukraine, something that he feels should never have split away, should rightly be

his. So I'm very glad to hear there are talks. But I am still worried. And the issues are very, very complicated because they tie into a very long

history of fighting over NATO expansion.


And let's get into that, because I have to say, I have been watching this space closely as well. And I have not seen Vladimir Putin as angry, visibly

angry, as I saw him earlier this week when he spoke before military leaders in Russia, and he talked once again about how he views what has transpired

over the past few decades as nonstop NATO aggression.

Let's play a clip from what he said and then discuss it.



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): But why? Why did NATO have to expand? Why withdraw from the ABM treaties? What is happening

now, the tension that is building up in Europe, is their fault.

Armed conflict, bloodshed, this is absolutely not our choice. We do not want such a development of events. But we want to be able to have at least

understandable, clearly stated legal guarantees.

This is the meaning of our proposals laid out on paper and sent to Brussels and Washington.


GOLODRYGA: Let's get into some of those proposals in just a moment.

But just addressing what he laid out there, that from his perspective, Russia has been the one who has been aggrieved upon, right, and that it's

NATO that is the aggressor for years, encroaching upon Russia and Russia's back is against the wall, give us some context to that. Is there any truth

to what he has laid out?


So that -- yes, that is very much his point of view. And there's both a historical and a current component to this. The current component, let me

just mention it briefly, and then get to your question. The Russian defense minister said that American private military contractors are smuggling

weapons into Ukraine, and, therefore, it's going to -- those weapons are going to the Russian border, and, therefore, Russia needs to act.

So that's sort of a short-term justification, which I find very worrying, because it seems like a pretext for action. But the deeper cause, as you

rightly say, is this fight over NATO expansion, which goes back into the 1990s.

There's two key moments. And Putin, I think, is trying to force a do-over of those two key moments, only, this time, Russia wins and gets everything

in writing, because in these two key moments, Russia came away without something in writing. So that's why Russia circulated right off the bat

this whole treaty, because they want to make clear that this time they want it in writing.

And so the two key moments happened in 1990 and 1997. In 1990, the Berlin Wall had just come down in November 1989. The Cold War order had already

collapsed. And so the heads of states of governments in the U.S. and Europe are meeting frantically to figure out what comes next.

And in February 1990, on February 9, 1990, to be precise, the U.S. secretary of state, James Baker, visited the then-Soviet leader, Mikhail

Gorbachev, in Moscow, and he posed a hypothetical idea. He said, Mikhail Gorbachev, how about you let your half of Germany go and we move NATO not

one inch eastward?

Now, again, this was hypothetical. This was brainstorming for the future. But it was clear that Germany was -- the wall had come down. The East

German state was collapsing. It was clear it needed to unify. The question was how, because, at that point, it was still technically an occupied


The Nazis had surrendered unconditionally in 1945, meaning that still, in 1990, the four victors, the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet

Union, had complete legal rights to be there. And they also had hundreds of thousands of troops. In East Germany, the Soviet Union had close to 400,000

troops. In West Germany, the Western allies had close to 900,000.

And Germany at that point had more nuclear weapons per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. It was basically the most dangerous (AUDIO

GAP) on the planet. It was ground zero.

And so the -- Moscow kind of liked that idea, but it didn't get it in writing. And then the United States changed its mind. So they want 1990 in

writing. And then the other issue is 1997, which was the -- NATO-Russia Founding Act, which Russia, according to its then-President Boris Yeltsin,

said gave Russia a veto over NATO expansion. It did not.

But that's why Putin is now referring repeatedly to May 27, 1997, because he wants to go back and get that in writing too.

GOLODRYGA: But that is just such a nonstarter. And that's what a lot of people are scratching their heads about, because that was when Poland,

right, and Hungary and the Czech Republic entered NATO. And then subsequently, after that, we saw the Baltic states join NATO as well.

There's no way that all of that can be reversed at this point. And so I guess the question is, given that, in addition to other demands, that

Ukraine never be allowed the option to join NATO, that other former Soviet republics never be allowed the option to join NATO, what way out is there

for Russia -- given that so many of these demands, the U.S. is saying, listen, we will talk to Russia where we can, but some of these issues are

nonstarters, what's a possible way out for the two to look like they both came away with something?

SAROTTE: Well, one possible way might be some kind of assurances or guarantees about non-emplacement of missiles, for example, future -- sort

of the current generation of intermediate-range nuclear forces. That might be one concession.

