Invest Abroad to Maximize Profits
JOHN TAMNY Politics and Sports: Just Let Them Play
The Future of the Republican Party
I D E A S T H A T M A T T E R E D I T E D B Y P . J . O ’ R O U R K E AMERICAN CONSEQUENCES
APR I L 2 0 2 1 JUNE
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
T he Republican party certainly looks a lot different than when it started. However, the GOP has also undergone a radical shift in more recent years, with former- President Trump inciting passion and anger from conservative supporters like no one else... So where does the GOP stand now that Trump is gone and Biden is in the White House? And which Republican candidates stand a chance in the 2024 election? Publisher Trish Regan tackles the future of the Republican party with a rundown and forecast of the Right’s political realities and possibilities in the coming years. Our Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke bravely volunteered to delve into Biden’s pork-stuffed “American Jobs Plan,” coming to the foregone conclusion that its creators need to seek another form of employment. The hallowed halls of the Supreme Court have always tried to stand loftier than the muck of Congress or the White House... But vice president of the Cato Institute Ilya Shapiro writes that with partisan-led charges for court-packing and term limits, it seems the judicial branch won’t escape the injustice of politics. Speaking of injustice, journalist and frequent American Consequences contributor Alice Lloyd details how progressive private- school parents push against the likes of critical race theory – meanwhile, their children’s education gets lost in the culture-war shuffle.
And another culture-war victim? What used to be America’s favorite pastime... Pro athletes have enough on their minds without having to sweat being political mascots. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny explains that when it comes to the politicization of sports, there’s a glaring flag on the field. Switching gears to investing, U.S. cannabis sales reached $15 billion in 2020, while industry employment could reach 300,000 jobs this year. In “This Ain’t Your Dad’s Weed Anymore,” commodities wizard Jay Caauwe explains how cannabis is a disruptive innovation ready to explode as a sector. Along with NFTs, SPACs are one of those vague financial acronyms most of us don’t have a handle on – thankfully, finance expert Enrique Abeyta offers some much-needed clarification. For Americans who want to grow their wealth at home, Executive Editor Kim Iskyan explains that it’s a sound strategy to invest abroad, as U.S. shares won’t outperform emerging markets elsewhere forever . Finally, in this month’s Letter From the Editor, P.J. passed me the pen (don’t worry, he’ll resume writing it next issue), and I share my personal experience of the world reopening just as summer gets rolling. Regards, Laura Greaver Managing Editor, American Consequences
‘Retirees: Prepare for a Reckoning on June 23’ OUR No. 1 RETIREMENT EXPERT JUST ISSUED A ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION WARNING:
It happened with little-to-no media fanfare… But the first domino just fell in what may be the greatest retirement crisis in modern history. And YOUR money may already be in jeopardy. After a year of near-vertical gains, the markets are getting rattled by sudden bursts of volatility. Yet millions of Americans are still piling into tiny, risky investments. Inflation just hit its highest annual level since 2008. But that hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from sending out another round of stimulus checks, worth more than $2 billion . If you’re old enough to remember the dot-com bust of 2001… or the hyperinflation crisis of the 1970s… you probably see the signs: America’s financial system is due for a reckoning. And on June 23, the No. 1 Retirement Expert at Stansberry Research is coming forward to ensure you won’t be blindsided. Dr. David Eifrig has spent nearly 40 years growing and protecting money. He’s traded at Goldman Sachs… in London and Tokyo… started multiple businesses… studied molecular biology at Duke University and even earned a medical degree and became an eye surgeon…
Along the way, he’s been on the frontlines of some of the biggest bubbles, crises, and crashes of the 21st century… he was even on the trading desk during Black Monday in ’87. But according to Dr. Eifrig, the coming crisis could be the most insidious – and devastating – of his 40-year career. And it’s headed straight for American retirees. Dr. Eifrig says, In the past few months, the retirement situation in American has undergone a dramatic shift. The pandemic – and subsequent recovery – accelerated a trend that was already chipping away at your hard-earned money. And now I believe an entire generation is about to see their nest eggs depleted right at the moment they’re beginning to taste just how close or how good retirement is. To help you understand exactly what’s happening – and how to protect your wealth, family, and future… Dr. Eifrig is going on camera for an urgent retirement briefing on Wednesday, June 23 at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
It’s free to attend, but you must reserve your spot in advance. Click here to learn more.
UNFILTERED. UNWAVERING. HARD HITTING. INFORMATIVE. Each week, the American Consequences podcast dives deep into fiscal and monetary policy, politics, and economics. You’ll get a view of the Fed, theWhite House, and theWorld like nowhere else. Subscribe to stay up-to-date on the biggest guests and the best analysis, all with the signature Trish Regan insight.
