Ridin’ The Storm Out

It’s one of those musically inspired days. Today’s inspiration is provided by REO Speedwagon’s 1973 release Ridin’ the Storm Out. The song is about riding a storm out because there was no other viable alternative and it would eventually end. Today a lot of people, countries and organizations are doing that with the Trump administration. Let’s explore.   

Monday, Planned Parenthood stopped participating in the Title X program rather than comply with the new White House Gag Rule which would prevent it from even mentioning the word abortion. Basically Planned Parenthood had to choose between federal funding and medical malpractice. It chose to honestly serve its clients who are primarily women of lesser economic means. As far as Trump is concerned they have two strikes against them: they are poor and they are female. Adding to their insignificance (in Trump’s book) a disproportionate percentage of them is non-white.

Planned Parenthood is obviously hoping for federal legislation to correct the situation in the near future. Considering that Moscow Mitch McConnell controls the Senate agenda and Donald Trump is in the White House I wouldn’t advise them to hold their breath while waiting. More likely they will have to wait for the next administration which could come as early as January of 2021. In the interceding time private funds will take up some of the slack and the rest will result in women (and in some cases their male partners) dying due to lack of services.

Other countries, both friend and foe, are also playing the waiting game. The best example is China. Trump is engaged in a stupid trade war with China who, more than anything else (thankfully for the American consumer and worker) is primarily waiting Trump out while keeping him somewhat in check. The biggest concession he appears to be getting is some trade deals that benefit his family.

Lip service aside, most American CEOs are doing the same basic thing. It is just as much good business as shrewd politics. How do you do prudent long term planning when you have no idea what the rules of the game will be down the road? So when you get a windfall – like the Trump Tower Tax Cut – you sit on your money or buy back stock rather than invest it in a new plant or R&D since you have no idea if the future has a profitable market for those product.

Having grown up in metro Buffalo I saw my fair share of snowstorms. Luckily, I rode them out in the relative comfort of my house (including most of the Blizzard of ’77). The best thing about them is they ended. Hopefully Trump is just another snowstorm (well, more of a legendary blizzard) and spring will come. Until then I guess I’ll just ride it out and it appears I have a lot of company.

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