Another way might be to come up with some kind of intermediate institution -- one existed in the past called the Partnership for Peace -- to kind of

create a halfway house between NATO and Russia, perhaps some kind of institution that could be acceptable to both sides.


It's going to be hard, though. It's definitely going to be hard. And it's - - as you said, there were many demands in that treaty that were nonstarters. So, if Russia is really insisting, we need every last item

that's in this list, it's going to be very hard to go forward.

A third idea might be something that also comes out of the Cold War. During the Cold War, at the very end, there were negotiations to unify Germany

that were called the Two Plus Four Talks, meaning the two Germanys, plus the four occupying powers, the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.

I'm wondering if there might be some possibility, since Russia clearly craves having itself set up as a peer to the United States -- Putin has

been saying he only wants to negotiate with the U.S., even though the crisis is on Ukrainian borders -- some way to set up a two plus three set

of talks, where the two are the U.S. and Russia to make it clear that they're the most important, but the three are the E.U., NATO and the OSCE,

something like that to rhetorically give Russia the attention it wants, but actually practically give a lot of say to all those countries who are

members of NATO, the E.U. and the OSCE.



SAROTTE: Definitely have a hard Christmas ahead.

GOLODRYGA: It's very clear that Russia wants direct talks with the United States.

Foreign Secretary Lavrov today lambasted the NATO secretary-general and then sort of eased up on his assessment of how the U.S. has been

approaching this. But the U.S. has said all along that we will not do this without our European partners, in particular, Ukraine.

You talk in your book a lot about some of the overreach perhaps looking back that NATO had directed in some of their actions, in opportunities

where the two sides, Russia and NATO and the West, could have worked together better.

That having been said, could all of this had been avoided, though? I mean, now that Putin has been in office much longer than Gorbachev or Yeltsin

combined, he's not really the anomaly at this point.

SAROTTE: Yes, it's -- it really is heartbreaking when you look back as a historian at the end of the Cold War, because there really was this moment

of cooperation and optimism.

I was actually studying abroad in West Berlin in 1989, and experienced that moment of optimism firsthand. And I -- it just makes me so sad that we have

come back to this level of confrontation again.

I have realized that cold wars are not short-lived affairs. And so thaws are precious, and as neither the U.S. or Russia made the best use of the

thaw in the 1990s. And as you rightly say, the -- there's agency on both sides. There's U.S. agency and there's Russian agency. So, on the Russian

side, of course, Russia democratizes and then de-democratizes.

Yeltsin allows a great deal of corruption to unfold. He also launches a truly brutal war in Chechnya that makes everyone in the West think, oh,

wait, maybe the new Russia isn't that different than the Soviet Union. And then, in the United States, you also have hubris, right? The United States,

as you know, was the unipolar moment.

I don't think, personally, that NATO expansion was an unreasonable idea. It wasn't unprecedented. NATO had expanded before. Central and Eastern

Europeans wanted to join and they had heroically thrown off the yoke of Soviet communism. They were democratic sovereign states. They deserved a

chance to make that choice.

The problem was how NATO expansion happened. We ended up in the West expanding NATO in a way designed to maximize Moscow's aggravation and hurt

Moscow at a time when it was most in need of friends, when it was trying to democratize.

We ended up with an all-or-nothing kind of expansion, rather than with any kind of intermediate institution. And that really limited our Western

ability to manage contingency. And now we're kind of stuck, because we have got this all-or-nothing expansion, where you put countries in NATO all the

way or not, and that doesn't give us the palette of options we need to deal with this Ukrainian crisis right now.


And it -- listen, and it leads many asking, is Putin more afraid of missiles at his border or democracy at his border? That's where we have


Mary Sarotte, great to have you on. It's a fantastic book that offers so much perspective for those that are wondering how we got here. We

appreciate you joining us. Happy holidays.

SAROTTE: You too. Thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, over the past two years, we have grappled with how the pandemic is changing traditional working norms, and maybe, just maybe,

that's not such a bad thing.

With countries such as Iceland and Scotland now trialing for a four-day work-week, journalists Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel believe the

9:00-to-5:00 routine is a relic of America's past.

Their new book, "Out of Office," examines the revolutionary potential of working from home. And here they are unpacking their ideas with Hari




Charlie Warzel, Anne Helen Petersen, thank you both for joining us.

