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Carolina Journal Radio No. 896: Owners scrap plans for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
July 20, 2020 8:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 896: Owners scrap plans for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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July 20, 2020 8:00 am

Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have decided to pull the plug on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline had faced multiple legal challenges and permitting delays. Donald van der Vaart, John Locke Foundation senior fellow, analyzes the reasons guiding the ACP owners’ decision. Van der Vaart also discusses the impact for N.C. electricity ratepayers. U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy, R-3rd District, brings an interesting perspective to the COVID-19 policy debate. Murphy is a physician. He understands more about COVID-19’s health implications than most policymakers. Murphy shared his concerns about North Carolina’s coronavirus response during a recent Raleigh news conference. Many of Murphy’s Washington, D.C., colleagues want to send more federal money to the states to address public education issues. But Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, has raised questions about that strategy. Foxx shared her perspective during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Critics have spoken out against inequality in the United States. Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University, says much of the criticism fails to distinguish between good and bad inequality. Whaples discusses the differences, building on ideas from the book In All Fairness: Equality, Liberty, and the Quest for Human Dignity. While North Carolina’s Democratic governor and Republican legislators continue to disagree about expanding Medicaid, they are allowing so-called Medicaid “transformation” to move forward. Jordan Roberts, John Locke Foundation health care policy analyst, explains what transformation means for patients and health care providers. Roberts also assesses potential impact for taxpayers.

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From Cherokee to current tagging from the largest city to the smallest town and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most of public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio why Michiko got during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state of North Carolina Congressman, who's also a medical doctor has an interesting take on the states response to covert, 19 you'll hear his perspective. Speaking of Congress and covert, 19, another member of North Carolina's delegation questions proposals to send more federal money to the states to deal with public education will learn why political debates often focus on inequality will check with one expert who says people too often overlook the difference between good and bad inequality, and will learn why North Carolina will allow something called Medicaid transformation to move forward despite political disagreements about the government health insurance program. Those topics are just ahead.

First, Donna Martinez joins us and she has the Carolina Journal headline in a blow to Eastern North Carolina, Duke energy and Dominion energy have canceled the Atlantic coast pipeline. The 600 mile gas pipeline would've carried low cost natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina ending in Robison County. The Cooper administration's handling of this project has been the subject of much scrutiny by our next guest, Dr. Don Vander Bart is a senior fellow at the John Locke foundation.

He is the former secretary of the State Department of environmental quality. He served during the Pat McCrory administration Don welcome back to the show. Are you surprised at this announcement that it's canceled.

I am somewhat recently. Duke stated Dominion stated that they were concerned about the uncertainty of various challenges that very recently.

This recording states actually found in their favor very important issue about their right away so it was soothing forward, there were other challenges, but that seemed to be one of the more serious ones and we remember that Duke would not have withdrawn from this project. If there weren't some issues with the economics of the project and as you mentioned. First of all, the project would've been a boon to Eastern North Carolina.

I would've delivered low cost natural gas to North Carolina in greater supplies which we need it would've also provided thousands of very high paying jobs for the duration of the project and to construct the pipeline to construct a pipeline and the additional access to natural gas would've been an economic development tool for Eastern North Carolina for various industries.

Duke and Dominion specifically say G were just kinda tired of some of these delays. It's too costly what what what was there public announcement there a bit unclear. They talk about the uncertainty there is uncertainty of other legal challenges, but there's also uncertainty of the economics, it is important understand what the pipeline was and how Duke was going to make money on.

Remember, the pipeline was being owned half-and-half by Dominion and Duke and while no gas that Duke wasn't going to make any money off of gas sales. Any gas that Duke energy was going to purchase from the gas producers in the Midwest, for example would be how it would've been transported through their pipeline and they would've paid themselves so to speak for transportation costs that you can say is that self-dealing in fact, Duke needed natural gas never have to pay somebody and is a very regulated industry. So that's probably not the untoward. However, Duke was counting on being able to burn almost all of the natural gas that they had thought they were going to push across that part so the real question is, as did Duke feel or is there an uncertain future in combustion of gas for power generation in North Carolina that would make Duke be concerned about whether or not they were going to actually buy as much natural gas as they had planned to buy, help us understand why it's so important to North Carolina and in the southeast region to have plentiful access to natural gas really two reasons the first reason is is that it is a very low cost form of energy. Right now, thanks to to hydraulic fracturing and so Duke has been burning more and more gas purely based on cost benefit of using natural gas so you saw coal plants being retired. In some cases prematurely because economics made sense.

