• December 7, 2019

ELAM: GOP majority can’t pass a legislation - Odessa American: Dennis Elam Column

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ELAM: GOP majority can’t pass a legislation

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Posted: Sunday, May 7, 2017 5:00 am

“All this shows is that Washington, while not completely broken, is more dysfunctional than normal. Governing rarely looks focused, disciplined, and efficient, but it almost never looks this unfocused, undisciplined and inefficient.”

Karl Rove, Careful What You Wish for Washington, 5/4/17

Congressional Republicans can finally lay claim to creating a single, unifying event. Just today Karl Rove (American Crossroads), Rich Lowry (National Review), Dan Henninger (Wall Street Journal) and Ann Coulter (Author of “In Trump We Trust”) all agree on one thing: The Republicans are the gang that can’t govern straight. Indeed, after explaining why Trump should be president, Ann has dropped her Trump book from the list of publications on her own website!

Harry Browne, former Libertarian candidate for president, observed that if one party were to disappear, it would be the Republicans, not the Democrats. As he put it, Democrats are all about telling someone else what to do, and there is always a market for that. Republicans, however are for, well, what? After campaigning non-stop since 2010 for repeal and replacing Obamacare, a second vote today on a replacement plan remains in jeopardy. The minority Democrats managed to eliminate budget funds for Trump’s wall and Planned Parenthood remains funded. Game, set, match, anyone?

Dissatisfaction with endless Republican promises and resulting non-performance catapulted the unlikely Trump Candidacy into the White House. But after begging for re-control of the House, the Senate and then the White House, all boxes are checked and yet stalemate prevails.

Electing the ultimate outsider (previously Trump was a Democrat) has its problems. No one in Congress owes him anything. Passing legislation is a team effort, saying “you’re fired” accomplishes nothing. Last week in Pennsylvania he attacked the press. Instead, rallying the audience to call congress and demand health care action might have gotten some wavering votes onto the table. Cal Thomas observed that when Democrats get power, they know how to use it. We can’t say that about Republicans.

The new Democrat National Chair, Tom Perez, has taken to openly referring to Republicans in four letter words. Negative social mood is on the rise.

Its 3.5 million residents are drowning in $73 billion in debt. Gee, Detroit was a mere $9 billion and that was the previous high for municipal bankruptcies. Puerto Rico is America’s Greece. Some 20-25 percent of the population works in government. As manufacturing fell, residents have fled the island. Bye bye tax base!

The interesting thing is that no one seems to care. Franklin Resources and Oppenheimer are among the largest holders of PR debt. Corporations typically trade new stock for old bonds held by creditors. Will anyone want to own ‘stock’ in Puerto Rico?

I suggested Anadarko and Apache might offer the best clues as to the direction of oil prices. This past month a gas line in Colorado exploded. The explosion took the lives of two residents living in a house recently built a mere 170 feet from the well. Anadarko is now shutting in wells producing some 13,000 barrels of oil a day as a result. The stock price plummeted through $60 to $51.95.

Apache is still trading just under $50. And reports have majors like Shell reporting the best earnings since 2015.

West Texas Intermediate WTIC closed Wednesday at $47.82, actually up a tad on the day. It is re-visiting the March lows, this same price range under $50. The Energy Service ETF XES is still struggling to find its footing around $17. A break of this level would open the possibility of a return to $13 of February 2016. But that seems unlikely with oil prices some $203 higher now than then.

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