Charlie, what is it about the presence of work, especially in jobs that don't require it? Why have we felt the need to be in person five days a

week 40 hours a week? How are we going to look at it?


WARZEL: I think the reason that setup has persisted is because it's most comfortable for executives and managers because their jobs are, you know,

in a way, so much fuzzier than the jobs of workers. You know, if you have direct outputs, right, sales figures or, you know, a presentation or

whatever it is, you can quantify that. The job of a lot of management is really presence based.

And so, those people are more comfortable, understandably, when they're in an office. They can reach over and they can tap somebody on the shoulder

and get their attention, or they can just observe from afar and sort of, you know, intuit or pick up on different trends and pieces of the company

culture. But I think, as we're seeing, that might work great for a very specific type of manager set in their ways. But when you go over to, you

know, the way that people actually work in the workforce, a lot of people don't work best in office. And it's full of disruption or it's full of

anxiety because they don't -- you know, they're not comfortable in that environment.

So, I think we think of the office as this sort of neutral place, and I think that that's a fallacy.

SREENIVASAN: Why has the 9:00 to 5:00 clock persisted so much even though we are increasingly in a kind of multinational world?

PETERSEN: You know, the 9:00 to 5:00 is a relic of a time in American history when the vast majority of people going into these offices were men

who had someone to stay at home and care for children. And we've held on to this understanding, like so many things in American society, you know, we

still are organized around this understanding that there is a full-time caregiver in the home, and that's just not the case for the vast majority

of families.

And I think, you know, a lot of the parents that I know have figured out a really good rhythm of, you know, one of us works early in the morning and

then someone drops like our kids off at school or care, and then, you knok, we stop our day at 2:00 or 3:00. And we pick up the kid and we spend some

time together and then, maybe there's more concentrated work after that. Like there's nothing that said work has to happen between 9:00 to 5:00.

SSREENIVASAN: Has this pandemic changed the power balance between employers and employees?

PETERSEN: That's a good question. I think that it feels like employees have more power in terms of the capacity to leave and seek out new jobs if

they want them. This is, certainly, I think different than, say, 10 years ago. Millennials, in particular, I think a lot of us, myself included,

started the workforce -- started in the workforce at a time when it felt like we had no power, when you were told, you are lucky to have a job and

you should be grateful every day no matter how you are treated.

And so, coming to terms with this feeling of, like, oh, I think if I really hate how this job is organizing our schedule moving forward, maybe I could

look for a different job, right. So, if organizations want to keep talent and want to recruit top talent, they have to be thinking about how to meet

the needs and demands of the workforce.

SREENIVASAN: You two are writing about this period as this one with great potential before we go back, and are people aware of that? Are they pushing

back enough? Are they asking for different types of concessions before those policies roll back out?

WARZEL: I do think there's a bit of a generational component to it in the sense that I think there are a lot of people who are, you know, older, who

can sort of indoctrinated into this way of how we have to be in the workplace and what it means to work and have so tied their sense of

understandably so, right, because the culture makes you want to do this, have tied their sense of self-worth to their job performance or to their,

you know, job title even. And that makes it very difficult.

I think what you're seeing from younger generations coming in who, you know, have either had to deal with, you know, graduating into a financial

crisis or observing that, observing, you know, their siblings or their parents dealing with all of that thought and now, coming and graduating

into a pandemic job market with, you know, financial crises baked in there as well, I think you're seeing a completely different understanding and

reevaluation of the idea of a career in saying, I don't know if this standard bargain of you give your entire self to your employer for 30 or 40

years, everyone else gets, you know, whatever is left of you.

And then, at the end of your life, you have this little period where you get to do things for yourself. I think there's a lot of people who are

looking at that and saying, that's a terrible deal. I don't want to take that.


SREENIVASAN: One of the things you're advocating for is to build in pad (ph), essentially, to hire maybe more capacity than you need at the very

moment. Why should companies think that way?

PETERSEN: I'll answer this one because I feel very strongly about it. Understaffing is a burnout machine. It is how you burn through your

workforce. It is how you have high turnover. How you have employees who hate working there, right? You have employees too who feel like they can't

take any time off or can't even take paternity leave longer than, say, a week or two because there's no cushion to take up, you know, the slack that

is created if someone has to leave for any amount of time.