They were being replaced by baseload natural gas combustion generating plant. The question here is, is that Gov. Cooper has been very strong against in his clean energy plan has been strong against continued burning of fossil fuel including natural gas, so the court could be the. The NSA is inescapable question here is whether Duke believed that the Public Utilities Commission now run by Cooper point was going to allow them to come to burn the full capacity of the gas that they were anticipating using the pipeline to deliver and if that weren't the case if there were some something going to change the economics would make sense and so that would be reason enough to walk away. There's nothing there's nothing that we know about in terms of what's going happen next but let's face it, were all going to pay more Duke when faced with adding generation is mandated by law to provide us the lowest cost. When and that was this that was natural gas and when that's taken away.

For whatever reason they go to the next lowest cost which is more, and so were all going to be paying more for our electricity. There's no question about that so that this is what is ahead scratcher to me because one would think that Eastern North Carolina.

Some parts of it are a really distressed as we know, we hear a lot of conversation, no matter which an administration is in power saying what we have to do something to help Eastern North Carolina. There's no way that any household can a vote can avoid having a bill for energy okay electricity gotta be able to turn on the lights. You gotta be able to cook, etc., so one would think that if natural gas is a lower cost and its it is helping by adopting it is helping to retire or more. I guess it would be polluting types of plants.

When everybody before this, try to figure out why it's not going forward.

The main reason that you can point to is the clean energy plan by by Cooper. They don't they view natural gas as problematic as cocoa plants very clear right now, but they still generate greenhouse gases is because natural gas is coming from fracking is that the connection know well that there some people are concerned about fracking in its own right, but no natural gas in the self is also a greenhouse gas and produces CO2, and therefore the Cooper administration is opposed to large increases in the use of it and so your your premises entirely correct unless you are then told but I don't want anymore fossil fuel enough to go to the next lowest cost of fuel. So were looking at Duke. Probably building spending a lot of money right there spending a lot of money on modernizing our grid to allow for more solar, which is more expensive but that's the next alternative and I think that is where this is headed. And so were to pay more Duke's going to do fine. Duke makes money. Remember their regulated there to make money wherever whenever they generate electricity, and in fact I got a nonregulated division that makes unregulated profits from renewable so they don't mind renewables in their own right, so the losers here are really the people of Eastern North Carolina absolutely that the ratepayers and the lost economic development opportunities that that natural gas pipeline was provided we been talking with Dr. Don Vandermark.

He is senior fellow with the John Locke foundation. He's been writing about the Atlantic coast pipeline. You can read all of that Thank you very much this much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment tired of fake names tired of reporters with political axes to grind.

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I mixed coca Greg Murphy brings a different perspective than most members of Congress when it comes to policies for addressing covert, 19, North Carolina's third district representative is a doctor. He shared his thoughts about the pandemic.

In a recent Raleigh news conference. Emotions are running. Understandably so. They range from knowingly concerned, complacent knowledge is going on will you constant frustration from people because the patient is policies are seen as goals and possible political motivations behind some of you will say is we so I don't know all this is voice assumptions so just and last is so is measured. The highlighted key challenges addressing covert, 19 is now is see people. There is the same time people were church to see what you cannot be so must accept change. These case you will be describes his approach to cope with 19 is treated as is with you and will fullness. I think this is an area that has been this is one reason for all this is really why understanding water is is is doing a little bit more as soon as frustration is something especially Murphy lobbed one criticism of politicians addressing covert, 19 is consensus in communications is some consistency for consistency in reading rooms, businesses are not as we also need to be transparent. Okay one room is that's US representative Greg Murphy Republican from North Carolina's third district he speaking during a recent news briefing in Raleigh.

