Gleanings & Observations

No longer any need to worry about how to pay for Democrats’ next round of trillion-dollar spending. All explained by the President at the conclusion of his press conference last Friday, after the prepared portion read off the teleprompter.

“Every time I hear – and I drive my staff crazy – this is gonna cost A, B, C or D – the truth based on the commitment I made is gonna cost nothing because we are gonna raise the revenue to pay for the things we are talking about.”

All the President’s men thought this such a priceless bit of economic wisdom that they retweeted it. Whether that means the poor congresspeople scrounging to find funds to finance the Biden/Sanders’ recasting of the American political economy can rest from their labors has not been decided.

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Thomas Jefferson, 1787.

The President’s $3.5 trillion spending bill offers print and digital publishers with no more than 750 employees, serving a regional or local market, up to $50,000 per journalist, capped at 50% of each scribbler’s wages in year one and 30% thereafter. At least one journalist must live in the area, a perch from which he or she can provide unbiased reporting on the government on which he or she depends for part of his or her salary.

An estimated 12,400 of the 30,000 largely Haitian immigrants who crossed the border have been released into the US. “It could be more,” says Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who says he is too fatigued from hard work to find out the exact number, or learn whether they have been vaccinated. By design, many were families with small children, pregnant women and the sick. A few years from now they will be asked to attend a hearing; some will appear, 44% usually don’t.

Democrats who wanted to roll amnesty for millions of illegal (undocumented) immigrants into the bill to fund the panoply of benefits in the President’s $3.5 trillion bill argued that the legalization of eight million of the 22 million undocumented immigrants a Yale study estimates to be in America, would cost $139.6 billion over ten years and therefore was a legitimate budget item.

No cost estimate for the impact on the budget of the released Haitians has been published.


Yiddish author I.L. Peretz long ago wrote a short story featuring Bontshe Shvayg, a poor peasant who had died and gone to heaven after a lifetime during which he made nary a complaint about his pitiful condition. When requested by the Heavenly Tribunal to “Ask for anything you wish; you can choose what you like,” the silent sufferer replied “Well, the, what I’d like most of all is a warm roll with fresh butter every morning.”

Starbucks now provides a “pup-uchino” for its customers’ dogs – an espresso cup filled with whipped cream.


Supply shortages are preventing the economy from growing more rapidly, and frustrating consumers, retailers, and manufacturers. “We’re unlikely to see a cleaning up of the situation until deep into next year,” says Brian Sondey, CEO of the world’s largest shipping-container leasing company as he surveys the ships lolling off California.

Morten Engelstoft, CEO of Maersk, one of the world’s largest port operators, tells the FT that the cause is a “vicious circle … We need lower [consumer demand] growth to give the supply chain time to catch up…” and give his company and other port operators time “to recover efficiency”.

Maersk’s incentive to do just that is somewhat reduced by the record-high freight prices his company is able to charge. Prices for a 40-foot container for a trip from China to California, are up to $6,000-$7,000 from $2,500 a few months ago. Result says Bloomberg: “A full-year profit that will match its combined results from the past nine years and make business history in it home country, Denmark.”


Amazon had thrown its substantial lobbying machine into the effort to legalize marijuana on the federal level. Henceforth, Amazon says it will “exclude marijuana from our comprehensive drug screening program for unregulated positions (e.g., positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation). … Pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of color…”.

The new policy is part of the company’s “aim to become Earth’s Best Employer”. This drive to establish higher – in more ways than one – standards worries owners of delivery services used by Amazon. Presumably the new policy is of no interest to the 350,000 robots employed at fulfillment centers around the globe, up 75% from the number two years ago.

Almost half of Americans polled (47%) tell Fox News pollsters that the message they would like to give the federal government is “leave me alone”. That’s up from 36% a year ago. Some 44% say they would tell the government “lend me a hand”. That’s down from 57% a year ago. Republicans mostly agree with Ronald Reagan that “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Democrats mostly disagree.