The British, Russian and American Empires have tried to govern, pacify, rule or dominate Afghanistan with not very much success. The Persians, Indians, Mongols, Greeks, Arabs and others experienced difficulties as well. Part is the geography of steep mountains, and part may be the warring tribal nature of the culture. Some of the current difficulties are the proximity of India, Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran – each with their own distinct and competing regional agendas and tribal loyalties.
I’m not sure what to make of it. We sell out the Kurds, Brits, French and Syrian rebels to Presidents Assad, Putin and Erdogan. The French and the British say they will stay the course, but President Trump declares “mission accomplished” and hightails out of there, and Vladimir Putin says “hooray, don’t worry my good buddy, we’ll have the situation under control”.
Stock markets are in serious turmoil. Real estate construction is slowing a bit; manufacturing could be somewhat better. Most economic indicators seem to be pretty decent – inflation is under control, unemployment is low, and economic growth has been ok for the past nine years. https://www.thebalance.com/us-economic-outlook-3305669
Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.txnd.299449/gov.uscourts.txnd.299449.211.0.pdf He is best known previously for opinions holding President Obama’s efforts to allow DACA (Dreamers) children to remain in this country and work and pursue their studies were unconstitutional. He is a very conservative judge, and his opinion is likely to be reversed on appeal, but it has to be understood. If it is upheld in the Supreme Court, over 20 million Americans could lose coverage and over 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could have their coverage reduced or eliminated or their premiums increased; there are also adverse impacts in store for Medicare beneficiaries and privately insured employees who had their coverage improved under the ACA. In the meantime, the best advice is hold tight and keep enrolling people and implementing the ACA’s coverage expansions for Medi-Cal and Covered California.
We met about thirty five years ago in a small kayak store in Venice, CA. Together we slid through the water with pods of friendly dolphins and visited with sea lion harems, flocks of scoters, stately herons, little brown bat rays, brilliant red sea urchins, and lazy leopard sharks.
Governor Newsom has laid out an ambitious agenda: including more housing and more affordable housing, universal pre-school, universal health coverage, tax reform and more. All of these cost money, and there are very real budgetary limits. Many will require the cooperation of multiple interest groups frequently at war with each other and gubernatorial leadership will have to mesh these competing agendas. Ultimately many will need approval by the state’s voters.
UCLA’s Anderson Business School is forecasting economic growth over 3% this year, dropping to 2% in 2019 and falling to 1% in 2020. It sees the chief risks to the economy are: the trade wars and tariffs, the large corporate debts being incurred in mergers and acquisitions, and the drag of the large federal budget deficits generated by the federal tax cuts and spending.
The LAO notes that headed into the next fiscal year, California will have reserves of $14.5 billion and an additional $14.8 billion for the Legislature and new Governor to allocate in the next fiscal year. Looking out further, the LAO notes that if the economy enters a recession, California will have sufficient reserves to weather the recession, assuming 1) it’s a moderate recession and 2) the state does not spend its current surplus. If the economy continues to grow the state will have operating surpluses of $4.5 billion annually.
President Bush was a thoroughly decent man and a wonderful father, husband, grandfather and public servant. He embodied the role model that we expected from our Presidents. This has been lost and needs to be rediscovered in the next election.