Hello and greetings from my balcony overlooking the ocean here at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The view is so perfect I knew I had to include a picture of it or you would probably think that my claim was too good to be true. Anyway, it turns out that a little Caribbean vibe is very, very good for an ERA trade show like GIS 2017. First, if you don’t already know, the food in Old San Juan is just excellent. It exceeded every expectation and you have my strongest personal recommendation on that. Second, it is also clear that a little Puerto Rican Rum can serve as a great accelerant. The parties at this show had a little extra energy and island vibe that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.
The education panelists were also just absolutely incredible at this year’s show. I mean people where literally leaving my onsite GA committee meeting early to go hear the speakers. So props and congratulations to the team that worked so hard to bring Dean Gaziosi, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Alex Moore and the other rock star speakers down to visit with us. From now on I am going to make sure my committee meetings don’t conflict with ERA’s education. It’s just hard to compete with celebrities like that.
Thinking back over the week there were some interesting Government Affairs discussions that I want to update you on.
GA Fly-In Save the Date
Most importantly I want to let you know that while we were in Puerto Rico we finalized the dates for this spring’s ERSP Summit and ERA Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington DC. So save Tuesday May 23rd and Wednesday May 24th as the dates for visiting with us here in Washington DC for this must attend event. You can also watch this space for more information on speakers and logistical information. Soon we will be opening registration so that you can make your plans for this important cornerstone ERA event.
The Border Tax
One new thing that more and more people are talking about and is cause for concern is all the different ideas and proposals for possible boarder taxes. I was taken aback and surprised by how often this came up both in formal sessions as well as in casual conversations. All of the “America First” trade action has people and more specifically importers of goods into the U.S. on edge. Not only would a 20% border tax increase the cost of imported goods there is also angst that affected nations would retaliate in kind resulting in ongoing trade wars. I recently wrote a blog post about this and you can read more about it here.
The Federal Trade Commission
There was lots of talk and speculation about the FTC as well. As we have reported Commissioner Maureen Olhausen was appointed as acting FTC chair and is currently doing a strong job making the case for the Trump Administration to make the position permanent. However, news reports have also indicated the Utah State Attorney General Sean Reyes is in the mix for the permanent top job as well. Both are excellent regulators and industry friends. This palace intrigue was the talk of Puerto Rico and I am super curious about how all the chips will finally fall into place.
The Age of the Unexpected
The other theme that permeated our political discussions in San Juan was that we have entered a policy environment where you should expect the unexpected. I reported to the board that the Trump administration had plotted a course in uncharted territory in the early first months. That any excitement and euphoria surrounding the reduction of regulation and deconstruction of the bureaucracy should be tempered by the very real possibility of negative and unforeseen shocks to the body politic.
That is all for now. So until next time, stay safe wherever the trade winds might take you.
Bill McClellan joined ERA in January 2003 as director of government affairs. Prior to joining the association, Bill worked as a lobbyist at the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association, covering the state legislature and Georgia's congressional delegation. Before working for the GADA, Bill managed political campaigns at both the congressional and state constitutional levels