Looks like Spring is on the way this week. Less snow to shovel. It's Sunday Morning Coffee some politics, opinion, religion...all the stuff that makes folks happy and gay. Let's go.
Bye, Bye Constitution
Well, that didn't take long. Just hours after the Supreme Court let stand a restrictive abortion law in Texas that allows private citizens to sue providers, people assisting with travel and the patient themselves for thousands of dollars Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) has directed his attorney general to create a similar law that would, effectively, ban the sale, ownership and manufacturing of specific firearms. How,? By allowing private citizens to sue dealers, manufacturers and owners thereby working around the pesky Second Amendment.
I can see it now. Let's say the good people of Wisconsin really don't like having mosques in their state. So they pass a law allowing citizens to sue individuals who attend, run or lead those institutions. Or the fine people of Arkansas have had it with folks who are not white moving into a neighborhood. The city or state could pass a law that allows its citizens to sue realtors or homeowners who engage in that sales activity. The list is pretty long. Go ahead and dream up your own.
Careful what you wish for...
Gotta Brag More
The media is having fun pointing out the fact that President Biden's poll numbers are in the tank. Pundits have all kinds of reasons this is happening. Most suggest it is a disconnect from what the president has accomplished vs. what they are being told his administration has accomplished. What to do? It's really simple, the president needs to take a page from the former president's playbook and brag more. Hell, even make stuff up. Then repeat the lie at every opportunity. Within weeks his poll numbers will surge. Jen, you can thank me later.
I Hear You
Each day I do a business newscast highlighting the top business stories of the region and nation. Last week we got the report that inflation kicked up 6.8% over November of 2020. Fuel is more expensive, groceries are more expensive, dining out is more expensive. What is stunning is to look at what was the projected inflation rate for 2021 which was 2.8%. Of course that projection was pre-COVID and, in truth the reason our inflation rate is so high is...COVID.
Follow the logic: The Federal Reserve put their foot on the gas and kept interest rates at zero for months. That fuels the overall economy. Add to that the billions of dollars in stimulus checks that went out over the past year. That added to the buying power of Americans that, if they were able to keep and maintain a good job supercharged their disposable income. Yet, because of the pandemic travel for business and pleasure tanked, people couldn't go to restaurants, the opera, Broadway... So, they started buying stuff...lots of stuff. Then came the supply chain disruption, again, caused by COVID, early retirements and lousy transportation pay.
What do you expect?
Here is another issue: There has been a massive consolidation in the meat industry. Four major companies now control 82% of that industry. Twenty years ago it was 15%. Competition drives down costs and in this industry there is little.
Finally the tariffs that are in place need to go. I've been reporting for years that those tariffs only hurt consumers. How? Because suppliers simply pass those costs on to the end user/buyer...that would be you.
I see inflation ebbing in 2022 mostly because we'll be taking action on a number of those pain points. But...hey, I could be wrong.
Last week I attended a breakfast hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership where they ticked off their seven legislative priorities for 2022. Here they are:
- Fund the Des Moines International Airport Project - This has been on the burner for years. Maybe now with massive federal help we'll get this done;
- Talent - It's nice to see the Partnership concerned about attracting talent to the state. They might have some luck if we repeal "Right to Work", fight against discrimination in all forms, properly fund public education, actually pay people well, provide effective and responsive health care...maybe then folks might think Iowa could be a "place to grow";
- Pro-Growth Tax Policies - This is always a favorite of the business community. If they could pay zero in taxes they would be all in. That is why Winnebago Industries moved their corporate offices to Minnesota. Oh, wait...Minnesota has a higher tax rate. Let me get back to you on that. It's really about "trickle-down economics" that has been a proven failure but we've gotta stick this in to make big business like us more;
- Community Placemaking - "We don't have mountains or beaches..." is the line we often hear. This priority is something that will attract talent because it's all about "quality of life" that can and will attract and retain...talent.
- Child Care - This is yet another "talent" related issue. Women have left the workforce at an alarming rate because they have figured out it's better to forgo that salary than pay for child care that rivals a house payment. Meanwhile we put children at risk as parents without means send their kids to unlicensed unregulated child care centers. We can and should do better.
- Housing - The one word that escapes the rational is...affordable. When people in Iowa are paying up to 50% off their monthly income for housing...it ain't affordable.
- Broadband - Yes and yes. I've said for over a decade that support of broadband internet access is critical to the economics of any community. We'll see how the Feds handle this in the coming months.
That leaves the question that was asked during the Q&A session when a business person rose and said this to the legislative panel: "There are help wanted signs everywhere. Businesses are struggling to find workers. Where have all the workers gone?" If you have a couple of minutes click on the audio from a recent newscast...and I'll share that answer.
Worker Shortage IOB SMC 12 December 2021
It was a busy week but really interesting. From working on some new video projects to a long sit-down with my city administrator to a full weekend at my congregation in Mason City. Never a dull moment.
Last night, after getting home from Mason City I had the pleasure of attending a kick-off event for my friend Suresh Reddy who has launched his campaign for the Iowa House. Suresh is currently on the city council for Johnston, Iowa and has been such a positive force there especially when it comes to issues of financial stability and diversity. He'll take those same talents to the Iowa Legislature. He is running in Iowa House District 43 against a guy that has his nose so far up into radical GOP politics that he is indistinguishable from the former president, whom he loves. Suresh Reddy is ready to lead and be a voice for all Iowans and you can help support him by heading to his website.
Also at the event was my friend Kimberly Graham who is running to become the next Polk County Attorney. I have long supported Kimberly because I see her as a real change artist for so many issues that revolve around inequality and injustice. And, last night, I learned my friend is engaged! Yikes...I missed that memo. Congratulations! You can help support Kimberly by going to her website.
That's a wrap...gotta go. Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!