Past Guests include: STEVE FORBES JAIME ROGOZINSKI ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI
CONTENTS JUNE 2021 : ISSUE 49
Inside This Issue BY LAURA GREAVER
42 Politics and Sports: Just Let Them Play BY JOHN TAMNY 50 The Future of the Republican Party BY TRISH REGAN 58 SPACs: Blank Checks & Full Imaginations BY ENRIQUE ABEYTA
A Long Hot Summer & Post-Pandemic Cold Feet BY LAURA GREAVER
Editor in Chief: P.J. O’Rourke Publisher: Trish Regan Managing Director: Jamison Miller Executive Editors: Kim Iskyan, Buck Sexton Managing Editor: Laura Greaver Creative Director: Erica Wood Contributing Editors: Enrique Abeyta, Jay Caauwe, Alice Lloyd, Ilya Shapiro, John Tamny Advertising: Paige Henson, Jill Peterson Editorial Feedback: email@example.com Published by:
10 From Our Inbox
14 The Baloney American Jobs Plan BY P.J. O'ROURKE
70 Invest Abroad to Maximize Profits BY KIM ISKYAN
22 Cannabis as a
Disruptive Innovation BY JAY CAAUWE
78 Judicial Appointment:
30 The Private School ‘Awokening’ Panic BY ALICE LLOYD
Is Joe Just Biden His Time? BY ILYA SHAPIRO
86 Featured Contributors
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American Co sequ nc s
From Managing Editor Laura Greaver
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke handed over the pen to Managing Editor Laura Greaver for this month’s Letter From the Editor.
IS IT SAFE TO GET BACK IN THEWATER?
Look how far we’ve come, world... This time last year, we were fearful, anxious, and about to experience the summer that wasn’t ... Now, we’re ready to tear off our masks and revel in crowded cookouts, packed concerts, and water parks teaming with germs people. ‘Merica! I remember last summer when our community pool opened, it felt like a small slice of normalcy in the abyss of weirdness and panic we’d been experiencing since the onslaught of the pandemic in March 2020... And while yes, it was wonderful to be back, it was a strange experience: swim team canceled, masks had to be worn unless you were swimming, temperature checks at the front gate, and families had to sign up for three- hour increments at the pool, with tables and chairs being sprayed down with sanitizer in between sessions.
People timidly waved at each other from afar... Pool friends are hard enough to recognize a whole year later anyway. But add a mask and it makes almost everyone look like strangers. But my family went, enjoying the sunshine and cool water, happy to be out of the house, using careful sunscreen application so as not to get mask tans. Fast forward to this year... Our pool opened Memorial Day weekend and things were “back to normal,” packed to the gills with swimsuit-clad bodies everywhere and no restrictions (other than don’t come if you feel sick, but wasn’t that a good rule of thumb pre-COVID anyway?). Swim team resumed, with my son joining the masses of kids in the swim lanes, limbs splashing through the water like a frenzied school of feeding fish. Everyone seemed giddy with excitement to be back, and for the nightmare to be over...
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
But is it really over? Is it safe to get back in the water ? As incredible as it seems, getting the COVID-19 vaccine has become as political as wearing a mask... Getting the shot (or not) seems to imply you’re picking a side. Roughly 50% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated thus far, and seemingly any adult who wants it can get it. I received the vaccine a few months ago at a mass vaccination site, thousands of us herded through roped-off lanes comparable to the ride lines at Disney. I’ve since ditched my mask at the grocery store, but I find many are still wearing them... which is fine – you do you and I’ll do me . In April, after 388 days of being home, my kids’ school finally opened for in-person teaching. Those 13 months were a struggle – two parents juggling remote work with two kids being schooled at home, our Internet straining to keep up with all the laptops and streaming. I mourned the loss of their social interactions and sports seasons. But my one son, who often got distracted at school, found online learning easier to follow, and blossomed academically this past school year. Indeed, as I wrote in this Silver Linings piece last May, there was some good to be found in the world slowing down... Lockdowns allowed my family more together time and a breather from our usual chaos. However, I understand our situation was “easy” compared with many – we kept our jobs and no one got sick.
It’s truly difficult to wrap my head around the millions dead worldwide from this virus. And many of us, myself included, were hoping for a line in the sand... a moment the world could rejoice that “the pandemic was over.” But the conflicting CDC guidance, varying mask mandates and school policies, and new virus strains have made that tricky. We were being told that vaccinated people should keep wearing masks. Then we were told, the very next day – “It’s over, take them off!” No wonder folks were a bit suspicious about trusting the ever-evolving guidance. In the meantime, planes are packed and airports are bustling... Cruise lines are running again... Restaurants and bars are back to full capacity. In my house, school just wrapped for summer vacation. We’ve got camps lined up and vacations scheduled. I even just bought July concert tickets. I’m embracing the world reopening. My toes are already dipped in the water... And I’m ready for that cannonball jump. As incredible as it seems, getting the COVID-19 vaccine has become as political as wearing a mask... Getting the shot (or not) seems to imply you’re picking a side.
The BIG CON screwing Americans… DO THIS IMMEDIATELY
This tells you just about everything you need to know about the state of affairs in America today... Just since the beginning of the pandemic, the richest billionaires have added more than $1 trillion to their wealth . The Big Con runs far deeper than you can imagine. And I’m stepping forward to DO something about it. I actually QUIT a lucrative career on Wall Street to come forward with this message . And I have little doubt that what I say here will turn me into public enemy No. 1 across the entire financial industry.
