Random thoughts on a random Tuesday

So here I am, nine days removed from my 50s, with a bevy of random thoughts swirling inside 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 issues left in 2022. How can that be? We just put out the Surfaces issue yesterday. Or so it seems.

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

Speaking of Dimon, I also read how Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib demanded 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 reduced funding to fossil fuel projects, which has exacerbated the energy shortages seen in Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. You can’t rush the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy. These transitions take decades. The move from coal to natural gas, for example, took 40 years. You can’t just flip a switch; we don’t have the infrastructure in place.

It seems like we have been talking about the mid-term elections for two years, and now we are four weeks out. I feel like these mid-terms are more pivotal for the direction of the country than any I’ve ever experienced. I’m curious as to what happens. Will economic issues like inflation supersede the many social issues plaguing this nation? We’ll know soon enough.

I had an interesting conversation with a flooring retailer a few weeks ago. He told me he does not feel inflation impacts his business as much as one would think. He believes inflation is a bigger issue for middle and lesser classes, but the mid to upper classes continue to spend despite everything costing more. However, he told me when the stock market takes a dive, that’s when he worries. That’s when the rich take notice and exercise caution. Food for thought.

I read something recently about former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard leaving the Democratic party, basically claiming some of its platforms were too extreme, particularly as it relates to “wokeness” and divsion. I know people have left the Republican party as well due to extreme positions. 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 either far left or far right? What happened to the middle? What happened to compromise? I don’t think Reagan, Clinton, Bush 1 and 2 and Obama were as polarizing as the politicians of today. What happened to America? Why is everyone so angry? geez. You could be living 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 a mere slap on the wrist? I’m not saying someone who gets caught with marijuana should be given a life sentence. But here in New York City people walk into the neighborhood CVS or Walgreens and simply help themselves like it was a buffet. The workers are told not to stop them for fear of getting hurt. The thieves just walk out. Instead of “Thank you for shopping,” it’s more like “Thank you for stealing.” The result: The drug stores close or, at the very least, half the store’s shelves are locked behind plastic casings. You want deodorant? Ring the bell and wait for an employee to unlock the plastic gate. You want toothpaste? Ring the bell and wait. Now I just take the employee with me as I walk around the store. It’s like having my own personal shopper. Not at some fancy department store. At CVS.

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