And I think that it's a hostile way of thinking of the workforce. And ultimately, whatever the short-term profits are, you're losing in terms of

turnover and low creativity, low precision, you know, all these other things that happen when you have an adequately staffed workforce.

SREENIVASAN: So, how should employers be rethinking and not necessarily equating quantity of work with quality of work?

WARZEL: There is so much performative work that is out there. One of the most interesting things we saw in this book, in our reporting, was we

surveyed roughly 700 workers and we didn't ask this question but the answer just appeared in a lot of the survey results. People just kind of confessed

that, you know, I kind of get most of my work done for the week in like a three-hour burst, after my kids go to bed.

It was this interesting sort of, hey, you know, I feel bad saying this, but like, the stuff that is actually deliverable in my organization, the thing

that I'm getting kind of graded on, I kind of get that done in this really small sprint. And I think that just speaks to the fact people are

performing, you know, this corporate kabuki all the time and I think that it's really important that organizations understand that.

And so, what we're seeing, you know, experiments across the globe with the 48-work week show that less work is often better because of the fact that

is gives us the time and space to not just recharge in the sense we're tired but to actually, you know, have our brains process some of the things

that we're stuck on and in that sort of rest mode. It's a really interesting phenomenon, and I think we're starting to see the science catch

up a little bit with that and I think there is -- you know, we've been -- as Anne said in the very beginning of all this, this is -- there's no set

reason why we have to clock in and clock out at a certain time. These are all things that, you know, we humans created and we can change them, I


SREENIVASAN: Anne, you've heard this from CEOs of banks and so forth saying, listen, there is something to be said about the mentorship and

stuff that happens in the hallway, where culture is kind of handed down, where you learn the corporate ethos and that can't happen over Zoom. I need

people to be present in a physical space together if I want them to succeed in this career.

PETERSEN: First of all, there's a real myth of like the water cooler, you know, culture generation. I do not know a lot of people who have had

creative sparks at the so-called water cooler. Like most offices no longer have a water cooler in the first place, right? And there's actually really

good and interesting data about how little collaboration and creative, you know, inspiration happens in these random meetings at offices. It's usually

much more directed and, like, it happens in spaces where people have to create a space to come up with ideas.

But I also think that this idea that company culture is only passed down through presence and only passed down through, like, you know, happy hours

after work is an extension of an understanding of the office that is really masculine in terms of like, you know, who is able to stay after work and do

this sort of work. And also, pretty white (ph), right? Like it is an understanding of who is comfortable in the office always.

It's also really -- I mean, it preferences people preferences people who like to communicate and be around other people in that way. It is

discriminatory against people who are disabled, right? There are so many ways to create culture in a virtual sense and also, you know, assisted by

periodic in-person meetings. And I think this addiction to in-person culture creation is really just laziness.


SREENIVASAN: So, Charlie, what about the possibility here that we try to recreate in this hybrid world without really adjusting what went into the

equations in the first place? Then we just kind of have the same problems but now we have it both at home and at work. If the e-mails don't stop, if

the texts, you know, keep coming, what of your home life, essentially now, work is completely invaded back, whereas, before, perhaps I could leave

some of it in a different physical space?

WARZEL: I think we are living that, you know, potential version of the future right now, and I think it's why a lot of people have looked at the

sort of, you know, the remote work movement as it's been and said, that's not for me. I don't want that. Because what -- you're exactly right. You've

poured all of this sort of problematic elements of work culture and put them into your home, and it feels like a total invasion of your space, your

privacy, your personal life in all those ways.

And I think that's a very real possibility here because of the fact that a lot of people are treating, you know, remote work as either some perk that

you can just sort of grant to people and then, you know, lord over them and they just have to deal with it, or because, you know, people are just,

again, lazy in designing this. And by people, I mean employers.

Remote work, I think a lot of people who are advocates for it, like to talk about how amazing it is and how it kind of use words like it's easy. But

remote is not easier. It's actually harder. It is -- and that's because it's more intentional. There's more friction involved when you take people

out of that one communal element. But what that friction allows you to do is to be far more intentional in the way that you work in general.

A lot of times, it means figuring out the way your co-workers work best and trying adapting to that and looking at them as human beings and not just,

you know, nodes of productivity that you have to either get around or use in some way.

SREENIVASAN: On a personal level, people made work a part of their identity. I mean, they -- we have used, for decades, things like, well,

this is a calling, this is a vocation, this isn't, you know, something just transactional. We've also collectively had this notion that it is part of

our national fabric. It is what leads to a nation like the United States being where it is globally, economically, that it is responsible for the

innovation -- innovations we've come up with. Is there some merit to that?

