Wednesday, August 31, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial



by Steve Fair

     Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States that is always celebrated on the first Monday in September.  It began in the late 19th century (1894) and was established to recognize and honor the American labor movement(unions).  Labor Day also marks the unofficial end of summer, celebrated with outings, picnics and parades.   

     At the height of the Industrial Revolution in America, the average worker was putting in 12-hour days seven days a week to make a living.  Workers got organized, formed unions and collectively negotiated with business owners for higher wages and better working conditions.  That led the rise of labor unions like the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and United Auto Workers.  The unions not only worked to get better wages and working conditions for their membership, but they got heavily involved in politics.  They successfully lobbied in many states to restrict workers from opting out of a union by requiring compulsory membership.  A portion of union dues were used to campaign for candidates who agreed with the unions.  Rank and file membership wasn’t given the choice of whether their dues would be used for political purposes for causes and positions they disagreed with.  That autocratic, tyrannical approach hurt the union’s membership.  Current union membership is about 10.3% of the total workforce in the U.S., half of what it was in 1983.  Three observations about labor and workers in America:

     First, the wage gap is widening in the United States.    Republicans don’t like to discuss it, but it’s true.  Workers are not appreciated and rewarded financially as they were in years past.  In a study of 300 top U.S. companies conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a liberal think tank, the average CEO received $670 in compensation for every $1 the worker received.  That is 4 times the disparity 40 years ago.  More than a third of the companies IPS surveyed were not increasing pay to keep up with inflation for their rank-and-file workers.  Clearly IPS has a liberal agenda, but the truth is the disparity between worker pay and executive has widened dramatically in the U.S.  

     Second, every worker is self-employed.  That doesn’t mean they have their own LLC or operate their own business.  It means they make a conscious choice to work for the wages they agree to upon hiring.  They agree to provide a service (their labor) for a paycheck.  If they want to sever that relationship, they can.  If they believe they are being treated unfairly or being underpaid, they should point it out to their employer.  If the boss doesn’t recognize their value, they should seek an employer that will. 

     Good workers should never ‘play the victim’ and blame their boss for not making enough money.  Working for a company isn’t the priesthood- you can leave.  A worker is worth fair wages.  An employer who takes advantage of willing, loyal, honest workers by not paying them what they are worth isn’t worthy of having eager, reliable, forthright employees.  Building a business on the backs of people being taken advantage of isn’t being conservative- it’s socialist.

     Third, living the American dream is no guarantee.  In fact, the dream in America is declining.  90% of children born in the 1940s achieved more accumulated wealth than their parents.  Only 40% of children born in the 1980s are doing that.  Why the decline?  One reason is government regulation on lending practices that have restricted access to capital.  Banks can’t take a risk on an idea and a hard worker like in the 1970s.  The government has made it next to impossible to get a business loan.  The primary reason Generation Xers are not doing better than their parents is many have a ‘victim’ or ‘entitlement’ mentality.  Until they take personal responsibility for their financial lot in life and stop blaming somebody else, they can expect to be stuck on the merry go round of life.

     Labor unions evolved because workers got fed up with being treated bad by their employers.  Those workers organized and effectively changed their circumstances by not being victims or demanding entitlements.  No worker is a victim.  They control their own economic fate.

Sunday, August 28, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Last week, President Joe Biden announced student-loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and other federal borrowers.  Pell Grant borrowers could have up to $20,000 forgiven- non-Pell borrowers up to $10,000.  Both groups have to make less than $125,000 annually ($250,000 for couples) to qualify.  Forgiveness is automatic for borrowers who the Department of Education already has their income information.  That could be up to 8 million borrowers.  Under Biden's plan, 43 million people stand to have their loan payments reduced, while 20 million would have their debt forgiven altogether.

     “There is an entire generation now saddled with unsustainable student loan debt in exchange for a college degree.  We’re making incredible progress bringing relief to those that need it and fixing the student loan system so it works for working people,” President Biden said. 

