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Commentary & Opinion

Confounding And Confusing Events 9/13/21

The new Texas anti-abortion law is certainly a travesty for women and those who support choice. But it does pose an interesting potential counter-punch. What if some blue leaning states took up legislation that mirrored this legislation but focused it on things supported by Democrats and “old line” Republicans. Talk about being hoisted on your own petard. This could change the dynamic of many issues and might dissuade the far-right Republicans from pursuing this type of legislation in the future. Credit one of my friends for this novel thought.

The border closure with Canada obviously creates much frustration and anger. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has done no better a job than the Trump administration in terms of establishing a process, procedure, and transparency that they are going to use to make their decision as to when to reopen. It is clouded and unclear and appears to be a deliberate act. Thus, again, maybe we do a little spinning of the situation. As we all know, Canadians can fly into the United States with essentially no restrictions and then once in the United States can travel freely. Obviously, cost is an issue. Let’s take Plattsburgh for instance. It is an international airport, it has the capacity to receive foreign travelers and maybe it is appropriate to look at bringing plane loads of Canadian visitors in even if, to some degree, the Plattsburgh community would have to supplement that expense. In other words, can it almost be a shuttle running back and forth between Trudeau International Airport and Plattsburgh International Airport? It would certainly up end the whole concept of the closed border and might persuade the US Government to take a rational approach to the reopening.

September 30th is a deadline in terms of a number of important financial matters for the US Government. The first is that the debt ceiling needs to be raised as our debt continues to grow, and the second is we must have a budget by then. We unfortunately over the last several years have had “Continuing Resolutions” passed that were of 10, 30, 60, or 90 days to allow negotiations to continue and to slightly increase the debt ceiling and to allow for funding of the government at the same levels as in the prior year. These are problematic from the point of view of business, the military, and the government in general, but the first two suffer significant negative impacts when they do not have a budget in order to operate during the next fiscal year. These issues will have growing pressure complicated by the 3.5 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill as well as the ongoing issues related to COVID-19.

IVOMEC is a drug utilized to kill parasites in animals. Unfortunately, it has taken on a life somewhat like bleach in that it is being recognized by some as a potential drug to treat COVID-19. Unfortunately, the recommendations of the FDA and the CDC against its use came after a misguided story was printed about tests that were done that appeared to indicate that this drug could be utilized to attack COVID. Unfortunately, the quantities of the drug necessary to kill COVID even in a lab test would kill the patient taking it. This would be a real win-the-battle lose-the-war scenario. Unfortunately, this type of reporting happens with some significant frequency and has happened many times including during COVID with the publication of confusing pieces of information which are seized upon by those who have some political axe to grind against the recommendations of the CDC, including vaccines, social distancing, mask wearing, etc.

Japan will be selecting a new Prime Minister within the next 30 days and the two leading candidates are people who are much more inclined to take a strong stand against China. China has taken a number of steps over the last several years to assert a position that the Japanese consider to be threating to their national security. I agree and no one should make any mistake about that. This is likely to result in a call in Japan for the strengthening of its defenses including arming itself with missiles that can destroy incoming missiles which is a significant uptick in the national defense of Japan. It may well be time, as the Chinese are not going to cease being aggressors anytime soon.

Job openings hit 10.9 million for a 5th straight monthly increase as employers continue to have trouble finding workers. Will the cessation of benefits change this picture? It seems unlikely as workers have any other opportunities and continue to fear COVID and suffer issues related to child care. On the flip side, weekly jobless claims dropped to 310,000, slightly below estimates. There is something missing in this equation.

Too much rain on the East Coast, too little rain on the West Coast. Severe storms on the East Coast, severe fires on the West Coast. Heat indexes soar throughout the country. Cyclic or climate change, I’d say climate change.

As we remember 9/11, do not forget the 6,600 travelers arriving on 34 commercial aircraft and 4 military aircraft in Halifax, Novia Scotia. In the same story line, memorials were held in Manitoba, Novia Scotia, and many other Canadian cities.

Canada’s 6-week election process moves forward with the vote grower tighter, liberals at 31.9%, conservatives 31.7%, and the NDP at 19%. The latter hasn’t moved. All of this points to another coalition government.

Bill Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher and Trombley in Plattsburgh, NY and a Strategic Advisor at 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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