But the effects of the Big Con are going to be devastating for those who don’t take action. I can’t be sure how long my message will stay online, for reasons you’ll understand when you see it .
Please look now while you can .
FROM OUR INBOX
P. J. O’Rourke Comment: Paul, it is a delight to hear from you. And thank you for your compliments and kind wishes. I vividly remember that Wisconsin Bar Association meeting. It was one of the best and sharpest audiences I’ve ever spoken to, and receptive to my making fun of Big Government even though the members of the Wisconsin Bar span the political spectrum. I also remember the meeting because it was held at what had been, from 1968 to 1981, the Playboy Club Resort at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I’d brought my 15-year-old son along on the trip. He read the brochure about the resort’s history. Then – though the place had been fully “de-Hefnerized” more than 20 years before he was born – I watched my son happily drifting into daydreams of a lost paradise as he wandered the grounds. Paul, I’m going to get in touch with you personally about that Farm Policy matter. I belong to a small East Coast organization devoted to the preservation of agriculture and land conservation. The organization’s main activity is managing a trust fund set up in the 19th century to support worthy students who want to go to Ag. School. Our main problem? Finding students who want to go to Ag. School. Dear P.J.: I often skip over American Consequences and go on to the next email. This morning I saw your name in the title, so how could I NOT open it up?
Re: Eat the Rich PJ, I’ve been reading the magazine since inception. It is enlightening, educational and always has a good dollop of humor thrown in. You may recall that you came to Wisconsin to speak at the Bar Convention when I was its President. We haven’t had an in person convention in two years (apparently, the Bar Association is trying to protect us all from each other’s germs). You are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise heavy woke/ politically correct atmosphere. And your writers/contributors are the best. Live a long life (is spite of your hard early years), keep your shit together and, most importantly, keep writing with the light hearted clarity and insightfulness we have come to appreciate over these many years. By the way, I went back and re-read the Chapter in your Parliament of Whores book on the Farm Policy last year in light of the many farmers I represent that were dying on the vine. Still the same bureaucracy, but worse. Have to say that most farmers in Wisconsin are white European descended types, apparently recently moved to the back of the line for government relief. I imagine the poor Farm Service Agency agents (most look the same as their farmers) out trying to give the largesse away to almost non-existent classes of ethnically/ alt. gendered farmers here in the Dairy State the current Administration have prioritized for government help. – Paul S.
of Nations is a thousand pages long. But Smith could put it all in one sentence, too. In a lecture he delivered to a learned society in Edinburgh in 1755, Smith said, “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.” Re: Beware, Overpaid CEOs... Here Comes Kamikaze Capital CEO comp bashing is ubiquitous yet nothing ever happens. Kim Iskyan puts up some good points in pay – performance comparisons then predictably loses me with some pure and unabashed Marxism: “... workers – you know, the folks actually creating value.” I wanted to finish the piece to get some more of Kim’s acerbic wit but I also knew a few more gems like the above would be forthcoming.
I am 86 years old and have been puzzled by economics my entire life. I took a course some 60 years ago hoping for some understanding of what makes our world go around. I was sorely disappointed to find that there is no consensus on this question. Economists are students of the economy just as I am! They have as many questions as they have answers, and seemingly no two agree! So I am writing to tell you that I enjoyed your message this morning and I look forward to hearing from you again. Your books are timeless! I haven’t read them all, of course, but I might live long enough to do so. (Oh, yes, you have written “a couple.”) I encourage everyone to tune into American Consequences! – Pat W. P. J. O’Rourke Comment: Heartfelt thanks, Pat. To be told that I’ve written something that interests you is the best of all compliments.
