California Takes A Stance – Imagine That? Artemis I Goes Big. Student Loans Paid For By Whom? Negative Vibes From The Fed Chairman. A Feel Good Moment.
- In discussing what looks to be a major pivot from many automobile manufacturers to electric and hybrid, we now turn our attention to the always interesting state of California. In addressing their growing concern for the climate and carbon pollution, California announced last week that they will require automakers to only sell new electric and hybrid cars in the state by 2035. This rule follows on the footsteps of the European Union (EU), who is floating a proposal to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars and is awaiting their member countries’ input and actions. This may seem insignificant with thirteen years to go until 2035, but my take is that the ripple effects of California’s stance on creating a zero-emissions transportation future will follow suit in many other states. Comments and concerns?
- I have given my take on the onslaught of electric vehicles, supporting some of my concerns with perspective from power grid executives in Texas and Arizona. On top of all the power supply and recharging issues I have mentioned, here comes a eye-opening tidbit from Ford Motor Company: On August 9, the group from Dearborn, Michigan, announced an increase in the price of the F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the iconic F-150 pickup. These price increases were between $6,000 and $8,500 depending on the model. The base price of the F-150 Lightning model year 2023 thus climbed between $47,000 and $97,000, compared to approximately $40,000 to $92,000 for model year 2022 vehicles. These prices obviously exclude taxes, delivery, and other charges.
I have no words other than to say that this electric vehicle planning, implementation, and execution strategy may be a bit of course.
- Word of the week: With respect to the lawyers who read this blog: I have learned to love the word “redacted.” Could this be the most overused word ever? 🙂
- Launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center is a must-see on Monday morning. At 8:33am tomorrow the Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis I is scheduled to make its debut launch on a 42-day mission. The space program, energized by private space exploration entities in not-so friendly competition, has never been more popular and top-of-mind. So mainstream in fact, that Brevard County officials are expecting up to 300,000 people to swarm their county to witness this launch. This is on a Monday morning, with most children in Florida back in school. I have discussed the significance of this launch in previous posts, but as a reminder, tomorrow morning’s launch and 42 days in space is a precursor to a manned mission sometime in 2024. That mission, Artemis II, will include four astronauts, followed by Artemis III in 2025, which will put two astronauts back on the moon. As I can watch the launch from my condo building near downtown Orlando, the “breakfast at Artemis” invitation is open. I thought my watch party idea was significant until I read this from Space.com: “As of last Wednesday night, there were over 4,000 registered private watch parties — including events slated to take place in family homes, classrooms, schools and universities. And there were nearly 2,500 registered public watch parties slated to kick off at museums, NASA Visitor Centers, planetariums, and more, according to Patricia Moore, an Artemis outreach strategist.” So much for my novel watch party idea.
- Music, most of the time, is a common denominator. Everyone favors music they enjoy listening to, as well as watching talent perform on stages at various venues around the world. Talent is in the eyes and ears of the beholder, and Chris Stapleton, to me, is the epitome of the word talent.
- $24 billion a year. That is the amount of money the White House estimates the cost of funding, supporting, and facilitating the Student Loan Cancellation Program. I will not comment on whether I support the program or not, but here are a few other cost estimates and some interesting ramifications from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business: We estimate that President Biden’s proposed student loan debt cancellation alone will cost between $469 billion to $519 billion over the 10-year budget window, depending on whether existing and new students are included. About 75% of the benefit falls to households making $88,000 or less per year. Under strict “static” assumptions about student borrowing behavior and using take-up rates within existing income-based repayment programs, the proposed new income-driven repayment (IDR) program will cost an additional $70 billion, increasing total package costs to $605 billion. However, depending on future details of the actual IDR program and concomitant behavioral changes, the IDR program could add another $450 billion or more, thereby raising total plan costs to over $1 trillion. Of course this decision by the Administration has politicians chiming in with the usual bipartisan rhetoric. Here is another example of why I ‘quit’ politics a long time ago. It does NOT matter who stated this, and what their political alignment leans towards. It only matters that it was said – uncalled for, unfounded, and disgusting: “…Like, holy cow! 20 grand. You know, maybe you weren’t going to vote in November, and suddenly you just got 20 grand. And you know, if you can get off the bong for a minute and head down to the voting station,” he continued. “It could drive up turnout particularly among young people.”
Due to my ethos of no politics, no religion, I will not provide my thoughts on the loan forgiveness program. I will leave those thoughts and comments to you.
- A big thank you to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for his positive and stirring comments on inflation and the economy in general. Without REALLY explaining why official interest rates are so low if inflation is “dangerously” high, his rant on Friday resulted in the S&P falling 3.4 percent and the DJIA ending 1,000+ points down. Well done, Chairman Powell.
- A match between Argentine First Division clubs can always be rough, rugged, and dramatic. Our feel-good moment of the week shows this young man comforting Newell’s Old Boys goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain, who gave up a stoppage time winning goal to rival club Boca Juniors. We ALL need more of this – all day, every day.