Another fun week. Alas.
Harvey Weinstein: Fallout. It’s always worse than the initial explosion. Even the extremely likable Tom Hanks announced this is a sea change, or something to that effect. Why didn’t he speak up before? Lots of lawsuits on the way; Mr. Weinstein is fast becoming O.J. Simpson, guilty no matter what the courts may decide.
Trump Malapropisms: Mr. Trump finally finds himself in a linguistic controversy. Considering Mr. Trump’s appalling use of the English language, this had been coming for a long time. Technically, Trump stumbled through a condolence call to the pregnant widow of a serviceman killed in combat. He was being a good president for once, doing what a good president does at least according to his aides. The only problem? He quotes, out of context, the one line that he probably should have forgotten as soon as he heard it. Widow retreats into tears but not before the whole thing is heard by a member of Congress who just happens to be in the car (Trump’s phone call was on loudspeaker). Outrage. Cable ranting erupts. What does the White House (WH) do? Send in the cavalry, of course, in the form of General Kelly, currently WH Chief of Staff, to sort out the mess. The sacrifice is General Kelly’s private and profound mourning for his own son, killed in combat. Pursuant to the CNN anchor shouting into the camera this morning, most Americans have no idea what losing a child in combat is like. True but sad. True because we currently lose far fewer young people to combat than say, during the Vietnam War. Sad because those who constitute the point of the spear are a minority and our increasingly silly society ignores them until someone makes political hay out of their deaths.
Stock Market: Are you in the stock market? 401K? You might actually have made up losses you sustained at the end of the last decade, if you own stock in the right sectors, that is. Don’t worry, you’ll lose it again. The real winners are the fund managers. Welcome to working until death. Speaking of which. . .
Employment: Close to full, according to the Internet. If we have full employment, then why are so many people in their peak earning years driving for Uber? There’s lots of entry level jobs: grocery cashier, deli assistant, retail, warehouse help. Pay runs from $9 to, if you’re lucky, to $15 an hour, but average pay is about $11 per hour. I’ll wait while you figure out what that is per year. . . can’t live on it? Thought so. “Good” jobs, that pay, say over $30K a year, are much harder to come by; employers have become exceedingly picky. In other words, there’s lots of competition for jobs. That’s not full employment. At full employment there should be a labor shortage, immediate hires and climbing wages.
Economy: New normal. Millennials (educated in the ‘90’s and 2000’s) have become the darlings of employers. They are cheap, relatively healthy, accustomed to technology and don’t mind being micromanaged. The oldest of these are now approaching 40, however, when reality catches up with age and expectation. Accordingly, their prospects are dimming; recently I’ve seen reports that the Harvey Weinstein crowd is turning its entertainment sights on Generation Z, the oldest of whom are now in high school. Employers will inevitably follow, especially as the Millennials start families and begin to age, thus becoming inconvenient, not to mention incurring more medical expenses.
Stuff that won’t go away:
Healthcare Reform: If this is reform, I have a bridge in New York City you might be interested in. Great location. Motivated seller. Price reduced! Call anytime, day or night.
North Korea: Trump is driving this one and currently he’s ignoring it.
Russia: Socialite runs in opposition to Putin. Opposition says it’s a sham. Navalny, the opposition leader, has been barred from running until the late 2020’s, when hopefully he’ll be dead. Putin is President for Life. The ghost of Tsar Nicholas I, up in St. Petersburg, has been seen nodding approval.
Tax Reform: Similar to the stock market. Good for fund managers, bad for the rest of us. More trickle down economics. I guess it’s morning in America. Again. On second thought, make that mourning in America.
Brexit: Bad to worse. Brits voted for out; they’ve been second guessing ever since. Too late to go back, guys. Next question: how much will the Brits have to pay the troll under the bridge (aka the EU) to walk away?
Liberal Press in Conflict with Trump: Ratings, ratings, ratings; looks like ranting is irresistible to bored TV audiences, when they’re not watching Netflix. Good bonuses this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Conservative Press: Still drinking Administration Kool Aid. The Base follows, so far. Liberal press so unfair! Fox and Friends gives encouragement.
The Base: I still can’t figure out who these people are. They did get their Obamacare subsidies back, however. Not sure whose Kool Aid they’re drinking, if any.
Puerto Rico: Ignore, ignore, ignore. Musk and Branson have promised to put the island on sustainable energy but someone else is going to have to pay for it. That means it’ll never happen. They, like a lot of other pie in the sky inventors/financiers, don’t seem to realize that the problem isn’t technology, it’s money.
NFL/National Anthem Thing: Owners had meeting; decided not to touch the issue with the proverbial ten foot pole. Great leadership, guys.