Category Archives: business news

Media trying to torpedo economy? Of course!

Donald Trump’s ridiculous thrashing and trashing of the media provides so much grist and so much fodder for comics.

Now comes this from the president: The media are trying to torpedo the economy because it is too strong, too vibrant and provides too much fuel to power the president’s re-election bid in 2020.

This man is out of his mind. He’s nuts. He went around the bend long ago, but still … his goofiness reveals a serious delusional tendency.

Trump wrote this on Twitter: “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem is that the economy is way too strong and we will be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!” 

The president should know better. But he doesn’t.

POTUS shifts blame

The economy is likely to suffer because of the tariffs he keeps imposing on U.S. importers who purchase goods from China. The tariffs create a de facto tax on those products, inflating their cost, making them less affordable to U.S. consumers.

What role do the media play? Oh, let’s see. They’re reporting on it. That is what the media do! They report on policies enacted by the government, be it from the president, or from Congress. The president is seeking to attach steep tariffs on China, ostensibly to publish that government for what Trump says it has done to steal U.S. intellectual property and other transgressions.

Except that China doesn’t suffer the burden on the tariffs. U.S. consumers take it in their, um, wherever.

So, with Trump seeking to shift blame to the media reveals yet again this man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything.

He is projecting his own inadequacies on the media organizations that report on them.

Boycotts prove to be a counterproductive statement

I’ll get this off my chest right off the top.

I hate boycotts of businesses because their ownership happens to adhere to a certain political point of view or supports a certain political officeholder.

Home Depot is the latest mega-business to feel the sting of boycott. Its owner and founder, Bernie Marcus, happens to support Donald J. Trump’s re-election in 2020; he is pledging lots of money to assist in that effort.

Social media have exploded over this development. Social media users are seeking to boycott the company because Home Depot just cannot possibly be allowed to support and endorse Trump.

Good grief, man!

Why do I hate boycotts? They inflict too much collateral damage on individuals and families who get caught in the crossfire.

Now, do I endorse Home Depot’s corporate view in support of Trump? Of course not! But that’s not the point here. My intense refusal to take part in such an activity is because I would be taking money away from the store employees who might share the view of their corporate ownership.

Why punish the store clerk, or the warehouse personnel, or the drivers, or service technicians, or the installers? For all any of us knows, they might be on our side in this dispute, but draw a paycheck from someone on the other side.

I would be inclined to join a boycott only if the store clerk demanded I give money to a political campaign or preached to me about the virtues of a candidate or an officeholder with whom I have strong disagreements.

Anything short of that? It’s a meaningless gesture.

Shut up, Lou Dobbs!

Lou Dobbs doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he calls American general-grade officers “snowflakes.”

The Fox News business correspondent/talking head stepped in it with a comment about the generals’ opposition to the militarization of the Fourth of July celebration set for tonight in the nation’s capital.

“No wonder” they haven’t won a war since 1991, Dobbs wrote on Twitter, which lit up in return over Dobbs’ ridiculous bloviation.

Dobbs takes heat

Just for giggles, I sought to look up Dobbs’ background and came up empty in the hunt for any military experience. I am not suggesting that military critics who didn’t serve are not qualified to offer criticism of the brass. I am suggesting, though, that service in the military might have tempered Dobbs’ statements about the brass’ opposition to what Donald Trump is seeking to do with the nation’s tradition of honoring its independence.

And what, therefore, does the commander in chief think of the criticism from the ranks?

For his part, the president has been tweeting all day, apparently, about the thrill of seeing the finest military hardware on Earth while the nation commemorates its independence from colonial rule in the late 18th century.

What I should tell readers here, given Dobbs’ apparent lack of understanding of these matters, is that the military high command dislikes being used for political purposes. The men and women who serve do so to protect the nation, not to be used as props.

The generals’ opposition is not a matter of “snowflake” sensibilities. It’s a matter of understanding the mission of the world’s mightiest military establishment.

Get a grip, Lou Dobbs. Stick to business reporting and steer far away from — dare I say it? — “fake news.”

Irony continues to provide a bit of sting

There might be a reader or two of this blog who will presume this brief post is an assault on a young woman who once lived in Amarillo, Texas.

It isn’t. Please accept the notion that I intend only to reiterate an astonishing irony.

Meghan Riddlespurger once was the front woman for what she called the “Amarillo Millennial Movement.” She fought for the voter approval of a proposed downtown Amarillo sports/entertainment venue. Her primary motivation, she said at the time, was to entice “millennials” to remain in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle after they finished their education. She wanted them to stay at home and to enjoy the fruits of the entertainment offerings that the venue would provide.