I’m a bit younger than you – though I’m catching up fast – and I find that one of the advantages of age is that I no longer care very much whether people “like” or “don’t like” what I write. But if I’ve gotten someone interested in what I’m writing, then I feel real satisfaction. But back to the subject of economics... It’s so complex, and yet it’s so simple. Adam Smith certainly understood that complexity. The Wealth
How can someone not drunk on doctrine (aka Lenin’s useful idiot) actually believe such a simplistic trope? Workers may participate in value creation, but they are certainly not its entire, nor even major source. Many don’t create value at all outside the strict “value- added” criterion, like the vast majority of necessary but wholly fungible book- keepers, cleaners etc. The human automatons at Foxconn are in no way responsible
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put together, the robots making the Fords wouldn’t be turned on... and so on. And for all of their ills, CEOs do play an important role in shepherding the rest of everyone. But I think we can agree that there’s a fundamental unfairness to the way things work now. Even if we put aside that angle... I think it’s high time that shareholders rattle the cages of CEOs. In my mind, the only reason to pay someone as exorbitantly as so many CEOs are paid is if there is truly no one else on Earth available (at practically any price) to perform the job. And that’s obviously not the case, particularly for lousy CEOs who could be easily replaced by a pet rock. Is there no one else around interested in – and plenty capable of – being the CEO of AT&T? Of course there is. And they’d likely do a better job, since they could hardly do a worse job than the present guy. Re: John Boehner Book Review P.J., Some flavors are too strong for the hoi polloi, but Limburger & all the other stinky cheeses are a wonderful accompaniment to flavorful beer. Oh yeah, I get a kick out of Boehner, too (despite being a Left-leaning Independent). Unfortunately, the Trump Republican Party gives me only Democrats to vote for. I hope the voter suppression mania is strongly repudiated by the voters in 2022 so that the Republicans will be forced to reject Trumpism. – Clarke K. P. J. O’Rourke Comment: Clarke, your note is a testament to how much a Left-leaning Independent and a Right-leaning Libertarian
for Apple’s enterprise value. Yes, the exceptional person may provide a morale boost, thus raising general productivity. We hope they get promoted. CEOs are, of course, often value killers, having only the goal of short-term equity prices in mind to the exclusion of everything else. How about, for example, a federally mandated 10-year escrow on all non-cash comp for corporations above a certain enterprise value? Why is this idea never discussed? I get escrowed regularly on my generally worthless penny-stock option grants so the mechanisms exist. – Matt L. I’m not a socialist. I’m a conservative republican. But I detest CEO greed. Publicly shame the CEOs – for sure. But if you start preaching socialism, you will lose me and millions of others. – J.C. Kim Iskyan Response: Matt and J.C., thank you for your thoughtful comments. I’m no fan of socialism – living in the former Soviet Union for 12 years, I had a front-row seat to the devastation it wreaks – but in the case of CEO pay (and how workers are treated), I think we’re missing a critical middle ground. Matt, you remark that workers don’t account for all, or even most, of the value created by a firm – but CEOs don’t either, by your reckoning (I hope I’m not twisting your words here). And JC, you don’t like CEO greed but are allergic to the scent of socialism. Yes, most workers are fungible, as you point out, Matt – but without them, the burgers wouldn’t be flipped, the iPhones wouldn’t be
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can agree upon. Trump, to start with. I don’t like him. And Limburger cheese? I love it. But a note of caution here. When my wife and I were starting a family, we decided, on principle, that our children should be spared the deadly bland and/or sickly sweet food that’s usually dished out to toddlers. They should develop a broad palate and eat what the grown-ups eat (mashed up a bit and cut to be bite-sized as needed, of course). This worked fine with most cuisine. But perhaps I carried the principle too far when I gave our three-year-old a bit of Limburger. She responded with a projectile vomit. Which brings me, metaphorically, to the subject of keeping voters down. I oppose voter suppression. The principle of democracy is best served by a system where it is easy, simple, and convenient for everyone who is legally entitled to vote to do so. The votes may not go to the best cause or candidate, but, in a democracy, voters have the right to be wrong. (And the wrong can be corrected in the next election.) On the other hand, I’m in favor of a certain “giving-Limburger- to-toddlers” self-restraint in exercising that democratic principle. If I don’t understand the issues or know anything about the candidates, I should feel free – in fact, I should feel obligated – to not vote. Re: Just Because Hello Trish Regan, I think this newsletter & magazine are wonderful. I quit Facebook years ago, & Twitter a month ago. I used to get most of my news from Twitter, & your newsletter helps to keep me informed. Also, I watch your show on Rumble. I think you
are very intelligent & beautiful. Keep up the great work! – David F. Trish Regan Comment: David – wonderful! I’m so glad to have you on the team with me. The social media landscape is tough – I agree! Re: My Firsthand Experience Being Shadow Banned Trish, Once again you are hitting on the critical issues. We need to starve the Facebook, Google, and Twitter monsters. Who is truly pulling their strings? I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but why do these companies’ political agendas align? Why are none of these three champions of liberty and freedom of speech? What’s missing from the conversation is the high level look at everything going on in America today and developing the cohesive awareness of what it means. To me it means that Communists, either collectively or independently, have staged a successful coup. We are experiencing the cultural revolution that put Mao and the Communist Party in charge in China. Tell me I’m crazy, but the evidence is clear. We should be looking at the big picture here and now. Thanks for a great article today. I’m your biggest fan. – Bruce C. Trish Regan Comment: Dear Bruce – wonderful to hear from you! I do not disagree – there’s something deliberate going on via a communist takeover of America. It has me quite worried about the future. Thanks for reaching out.
THE AMERICAN JOBS PLAN BALON
A CHARCUTERIE OF OPPORTUNITY REDUCED TO A PORK SANDWICH AMERICA CAN'T STOMACH
May 2021 June 2021
By P.J. O'Rourke
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AMERICAN JOBS PLAN BALONEY
The Biden administration’s $6.25 trillion “American Jobs Plan” promises...
