Random thoughts on a random Tuesday

So here I am, nine days away from my 50s, with a whole bunch of random thoughts running through my head. My birthday ushers in the fourth quarter and each year seems to go by faster and faster. Hard to believe we only have five songs left in 2022. How is that possible? We released the Surfaces issue yesterday. Or so it seems.

I recently read that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, is predicting a recession in 2023. I think that’s possible with all the rate hikes the Fed has made to throw cold water on the economy. But I’ll wait until Thursday, November 3, when Alan Beaulieu addresses the NAFCD in Chicago to form my own opinion.

Speaking of Dimon, I also read Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib demanding that he and other leaders in the banking community commit to immediately end all financing of fossil fuel projects to slow climate change. His response: “That would be the road to hell for America.”

Look, the policies Tlaib advocates have already cut funding for fossil fuel projects, which has exacerbated Europe’s energy shortages since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. You cannot rush the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy. These transitions take decades. For example, the switch from coal to natural gas took 40 years. You can’t just flip a switch; we don’t have the infrastructure in place.

It seems like we’ve been talking about the midterm elections for two years, and now it’s four weeks away. I feel that these interim deadlines are more important for the direction of the country than I have ever experienced. I’m curious what happens. Will economic problems such as inflation replace the many social problems plaguing this country? We’ll know soon enough.

A few weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with a flooring trader. He told me he doesn’t feel inflation is affecting his business as much as one might think. He believes inflation is a bigger problem for the middle and lower classes, but the middle to upper classes continue to spend despite everything being more expensive. However, he told me that when the stock market takes a dip, he worries. That’s when the rich notice and be careful. Something to think about.

I recently read about former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard leaving the Democratic party, in fact claiming that some of his platforms were too extreme, especially when it comes to “wake up” and divisiveness. I know that people have also left the Republican Party because of extreme views. I bring this up because she seems to be part of a dying breed: independent thinkers and moderates. Why does this country have to be so extreme? Why are you far left or far right? What happened to the middle? What happened to a compromise? I don’t think Reagan, Clinton, Bush 1 and 2 and Obama were as polarizing as today’s politicians. What happened to America? Why is everyone so angry? Oh dear. You could live in Russia or North Korea.

Last thing – and maybe someone can help me here. Why would anyone want to do away with cash bail? Why would anyone want a criminal back on the street with just a slap on the wrist? I’m not saying that someone caught with marijuana should be given a life sentence. But here in New York City, people walk into the CVS or Walgreens neighborhood and help themselves as if it were a buffet. The workers are told not to stop them for fear of getting hurt. The thieves just run away. Instead of ‘Thanks for shopping’ it’s more like ‘Thanks for stealing’. The result: The drugstores are closing or at least closing half of the store’s shelves behind plastic wrappers. Do you want deodorant? Ring the bell and wait for an employee to unlock the plastic gate. Do you want toothpaste? Ring the bell and wait. Now I just take the employee with me when I walk through the store. It’s like having my own personal shopper. Not in a fancy department store. At CVS.

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