If it's Sunday you've got to have your SMC! Welcome back to the weekly blog about politics with a dash of religion and a dose of my commentary. Coming to you each Sunday Morning for over 15 years. What else do I have to do this early? Let's go:
Normal is good, or so it would seem. President Biden is with world leaders at the G7 Conference in the UK and, from all reports, things are going well. Nobody is having to put up with the tantrums and childish mistakes of the former president as the nations sit down to discuss some thorny issues from COVID-19 to China and Russia. The message our president is sending is that truly America is back and the world can trust the leadership and the direction. Meanwhile the leaders at the conference vow to cut forced labor practices out of global supply chains in a shot at China, as well as efforts to stop ransomware attacks and root out corruption. Normal is good.
Meanwhile China has pushed back with a statement saying, “The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone."
Make no mistake about it, the Republican opposition to the $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan is all about preserving wealth. Full stop. They care not about jobs or roads or bridges or lead in pipes or rural broadband this is all about making sure the wealthy don't have to pay more in taxes.
They do not care about American families who are struggling and they, frankly care little for the economy. They believe that as long as the top "one-percent" are fat and full everything is just fine. Think about that for a moment. Also, we've seen this playbook before and the writer then is the same as today. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was brazen enough to say in 2008 that he would stand against any progressive legislation offered up by President Obama and he did. Same story kids and unless the Democrats win a wider majority in the Senate look for this to become a lousy history for our nation.
The Manchin Effect
How many millions of dollars do you have in the stock market? Go ahead and ponder that for a bit. My guess is that your tiny nest-egg doesn't come anywhere close to, say, Warren Buffett or Carl Ichan or Michael Bloomberg. Those are the folks who make billions while paying a lower percentage on their earnings than you. Meanwhile Wall Street is moving right along and some are calling it The Manchin Effect. Why? As hope of an infrastructure deal starts to melt away the rich and powerful are loving it because that means no higher taxes and because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is leading that charge the rise in the market gets his name associated. Isn't it nice?
Speaking of Taxes
The ProPublica report last week naming who, among the oligarchs of America, paid little or no federal income taxes is getting the full wrath of the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service. Both agencies have begun investigations into who leaked the information tied to the tax returns of the most wealthy. See how swift justice is when money is involved?
Meanwhile many who were names in the report are pushing back. Warren Buffett (who has called for higher taxes for the wealthy) said in a statement that the reason he doesn't pay much in taxes is because there are "no dividends" and he is "someday going to give all his money to charity". Michael Bloomberg, who paid $71 million on $1.9 billion of income and who called for higher taxes for the rich when he was running for president in 2019, said he saved taxes because of 75% of his income "goes to charity". But the best excuse for paying little to nothing in taxes has to go to billionaire Carl Ichan who said because he, "...invests in business that activity should be protected".
So there you have it. Next time you are asked to fill out a 1040 just write on it that you are investing in the economy and you don't owe a dime. That's how the 1% lives kids.
I was at a conference this past week...my first outing since March of 2020 and it was very cool to be among people...and when I was checking out of my hotel I asked the guy working the front desk about occupancy. He told me the hotel was running 100% on the weekends and during the week sixty to seventy percent full. My new friend runs the front office so he should know. I then asked him about staffing and he said, "It's awful. We can't get people to work but thanks to Governor Reynolds cutting the enhanced unemployment benefits we'll be back to full staff within a month."
The message is clear. You lazy, shiftless workers have been sitting on your butt for months lapping up government handouts and now we'll force you to seek low paying jobs without benefits so the wheels of the economy will once again roll. Except that isn't the case.
The pandemic has exposed the reality about "essential workers" and "essential pay". One is real the other is a lie. We pay "essential workers" squat and they are expected to love it. Studies, one that we aired just last week, point to what is really going on and why workers are not returning to the hospitality field and its not because they are collecting government checks. Here is what is really happening:
- During the pandemic employers failed to check in with their staff;
- Workers are seeking higher wages in jobs outside of hospitality;
- Workers are seeking better health benefits;
- It's cheaper to stay home with the kids than pay child care;
- Many still fear COVID-19 and want to protect their health;
- They are seeking out jobs where they too can work from home;
- Applications are archaic and difficult to navigate.
My new friend behind the hotel desk doesn't know any of that but he believes his staffing troubles will be over in thirty days. Don't worry. I have his name and phone number and I'll be checking back in a month.
Last week I had the opportunity to have a sit down interview with Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA). She is the lone Democrat in the U.S. Congress and represents the sixteen counties in Iowa's Third Congressional District. We talked about a host of business issues from child care to transportation to taxes to farming to drug prices to cyber-security and more. It was a wide ranging conversation and if you are at all interested in her take on those issues click through and listen to that interview.
I think you'll find it important and on point.
Yesterday there was a parade in Grimes, a small but growing community near Des Moines. Democrats lost two important statehouse races there in 2020 by just a few votes. Determined to fix that the Polk County Democrats reached out to some activists and within a month there was a new neighborhood group the Grimes Area Democrats. Yesterday we walked in the Governor's Day Parade and outnumbered the Polk County GOP by two to one. Our group was so large that my friend and the President/CEO of the Grimes Chamber and Economic Development group Brian Buethe remarked to me, "Wow you've got a whole bunch of people here!" We did and coming along for the walk was Iowa State Auditor, Rob Sand, State Party Chair Rep. Ross Wilburn (D-Ames), Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald, Dr. Glen Hurst the Third District Chair coming all the way from Council Bluffs and a number of Democrats running for office in Polk and Dallas County. It was a mighty force...and people noticed. (The photo was long before a bunch more joined the crowd.)
I've got more but need to get going. Many of you know that I've spent years in broadcasting. Still doing it. But in all of those 40+ years I have never, not once, called a sporting event. It just wasn't my jam. That changed yesterday during our granddaughters softball game. Our daughter, Hunter, thought it might be kind of cool to have me announce the game over something called Game Changer. It's an app where folks can stream the ballgame. Trouble is that while the stream is clear you really can't see much beyond the infield and folks watching may not know the players and other details of the game. So, yesterday I sat down and with some stat help from Hunter called the five innings of the game. It was a blast and yes, headed back today for more. BTW the Valley Tigers 12-U won that game over the Muscatine Monsters by a score of 3 - 2. The winning run was made by our granddaughter who beat the tag at home catch the video here. Catch you on the stream.
Finally, it would have been the 101 birthday of my Mom last week. Think of her daily.
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!