PETERSEN: So, I think that one thing that's really difficult for us to get our heads around, because in the United States, in particular, there's just

this idea that more is always better, right, in every single capacity. But there are limits to productivity. I know that when I sit at the computer

for 10, 12 hours, at some point I'm just twiddling my thumbs. I'm just going back and forth between browser windows, you know, like endlessly. I'm

not being productive, but I feel like I need to be sitting at the computer in order to show that I'm working in some capacity.

And so, I think when we talk about lowering hours, we're not talking about becoming worse workers, right? We're not talking about becoming lazy

workers. It's more -- we're talking about becoming better workers because if you do better work when you're more rested, when you have better ideas,

right, when your brain is given that time to restore itself, we're going to have more innovation, right? This is the thing that's hard to just wrap our

heads around, but I think it's really important.

WARZEL: I would also say too that, you know, this is a long game, right, and I think that the modern, you know, capitalism and the culture its

created is so focused on quarterly earnings and short-term, you know, metrics and also, just growth. Growth for growth's sake, right?

And while that's obviously important and we're realists and wee understanding the world that we live in and the global nature of the

economy, it doesn't seem like a long-term -- like a savvy long-term play to grind your workforce into a pulp, and to just sort of sacrifice, you know,

their happiness and their lives outside of work for that. And I think you're kind of seeing the bill come due right now from years of working

this way.


I think you're seeing that in, you know, great resignation-style frustration among workers in all areas of the workforce. And I think that's

an important thing to think about and I don't think that executives really take that into account in the way that they should.

SREENIVASAN: The book is called "Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home," co-authors Anne Helen Peters and Charlie

Warzel, thank you both.

PETERSEN: Thank you so much.

WARZEL: Thank you for having us.


GGOLODRYGA: Some serious food for thought there about the way we work.

And finally, despite the pandemic blues, it is beginning to look and sound a lot like Christmas. And we owe one of this season's most popular songs to

my next guest, the iconic Darlene Love. Here she is in 1986 singing "Christmas Baby, Please Come Home" on the "Late Show with David Letterman."




GOLODRYGA: Now, her performance ended up becoming an annual tradition. And here's that same song nearly three decades later.




GOLODRYGA: It's a holiday treat that's still going to this day, finding a new home on the view. Well, Love has worked with rock and roll, rock and

soul legends including Sam Cook, Elvis Presley and Sonny and Cher. And she joining me now from New York.

Thank you so much, Darlene. We've been looking forward to this segment all week. I have to tell you. With so much gloominess in the air, I wore red

just for you. You're wearing it as well.

Tell us what you make of becoming the voice of Christmas and the name surrounding the song and even David Letterman, who was such a curmudgeon in

terms of welcoming holiday music to his show, you changed that.

DARLENE LOVE, SINGER: Yes. You know, it's a lot of fun. I never thought, number one, a song recorded in 1964 would even be around today, let alone

be like a top five, top 10 record in the country. So, it's very -- this fills me too. And it all started with Dave Letterman.

I was doing a show at a club, Bottom Line, and (INAUDIBLE) who was playing Phil Spector in the play and he got David to come down and see the show.

And that night on the show, David said, that's the greatest Christmas song I've ever heard. We need to get her on the show. And I thought it would be

for one night. It ended up being 28 years. So, fantastic.

GOLODRYGA: Do you ever get tired of it? I mean, because you don't look like you do and there's something, I don't know what it is, but it's

Pavlovian, as soon as the music comes on, I just start grinning from ear to ear. And I know I'm not the only one.

LOVE: No, I do too. (INAUDIBLE) actually sing it on stage in my show. I actually have this big smile on my face and I think it's catching because

then I can see the front row of people, they're actually smiling and laughing too. So, it's one of those kinds of songs when you hear the first

eight bars of that music, you know the song and you get ready and into it. It's one of those -- it's that kinds of song.

GOLODRYGA: And it's universally loved. And what's interesting about it, and you've talked about this in the past, if you just look at the lyrics,

it's not exactly an uplifting song and yet, you interpret it that way and I think because of the way you perform it, it makes us all feel uplifted.

LOVE: Yes, it's talking about she wants this man to come home. And in the back of my head, even though it doesn't happen in the song and I'm begging

him to come home, I think he comes home. And I think that's the logic of it.