     Biden’s executive order is expected to be challenged in court.  Many believe the president doesn’t have the legal authority to cancel student-loan debt, including it would seem Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  In July 2021, Pelosi said, “People think the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness.  He does not.  He can postpone and delay, but he does not have that power.  That has to be an act of Congress.”  Care to bet if Peolsi has changed her mind?  Three observations:

     First, Biden’s debt forgiveness is a blatant effort to help Democrats in the mid-term elections.  The economy is struggling, inflation is up and the supply chain remains broken, which has resulted in high prices at the shelf and pump.  The Democrats are projected to lose control of the U.S. House and perhaps the Senate in November unless something moves voters to the left. 

     Nothing motivates voters like getting free stuff (at least free to them), so Biden is hopeful his decree will spike voter turnout from the 43 million recipients of his generosity and keep Democrats in control of Congress. 

      Politicians of all persuasions/affiliations love to give away taxpayer money as re-election tokens.  That’s why taxpayer funded roads, bridges, airports and buildings are named after them and not for the people who actually paid the bill.

     Second, Biden’s action is blatantly unfair.  The forgiven student-loan debt is not eliminated.  It is transferred to taxpayers.  People who made a bad decision are rewarded.  Responsible citizens are penalized. It’s sad the American government and higher education duped and conned young students into borrowing money to fund their education, but it is not the responsibility of taxpayers to assume that debt.  Biden’s executive order reeks of Karl Marx’s famous communism creed: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” 

      Third, higher education has become about revenue, not education.  Colleges and universities sell unqualified students remedial (high school) classes at high prices, knowing those students will not finish college.  39% of the student-loan borrowers did not complete a degree and account for 23% of the total student-loan debt.  55% of those who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree account for 64% of the debt.  Working your way through college has become an impossibility because of the high cost of higher education. 

     The theory that a college degree will pay off in higher income has become a fallacy.  The Texas Public Policy Foundation found only half of modern college graduates will recoup their costs of going to college within twenty years and the other half will never make enough to cover what they spent to get their sheepskin.

     There is no free!  Someone is always paying the bill. Free doesn’t exist in any economic system.  Tragically many in America don’t know that, including the current president.  They wistfully wander through life, believing debt can simply disappear, and the lakes are stew and whiskey too on Big Rock Candy Mountain.   


Sunday, August 21, 2022


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


    The Wall Street Journal reports American companies are on pace to return nearly 350,000 jobs to the U.S. in 2022.  If that happens, it would be highest number on record since 2010.  Taking manufacturing and production out of the country had been a trend for over thirty years until President Trump took office in 2016.  Trump made keeping domestic manufacturing and production here a priority.  About 450,000 new manufacturing jobs were added during Trump’s term in office.  During President Obama’s eight years in the White House, the U.S. lost 192,000 manufacturing jobs.

     When COVID hit, American companies had to rethink their ‘out of the country’ strategy as labor shortages in foreign countries coupled with high commodity prices and logistics challenges made price a secondary issue. Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine disrupted grain markets and the conflict between  China and Taiwan has disturbed the microchip market.  That has resulted in three major microchip manufacturers announcing they are bringing their production back to the U.S.  A constant, reliable, and dependable source of supply has become more important than price to American manufacturers and processors. That should be the goal for the American consumer. Three observations:

     First, a buy American policy is not just patriotic- it’s sensible.  When companies made the decision to have their products or components made out of the country, American consumers eagerly accepted the products because they were cheaper. 

     50% of American consumers acknowledge price is the main decision factor when they buy something.  Bottom line- if they can save money, they will buy the lower priced item.  Two thirds of Americans polled last year claim they will pay more for products made in America, but they don’t follow up by doing it.  Imported products often have higher market share than their domestic competition.

