Fred LaSor: 2017: Not a bad year after all
(Editor’s Note: Guy Farmer is on vacation).
Happy 2018, dear readers.
Another year already? It seems like only months ago that 2017 was just rolling in! It’s said time moves more quickly as one gets older — that has to be the explanation for just how fast this year has passed. If you want to see time passing slowly, by the way, just watch the clock ticking down on an eBay bid you hope to win.
Politically, 2017 was a year like no other. Never have we seen a major political party refuse for more than a year to accept the results of a presidential election. Oh sure, we’ve had some delaying action, such as the Gore or Franken campaigns trying to find or manufacture several hundred votes. But this time the delusion the results could be overturned persisted, with Electoral College members being urged to change their vote, and included a variety of stratagems like the women’s pink-hatted march and Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion.
It has lead finally to sullying the reputation of what used to be America’s most respected law enforcement agency — the Federal Bureau of Investigation — and now it is well past time for the losing candidate to call for an end to these destructive actions and accept the election’s results.
Economically, 2017 was a better year than the professionals expected. Nobel economist Paul Krugman predicted after the election the stock market would flounder and never recover, but it has actually gone up 25 percent to close the year nearly 5,000 points above where it was 12 months ago. The Gross Domestic Product has grown by more than 3 percent for the first time in more than a decade. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. And despite what Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer say, the year-end tax bill will leave more money in the pockets of many middle-income taxpayers. These are all good omens for the economy.
On the social front, the Associated Press says the top story of 2017 was accusation of sexual misconduct by dozens of congressmen (including one from Nevada), journalists, Hollywood personalities and cultural icons. It certainly does not need additional coverage in this column: we’ve all heard and seen reporting of the many women and men who have been victims of this nastiness.
Readers will probably be surprised to learn I’m troubled by lack of due process in some of the firings. Sen. Franken (whom I dislike) was forced to give up his Senate seat with no investigation or opportunity to face his accusers. There’s too much room for abuse in this process. His fate should be decided by his constituents, not New York Sen. Gillibrand or the Congressional Ethics Committee, whose lame investigation of Congressman John Conyers and others demonstrates just how useless they are.
The top story for Nevada this year was the rushed introduction of marijuana sales following voter approval in 2016. My friend Jim Hartman has explored that story well in these pages.
There’s little to add except we should all ask two questions about this radical change in our laws and lifestyle: will increased marijuana use lead to more health or law enforcement problems for Nevadans?
And will our education budget really benefit much from taxation of cannabis sales? I believe skepticism is in order on both counts.
Other stories bear future investigation, including the recent disclosure President Obama allowed a major Hezbollah drug smuggling operation to continue rather than jeopardize a bad nuclear deal with Iran. His legacy diminishes inexorably.
I will close with best wishes for a better year for all. Hold your loved ones close, wear your seat belts, and don’t text and drive!
Fred LaSor lives in retirement in the Carson Valley, and does wear his seat belt.