Eight years ago President Obama and the Democrats were working to reform health care. Now President Trump and the Republicans are doing the same thing. They have radically different aims but seem to be following a similar methodology.
Both ignored polls that showed the public strongly disapproved what they were doing. Neither kept the public well informed. The Republican Senate proposal was done in secret while President Obama repeatedly lied by saying people could keep their insurance. Nancy Pelosi famously said that they had to pass it in order to know what’s in it. Both manipulated the legislative process (Republicans are trying to do it entirely within the budget proposal). Both cut special deals to attract votes. At least Republicans haven’t done anything as blatant as the Cornhusker Kickback.
I think both are taking the same approach because they desperately want to pass a bill. Getting it through is the easy part. Trying to administer it and sell it to the people is much more difficult. This was a total disaster for the Democrats. We will have to wait and see what happens to the Republicans. Right now we’re not even sure there will be a bill.
Democrats seem to be doubling down on their failed strategy of last year. Rather than coming up with a positive message, their entire focus is on demonizing President Trump and the Republicans. Instead of courting blue collar workers, many want to move farther to the left. Going all in for thirty-year old unknown Georgian shows the ridiculous tactics they are using. The midterm election campaign is not that far away. They have to defend ten Senate seats in states where Trump won.
Sounds pretty gloomy, doesn’t it? Since they are showing few signs of developing a better strategy, they need a white knight to come to their rescue. They have been sitting back waiting for Donald Trump to play that role but we are getting used to his self-inflected wounds. Instead, it looks like they are getting over thirty white knights. Four senators have joined with a number of congressmen by insisting that they get their way on health care.
The assorted Trump scandals are peanuts compared to the damage this could do to the Republican Party. There are three possible scenarios: they back down, health care legislation doesn’t pass or a draconian bill gets through. Even though President Obama created this mess, Trump will be blamed for not fixing it. If a “mean” (using Trump’s description) bill gets through, the damage could be cataclysmic. Unless these people back down, Republicans stand a good chance of losing the House.
I must confess that I can’t understand their thinking. Why a tiny minority believe their views outweigh everyone else is beyond me. They must understand that we will still have Obamacare if nothing is done. They ought to see the damage they could cause their party. The only explanation I can see is that maintain a rigid ideology is all that matters; what happens to the country and their party is irrelevant.
It didn’t seem possible that there could be a group of politicians less politically astute than the Democrats. Looks like we found them.
Much of the media’s attention has been focused on a Georgia congressional race. Supposedly it was to be a barometer of the national political mood. The late Tip O’Neill used to say “all politics is local”. That may be a bit overstated but it does ring true.
Democrats contributed to the silliness by going all out and spending around $30 million. This is a heavily Republican district. The GOP candidate was well known (she had been Georgia’s Secretary of State). Her opponent was a thirty year old unknown who didn’t even live in the district. I guess Democrats must be desperate for a win since there is no good reason to go to such lengths.. Republicans are also acting silly by claiming this to be a mandate for President Trump. The candidate went to great lengths to distance herself from Trump. No matter who won, most of us would have forgotten about it in a few days.
We like to know what will happen in the future. Like it or not, we have to wait for the future to unfold.
In the investment world a bubble is a frenzy in which an asset is bid up way above its true value. We have seen this happen to technology and housing. When the party stopped, a lot of people lost a lot of money.
I believe we are in a tech bubble right now. Last time any company with “.com” in its name shot up whether or not they made money. This time it is limited to a small number of companies that are market leaders. At one point Tesla was worth more than GM even though it is losing money. Now some seem to think Amazon will devastate all brick and mortar retailers.
They announced the purchase of Whole Foods to jumpstart their grocery business. This set off a total panic. Kroger has lost over a quarter of its value and Dollar General is down 7.5%. Unfortunately I owned both of them.
These drops make absolutely no sense. First of all, the deal might not even go through. Someone could make a higher offer or there could be regulatory problems. Second, Whole Foods is having some difficulties. People love their groceries but not their prices. Third, I don’t see home delivery taking off. People want to look at the fresh meat and produce they buy. Finally, the drop is disproportionate. Kroger is seven times the size of Whole Foods. To justify the low price for Kroger you have to assume that Whole Foods will almost triple in size and every dollar of growth is at Kroger’s expense.
The great Warren Buffett said “When people are greedy, I’m fearful. When people are fearful, I’m greedy”. Amazon is a wonderful company but I would rather pay $10 for a dollar of Kroger earnings than over $60 for a dollar of Amazon earnings.
