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Commentary & Opinion

Confounding and confusing events 6/20/22

It appears that former President Trump wants to make the announcement of his 2024 Presidential bid outside of Governor Ron DeSantis’ home in Florida. I am glad to see that Mr. Trump continues his juvenile behavior, and I am sure Mr. DeSantis will find this to be a most amusing spectacle, or he may attempt to bar Mr. Trump from that area or ask the local municipalities to refuse Mr. Trump the necessary permits. In any event, will make for great TV.

I recently read a story about a teacher in New Jersey named Dan Gill, who keeps an empty chair in his classroom, which represents his black friend who was excluded from a birthday party when they were both 9. This man is now in his 70’s, has taught for over 50 years, and nonetheless, continues to deliver that important message that we should be ignoring people’s skin color, and observing their actions.

Brexit has created a proposed change to the Northern Ireland protocol, and finds the White House indicating that this will not impede US/UK trade dialog. This strikes me as a bit of an unusual position given the importance of the Irish diaspora to elections in the United States, and it seems somewhat fool hearty to me to allow Mr. Johnson, whom I would note is a weakened Prime Minister, likely on his way out, to dictate changes which could adversely affect the delicate balance which exists in the border of Ulster, Leinster and Connaught.

An interesting solution to the drug supply chain was recently floated to relocate it from China to Canada, and potentially Latin America. We certainly have more confidence in our Canadian neighbors in terms of their drug production operations, and the distances that the drugs would have to travel is substantially shorter, which certainly, given our recent supply chain havoc would be an extra benefit.

The January 6th Commission rumbles on with the presentation of a compelling Conservative Republican retired Judge Michael Luttig who testified that he advised Vice President Pence not to go along with Mr. Trump’s false claims and not to attempt to set aside the election, an impressive performance which does not appear to have swayed Trump supporters at all.

As President Biden and the Democrats flail around for solutions to inflation, they have failed to see an opportunity which could pay dividends. Republicans have criticized Mr. Biden, and I think somewhat justifiably for not governing from the center, and being more didactic than he portrayed himself on the campaign trail. If I were in Mr. Biden’s shoes given where his polling sits and the fact that the vast majority of people are disengaged from the January 6th commission, as well as the Ukraine, and are focused on inflation and gas prices. The Democrats, to find a way forward, need to engage Republicans. My suggestion is that Republicans be invited to a summit to contribute to an overall solution, which they would likely reject, but then that raises the specter from a campaign perspective of being able to say, “we invited them and they refused to come”. It also allows Democrats to say, “the Republicans have no plan”. If they do come, Democrats better adopt some of their suggestions.

In recent days, although I have commented frequently about the Republicans not having a plan, there have been some articles indicating that they are now considering some form of a plan to deal with inflation and gas prices, including things such as amending the internal revenue code, reducing regulations, and focusing on trade policies, all with a few minor twists. These are primarily things that Republicans talk about all the time as the solution to virtually any issue, whether or not the country was in crisis, or they were simply trying to oust a Democratic administration. Nonetheless, those proposals need to be incorporated into a proposal to move things forward. If Republicans are interested in trade policy, Mr. Biden has proposed looking at Chinese goods and the tariffs on them if that would reduce costs to consumers. This could be an important mutual solution.

The fed raised rates and the market soared for at least one day.

Justice Sotomayor says essentially that Justice Thomas is a good guy. She makes the comparison to the Ginsburg-Scalia relationship. In my view, this is very problematic. Justice Scalia, whom I thought was wrong on his philosophy, was a principled originalist while Justice Thomas is a man with no principles.

Canada is reporting that its Western infrastructure is in dire straits. Sound familiar? This could have significant impacts on the Canadian economy and trade, so ultimately negatively impacting the US economy.

Retail sales slipped by about .3% led by auto sales and were buoyed by rising gasoline prices. An interesting contrast.

The chatter about a recession goes on, with the Biden administration saying that it is not an inevitable while other economists are predicting it is. Our economy is cyclic, and the best we can hope for after 10 years of expansion, is a soft recession.

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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