She posted this message overnight on Facebook: When you build it, they’ll come. Please support your walkable downtown development efforts and give your heart to municipal efforts because this is where a difference can be made. Just a few years ago, people said none of this could happen. And then it did. Believe in the most and fight for the best. Your city loves you! Goodnight!

It’s a lovely message. I presume Meghan returned to Amarillo to take in a baseball game at Hodgetown, which is the direct result of her efforts to help rejuvenate her hometown’s downtown district.

But she left the city not long after the November 2015 non-binding referendum victory she had sought. She now lives in Fort Worth, where I presume she is doing well. What about the “walking the walk”?

I harbor no personal animus toward this young woman. I like Meghan Riddlespurger, even though we don’t know each other well. I left the city, too, but I’m an old man who merely comments on local matters through this blog. I wasn’t invested at the level Riddlespurger was invested.

I just find the irony to be so very remarkable.

I do have to say this, though, about the young woman’s effort: It is paying off with the Sod Poodles playing before nice crowds at the ballpark and the city reaping the reward of the effort Meghan and many others put into its downtown redevelopment.

Stop the presses! Trump suspends tariff!

It’s nice to be able to say something positive emanating from the Donald Trump administration.

The president has announced a suspension of scheduled tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico, which was supposed to take effect on Monday.

Trump said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on those imported products, which in reality is a tax on American consumers, unless Mexico took action to stem illegal migration from Mexico to the United States.

Well, Mexico and the United States have reached an agreement, the details of which will be revealed shortly.

No tariff, said the president. That is good news! I am glad to share it.

According to PBS: A tax on all Mexican goods , which would increase every month up to 25% under Trump’s plan, would have had enormous economic implications for both countries. Americans bought $378 billion worth of Mexican imports last year, led by cars and auto parts. Many members of Trump’s Republican Party and business allies have urged him to reconsider — or at least postpone actually implementing the tariffs as talks continue — citing the potential harm to American consumers and manufacturers.

The impact on the tariff would have a profoundly detrimental effect on Texas, which conducts an enormous cross-border trade with Mexico. Texas farmers were upset with the proposed tariffs. So were the state’s two Republican U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.

The Trump administration sought to pressure Mexico to do more to stem the flow of migrants coming through that country into our country. I don’t know what Mexico has agreed to do. I hope it passes muster. I also hope it works.

Tariffs on Mexican goods inflicts far more harm within our borders than it does in Mexico.

Trump says ‘voters don’t care’ about tax returns; wrong!

What do you mean, Mr. President, that “voters didn’t care” about your tax returns?

I am a voter! I surely do care about your tax returns!

I believe, sir, I have a right to see them, along with millions of other Americans. Why am I insisting on seeing them? I’ll tell you why.

You said during the 2016 presidential campaign that you would release them. Then you reneged.

You kept bragging about what a brilliant businessman you were prior to running for president. Now we hear that you weren’t what you said you were, with all those losses for a decade prior to 1994.

As president, you are responsible for helping assess tax burdens on all Americans. Yes, you propose tax rates, but Congress disposes of them. Still, we need to know whether you are paying the same “fair share” you are demanding of the rest of us.

Finally, previous presidents and candidates for president have released their returns. They aren’t legally bound to do it. It’s customary. It’s tradition.

So, Mr. President, do not put words in my mouth. Besides, you are too shameless a liar whose own words cannot be trusted in any shape or form.

I care a lot about seeing those tax returns.

Turn ’em over!

What? Trump lost a bundle of cash? Wow! Who … knew?

The New York Times released a scoop today, telling the world that Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “self-made” business genius, lost more than a billion bucks for a decade ending in 1994.

Well, who would’ve thought that?

I’ll admit to being not terribly surprised. The NY Times was able to obtain tax documents — not the actual returns, mind you — that tell of Trump’s business misadventures.

In 1990 and 1991, according to those documents, Trump lost $250 million, which reportedly is the largest amount lost during that time by an American taxpayer. The documents also reveal that Trump lost so much money that he didn’t pay any taxes for eight of those 10 years.

How about that?

The world already knows that his late father, Fred, staked him a huge amount of money to get started when he finished his education at the “best college.” Donald Trump, though, had previously portrayed himself as a self-made tycoon, a mogul who built his huge empire from scratch.

