Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp

Vol. 2014 No.  5

 Midterm Elections

(Everything is Related to Everything Else)

The pendulum swings the other way, big time; conservatives, Republicans, and independents, of whom I’m one, gained control of the Senate, added to their margin in the House, and gained four net governorships, having lost one and added five.  Whether a late arrival of ballots from remote U.S. locations and service men overseas change the outcome is unknown as I pen this, but voters have expressed themselves with a clearer outcome dating back to then Congressman Newt Gingrich whose eloquence made a difference.  President Clinton reacted quickly, essentially adopting the Gingrich proposals, stamping them with his own Clinton Presidential label in time to win his second term reelection. 

Already in his second term, President Obama is a lame duck.  Were the conservatives and independents to continue their reign, efforts need to be made to work together rather than rubbing salt in the wounds of the opposition and continue to foster negativism.  We seek reform of Congress itself.  Constructive change is in our hands – yours, mine, and those we can influence. 

Despite the irregularity of Windows on the World, readership appears to be growing as affirmative comments are coming from as far as Australia, Egypt, England, and New Zealand to accompany those in the lower forty-eight. 

Structurally I would suggest the limit of one six-year term for the president, three four-year term limits for House members, and two six-year terms for Senate. 

The power of the President has immensely increased with his role as Commander in Chief of the military since nuclear blasts in August 1945.  When Japan’s capitulation followed the plutonium bombing of Nagasaki (which I personally witnessed).  Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered in early May of that same year.

Committee Chairmen should be elected in both the House and Senate by their members rather than appointed on the basis of seniority.  Too often leadership positions in Congress are held captive by individuals steeped in the stagnation of their views.  Term limits would enable a higher measure of creativity with responsibility. 

To prevent the waste of funds associated with earmarking, future Presidents should be granted one line veto power; a President who does not utilize his one line veto is endorsing the waste of taxpayer money (billions of dollars of featherbedding funds annually).  

Charles Kelley, one of my fund managers, appropriately noted in my call with him today, “U.S. corporate tax rates should be competitive with world corporate tax rates in order to retain our corporations within the United States rather than incentivizing them to move abroad.”

Immigration, government spending in excess of income and cash flow are important considerations for decision makers.  To me inflation reporting is grossly understated and lied about.  Japan used to be categorized as Japan Incorporated.  Japan Inc. is flooding its manufacturers with money in order to compete with China in markets, which include automotive, technology, thereby administratively causing self-inflicted inflationary wounds as is already the case in the U.S.

Internationally I remain critical of “Shrewd Sanctions.”  What is apparent is resentment, hatred, and loss of respect when we sanction a country by withholding trade, limiting their access to food (such as wheat, corn and oil). Hostility builds rapidly within the country on whom sanctions are imposed.  Sanctions strike the fire of hatred, contributing to loss of respect.  When we sanction a country by withholding trade, it is at a price.

In an October trip to New Zealand and Australia with my Executive Assistant, Deb Koehler, I noted both countries have American military bases on their soil.  Enough said, the question remains, “What on earth are we doing there?”

I frequently asked whether New Zealanders and Aussies population growth rates were partly due to persons seeking to distance themselves from potential military conflict?  Each responded in the affirmative and expanded on their answer.

While in Australia I read in their media, our Secretary of State, John Kerry, requested that Australia agree to support our U.S. actions in the Near East within three days (which their media took to be an ultimatum).  Another prime example of how not to win friends and influence people and their respect.

Ray Plank

November 11, 2014