Nov. 1, 2022

Nancy Fades

It's shaping up to be a terrible couple of weeks for Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Friday, word came that her husband Paul had sustained major head injuries when an intruder entered the Pelosi home and attacked the 82-year-old Paul Pelosi with a hammer.

Unfortunately for Nancy Pelosi, the bad news may not end there. By all current estimates, the Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives in just ten days. The loss will mean that for the third time in her lengthy career, Ms. Pelosi will hand over the Speaker's gavel to the new Republican Speaker of the House. Presumably, Kevin McCarthy of California.

Although Speaker Pelosi has indicated that she will continue to represent her district in Congress, she reached that decision before the recent attack on her husband. I, for one, would not be surprised to see Ms. Pelosi bow out of politics, resign her seat and retire to the foothills of California, where the Pelosis own one of the finest and most expensive wineries in Napa Valley.

Next year will also mark Pelosi's fortieth year in Congress, one of the longer tenures in the history of that body.

Interestingly, a whiff of scandal has often accompanied House Speakers as they've left Congress. In the early 1990s, Jim Wright resigned over the House Banking Scandal. The allegation was that several House members were allowed to write checks when there were no funds to cover those checks in their accounts.

More recently, Dennis Hastert went to jail, convicted in a sex scandal. The allegations were from years before when he was a high school wrestling coach.

For Pelosi, clouds are gathering around the circumstances of her husband's attack. This event has more unanswered twists and turns than an Agatha Christie Novel. Just who is David DePape, the accused attacker? And why was he alone with Paul Pelosi at two in the morning?

And it is precisely at this point that the full scope of Pelosi's Speakership comes into focus. In the modern era, Nancy Pelosi stands alone as the most powerful and influential Speaker of our time.

Speaker of the House is not the conventional place from which to wield power. Generally, the President or Senate Majority Leader is in a better position to exert the perquisites of political power. But for Pelosi, she was able to transform the "house" of the people into the pacesetter on capital hill. And this was achieved, in no small part, by her relationship with the Press.

After all, she is the most powerful woman in government when the feminine ethos is rising. She's a quintessential liberal, just perfect for a quintessential liberal press. She is a Pro-Choice, Anti-gun, Climate change advocate, just like the editors of the Washington Post and New York Times.

It's hard to say who influenced who in this symbiotic relationship between Pelosi and the Press. But it's fair to say that their collective hearts beat as one. Whatever Nancy wants, Nancy gets, as far as the Press is concerned.

And it's this sense of "simpatico" that no other Speaker has ever enjoyed. And likely, no future Speaker will ever claim again.

It's also why we will likely never know what happened at Pelosi's San Francisco home early last Friday morning. Whether Pelosi will pick up the phone and ask the Press to quash the story or they will do so out of mutual respect, a respect that no one else would enjoy is uncertain. But what is most likely, the details behind the attack on her husband, will be a well-guarded secret.

And after next Tuesday, it won't matter.

If the Democrats lose, then Ms. Pelosi will fade into memory. Another one in a long line of politicians who have wielded the rein of power. One who has enjoyed the subsequent privileges and perks of American Politics.

Only to retire, perhaps even to an expensive Winery in Napa. Occasionally appearing on those Sunday morning interview shows whenever the Democrats need to remember their glory days.

Econ Briefs


Today, we are seeing some significant indicators back near the levels of the Covid-19 lockdown in 2021. One of those metrics is Logistics. Now, Logistics is the shipping and moving part of the economy. The planes, ships, and trucks that move goods to warehouses so they can stock your favorite retailers' shelves.

One of the most dramatic indicators of how quickly this economy is slowing. Companies have cut back dramatically on shipping. Just a few minutes ago, the Logistics Managers Association reported that moving in the movement of goods in the economy is down 50% from its higher earlier this year.

Overnight, the Australian Central Bank met to determine their interest rate. Australia is dealing with inflation, but the Bank "down under" decided to take a much more measured pace in their money tightening. The Reserve Bank of Australia raises interest rates by only one-quarter percent. Perhaps they're sending a message to the Americans. Tomorrow our Federal Reserve is expected to increase rates by three-quarters, triple the Aussie rate, and an indication that the Fed is hitting the brakes hard.

In about an hour, two closely watched reports will be released. First will be the Purchasing Managers Index for October, an important leading indicator. I'm expecting to see a slight decline.

Then will follow the JOLTS Jobs report, which will tell us the number of job openings. Job openings have declined for a few months, which should continue today, with about 10mm of help wanted signs in the window.

In earnings this morning, positive results from the Vaccine and the oil and gas companies. First, Pfizer, the lead maker of the Covid 19 Vaccine, has reported positive results, as have oil companies: Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66. Interestingly, BP, British Petroleum, has been disappointed in their results, as has Eli Lilly. This morning's big mover is Uber Technology, trading much higher.