Weekly Comments: It’s the Economy, Stupid.  Sen. Manchin’s Dilemma.

The Biden inflation rate is above 8%, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again and the stock market tanked.

Well, the Dow didn’t tank, but it did drop below the level when President Biden took office, which means your stock holdings are worth about 8% less. The fear of a severe recession is likely to drive stock prices even lower.

High inflation seems to be the #1 issue in the November election. The high prices for food, gasoline, rent and most other items takes precedence over other important national issues including unlimited immigration, Fentanyl deaths, abortion, and crime in cities and rural areas.

Do you remember how Senator Joe Manchin was vilified for a year because he refused to join 49 other Democrat Senators and vote for a huge spending bill? In July he finally caved to arm twisting by President Biden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. When Manchin agreed to spend another $700 Billion, Democrats whooped and hollered and threw confetti. They had a big-time celebration. All that Joe asked in return was to speed up permitting of energy projects, including construction of a big pipeline to deliver natural gas from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the East Coast. Part of that gas would be liquified and shipped to Europe to replace Russian gas.

Last week the celebrating stopped. Those same Democrats who celebrated the bill that will print money to pay for their favorite energy programs, double crossed Manchin. “Thank you, Joe, for supporting our solar and wind farms and Electric Vehicles. But we hate fossil fuels more than we hate Putin.”

So, Sen. Manchin turned to Republican Senators as he tries to round up 60 votes. But Republicans felt they were jilted by Manchin, kinda left at the altar.  So far, they are refusing to support the Manchin bill even though 90% of Republicans favor more gas wells and pipelines so we can become energy independent again.

The hatred of fossil fuels by Democrat Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was clear in her question to bankers last week. During a House Financial Services Committee hearing she asked if they would stop loaning money to companies that want to drill more oil and gas wells. All seven CEOs said “No.” Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase was adamant, “That would be the road to hell for America.”

Tlaib lives in Michigan. If she got her desire to cut off fossil fuels, to keep from freezing this winter she might have to take that road to hell.

She and so many others in Congress and the Biden Administration refuse to recognize the Energy Information Agency’s projection that we’ll need MORE oil and gas in 2050. Definitely not ZERO.

One thing in Washington that does seem to be ZERO is common sense.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Magnus Johnston [D-Minn.] says he is ‘going to use common sense in the Senate.’ That’s what they all say when they start in. But if nobody don’t understand you, why, you naturally have to switch.” WA#59, Jan.27, 1924

“You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people.” DT #2377, March 16, 1934

Sanctuary City Refuses to Provide Sanctuary. Inflation Causes Strikes. State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth.

Our problems caused by over 2,000,000 illegal immigrants in the last year have reached all the way to the border of Massachusetts. Up to now Texas, Arizona, and Florida bore the lion’s share of the problems. Suddenly, when 50 illegal immigrants landed in Martha’s Vineyard, a proud sanctuary city, the city leaders were shocked that no one told them ahead of time about their arrival. A Texas mayor responded, “Fifty? No one tells us when five THOUSAND are wading across the river.”

A couple of national networks were outraged at this News. Not about the 5000, but about the 50.

The liberal, immigrant-loving residents of Martha’s Vineyard decided that 10 hours was long enough for those 50 immigrants to tour their lovely island. Afterall, the hundreds of empty bedrooms in their summer mansions are unsuitable for an overnight stay by folks from Venezuela and Guatemala. They politely asked the Governor to activate 150 National Guard troops to ferry the 50 off to an alternative beautiful seaside spot, specifically the Joint Military Base at Cape Cod.

This swift action in Massachusetts begs the question: If it takes 3 troops to handle 1 illegal immigrant there, should we have had 6 million along our Mexican border to handle 2 million? And if there had been 6 million troops patrolling there (I know, that’s impossible.) would any of those 2 million have gotten across the border? Of course, President Biden won’t even let six officers (on horseback) stop ‘em, let alone six million.

Oddly, Vice-President Kamala Harris, the Border Czar, knows nothing about the crisis. She proclaimed on NBC’s Meet the Press that “The border is secure.” Chuck Todd should have followed up, “Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the immigration problem is caused by President Trump. Are you blaming Trump because he did not finish 1954 miles of border wall?”

Inflation continued to stay above 8% last month. If that isn’t painful enough, it is causing labor strikes and demands to organize unions. Most workers have been happy for years with modest wage and salary increases because inflation was around 2%. But with inflation above 8%, and no expectation of prices going down without a Recession, the labor market is in turmoil.

The railway workers strike was averted at the last minute. Apparently, locomotive engineers and other union members will receive an immediate 14% increase in wages. Since that’s well above the inflation rate, we can expect higher prices for anything shipped by rail. For example, coal (for electricity), windmill blades and towers (for electricity), automobiles, and crude oil (because many pipelines are waiting for approval).

Kroger workers are threatening a strike. Kroger is the largest grocery store chain and the threat is causing store shelves to empty. So, at the start of Covid, it wasn’t such a stupid decision to buy a 10-year supply of toilet paper.

If you are reading this soon after I post it, you can get a short nap before TV coverage of the State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II begins at 4:00 a.m. ET. There will never be another leader like her.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The argument that New England has got to settle in order to pacify the rest of America is, ‘Why were they allowed to land anywhere?’ I am sure that it was only the extreme generosity of the Indians that allowed the Pilgrims to land.  Suppose we reversed the case.  Do you reckon the Pilgrims would have ever let the Indians land?  Yeah, what a chance!  What a chance!” Radio, April 14, 1935

“There is two things that a dumb guy knows as much about as a smart one, and that’s art and inflation.” DT #2114, May 14, 1933

Remembering 9/11/2001. Honoring Queen Elizabeth. Recalling the deaths of 3 Prominent People 25 Years ago. 