Hmm. Not so.

Now we are able to look just a little more deeply into what kind of fraudulent picture he painted of himself.

Yep, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney was right in 2016 when he described the future Republican Party presidential nominee as a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Amarillo Matters taking shots … but, why?

Election Day came and went across Texas this past weekend. In Amarillo, the returns were fruitful for those who like the direction City Hall has taken the past couple of years.

Among those who are gratified is a group called Amarillo Matters. The political action committee endorsed all five City Council incumbents; they all won re-election.

But as usual, I am hearing some bitching/griping/sour graping from afar, way over yonder in Collin County, where my wife and I now live.

Some folks think Amarillo has forked over enough money to get the City Council to do its bidding. They are unhappy about it.

OK, let’s take a look briefly at Amarillo Matters. Shall we?

It’s mission statement is simple. It states: Amarillo Matters will work to identify, articulate and facilitate positive opportunities for Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Sounds sinister, right?

Oh, then there’s this from its vision statement, which declares in part: Amarillo Matters will seek out and support leaders of the highest integrity. We will look for leaders who know what makes us great and have the desire and knowledge to make us better.

Nefarious, don’t you think?

Look, I no longer have a dog in that fight. We sold our home in March 2018. We have moved away. We have set up a new life in Collin County. However, I do take a great interest in the city where we lived for more than two decades. It is a city in which I was charged with the task of commenting on its direction during my nearly 18 years as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. Thus, it is hard for me to let go.

Amarillo Matters was right to get involved when it was founded in 2016. A group of leading civic and business leaders didn’t like what it saw when a new majority took control of the City Council in 2015. I shared their concern as I watched it during my final years in the city.

The city has made tremendous progress since the 2017 election, when voters elected a brand new City Council. Is it wrong for Amarillo Matters to want a council that will lead the city toward a future that remains largely unknown, but which is taking shape in real time?

Amarillo appears to be moving forward. How is that a bad thing?

Local PAC under fire once again

I try to keep an open mind. Really, I do.

However, I am baffled about why a group formed in Amarillo, Texas, to promote a certain agenda keeps getting sniped at by individuals and — please forgive me if I sound unkind — a few soreheads who cannot tolerate the influence this group has acquired.

Amarillo Matters is a political action committee with a stated mission to recruit individuals to run for public office. The PAC got involved in the 2017 municipal election, backed a slate of candidates for the City Council and then watched as all five of their endorsees won their seats on the council.

What has happened in the two years since then? Oh, a few things.

The city’s downtown revival has progressed. A new ballpark has opened downtown and the Amarillo Sod Poodles are now playing hardball at the AA level; they’re playing to thousands of fans each night. The Barfield Building, long abandoned and thought to be beyond repair, is being rehabbed and will open as a boutique hotel. City streets are being repaired and upgraded all over town.

The City Council is up for re-election next month. Amarillo Matters has endorsed them all. That’s no surprise, right? The folks the PAC endorsed are seeking another two years and Amarillo Matters isn’t going to abandon the council.

Is the city headed in the wrong direction? I do not believe so.

Check out Amarillo Matters website here.

I keep seeing social media posts from those who dislike Amarillo Matters. Why? Is it because its leadership comprises successful business and civic leaders? If so, why condemn them because of the success they have garnered? I believe we reward success in this country.

I have moved away from Amarillo but I retain an intense interest in the city’s future. I sat at ringside for more than two decades there and have watched it evolve from a moribund community to one that is on the move. Amarillo’s future has yet to be determined, but my creaky ol’ bones tell me it’s on the road to brighter days.

If a group of successful individuals can form a PAC and then push an agenda that enriches the community, then I offer a tip of the cap.

Go for it!

Trump does a One-Eighty on tax returns

I guess I was asleep when this occurred.

Donald J. Trump used to proclaim that he would release his tax returns for public review as soon as the Internal Revenue Service finished its “routine audit.” He said that, yes?

Now he says something quite different. He now is declaring that he won’t release his tax returns under any circumstance.

Huh? What happened? When did the president change his tune?

He has declared all along he had nothing to hide. No business dealings with Russia. No tax dodge. Nothing improper, let alone illegal.

So when is he going to let the public see the returns of the man who helps shape national tax policy, who is partly responsible for the requiring the rest of us to pay our fair share of taxes? It’s only fair, I believe, to demand that we see whether the Big Man pays his fair share, too.

Is that unreasonable? I don’t believe it is.