Oh, what doesn’t it promise? ... reliable transportation, safe water, affordable housing, healthy schools, clean electricity, broadband for all, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. I may be slightly misquoting the last part. But not by much. This article would be much shorter if I made a list of what the American Jobs Plan is not vowing to accomplish. In fact, I might be able to write the piece in three words... Make pigs fly . No. Strike that. We’d have to put wings on a whole bunch of swine if all the pork that Biden proposes is going to get off the ground. But one thing in the American Jobs Plan that’s certain to come true is the promise that your head will explode if you try to read it. Go to the “Briefing Room” at whitehouse.gov and click on “FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan.” Here is an outline of the spending agenda presumably simplified to the point where even Democratic members of Congress can comprehend it. And this – the condensed, dumbed-down, EZ-reading version – is 27 pages long. Although it is not, in fact, easy reading. Sample prose style:
... the President’s plan will use smart, coordinated infrastructure permitting to expedite federal decisions while prioritizing stakeholder engagement, community consultation, and maximizing equity, health, and environmental benefits.
The White House needs to quit getting its junior staff from Harvard and Yale and start hiring people who are better educated. The Fact Sheet is, however, illuminating. You need to go no farther than its second sentence to discover that the American Jobs Plan is not only squandering in its expense and ridiculous in its expanse, but also wrong and bad: This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy. Such moments have come before. There was the moment when Lenin nationalized all business and industry in the U.S.S.R., the moment when Stalin collectivized Soviet agriculture, the moment Hitler decided to pay off the German national debt by conquering Europe, the moment Mao announced his “Great Leap Forward.” Not to mention the moments of reimagining a new economy in Mussolini’s Italy, Kim Il-sung’s North Korea, Castro’s Cuba, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc. The idea that a government can “rebuild” an economy (versus the idea that, at best, a
will “revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains,” and otherwise do what private enterprise has always done better than government can. Most of the economic health issues that the American Jobs Plan addresses are issues of robust health. Biden is a doctor telling us we’re too trim and fit and need to start drinking, smoking, and overeating and getting our blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol up. Speaking of which, there are the remaining 26.5 pages of hogwash about letting every governmental pig out of every programmatic sty to cause an immense pork stampede trampling the nation on its way to feed at the taxation trough. Biden seems to want an economy that’s frail and sickly. The American Jobs Plan might do the trick. One of its top bullet points is... Build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings... There are commercial buildings sitting empty in nearly every shopping mall in America. And, as for those homes, has Biden ever been inside a public housing project? Sorry about the elevator being out of order again. And mind the stairs... Urine, empty crack vials, and expended 9mm Glock cartridges can make for slippery footing.
government can provide conditions in which an economy builds itself ) is a serious and complex proposition – too much so to be considered here. But economic facts are economic facts no matter what any White House “Fact Sheet” proclaims. And we divorce ourselves from facts at our peril. The idea that a government can “reimagine” a “new” economy is a foolish and stupid proposition. Try going to the person to whom you’re married and telling him or her you’re “reimagining a new spouse.” What fun! Speaking of which, there are the remaining 26.5 pages of hogwash about letting every governmental pig out of every programmatic sty to cause an immense pork stampede trampling the nation on its way to feed at the taxation trough. A scolding lament is made: Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40% since the 1960s. Has it occurred to any idiot at the White House that this might be a good thing? Over the past 60 years, while government control over the economy was falling by more than 40%, the economy was growing by more than 575%. Coincidence? Would Biden like to see the -40% and +575% figures reversed? I hope not... I don’t think Joe Biden is an evil man, just a blockhead. America’s economy is already in brisk recovery, though this is apparently news to Biden, who claims the American Jobs Plan
AMERICAN JOBS PLAN BALONEY Fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports and transit systems.
Meanwhile who’s going to be pounding the two million nails? According to the Associated General Contractors of America trade organization, 81% of construction firms are having trouble finding enough people to hire. Perhaps the American Jobs Plan (“AJP”) can create unemployment sufficient to supply the employees the construction industry will need. The AJP seems intent on trying. Another top bullet point in the Fact Sheet states... ... the plan will require that goods and materials are made in America and shipped on U.S.-flag, U.S.- crewed vessels. But I digress… Which is understandable. It’s easy to get distracted during the mind-numbing trudge through the AJP Fact Sheet. I wish I could analysis of the American Jobs Plan, but that would require some organization and logic in the plan itself. It doesn’t have any. There goes the $3.1 trillion import sector of the U.S. economy. And there goes the $2.5 trillion export sector too. Because the entire U.S. Merchant Marine consists of exactly 115 cargo ships engaged in foreign trade (out of more than 90,000 worldwide). Only five of the U.S. ships are tankers. But the American Jobs Plan will... present you with an organized and logical
So maybe we can send our oil and natural gas to Europe and Asia in soccer-mom SUVs, pontoon party boats, airline overhead luggage bins, and trolley cars. And don’t worry about getting fired, because the American Jobs Plan creates “good-paying union jobs.” The phrase is repeated with slight variations ad infinitum in the AJP Fact Sheet. Never mind that only 6.3% of private sector workers are unionized. Screw the private sector. The AJP is all about the public sector, and 34.8% of public employees are unionized. Incidentally, those unionized public employees are in an interesting position when negotiating with their “bosses,” who are elected officials desperate for the votes of that 34.8% to get themselves reelected. In any other business, this would be called extortion... Also incidentally, 3.6 million of those unionized public employees are members of teacher unions. And every one of them should be picketing the White House to protest Biden’s lousy grammar. That’s “ well -paying union jobs,” Joe, you dunce. But I digress…Which is understandable. It’s easy to get distracted during the mind- numbing trudge through the AJP Fact Sheet. I wish I could present you with an organized and logical analysis of the American Jobs Plan, but that would require some organization and logic in the plan itself. It doesn’t have any. It’s just a dump – excuse me,
with cheerful young couples who haven’t forgotten where the toilet is. ... ensure other nations won’t gain a competitive edge by becoming tax havens. By invading the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Monaco, and Liechtenstein? I’m sure American troops will enjoy this more than they enjoyed Afghanistan and Iraq. ... deliver infrastructure Americans can trust, because it will be resilient to floods, fires, storms... What is “resilient to” supposed to mean? Are we getting rubber roads and phone poles that will bounce right back after the hurricane? ... make sure fewer families mourn the loss of a loved one to road crashes. A federal program to increase our dislike of parents, siblings, and progeny so that we won’t feel so bad when they’re killed in a car wreck? ... fund state and local “vision zero” plans... to reduce crashes and fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. Though I don’t understand how riding a bicycle blindfolded or walking the dog with your eyes closed will fix this. ... build a national network of 500,000 EV [electric vehicle] chargers by 2030... And, knowing how government works, you’ll have to drive to a congressional district with a Democratic incumbent to find one.
