Category Archives: business news

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.

Will keep harping about tax returns … until we see ’em

It boils down to a simple proposition.

Donald Trump cannot be trusted to tell us the truth about anything. Nothing. Not a single thing he says is to be believed.

Thus, when he says that he cannot release his taxes for public examination because the Internal Revenue Service is “auditing” his returns, I do not believe him.

The president of the United States is a pathological liar. He cannot tell us the truth about any issue, at any level.

I had hoped special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into The Russia Thing might reveal the president’s tax returns. It looks as though it won’t. I continue to hope that Congress’s demands that the IRS release will enable them will force the agency’s hand.

Trump keeps telling us there’s nothing to hide. Yet he does hide them from us. He snubs political tradition dating back more than four decades. Every presidential candidate since 1976 has revealed his or her income. Trump refuses.

He is not to be believed. I suspect the audit is a ruse. This individual is deliberately keeping something from the public’s scrutiny.

Why is this important? Let’s set aside the noise about potential Russian influence on Trump’s business dealings.

Presidents are involved in helping establish tax policy for all Americans to follow. Congress enacts the laws, to be sure. Presidents, though, make them law with his signature. Therefore, Americans have every right to know whether the president of the United States is paying his fair share of taxes and doing what he and Congress demand of the rest of us.

That is notwithstanding all the other issues that continue to swirl around the president.

So when this individual tells us he has “no business dealings with Russia,” and that the IRS is “conducting a routine audit,” and that he is worth gazillions of dollars that he earned the hard way, he expects you and me to believe him.

I do not believe a single word that flies out of this guy’s mouth.

Thus, the president needs to produce the goods.

I will keep harping on it until he does.

Tax returns? Give ’em up, Mr. POTUS

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has the law on his side, or so it would appear.

The Massachusetts Democrat is using his power as a congressional committee chairman to get his hands on Donald Trump’s tax returns. He is citing a statute that requires the Internal Revenue Service to hand over any request that comes from Congress.

The president’s lawyers say the chairman is overstepping his bounds.

C’mon. Let’s settle this thing.

Turn them over

Donald Trump has pledged to turn over the returns once the IRS completed a “routine audit.” That audit was under way in 2015. It takes three years to conduct a routine audit? I do no think so, no matter how “big” the numbers are that Trump has suggested.

It has been matter of political custom — not the law — for presidents to release their tax returns, to open them up for public review. The custom began in 1976 after the Watergate scandal had driven President Nixon from office.

We needed to know then — and we do today — how our presidents earn their income, to whom they might be indebted, and whether they are paying their fair share of taxes. They are, after all, demanding — along with Congress — that the rest of us pay our fair share.

I’m going to set aside for the purposes of this post any discussion of The Russia Thing.

I want to know all I deserve to know — which I happen to believe is a lot — about the president’s fortune. How he amassed it. I want to know whether he skirted federal tax law. I want to know about his debt obligations; after all, Trump said he is “the king of debt.”

None of this should be kept secret from the nation he was elected to lead. Donald Trump, though, is now going back on his pledge to release those returns. He has unleashed his legal team to fight Chairman Neal’s request for the returns.

If the president has nothing to hide — which he has declared many times — then he should have no difficulty showing us what those returns contain. Isn’t that what clean-as-a-whistle politicians do?

Knock off the BS, Mr. POTUS, about those tax returns

If I may borrow a phrase that Donald Trump has used on the political rally stump . . .

Suggesting that an alleged Internal Revenue Service audit of his tax returns prevents him from releasing them to the public is pure, unadulterated bullsh**!

The president has been all over the pea patch on this matter.

He refused to release the returns when he announced his candidacy in 2015; he said he would do so when the “routine” audit was complete. Three years later, we still haven’t seen them. He has said he would release them, then he has reversed himself. The House Ways and Means Committee has ordered the IRS to release them. Special counsel Robert Mueller might have obtained them during his 22-month investigation into The Russia Thing. Now the president would have us believe the IRS is still auditing him.

Now he’s threatening to fight their release.

Why? Is there something to hide?

He has said repeatedly he has nothing to keep secret. For its part, the IRS says an audit does not preclude a release of tax returns.

Donald Trump, moreover, has yet to produce a letter acknowledging that the IRS is even auditing his returns, which makes many millions of believe that Trump is lying — imagine that, will ya? — about the audit.

Americans have every right to demand that the president release his returns, given the role he plays in the setting of tax policy.

I am one of those Americans.

I demand to see those returns. Turn ’em over, Mr. President!

Officially spooked by this latest crash

It takes quite a lot to spook me about air travel. I don’t usually get the heebie-jeebies when incidents occur aboard aircraft.

However, I am officially spooked by the crash of that Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Ethiopia.

Furthermore, I am glad that the president of the United States ordered the planes out of the sky. Donald Trump has been criticized for being a bit late issuing the order in the wake of the crash that killed 157 people, including eight Americans. I won’t join that criticism. He acted and I support the grounding of the aircraft.

What’s so terribly troubling is the nature of the crash and the reports that the plane somehow — all by itself — pitched nose-first into the ground. The pilot was not at fault. Indeed, I understand that Ethiopian Airlines is a first-rate air carrier.

I am grateful that I won’t be traveling by air anytime soon. I also am glad to avoid having to order myself and my family off one of those MAX 8 jetliners were the need to arise.

Yes, it is troubling that the aircraft built by a proud American company now has been deemed suspect in the cause of this tragedy. National pride, though, doesn’t matter when the overarching issue is the safety of human beings.

In fact, I am so spooked that I might never book a flight aboard one of those MAX aircraft — even if the smart folks fix what ails it.