By Jack Kelly
In a wide ranging interview with Forbes, Kanye West reasserted that he’s running to become the President of the United States of America. West said, “I am taking the red hat off (referring to his MAGA baseball cap) with this interview,” and “Like anything I’ve ever done in my life, I’m doing (this) to win.” The billionaire rapper and business mogul offered some intelligent insights including the following:
- He’s running for president in 2020 under a new banner—the Birthday Party—with guidance from Elon Musk and an obscure vice presidential candidate he’s already chosen.
- He’s ok with siphoning off Black votes from the Democratic nominee, thus helping Trump.
- “I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
- He’s never voted in his life.
- He was sick with Covid-19 in February.
- He’s suspicious of a coronavirus vaccine, terming vaccines “the mark of the beast.”
- He believes, “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
- He envisions a White House organizational model based on the secret country of Wakanda in Black Panther.
West will have a lot on his plate if he wins. The Covid-19 pandemic has wrecked us. We’ve endured a historic virus outbreak, which caused our politicians to close down businesses across the nation. This led to millions of jobs lost and a growing number of iconic American companies seeking bankruptcy protection.
This week, Brooks Brothers, the granddaddy of the preppy attire, filed for bankruptcy. The 200-year-old clothing retailer couldn’t survive the casual dress trend, along with its stores being closed for four months. We also saw the company that owns both the Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant brands say that it could enter Chapter 11 as soon as this week. Lucky Brand has also filed for bankruptcy along with a long list of other companies, including Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and J.C. Penney, which have all filed for court protection in the last few months. J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Lucky Brand, Chuck E. Cheese, Hertz, Gold’s Gym, GNC, Le Pain Quotidien, Pier 1, 24 Hour Fitness, the largest Pizza Hut franchisee and the list goes on.
The amount of top companies filing for bankruptcy is staggering and frightening. This means that thousands of store locations will close. Then, tens of thousands of workers will be laid off joining the over 47 million Americans who have already filed for unemployment benefits.
There will be a ripple—if not, tidal wave—effect too. The shopping mall owners that house many of these brand-name companies will lose considerable revenue and could put them in jeopardy of closing or going bankrupt as well. With more people out of work, there will be a new austerity. Americans will be afraid to spend money. Who wants to buy things when they don’t have a job or are worried about losing their job, especially when it won’t be easy to find another one anytime soon? As the wallets and pocketbooks are closed, more businesses will suffer from lack of customers, which causes a domino effect.
The government will be forced to provide more stimulus payments to the unemployed and small-to-midsize businesses, in an effort to help them survive. If the rate of business closures and layoffs continue, it could turn into a catastrophe of epic proportions. Unfortunately, nonstop stimulus payments and the Federal Reserve pumping trillions into the stock market and economy can’t go on forever. Our kids and grandchildren will be burdened with debt that they can never escape. Inflation or stagnation can take hold which would be financially ruinous.
Meanwhile, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Facebook and a small group of online monsters are doing well and stealing market share from everyone else. It’s good for them and their shareholders, but bad news for our society.
We could end up with a feudalist country. There will be the oligarchs, like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, owning and running everything. Under them, will be their top-notch lawyers, accountants and management class. The middle class will slowly wither away and there will be a massive underclass of people who are poor, don’t have jobs or are unable to maintain stable full-time employment. Globalization and fast-moving technology will hasten the demise of the white-collar, middle-class workers.
I don’t know if President West is the answer to our problems, but we certainly need some fresh faces and new ideas to avert a future disaster.
Trump has called for new policies, which will wreak havoc on colleges and a segment of their students. Under new guidelines, international students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools only offer online classes this fall.
It’s not widely advertised that universities earn a lot of money from foreign students. Generally, they are charged full tuition and not offered scholarships. It’s a big moneymaker for the colleges. Some say that Trump’s new policy edict is a way to poke his finger in the eye of the liberal progressive university systems in the country. Others claim that the vacated seats will open up room for more Americans.
President Trump is also waging a campaign to open up elementary, middle and high schools in the fall. It looks like he’s courting the vote of exasperated parents who are desperately trying to work from home and care for and home-school their children at the same time. For those with young children, this balancing act has been exhausting and frustrating.
Trump on Tuesday urged the nation’s public schools to reopen “quickly and beautifully. ” He tweeted that schools must reopen this fall, adding that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.” “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said it’s imperative for the health of children to give school re-openings a go, given the risk children face of abuse and social isolation at home, among other potential ills.
Here’s another boondoggle. The Paycheck Protection Program, part of the multitrillion dollar government stimulus package, was primarily intended to help small businesses retain workers. The loosely managed and poorly regulated process was perverted and hijacked by thousands of companies that gamed the system. Through technicalities and loopholes in the program, the sloppy roll out was marred by too-little oversight and the allowance of large corporations, hedge funds, money managers, law firms and fast food chains to receive millions of dollars in forgivable loans.
The concept of PPP was laudable. In the teeth of the Covid-19 pandemic, small businesses that were deemed nonessential were ordered to cease operations. This placed thousands of small and mid sized companies in a perilous position. With the sudden shocking lack of customers plummeting revenue, evaporating profits and still bills to pay, many small businesses faced financial ruin.
The federal government previously offered enhanced unemployment benefits to workers that lost their jobs due, in large part, to the economic effects of the virus outbreak. In an effort to both keep the doors of small businesses open and as an enticement to retain workers and keep them employed, the PPP was put into effect. Companies were offered the opportunity to apply for a forgivable loan. There wasn’t a lot of red tape and the major requirement was a promise to retain employees for a specified time period.
Unfortunately, the lion’s share of the funds went to companies that didn’t fit into this profile. The program was rushed out and handed off to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to manage the process and oversight. Mnuchin then passed it over to the banks. They became in charge of the review, approvals and underwriting the loans.
Click here to see the not-so-small companies and weasels that wormed their way into getting a chunk of the over $600 billion PPP fund.