Playing baseball is a pleasant summer experience. Earlier this week it turned to horror as a man started shooting. Four were injured including the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who remains in critical condition. The only reason it wasn’t a total bloodbath was because Scalise’s security detail was there. Given the shooter’s background, it was clearly politically motivated.
As the divide between the two parties has increased, the level of hate has grown. Certainly Republicans, especially right wing extremists, have expressed their hatred. However, right now most of it is coming from the Left. This should not be a surprise since the key theme of last year’s campaign was that Donald Trump and Republicans are bad people. Hillary Clinton denounced a quarter of the electorate as deplorable and irredeemable.
Once Trump was elected, the anger exploded. We have seen instances of violence. Social media is full of vitriol toward Trump. Many talk of assassination. A high school yearbook that contained the phrase “Build the Wall” was confiscated but one in which a student hoped Trump would be decapitated was allowed. Most disturbing of all, over a dozen celebrities have talked of killing Trump. Sadly, Democrats in a position of power have rarely denounced them.
We cannot know what was in the mind of the shooter so it is unfair to blame anyone else for influencing him. Obviously a climate of hate can lead to violence. The sharp increase in police shootings is clear evidence.
I applaud Democrats who have denounced the shooting and are calling for more unity. They should follow the example of Ted Kennedy. No one fought harder for their causes yet some of his best friends were Republicans. Hopefully both sides will calm down and work together when they can. That’s how it’s done in a democracy.
Nobody came off well today when former FBI Director James Comey testified before a congressional committee. Former AG Loretta Lynch was shown to be obviously biased in the Hillary Clinton investigation. Comey admitted gossiping with friends about his meetings with Trump and organizing leaks to force the naming of a special prosecutor.
President Trump came off worst of all. Personally I don’t think he obstructed justice. However, presidents should be held to a higher level than not committing a crime. The head of the FBI has one job, leading criminal investigations in an unbiased manner. Trying to make Comey express his loyalty is way out of bounds. There is no way Trump should have discussed the case let alone ask him to go easy on Flynn.
All of this was set in motion by Trump when he fired Comey. Before that, talk of Russia was fading and the main focus was on health care and tax reform. Now it’s all about Russia and the Comey firing. Trump is his own worst enemy.
This is just one (albeit a big one) example of his poor judgment. Going after a mayor in a city that just had a terror attack is ridiculous. Judging from recent tweets, his definition of Fake News has expanded from stories he doesn’t like to any story that comes from the mainstream media.
It has been seven months since he won the election. Like many, I had serious misgivings about him but hoped he would grow in office. I will give him credit for having a more thoughtful foreign policy. Otherwise he hasn’t grown at all. What’s worse is that he sees no reason for change.
It is far too early to write him off as a failed president. However, he is heading in that direction. Republicans must be worried. The one thing they have going for them is that Democrats are blinded by hate and insist on following the campaign strategy that failed so badly last year.
When I was a boy millions of people had jobs as telephone operators, service station attendants and unskilled assembly workers. Those jobs are gone. They have been replaced by automation. I fear fast food workers may be the next to go.
Being a fast food worker is not a profitable career choice. However, millions of young people have used it as an entrée into the working world and gone on to bigger and better things.
Unfortunately that path may soon be cut off. There is a movement to impose a $15/hour minimum wage on fast food workers. Like it or not, the economic value of a fast food worker is lower than that. Since the work requires relatively little skill, it is fairly easy to automate it. Efforts are under way to do just that. It would be horrible if all those starter jobs went away.
In effect, the message proponents are giving is to tell a young couple to drop out of school and make no effort to get marketable skills and earn $60,000 a year flipping hamburgers. What do these people do when their jobs disappear?
Millions of families are in dire financial straits because they don’t have the skills and experience to succeed in the new economy. In the last election Clinton ignored them and Trump promised the old jobs are coming back. It’s time for someone to do something.
There has been an absolute frenzy over President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. To hear some talk, this one decision will doom the whole planet.
In actuality, it is much ado about nothing. First of all, the accord is based on the simplistic assumption that a certain action will result in an exact temperature drop. Our climate is much more complicated than that. I once heard about a climate model that produced drastically different results when everything was rounded to four decimal places. Second, the treaty doesn’t require anyone to do anything. Finally, it has no legal standing in the United States since President Obama never submitted it to the Senate for ratification.
So what should Trump have done? I think he should have said that, since it was never ratified, we will not follow it. That way, we would still be part of the organization and not isolate ourselves. Instead, he created the false choice of either withdrawing or facing burdensome climate regulations.
Apparently he has decided the key to reelection is to satisfy his base and ignore everybody else. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work next time.