a recycling center – of used-up and worn-out ideas from the New Deal, the Square Deal, the Great Society, etc. We thought these notions had rotted away 40 years ago during the Reagan era, but it turns out that the Left/ liberal mind is even less biodegradable than the Styrofoam it resembles. The best I can do is walk you through the junk heap, pointing out pieces of trash that are particularly hazardous to the environment – the environment, that is, of common sense and practicality. It won’t be a pleasant stroll... The plan targets 40% of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investment to disadvantaged communities. How’s that going to work? Will 40% of the better weather of Palm Beach be shipped to Detroit? Will the slum-dwellers of the South Bronx have to take a subway to Manhattan to do 40% of their littering on Park Avenue? ... it will... expand transit and rail into new communities. The built, preserved, and retrofitted home you’re getting may turn out to be in a noisy part of town, with the train station on your patio. ... makes substantial investments in... our care economy, starting by creating new and better jobs for caregiving workers. Which would require new and better people to care for. Let’s toss the crabby old folks out of the memory-care units and replace them
AMERICAN JOBS PLAN BALONEY Broadband is the new electricity. Try plugging your toaster into it . And, channeling Gyro Gearloose from Donald Duck comic books, the Fact Sheet proposes...
[fund]... affordable, convenient, car- free access to air travel. It’s called walking . ... reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access. The neighborhood of Harlem was cut off from the neighborhood of Midtown by that historic investment, Central Park. Let’s get rid of it. Whether this will increase opportunity or advance racial equity, I’m not sure. But we could get some environmental justice by turning the animals that used to be in the Central Park Zoo loose on tourists. ... protect and, where necessary, restore nature-based infrastructure – our lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds, and coastal and ocean resources. Cue the 1969 number-one hit single, “I Can’t Get Next to You,” by The Temptations: I... Can turn the gray sky blue, I can make it rain, whenever I want it to, Oh I can build a castle from a single grain of sand, I can make a ship sail on dry land... I can turn back the hands of time, you better believe I can, I can make the seasons change, just by waving my hand... The fact sheet continues in this vein of magical thinking, saying...
... an investment in 15 decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities... As if the train station on your patio weren’t bad enough, the Hindenburg is tethered to your backyard flagpole. But the AJP isn’t done with its “there goes the neighborhood” projects... For decades, exclusionary zoning laws – like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing – have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities. Those “exclusionary zoning laws” pretty much describe the White House, which sits on 18.7 acres of “areas with more opportunities” in thriving downtown Washington, D.C. Looks like a great spot for a trailer park to me. Meanwhile the AJP is... ... advancing environmental justice through a new Civilian Climate Corps... GREETING: You are hereby ordered, for induction into the Civilian Climate Corps, to turn zoo animals loose on tourists in New York.
Had enough? Me too. I could go on... But you’d want to kill me, and I’d want to let you. There is a Yiddish proverb: “Man plans. God laughs.” We’d better laugh the American Jobs Plan out of the House (and the Senate). It’s either laugh or cry.
Kids will be hoping for student deferments – or maybe not...