Today we remember the tragedy inflicted on us by Osama bin Laden. Our newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, summarized the news from Sept. 11, 2001, “Nearly 3000 people were killed as 19 al-Qaida hijackers seized control of four jetliners, sending two of the planes into New York’s World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a field in western Pennsylvania.”

I would add that the fourth plane was aiming for the Capitol Building but brave passengers organized and attacked the hijackers causing the plane to crash near Shanksville. Recall the words of Todd Beamer, ‘Let’s roll.’

Queen Elizabeth died last week, at 96. Her reign as Queen lasted 70 years, beginning when Harry Truman was our President.  No Queen (or King) will ever serve longer, or more honorably.

While we mourn the death (or more accurately, celebrate the life) of Queen Elizabeth, let me go back 25 years to my second, third, and fourth “Weekly Comments.” First, Princess Diana died in a car wreck: “Wasn’t it terrible what happened to that princess. Perhaps no person has been so loved by everyone around the world as Diana. Out of six billion, it seems the only person who did not love her was Charles.”

The next week Mother Teresa died: “We lost two of our favorite humanitarians in six days. Sister Teresa lived a long life, rich in every way except in dollars. Princess Diana had a rich life, ended tragically at a young age. I can offer no improvement in the way the Catholic church selects their sisters, but I do suggest that all future princesses be selected from the ranks of kindergarten teachers.”

Then in mid-September, Cavett Robert died. You may not recognize the name, but as I wrote in 1997, “Among professional speakers [Cavett’s death] is important because he founded the National Speakers Association. He was born in 1907 and was educated as a lawyer. He didn’t give his first paid speech until he was 61.”

In case you’re concerned that back then I only wrote about prominent people dying, I assure you that politics, sports and other interesting events soon dominated Weekly Comments.

The Will Rogers quotes I included 25 years ago apply today to Queen Elizabeth. Also, to the First Responders and other heroes who lost their lives 21 years ago today.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“It’s only the inspiration of those who die that makes those who live realize what constitutes a useful life.” DT# 2056, March 7, 1933

“Live your life so that whenever you lose it, you’re ahead.” WA #445, July 5, 1931

Mr. Biden Goes to Philly. Education Issues. California Unplugged. 

President Biden traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday to give a speech in front of Independence Hall. Most people who watched on television probably wanted to hear what he plans to do about high prices for food, gasoline, rent, college tuition and other necessities. Maybe touch on a solution to massive illegal immigration and the fentanyl crisis. Also, crime in our cities, including Philadelphia.

But he never got around to talking about those important issues. Instead, he launched into a fiery speech criticizing the 70 million “semi-fascists and extreme MAGAs” who voted for Trump in 2020. He seems opposed to the idea of making America great.

Now whether that’s a good strategy for Democrats in the November election, I’ve got my doubts. Do voters, even stanch Democrats, think inflation at 8% is better than 2%? Does $4.50 a gallon gasoline make your SUV run better than $2.50 gas? Do they want to keep parents from influencing their kids’ schools?

You may be surprised how many people like the idea of 2 million illegal immigrants a year wading across the Rio Grande. (For $5000 you would think the travel agent (Mexican Cartel) would at least provide a rowboat.) Even the Chamber of Commerce appreciates having more workers to fill the 11 million open jobs. Maybe it’s necessary since our life expectancy dropped by 3 years since 2019. After all, most of those illegal immigrants are strong young men. If we could only find a way to expel the drug dealers and gang members and keep those eager to work. On the other hand, there’s probably more people who want to shut down illegal immigration by completing a 30-ft wall.

The President criticized Republicans for wanting to take the country back to an earlier time. But I’m guessing that many of the 80 million who voted for Biden would prefer 2019 conditions over 2022.

The $10,000 gift President Biden announced for those who have not repaid their student loans is hotly debated. Senator Elizabeth Warren was on MSNBC praising the decision. You may remember she wanted $50,000 written off, not a piddlin’ $10,000. As she and the host discussed why this is such a great idea, she kept referring to the poor, hardworking baristas at Starbucks. That puzzled me. Why would anyone who borrowed tens of thousands of dollars to get a college education wind up in a job paying little more than minimum wage? Didn’t their college education prepare them for a career more substantial than one serving coffee? I think Sen. Warren should be encouraging those Starbucks baristas (and others with low-paying degrees) to sue their university for the $10,000 instead of begging the rest of us to pay for it.

In other education news, test scores dropped for third graders in math and reading. Many in Washington are bragging that this tidbit of bad news is offset by the fact that, compared to ten years ago, they are vastly more educated about pronouns, racial differences, and sex change options.

California provided us another example of why it’s called “the state of fruits and nuts.” (And I’m not referring to delicious oranges and almonds.) A state agency run by environmental bureaucrats announced that in 13 years, 100% of vehicles bought must be electric (currently only 12%). The next day, Governor Newsome asked the owners of EVs to avoid charging their vehicles because it’s hot. Since it’s highly doubtful by 2035 you can “fill up” an EV when it gets hot in Southern California (which only happens about 300 days a year) it would be wise to buy back-up transportation. Maybe a horse. Of course, a horse needs water, which could also be cut off.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “The Democrats are better denouncers than the Republicans, for there has been so much more of the time that they have had practice at it. Denouncing is not only an art with the Democrats but it’s a profession.” WA #657, July 28, 1935

“The only salvation I can see for the young is to increase the college term to an additional four years… You’ll say, ‘Well, what could they learn in another four years?’ Well, there must be some little something about making a living that they haven’t learned yet, and they could kind of work on that for the next four years.” Radio, June 2, 1935