Thoughts for Thursday

Here are a few random thoughts on a rainy Thursday, with more rain to come in the days ahead.

A retired ambassador said recently, the US strength is more than its military, it is its relationships with allies. What concerns me is we are devaluing our allied relationships. This is echoed by the European Union Chairman Dean Tusk. Tusk said the EU must be more united than ever before to deal with what he called Trump’s “capricious assertiveness”. My question is this how we want to be viewed by our friends?

Another retired ambassador to Israel said while he agreed with the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the US administration made two mistakes. It should have been announced in the context of moving toward a two state solution. In essence, the US placed little obligation on Israel for this move. Also, celebrating the opening on the anniversary of Israel is an insult to Palestinians. This date is not viewed favorably, so the celebration rubbed salt in a wound.

Assuming the role of ambassador for the disenfranchised in the US, a huge opportunity missed occurred during the rushed tax bill which hugely favored companies and the wealthy. I favored some relief on the corporate tax rate, but we went way too far and are negatively impacting our huge and growing debt. The additional opportunity missed I am referencing is not imposing a requirement on companies to provide raises. One way of doing this would have been a concurrent increase in the US minimum wage moving it from $7.25 to a living wage of above $10 per hour. Token one-time bonuses are actually the barest minimum of what could be done with an annual tax break – how about a raise instead? More income to people in need is accretive to the economy.

Finally, I have seen footage of conservative news sources highlighting Venezuela’s problems as an indictment of socialism. While I am a capitalist, I also recognize our country is a mixture of both. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and bankruptcy laws are all forms of socialism. We also have other restrictions to prevent unfettered capitalism. Venezuela’s problems are due to corruption and mismanagement that can be traced even back to the popular Chavez. His successor, Maduro, has shown a level of incompetence that is quite visible to all.

That is all for this Thursday. Please share your thoughts.


5 thoughts on “Thoughts for Thursday

  1. Note to Readers: I reference the corruption and mismanagement in Venezuela, but these are dual edges of a sword that impact many countries around the globe. As reported on NPR yesterday, Iraq has institutionalized corruption that inflicts any agent of change that gets elected to office. Country after country can point to a level of corruption.

    When I was identifying global problems a few years ago, a UK missionary in Nigeria noted corruption may be the leading problem as it affects everything else. Elected officials add to their pockets and expand influence through nepotism, while the citizens suffer.

    And, if you think it does not happen here, please think of these two comments. First, people who leave Congress tend to have higher wealth than when they first joined. Second, it is becoming apparent, the current President may have bigger problems than Russian meddling as he may be guilty of enriching himself while in office through pay to play solicitations made by himself and others. His son-in-law is in desperate need of funds to pay back a $1.2 billion loan payment next year and has not been bashful in asking for money while on official business.

  2. You make a very good point concerning Venezuela Keith. There is no perfect form of government which runs itself with minimal input. All forms require intelligent planning, foresight and above all concern for the population at large, rather than strict adherence to doctrine and theory.

    • Roger, thanks. There is an old line that applies to any organization – good people can overcome bad structure. The converse is true as evidenced by Maduro and even Trump. Both are leading by chaos, lies and incompetence. It sickens me to see either man. Maduro turned down offers of food for his starving nation. Keith

      • Well said Keith.
        There was a saying (with variations) in the UK Civil Service as regards the numerous instruction books and codes of practice:
        ‘These are for the guidance of The Wise and the adherence of The Fool’
        As taught to me when I was 18 years old.

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