Funds also will be provided to improve our school kitchens, so
they can be used to better prepare nutritious meals and go green by reducing or eliminating the use of paper plates and other disposable materials. (Raw broccoli in cupped hands and sips from the drinking fountain for lunch.) But plenty of fresh air... In classrooms with poor ventilation... student absences are 10% to 20% higher. Open the f***ing window . If the kids play hooky that won’t be a problem either. There will be an... ... expanded tax credit to encourage businesses to build child care facilities at places of work. I work at home. My “places of work” is a child-care facility and has been since we had our first child in 1997. Can I get a tax deduction for every time I’ve closed my laptop and squashed Cheerios or a gummy bear into my keyboard? Finally, there is – despite very stiff competition – the winner of the Fact Sheet “Well, Duh” award: Research shows that increasing the pay of direct care workers greatly enhances workers’ financial security
SPECIAL THANKS To Randal O’Toole and Chris Edwards, distinguished scholars at the Cato Institute, for the generous help they gave me in my attempt to understand the American Jobs Plan. They have written prolifically and perspicaciously about what’s wrong with this mad scheme. If you want a more intelligent and detailed critique of the AJP than I am able to provide, you’ll find their work readily available on the Cato at Liberty blog and The Antiplanner (Dedicated to the sunset of government planning) website. And additional thanks, of course, to the Cato Institute itself – that best of free minds and free markets think tank.
By Jay Caauwe
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEB VERSION
THIS AINT YOUR DAD’S WEED ANYMORE…
It’s time to acknowledge the seismic movement that is occurring with cannabis right now in America... Not just from the recreational side of the house, but also based on cannabis’ value due to its medicinal benefits... this country’s openness (finally) to rewriting a targeted and harmful drug policy and moving toward social equity... and by recognizing that industries will be built around agricultural tech and the commodifying of hemp. What we are seeing is a massive asset class developing around broad-scale plant innovation, designed to disrupt certain corporate legacy processes. As a society, we stand poised to benefit and build around this ancient cultivar.
CANNABIS: DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION softened, further illustrating that as this
For the uninitiated, hemp and marijuana refer to the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa . In the United States, marijuana is defined as any Cannabis sativa plant that has greater than 0.3% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis (the stuff that gets you high). Hemp plants are defined as any cannabis plant that has 0.3% or less THC. You can think of it as marijuana and hemp having a common pool of genetic variations. The 2018 Farm Bill changed federal policy regarding hemp, including the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and the consideration of hemp as an agricultural product. But it was not until January 2021 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its final federal regulations for hemp. And it has not been without widespread criticism from business and state lawmakers. Some of these final measures have been
nascent industry continues to evolve within the guardrails and legal framework it’s being given, there is still more to learn about the plant. So how is it that it took until 2018 for a Farm Bill to describe hemp as an agricultural product? One of my partners at cannabis consulting firm Supercritical, Sparky Rose, rightly posits that 25 years from now, America will ask itself an honest question: “What the hell were we thinking with cannabis prohibition?” Much has been written about the vast social disruption that occurred under Harry Anslinger and how he almost single-handedly created the campaign against cannabis as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a role he held from 1930 until 1962. Concern about the rising use of marijuana and research linking its use with crime and other social problems created pressure on the federal government to act. Rather than promoting federal legislation, the Federal
COMMODITY A basic physical asset used in commerce that is interchangeable with other goods of the same type. Commodities are most often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services. The quality of a given commodity may differ slightly, but it is essentially uniform across producers. DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION A process by which a product or service initially takes root in simple applications at the bottom of a market and generally is less expensive and more accessible. Acceptance drives the moves upmarket, eventually displacing established competitors. Disruptive innovations are NOT breakthrough technologies that make good products better – rather they are innovations that make products and services more accessible and affordable, thereby making them available to a larger population.
Bureau of Narcotics strongly encouraged state governments to accept responsibility for control of the problem by adopting the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act, and thereby sealed the fate of the non-narcotic hemp plant. As difficult as passing drug laws can be, enforcing them effectively, consistently, and fairly has proven to be virtually impossible. Yet it is these incongruities that had the effect of making more inroads possible, as “wiggle room” around research and development specific to hemp started to unfold. By keeping the recreational and industrial sides of the same house separate, science was able to focus on the plant as a commodity and input for applications that can, at the very least, augment the current manufacturing of commercial goods, packaging, nutraceuticals, textiles, and biofuel. According to Marijuana Business Daily’s Annual Marijuana Business Factbook, U.S. medical and adult-use cannabis sales reached at least $15 billion in 2020, an almost 40% increase from 2019. It also predicts industry employment could reach almost 300,000 full- time jobs this year, a 50% increase from 2019. To put those figures in perspective, the number of jobs in the cannabis industry would be about the same as the beverage industry, an industry which has certainly sat up and taken notice of cannabis... as seen by the number of crossovers into the cannabis-beverage and edibles lines. This job creation is thankfully not all plant touching or dispensary operations. These jobs are in industries that will help determine the future of how cannabis is perceived, bought, and sold.
