Welcome back to Sunday Morning Coffee politics, opinion and a slice of religion just to keep it interesting. Here is something to chew on. "The U.S. spent $5.8 trillion on a 20 year war in Afghanistan. In the end the same Taliban that we ousted in 2001 now control that nation. Meanwhile America has spent $0 on reparations to the descendants of the enslaved Africans held in bondage for 246 years and who built this nation." - Bishop Talbert Swan. Let's go!
While you were doing something else the former president known as "45" was in Texas at a rally where he said that there should be violent protests if he is found guilty of wrongdoing and that, if reelected, he would pardon the protesters and all of those responsible for the 1/6 insurrection. He must be feeling the heat and well he should. What a stain this man is on our nation.
Meanwhile in Honduras
Vice President Harris got back to Central America for the inauguration of Xiomara Castro who was sworn in as Honduras' first woman president in front of a cheering crowd who also cheered the Vice President as she entered the stadium. Harris pledged U.S. government support to stem migration and fight corruption.
Castro, flanked by her husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, was sworn in at a packed soccer stadium where supporters applauded her vows to fix the country's massive debt burden.
Castro, who describes herself as a democratic socialist, has vowed to tackle corruption, poverty and violence, chronic problems that have fueled U.S.-bound migrants. (Photo: New York Times)
Let's Talk Economics
Don't leave just because I wrote the word..."economics" because there is something really odd going on in the U.S. right now. The U.S. economy is growing, the GDP is hitting highs we’ve not seen in decades, unemployment claims have started to tumble, homeowners are seeing the values of their homes skyrocket, workers have the upper hand when it comes to jobs and pay…yet U.S. consumers are NOT happy.
What’s going on?
CNN is reporting that even with all the good news about the economy consumers are worn out, tired and grumpy as we enter year three of COVID-19.
We’re still managing the risks of going out to eat, attending your house of worship…sending kids to school…it is a drain on the emotions.
Couple that with higher prices…a supply chain problem and you start to get a picture of why people are…not happy.
Every positive headline has a downside to match.
-- Yes, the economy is the strongest in 40 years, but so is inflation.
-- In the red-hot housing market, rents rose more than 10% last year, five times faster than the year before.
-- Wages are up, but so are bills. Moody's Analytics estimates the typical family is paying $200 more a month to buy the same goods they did two years ago.
Curiously, Americans complain about inflation, but the higher prices have not hurt their spending just yet. Many CEOs on earnings calls report strong customer demand, even after price hikes. And…that GDP number of 6.9% growth in the 4th quarter of last year?? Two thirds of the GDP is from…consumer spending. Read that last sentence again... Odd…friends…odd.
There is some confusion in the U.S. Senate Race here in Iowa. Last week I received an email from a friend who spent time in the Iowa State Senate. (I share that because my friend remains very connected to the political world.) In that note to me he said, "I thought the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) was staying out of the Iowa race prior to the primary. What's going on?" He sent along what looked to be a funding request sent by the DSCC but if you dig a bit deeper you see that it came not from the DSCC but from Finkenauer campaign. THAT then caused some to speculate that the folks in Cedar Rapids were playing loose with their emails and the Franken campaign got on the phone to ask....what the heck?
Another friend made the comment that one might think there was only one candidate running against Grassley if you watched any MSNBC because it seems they are fixated on Finkenauer while ignoring the other candidates Dr. Glen Hurst and Admiral Mike Franken. Hmmmm.
What a Scoop!!!
On Friday veteran Des Moines Register Reporter, Donnelle Eller had a story about water trails and funding. In the first paragraph she writes, "A central Iowa water trails group's efforts to build a $125 million recreational mecca for kayaking, fishing and surfing got a big boost Friday as Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the state would provide up to $15 million for the project."
Isn't that nice? The Governor is into water stuff! One would think she swooped in and personally took a chunk of cash out of the budget to send off for water recreation. But then we get to the last paragraph and in particular the last sentence: "Reynolds made the water quality and infrastructure announcements in Sioux Center. The money comes from Iowa's share of the federal American Rescue Plan."
Wait! What? The American Rescue Plan? The Joe Biden American Rescue Plan? The Democratic American Rescue Plan? Yeah...that. Weary.
Last week my friend J.D. Scholten quit his job with Vote Rural a political action committee that pushed a Democratic message to rural voters. In a cryptic sign-off J.D. wrote something about not being able to work for a PAC as he began another adventure. THAT got heads spinning and there was conjecture that J.D. might swoop in and save the top of the Iowa ticket and run for Governor. I dunno...just reporting. Meanwhile a group called The American Economics Liberties Project lists J.D. as a "Senior Advisor". Don't you love Iowa Politics? Anybody???
The Iowa Caucus
It is my understanding that today the Iowa Democratic State Central Committee is meeting to chat about the upcoming caucus scheduled for February 7. If you've paid attention to the national news the Democratic Central Committee (DCC) is all about ending the caucus system and more than one news outlet returns to the tired story about the Iowa Caucus in 2020 not being able to report correct numbers. Forgetting the fact that Iowa was told by the DCC to use a system that...didn't work.
Anyway, it's said that the meeting today will be about allowing a virtual caucus. Several counties have looked at the science and said they will buck the state party and hold their caucuses in a virtual format. With the COVID-19 positivity rate hitting 34% in Polk County I'm all in on a virtual event. We shall see if the party that believes in science will now trust it. Stay tuned.
Last week I was in Kansas City on an assignment and I'm still not unpacked. When you take a truck load of audio gear out of town...it takes awhile to get back to "normal".
Meanwhile, yesterday I spent a couple of hours at a Windsor Heights coffee shop, Grounds for Celebration for something we've dubbed "Coffee with Council". It's where my fellow city councilors rotate into the coffee shop between 9AM and 11AM to chat with residents and business people about Windsor Heights. I can report back to you that 1) The coffee was wonderful; 2) The breakfast veggie sandwich was delicious and 3) I didn't have any takers. My bride, who made this great looking sign for me, suggested that I dress down a bit. No slacks and sweater but go more casual so folks feel comfortable to approach me. Great...my new "brand" jeans and flannel...the Paul Bunyan Look.
That's a wrap...thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!