Drew Rodgers

I live in Norway with my wife, Inger, and our cat T.J. Maxx and teach International Business Communications at Oslo University College School of Business.

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The Last Leaf to Fall

Published on Friday 5. January 2018

The leaves on the tree have begun to fall.
The winter of aging is upon us.
My family has lived to their 90’s.
I may live while the other leaves fall.
Will I be alone after all the leaves have fallen?
Alone to face the bleak winter of old age?
The last leaf to fall?

Or will I be an early leaf to fall?

Here is a song to accompany the poem:

The Last Leaf to Fall

A Democracy?

Published on Thursday 21. December 2017

In 1787, the United States became the first western democracy and a shining example for the rest of the world. That was then, but today one could make a case for the United States rapidly becoming an oligarchy. When the top 20% own 88% of the total wealth and the bottom 40% 0.4% then the direction becomes frightening clear. When the middle class, the foundation of democracy, is declining in numbers and many of those numbers vote for a person who is the prime mover toward oligarchy, then there is one more nail in democracy’s coffin. Then there is a free press which is the watchdog of democracy and it is trying its best to fulfill that function. But how many people seek their news in reliable sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, PBS etc.? When a large portion turn to Fox News whose “news” is conspiracy theories, half truths and lies acting as our fearless leader’s Goebbels or they confirm their worst prejudices through talk radio or racists internet sites, then how democratic is the United States? And if you had any doubts, a recent ranking of countries according to how democratic they are, placed the United States at number 21 and in the second group entitled, “flawed democracy.” And the flaw is becoming more and more evident. So where does that leave us? Well, that depends and how much we want to live in a democratic country.

A Prediction

Published on Wednesday 20. December 2017

Ok, I am not an ecomist, but I did teach International Business Communications at a school of business here in Norway where I had access to professors of finance. So take what I have to say knowing its origin.

The Trump tax reform will have the following impact. First, 60% of the benefits will go to the upper uppers. Through individual deduction increases, some middle class members will benefit, but many will not (see “Trump’s Tax Plan” below). But these increases will expire in 2025 in order to make corporate tax cuts permanent. Then there is the repeal of the individual mandate. It is estimated that 13 million Americans will lose their health insurance and premiums will increase by 10% by 2025. The premium increase is due to “healthy” people exiting the insurance pool leaving the less healthy to pick up the slack.

Now to the illusion that the corporate tax rate was 35%. Due to generous deductions and tax loop holes, the average corporate tax rate was between 13 to 21%. With the new base tax rate of 21% rate and many of the loop holes still remaining, the corporate tax rate will be, what?, 10% or so. And what will corporation do with all this money? Increase jobs? Probably not as they have enough money to do that already. A survey of CEO’s showed that they had no plans to increase the work force or salaries. Their plan is to buy back stock, thus increasing its value, and increase dividends, thus favoring the upper uppers.

What about the economic impact? Increasing the national debt by an estimatedl $1-1.5 would be devastating. Even if the economy expands by the 3-4% which Republicans claim, the increase in the national debt will be $1 trillion. And by the way, neither most economists, the Fed nor Wall Street see this as realistic. They see only a maximum growth of 2.5%. Now we come to servicing the debt which is one of the largest items on the federal budget. Interest rates are already rising and if the economy expands and people start spending more, then rising inflation will have to counteracted by raising interest rates. This will hurt both homeowners and the federal government.

So to my predictions. The American people are becoming more skeptical to the benefits of the tax plan. 55% are negative and the opposition is rapidly rising. By 2018, the middle class will probably be acutely aware that they have been duped. The Senate will change hands and maybe even the House. Remember what happened to Barack Obama in a mid-term election and his approval rating was not at 35%. The greater concern is the impact on the national debt. In the next ten years, will it reach a level of say $23 trillion or higher (estimates vary) and will interest rates be at say 5-7%? In the worst case scenario, will the U.S. be technically bankrupt? Possibly.

And finally, will people take to the streets? Stay tuned.

Reviews of my novel, “John, Waldo and Henrietta”

Published on Sunday 26. November 2017

My novel, “John, Waldo and Henrietta.” has received some strong reviews. You can read them plus take a look at some chapters in the book by clicking on the book title which you can find in the blog “A Respite in Difficult Times” on page two. I hope they will encourage you to download the book.

You also might enjoy my cat book in progress, “Give Me a Cat Any Day: Why Perspective Parents Should Seriously Consider Having Cats Rather than Kids.” You’ll find 20 of the so far 53 reasons for cats rather than kids on page 11.

A Staged Reality

Published on Sunday 29. October 2017

Donald Trump is a product of reality TV. However, reality TV is simply a staging of scenes to make it look like reality, when it really is just the product of the mind of the inventor. Trump’s presidency is exactly the same with his screaming “fake news” when real news does not correspond with his staged reality. An American public which is entertained more than it is informed can easily slip into the illusion of Trump’s vision of what is true due to his ability to entertain. When you consider that an analysis of his statements over the first nine month reveals that 1318 of his “truths” prove to be false what will happen down the line when his policies based on invented truths meet reality? His base probably won’t know the difference, but let’s hope that the majority of Americans do.