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Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 2/10/20

Brexit was completed last week, sort of, and now the negotiations for what type of trade deal Britain will have with the EU takes hold.  Mr. Johnson indicated that Britain will not accept demands from the EU to comply with its regulations or the rulings of its court.  He has previously indicated that there are other areas that he would not agree to, as well.  Mr. Johnson has also asserted that Britain is entitled to a similar deal to that signed with Canada which the EU has failed to respond to, to date.  There are many reasons why the EU would not afford Britain the same deal as Canada.  Simultaneously, Mr. Johnson continues to assert that Britain will prosper even without a deal.  I am not sure the British business community is in sync with that analysis, of course, then again, that assumes that Mr. Johnson analyzed his statements.

The developments in Iowa were shocking on a number of fronts.  The first being the incompetence of the Iowa Democratic Party, and second, the emergence of Mr. Buttigieg as the likely winner.  It appears that New Hampshire is going to be a major test for Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren, to see if they can get back in the mix and for Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg to extend their positions.  Mr. Bloomberg is making advances and will continue to do so, but his real test is Super Tuesday to see if he can pull-off enough wins to become a viable candidate.  Simultaneous with these developments has been Mr. Trump’s surge in the polls, reaching his highest level of approval at 49% this past week.  This is not a good sign for Democrats, and you wonder whether he is getting the sympathy vote after the impeachment process, or the economy is starting to become the issue as it has been for many, many elections in the past, if so, that is even worse news for the Democrats, as none of them have been talking about what they will do for the economy. 

Public television on Tuesday night in a story, raised the issue of the impact of the Corona virus on China’s economy broadly, but in particular, on the US production of pharmaceutical products, as many of the basic ingredients are made in China and shipped to US plants for further processing, or directly into the market.  Any significant delay in the operation of those businesses (many of them are shutdown) could create a glitch in manufacturing at the least, and a dramatic drop in supply at the worst.  Outbreaks like the Corona Virus have many different negative spinoffs, and as the weeks and months go on, if it does, we will uncover many weaknesses in our supply chains with little short-term remedy available.  The number of deaths continue to mount.

One bit of humor, I went to visit a clinic and was asked had “I traveled overseas” by some of the medical professionals, and in other cases, had I been “out of the country” in the last several weeks.  I answered in the positive on both occasions, although I had not been overseas, but I had been to Canada.  The response of the medical providers was, “Oh, it’s Canada, not a problem.” That got me to thinking about the whole fiasco associated with the USMCA, and if only President Trump had had the same attitude, we could have achieved the results that we did, with much less angst and unprofessional conduct. 

The Democrats now need to pivot to the issues that Americans are concerned with the economy, healthcare and real immigration reform.  There is clearly room to offer proposals for healthcare and for immigration reform.  In terms of the economy, the Democrats need to focus on those areas that support Mr. Trump, but whose economies have not recovered to the same extent as the rest of the country and offer proposals that will help those areas and regions. 

POTUS and Speaker Pelosi took the SOTU to a new low last night.  It’s unclear to me how we return to civility and rational government. 

Mike Bloomberg is my choice to defeat POTUS.  He has the money, the N.Y. moxie and a record of accomplishment.  What will POTUS do when Bloomberg says here are all of my taxes and I’m worth 61.9 Billion, now POTUS you provide yours.   

This week’s job report was quite good except for the manufacturing sector which continues to decline.  This decline is in line inversely with the decreasing balance of payments as both imports and exports decline which is interpreted as less manufactured goods being exported. 

And nature surprises, an orangutan offered to help a man out of snake infested waters by extending its hand.  May we learn from nature.

Bill Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford Owens in Plattsburgh, NY and a Senior Advisor to Dentons to Washington, DC.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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