     Second, globalization contributed to the disruption in the supply chain.  Since COVID-19, labor issues, raw material shortages, and high fuel costs are not just in the U.S., they are across the globe.  Every country is facing historic price increases and inflation.  Manufacturers across the world have high demand and lower productivity than pre-pandemic.  Consumers are adjusting to the new normal- delays in getting consumer goods, and service in a timely way. 

     How did this happen?  Short sighted companies, greedy labor unions, and clueless politicians contributed to the expansion of globalization.  Those who called for an America First policy were attacked as isolationists and called  non-progressive and too traditional.   

     Third, capitalism requires participation and less are choosing to engage.  In the capitalist economic system, individual initiative is rewarded.  Unlike socialism or communism, where individuality is downplayed, capitalism rewards those who work harder than their counterparts.  In capitalism, when fewer workers choose to participate in the workforce, the demand for those who will work increases and wages go up.  America has a shortage of people who will work.  Help wanted signs are in every business.  Anyone who really wants a job can get one and many older Americans are delaying retirement and continue to work. 

     The number of Americans over age 55 who are in the labor force is projected to be over 42 million by 2026- over one quarter of all those working.  Younger Americans are not entering the workforce.  The reason? The government will pay them more to sit on their duff than to work.  Who can blame them?  It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. 

     If trends continue, America’s capitalism economic system will fail.  The risktakers that built the U.S., who lived the American Dream and made their fortunes must have modern day counterparts to step up and roll the dice.   America needs young passionate, hardworking, adventure seekers.  Apply anywhere there is a help wanted sign.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


           In 1978, the Presidential Records Act (PRA) was enacted.  The PRA requires any memos, letters, emails, and other documents related to the president or vice president’s duties be preserved and given to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the end of an administration.  It was enacted after President Nixon tried to destroy records relating to his presidential tenure. 

     Since its’ implementation, every POTUS has tried to circumvent the PRA.  President Reagan tried to shield email records about the Iran-Contra arms deals.  President George H.W. Bush was accused of destroying telephone logs and emails records about the State Department’s investigation into Bill Clinton’s passport records.  President Clinton had many people in his administration that used private email accounts to conduct government business to avoid the PRA.  President George W. Bush challenged the National Archives to review and determine how documents were to be classified.  President Obama was accused of moving presidential documents from the White House to Chicago for his presidential library. 

      After President Trump left office in January 2021, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said they had received some of Trump’s presidential records, but accused him of tearing up some records.  On February 8th of this year, the NARA confirmed they had gotten 15 boxes of presidential records from Trump that had been at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.  They said some of the returned documents were classified. 

     In June, investigators with the U.S. Justice Department met with Trump’s lawyers and served a grand jury subpoena for more documents at Mar-a-Lago.  On August 5th, U.S. Magistrate Judge in Florida, Bruce Reinhart, an Obama donor, issued a sealed search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.  On Monday, August 8th, at 9am, thirty plainclothes FBI agents descended on the former president’s home.  They spent 9 hours, concentrating on a bedroom and at a safe.  Reportedly, at one point, the feds scoured former first lady Melania Trump’s closet. 

     President Trump issued a statement: “These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.  Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”

     U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he ‘personally approved’ the decision to seek a warrant for the FBI to search Trump’s residence and that he didn’t take the action lightly.  Three observations:

     First, the goal is not to get documents preserved/returned- it is to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 election.  A conviction of violating the PRA could prevent him from running.  Democrats know that.  Every president since the passage of PRA has dealt with the bureaucrats at NARA after they have left office on document/record preservation, but none have faced the scrutiny Trump has.   

     Second, no one is above the law and that includes Donald Trump.  If he violated the law- including the PRA- he must pay the price.  The United States is a nation of laws, which is the foundation of the country.  But equal enforcement/administration of the law is critical if citizens are to believe they have a country.  

