From the President's Desk



We are at the beginning of a New Year and I hope everyone had a Merry and Blessed Christmas.  It is always a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends.

The New Year may prove to have its challenges for most Americans and small businesses.  Inflation continues to be a huge problem since it has reached a thirty nine year high.  The Biden Administration has been insisting the inflation is transitory until Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated inflation is here for the foreseeable future. 

The high fuel and gas prices have continued to be a tax on all Americans especially the middle class.  The Biden Administration has been pleading with OPEC countries to produce more oil but to no avail.  I guess by getting other countries to supply oil is somehow more environmentally friendly than producing it in our own country.  That is truly the height of hypocrisy.  The United States in 2021 has imported 25 million barrels of oil from Russia and approved the completion of the Nord Stream Pipeline.  That poses the question, why on earth is President Biden enriching Russia while killing the Keystone XL Pipeline in his own country?  Before President Biden took office, the U.S. was energy independent and a net exporter of oil.  The negative polling regarding high gas prices prompted the President to tap into our strategic oil reserves to lower gas prices.  They released 50 million barrels of oil which is less than three days worth of U.S. consumption.  This will have little to no effect on any long-term price reduction. 

Also, the cost of food and particularly beef has risen over 20 percent adding yet another tax on the American people.  Recently, White House Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, was blaming oil companies and beef producing corporations of price gouging.  The White House continues to blame everyone but the Biden Administration for the problems in our country. 

Recently, an unnamed reporter was interviewing Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and had asked her if there will ever be a time that Congress addresses the massive spending instead of raising the debt ceiling.  The Senator responded that Congress doesn’t have a spending problem that they need to require the rich to pay their fair share.  The net worth of the nation’s billionaires is about 5 trillion dollars.  The deficit is 30 trillion for the nation’s economy.  If the Federal Government confiscated 100 percent of the wealth of the rich it wouldn’t even put a dent in our nation’s deficit.  With politicians having an attitude like that, who needs enemies?  The Build Back Better plan according to President Biden will not cost a dime and will not increase taxes to the middle class.  I would argue if Build Back Better does pass, it will raise taxes on every American and bury the middle class as well as the small businesses in our country.

As I finish writing this article in December it was announced that BillerudKorsnas will merge with Verso Corp at a cost of $825 million.  On Monday December 20th an online press conference was hosted by the President/CEO and CFO of Billerudkorsnas which lasted just over hour.  As I listened to this informative presentation the new investors made some key points.  First there is no doubt in my mind this will be a good investment for the Lake States Region.  Upgrading to a more diversified product line is long overdue.  Second is that Billrudkorsnas stated several times one of the more pertinent reasons for choosing the Lakes States is because the “Pulpwood Delivered Cost”, according to their graph, is 29% lower for hardwood and 30% lower than softwood when comparing Verso to BK.  I for one have been told several times over the years the cost of raw material in the Lake States is some of the highest in the world. Makes a person wonder doesn’t it?

Until next month

Matt Jensen



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