ONEWORD: PLASTICS There has been a lot more in the print and broadcast world recently about the efforts to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, especially when they go toward the creation of single- use plastic. And if you thought that tracking down the global culprits would be a fool’s errand, it is easily discoverable that just 20 firms are responsible for more than 55% of the world’s single-use plastics. It’s the usual assortment of state-owned and multinational corporations dabbling in oil, gas, and chemicals. And this report, the first ever of its kind, from the Plastic Waste Makers Index also points out that Australia leads the list of countries generating the most single-use plastic waste on a per-capita basis, ahead of the United States, South Korea, and Britain. Single-use plastics are made almost exclusively from fossil fuels, driving the climate crisis... And because they’re some of the hardest items to recycle, they end up creating global waste mountains. Just 10% to 15% of single-use plastic is recycled globally each year. The same properties that make plastics so useful today, like durability and resistance to degradation, also make them nearly impossible for nature to completely break down. But across boardrooms and heard loud and clear in shareholder meetings, emphasis on SRI (socially responsible investing) and ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) is the driver of discussion. Much of that discourse puts particular emphasis on the Earth’s source of water. Our oceans undergo a daily onslaught of plastic pollution
CANNABIS: DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION plastic products will be banned beginning in July 2021. that harms marine life of all kinds, from zooplankton and sea turtles to whales and
dolphins. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the marine environment every year – roughly the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute. There already exists “hemp plastic.” But as the name suggests, there is still plastic incorporated, and in some instances, only 10% of plant matter is even involved in the process... So questions around the biodegradability and sustainability remain. Plastic has been found in every corner of the world and has turned up in our drinking water, beer, salt, honey, and more. The problem is too massive for recycling alone to solve. A meager 9% of all plastic waste ever generated has been recycled. Meanwhile, plastic production is projected to quadruple between 2014 and 2050, far outpacing recycling and resulting in more plastic in our oceans. It’s these sobering facts that have us looking for solutions. With $226 billion in assets, New York’s pension fund is dropping many of its fossil fuel stocks in the next five years and will sell its shares in companies that contribute to global warming by 2040. The EU and its directive are adamant about this cause, by stating that where sustainable alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use
Canada is also taking a stand... Plastic is now considered toxic under Canada’s primary environmental law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The decision, which comes despite months of lobbying by Canada’s $28 billion plastics industry, paves the way for a proposed ban on some single- use items. About 3.3 million metric tons of plastic is discarded in Canada each year, and less than 10% (about 305,000 metric tons) is recycled. The remainder goes to landfills, is incinerated, or leaks into rivers, lakes, and oceans, according to a 2019 study commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada. And hats off to the countries and companies looking to provide solutions (as tentative or fragile as those measures may be). Yes, there already exists “hemp plastic.” But as the name suggests, there is still plastic incorporated, and in some instances, only 10% of plant matter is even involved in the process... So questions around the biodegradability and sustainability remain. The other problem with traditional biodegradable plastics to solve is cost. Past biodegradable polymers were far too expensive to create widespread consumer demand. To succeed, solutions also need to be affordable. Meanwhile, in the cannabis industry, every kilo of dried flower comes with eight kilos of plant waste. To comply with regulations, this waste must be destroyed. For many cannabis producers, this means incineration or mixing with their waste chemicals before sending it all to a landfill.
within less than a year and leave no harmful residual material behind.
FROM DOGWASTE TO INNOVATION
Sure sounds like disruptive innovation to me... Or consider the New Zealand firm BioLumic. It has developed a series of ultraviolet-light “recipes” to allow the plant (and not just cannabis) to reach its full genetic expression. Through photobiology, engineering, and data science, these recipes improve yields, have demonstrated increases in cannabinoid profiles, and offer a more robust growing cycle. Through photobiology, engineering, and data science, these recipes improve yields, have demonstrated increases in cannabinoid profiles, and offer a more robust growing cycle. BioLumic’s processes originally focused on tomatoes and soybeans, and it was while running trials in hemp for CBD that it found across-the-board improvements for both hemp and marijuana strains. The bonus was that these recipes also trigger a UV response, which makes plants more resistant to disease and pathogens. The process is clean, green, and GMO-free. And here in the U.S., there is bio365, a company with applications also beyond just cannabis. Bio365 produces a living soil that increases the bioavailability of nutrients while reducing the need for external chemical inputs and fertilizers. Using a high- temperature, super-low-ash biochar, this grow medium can claim a remarkably high surface area, super-high porosity, low ash, and carbon
The good news is there are the diamond- in-the-rough startups that emphasize the entire plant and have developed agricultural and bioscience technologies to innovate and compliantly compete. One such group is the London, Ontario-based Truly Green Plastic (“TGP”). It takes hemp biomass waste (the used fiber or pulp), introduces a proprietary bacteria and fermentation process, and generates a polymer that is 100% biodegradable, food-safe, and capable of replacing single-use plastics. Tarek Moharram is the CEO of TGP, and like many innovative introductions, the idea behind the process came as Tarek was pondering one of life’s great mysteries. At first, it was a simple idea... Why don’t dog-waste bags have the capacity to break down in a landfill based on contact with their organic contents? I soon realized that the products on the market at the time were over-engineered in that they could do much more than hold dog waste and, as a result, took much longer than needed to break down. Many of the so-called ‘biodegradable’ options required either limited-availability industrial composting plants or significant access to oxygen and sunlight to break the product down. Unfortunately, that is not possible when buried under layer upon layer of other types of landfill waste. I built a team of experts and challenged them to make a polymer that would naturally break down based on contact with organic matter
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