     The raid of a former POTUS’s home is unprecedented.  The incursion into Trump’s home better produce clear evidence of a law being broken.  The FBI, AG Garland, and the Department of Justice should publicly reveal what they found and do it expeditiously.      

     Third, Americans should be concerned about the direction of the country.  Selective enforcement of the law and ignoring the law by leaders with no consequences is commonplace. Disrespect of law enforcement run rapport.  Tolerance is preached, but not practiced.  Traditional values are deemed irrelevant in modern culture.  The fabric of the United States appears to be unraveling.    

     Politically, the raid and attack on Trump could backfire on Democrats.  They likely have ‘overplayed their hand.’  When someone ‘overplays their hand,’ they make the mistake of believing their position is stronger or better than it really is.    Voters may see through the motivation of the attack on Trump and show up in record numbers in November and give Republicans control of both chambers of Congress. 


Saturday, August 6, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

      Less than one third (31.6%) of registered Republicans voted in the June 28th primary election.  There were races in all but two of the nine statewide offices on the ballot, two U.S. Senate races, Congressional races, and dozens of legislative and local races so it wasn’t like voters didn’t have something to vote on.  But just 360,000 of the Sooner state’s 1,138,947 registered Republicans made the effort to cast a ballot in the primary.  Because the state is very Republican, the victors in the GOP primary are almost assured victory in the General election.  There are 2,252,101 registered voters (all Parties) in Oklahoma.  That means 16% of the people registered made the decision for 100% of the four million residents.

     If social media is any indication of political interest in Oklahoma, turnout should have been around 95%, but it wasn’t.  Why?  Is interest in government and politics waning in Oklahoma?  Are people just turned off by the lack of ethics in politics?  Both could be true.  Three observations:

     First, the average Republican in Oklahoma is fed up with the constant political rhetoric.  All they see  on social media are keyboard warriors debating, insulting and berating fellow Republicans- but they also quote scripture.  The fact is the average butcher, baker and candlestick maker is too busy trying to make a living to engage in political discourse that accomplishes nothing.  The average Joe isn’t interested in style.  They want substance.  The loud and proud don’t impress them.  They want specifics on what gets Oklahoma and America out of this mess.  Because they never get real answers, they wrongly have brought into the premise the cause is lost, so why should they vote.   

     Second, being fed up with inaction doesn’t release a citizen from their responsibility.  Voting is not just a sacred right; it is a responsibility.  Showing up makes a difference.  It may seem like every candidate and elected official is the same and only interested only in self-promotion.  But when only one third of eligible voters show up for a major primary, two thirds shirked their responsibility.  776,000 Oklahomans registered in the Grand Old Party didn’t do their duty June 28th.  Those Republicans have an opportunity to redeem themselves for that neglect on August 23rd . 

     There are five statewide races in just two weeks: August 23rd .  Former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon is pitted against Congressman Mark Wayne Mullin for the unexpired U.S. Senate term.  Rep. Todd Russ and former Sen. Clark Jolley are in a runoff for state treasurer.  Ryan Walters and April Grace are opponents in the state school superintendent race.  Former Rep. Todd Thomeson and Sen. Kim David are vying for the corporation commission and current Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborne and Rep. Shawn Roberts are in a runoff for the office currently held by Osborne.  In the next two weeks, some Republican voter mailboxes will be full- the ones who usually show up.  The campaigns won’t waste their money sending a mail piece to an infrequent voter, but if that voter started paying attention, things could get interesting.    

     Third, there is no excuse for not voting.  Oklahoma has in person absentee early voting the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the Tuesday election.  The polls are open from 7am-7pm on Election Day.  A voter can apply for an absentee ballot.  There is simply no excuse for not voting in the Sooner state.  Unless providentially hindered, a citizen should never neglect their responsibility to cast their vote. 

     President Thomas Jefferson said, “we do not have government by the majority.  We have government by the majority who participates.”  Participate on August 23rd.  It is your sacred duty and responsibility.  It does make a difference!