GOLODRYGA: Well, clearly, this song is not all that defines your incredible career. And you have had so many achievements and you've talked

about that a bit and the role of being a background singer -- back-up singer, right, to some of these stars that you've performed with. Clearly,

they wouldn't have been where they were without you. Talk about what that brought you as a performer, being surrounded by some of these biggest names

in music history.


LOVE: Well, I was in high school, in my last year of high school, and the girl group I was singing with told me they were getting ready to have a

session with Sam Cook. Of course, I thought they were kidding. Sam Cook, right, yes. But it was the first background job, as a Blossom, it's the

group I was singing with.

And it was wonderful to work with these people because they're somebody I always admired. But then, in the -- it turned around, they were happy to

have me singing on their records. So, I ended up being friends with a lot of these people, especially like Dionne Warwick. I've worked with Dionne

Warwick for 10 years and I did not miss a beat. I did not feel that I was behind her or beneath her. I thought we were just friends and we were just

working. Doing a great show.

So -- and I had that kind of thing with just about everybody I ever worked for. So, that made it fun too. And then when I got my own chance to -- as

the movie says, "20 Feet from Stardom," when I got that chance, I had worked all of these wonderful people. And Dionne Warwick told me something

years ago, she said, if you're going to take something from somebody, take the good part. And I always remember that when I watched elvis, when I

watch Dionne, when I watch and Sam Cook.

Even when I watch -- I did a record with the Beach Boys. When I watch them or Jan (ph) and Dean, I watch little things that they did and I kept little

things that. And I added it to everything that I do. And therefore, I think that's why I have this happiness when I'm on stage. I want to radiate that

to everybody and then give it back to me. So, we have a ball game going.

GOLODRYGA: Well, that documentary that you mentioned, "20 Feet from Stardom," that actually won an Oscar as well and it makes me wonder if

there is a platform that you prefer. Do you prefer performing solo or with an ensemble?

LOVE: Oh, no. I'd love being a single artist. Number one, it's not as hard. You don't have to put up with one another, let's do this or let's

wear these clothes or why can't we do this, and you have all of those arguments with one another. You try not to, but it just happens. Well, by

me being a solo artist, I make all the choices. I do the songs that I want to do. And it makes for a better show for me because now I'm doing what I

want to do.

GOLODRYGA: And speaking of some of the harder parts of your career and life and your hardships, you know, you did work with the music producer,

Phil Spector, and he produced "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home." Obviously, he helped inspire a lot of great talent and produce a lot of

wonderful work. But he was a very complicated and dark man. And did a lot of disservice to those stars that he worked with including you, didn't give

you credit for one of your hit songs, "He's a Rebel." He died in jail this year. And I'm just wondering if that's given you closure and have you had

closure from some of these experiences?

LOVE: You know what, every time something bad comes along, I try to find a way to make my way out of it. I have a saying that I say, I don't want to

hate anybody because hate is a heavyweight to try to carry, even with Phil Spector. I was young. I was learning. And I was, you know, kind of naive. I

believed in what he said when he said he was going to record me with my name on the record.

Of course, I believed him. But when it didn't happen, I got really upset. I was very angry. But I didn't like the way I felt when I was angry or mean

or just -- because when you're like that, you take it out on everybody. I kind of get mad but I get over it really quick.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let's get over that question then and what better way to do it than singing a verse from your most famous song here and something

that we have been anticipating all day. I know you're going to perform it tonight again in New Jersey, but can you give us a taste of it here on the

show as well?

LOVE: Yes, I can. And you see, I have this smile on my face.

GOLODRYGA: Me too now.

LOVE: They're singing Deck the Halls. But it's not like Christmas at all. Because I remember when you were here and all the fun we had last year.


GOLODRYGA: Oh, Darlene, you just made my day and I think so many viewers and fans days well. You are incredible at 80 years old, you continue to

perform, you're aging backwards. I don't know how you do it. I must be from all that happiness you exude. I want a piece of that, we all need it.

LOVE: Thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Happy holidays to you and best of luck in the New Year and continue doing what you do, making so many people happy.

LOVE: Merry Christmas to everybody. God bless.

GOLODRYGA: Merry Christmas.

Well, that is it for now. You can always catch us online -- wasn't that fantastic? You can catch us online, on our podcast and across social media.

Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.