A few odds and ends

Happy Hump Day. May the rest of your week be enjoyable and productive. Here are a few odds and ends to ponder.

One of the flaws of the President is he defines everything transactionally, with winners and losers. Two comments. Winning does not make you right, it just means you won. He is telling folks to discount Senators Flake and Corker because they will retire next year because they were going to lose. Yet, one thing the President needs to realize is they are dead-on accurate in their concerns.

The President has a difficult time with multilateral agreements, preferring bilateral where one side can win and the other lose. But, if we are seeking long term relationships everyone must benefit. The Nobel Economics Prize winner John Nash developed what is now called the Nash Equilibrium for multilateral agreements – simply if each partner seeks the best gain for the whole, more economic gain will occur. This runs in direct contrast to Trump’s zero-sum game approach. It should be noted there is a business alliance of car makers and others telling him to not ditch NAFTA, a multilateral agreement.

Climate change continues to increase the magnitude of hurricanes, forest fires and droughts. The GAO noted the costs of catastrophic events are escalating as a result to the tune of $300 Billion, not counting the events of the last two months. These costs will likely get worse given the rising sea levels, temperatures and amounts of rain that melt away snow and expose the terrain to these intense forest fires.

On the positive side, renewables continue there double-digit per annum growth and are more affordable long term. The Mayor of Greensburg, Texas signed a twenty-five year contract for wind energy as the numbers were more compelling. Texas leads the country in wind energy with 16% of their energy portfolio and Iowa has almost a third of its energy by wind. It should be noted that irrespective of pulling the Clean Power Plan, America will blow past the requirements in carbon reductions based on the work of several states and market forces. Folks like Trump, Pruitt and Perry are less relevant in this conversation and need to stay out of the way.

That is all I have for now. Your thoughts are welcome.

22 thoughts on “A few odds and ends

  1. A concise post Keith which proves; you do not have a president in the USA, you merely have an squatter in the Whitehouse who slithered in by the back door.

    • Roger, I like the term squatter. Even today, the man has spoken of how smart he is, what a great memory he has, and that the Republicans voicing concerns are losers. I guess all of the conservative pundits saying the same thing must be losers as well, according to Trump.

      I have been using the acronym MITWH (Man in the White House) to mean squatter, but your term carries more meaning. Keith

      • Thank you Keith.
        Anything to help Americans in their time of trials.
        (If he has such a great memory how come he is a total ignoramus on all matters overseas?)

      • Roger, true. I would add if he has such a great memory, why does he contradict himself in the same statement or interview? Further, one would have to do some homework in order to remember. A criticism is he shows little interest in learning the issues, which makes him susceptible to whomever talks with him last. Keith

  2. As costs continue to rise, the powers that be are focused solely on lowering taxes. Speaking of costs, I read an interesting article about the costs of fighting wildfires. As climate change continues to make them more frequent and much worse, the funding for fighting these fires has become a political football. Unlike other disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes where relief and assistance comes out of emergency funds, the U.S. Forest Service has to use money from its general budget to fight these fires. So, money that could be used toward programs to prevent these fires is funneled to fighting fires. If Congress doesn’t act to change this, in four years more than two-thirds of the Forest Service budget will be consumed by firefighting costs.

    • Janis, you are right about these costs. When Hurricane Sandy hit, we had some members of Congress debating funding help. One thing about Americans, we do pitch in when people are hurting. But, as these numbers get bigger with a longer tail, we will see previously un-American behavior. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: One of the best economic authors in my view is Thomas Friedman (“The World is Flat” and “That Used to be Us.” He said on CBS Morning News, we have made the mistake as did Great Britain with Brexit of following people with “no second paragraph.” I thought this was an ideal way to describe people who said what we should do, then have no second paragraph to define what is next. This describes the US President to a tee.

  4. Excellent post, Keith! I like Roger’s term, ‘squatter’, as well. Trump sees the world in terms of black and white, winners and losers … there are no grey areas, no areas where compromise is possible. He has one goal — we all know what that is — and you are either with him, or you’re a loser. I would applaud the likes of Corker and Flake for finally finding their consciences and standing up to the bully, but … then I ask, “where were their consciences when the repeal of ACA was being voted on?” Are so many truly in fear of this ‘man’ that they continue to lick his boots?

    Love Friedman’s comment … he is one of my favourites, also.

    • Jill, thanks. I agree that these politicians are late to the party, but at least they are showing their patriotism. I would rather they run again and say something like, this may cost me the election, but Trump is a threat to our democracy and so on.” Keith

      • Yes, but I suspect, sadly, that Trump is correct in one thing: that they wouldn’t win their next bid. The GOP seems to be leaning further to the right and altering its stance to more nearly align with Trump’s, or with those hardliners. I am missing something, as there has to be more to this story, but I don’t know what just yet.

      • Jill, likely, but a lot will happen between now and then, and he could have emerged as the patriot he is. Not perfect, but putting the country first over party.

        As for the Republican Party moving further right – on some things yes, but Trump has moved this party away from what it is. They just passed a celebrated budget that will pave the way to increase our $20 trillion debt by $1.5 trillion. That is malfeasance and counter to what the GOP touts. They are against free trade agreements and immigration and the silence on Trump’s support for white supremacists is deafening and un-American. Keith

  5. Dear Keith,


    I’m surprised that the property and casualty insurance companies are not sounding the alarms about these extra costs due to climate change which doesn’t exist according to our republican legislators and our Evangelical brothers and sisters.We are all going to be taxed more via higher insurance costs.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, there is even not inconsequential solar energy development going on in Alabama. The biggest wind states tend to be the red ones. The Koch Brothers say they are investing in renewables, but they need to step it up.

      The cities around the world and here are leading the way. I was reading in National Geographic how Dubai is looking toward a zero carbon footprint with heavy use of solar energy which is far cheaper there than other sources, even given the basis for their wealth.

      The President and his henchmen have taken themselves out of the adult conversation. Keith

    • Linda, we need more folks reaching out to our GOP Congressmen and Senators define these men as patriots and dead-on accurate. Impeachment is s bridge too far until Moeller finish his work, but a censure is feasible and overdue. Keith

  6. The Clean Power Plan sounds a bit like the big rock rolling through the cave in the first Indiana Jones movie. If Trump and party try to stand in the way they’ll be flattened. Good post, Keith. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • Thanks Suzanne. With the DOE director coming from Texas which is the US leader in wind energy and the EPA director coming from Oklahoma which is also a leader in wind energy, you would think they would be more in tune with what is happening. Alas, they have too much fossil fuel money influence to answer to. Keith

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