Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 3/29/21 | WAMC

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 3/29/21

Mar 29, 2021

Israel is in the news again as it goes through its latest election while Mr. Netanyahu is on trial. It appeared that Mr. Netanyahu was set to take about 30 seats, but would not have a majority, and thus, would need to create a coalition government. If, in fact, he had secured fewer than 30 seats, then there is a real risk that he would be unable to form a government. Unfortunately, the chaos continues in Israeli politics.

Canadian Pacific agreed to buy Kansas City Southern in a deal what would link the US/Canada and Mexico for $25 billion. This is a potentially important venture for Canadian Pacific as it attempts to tie the USMCA, and hoped for increases in trade. It is an interesting gamble, one which makes a great deal of sense to me from a transportation perspective, and hopefully, will help to facilitate more trade utilizing a means of transportation which is far more environmentally friendly than trucking. There is no doubt that an intermodal approach is necessary including ships, rail, and trucks as trucks are needed for the last mile of delivery systems.

It appears that there is about $1.4 trillion in unpaid taxes, primarily from wealthy individuals and small business, particularly those that have little or no direct reporting to the government tin the form of W-2s, 1099s, etc. LLCs and partnerships are among those that allow for a greater level of flexibility in how much is reported, and a number like $1.4 trillion, assuming it is accurate, and I suspect it likely is, would make a huge difference in terms of the tac burden borne by the rest of us. It also is an easier way politically to raise money than increasing taxes. Let’s hope that Congress devotes the resources necessary to make these collections possible.

Federal politics continues to be interesting, although substantially quieter than it was at the same time last year. Mr. Trump is threatening to set up his own Twitter type business so he can get back on-line. Georgia and other southern states are making the move to curtail voting as they would like to make it harder in hopes of suppressing minority votes. This, ultimately, will come back to haunt Republicans, probably not those in office today, but those in office say 10 years, 15 years from now. One Georgia legislator made it clear that had Mr. Trump won, none of these efforts would be underway. The voter fraud scam is now well ensconced. Maybe that’s how Trump got elected in 2016.

The UK variant is growing and may well create another surge. Many Republicans in light of attacks on Asian citizens defend Mr. Trump’s derogatory use of the phrase the “Chinese Virus.” What would be the reaction if we call the variant coming out of Britain using such derogatory terms and tone?

The conspiracy theories of the far right and now even main stream Republican elected are in the main refuted by the facts which are ignored. The crisis at the Southern border has been sparked by disinformation that the border is open. Who benefits from that, human traffickers and political opponents of the Biden administration? Using the far-right logic, it must be that Republican law makers started these false rumors just to create havoc and a substantial amount of misery. That statement might create some real anger, but I’m just applying their process.

North Korea’s denuclearization isn’t going particularly well, remember the bluster from Mr. Trump about his new good buddy. Clearly that went nowhere.

The-US Canadian border remains closed at least through April 21, 2021. I suspect longer, the only breakthrough I see as a practical matter is for some relief for those who have been fully vaccinated and haven’t been exposed to the British virus (let’s see if this gets a reaction).

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.

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