Murphy emphasized one important element of covert diking policy. Communication is is he is political communications cheated on the same page so that people have voiced concerns as for we all know hers continues over the last six weeks.

You conversation with all initiations, all persistent, steady increase, but she said nothing to do with his business as is persistent and constant increase probably a fundamental flaw is constant and what is he reminded his audience that the original goal of shutting down the economy was to flatten the curb. That meant pushing some COBIT 19 cases off the later dates to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system for the Lowe's people and constant where we are where we need to be supported 1% closing is time wasn't doing a good and is the right thing. In closing, all is because we did not know what is the ratio is as Murphy turned to his medical experience in assessing COBIT 19's impact is that we deal in medicine for over 30 years and unfortunately things like medicine is relations who is most at risk is as old as is okay as is to serve as information should not. This is transparent so you shows that is one we also Asian change because I don't think so is so underlying disease stays easy as so many Americans just as is because of online is Murphy put COBIT 19 nursing home guests in perspective nursing home residents. He reminds us are already sick. Their meetings have no more than six months relations that is very very but unfortunately this is this is a stark contrast to what state is Florida, for example, in nursing homes and for us is important is that we really Murphy pointed to the good news is continue to rise as over as people are not getting sick people. Unfortunately, this is so this is Murphy recapped his key message was it was the right thing to do is to see the same essays we have one why is only one conclusion AS long as that's North Carolina Congressman Greg Murphy Republican from the third district is also a medical doctor. Murphy recently shared his expert assessment of the states response to covert, 19 will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment. If you have freedom we got great news to share with you now.

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Be sure to designate us as the nonprofit you want to support. It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy. You also support freedom. Don't forget lot onto today, something nice and help defend freedom, help support the John lot foundation will contact Carolina journal radio like Ashoka. Some members of Congress want the federal government to spend billions more dollars, helping public schools cope with COBIT 19 but the leading Republican on the U.S. House's education committee has concerns representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina discussed the issue during a recent meeting on Capitol Hill are working to overcome the many challenges global pandemic poses this nation's elected officials must also step up and do the job they were elected to do the coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted private and public schools alike and made 94% of public and private schools close the spring impacting approximately 97% of the countries all students, including including those at traditional public schools charge code and private schools should have access to the tools they need for lifelong success is why Congress responded swiftly and enacting the care that we provided more than $30 billion in emergency education funding student school institutions and state no evaluation of about $30 million in hard-working taxpayer monies since fat.

Yet here we are Democrats pushing those same taxpayers dole out more of their hard-earned money at a time when many Americans are being forced to tighten their belts.

Given the ever evolving threat, 19 poses, it would be irresponsible to rush to throw additional funds of the problem. We don't understand fully.

Also, some schools and not yet spent the funds they receive care that despite these facts, Democrats are demanding we spend more money.

Money is not a cure-all solution and it is irresponsible to blindly throw more money at the situation. Let's not forget that history is shown that more spending is not guarantee better outcomes.

In fact, per pupil education spending increased significantly over the years of high school seniors are performing any better than they were 30 years ago, let's first evaluate the impact of the millions of dollars in federal tax your education a already provided through the care Zach before rushing to further burden taxpayers with additional spending demanding additional funds at this time premature and illogical as we continue to monitor the issue. Students in schools face is within this committee's jurisdiction to explore opportunities to prolong lasting reforms. That's US representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's fifth district.

She's the top ranking Republican on the U.S. House's education committee. She's sharing her concerns about sending more federal dollars to schools across the country for COBIT 19 early return before Carolina journal grade where doubling down on freedom at Carolina journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet. And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes headlock is a little bit different. It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right, like Carolina journal radio headlock is smart and timely but with headlock you hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well. We guarantee great information and a good time that's listen to Carolina journal radio each week and listen to headlock to remember, you can listen to or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation.

Welcome back to Carolina journal radio hi Michiko guy, especially during an election year we hear a lot about inequality that includes ideas for doing something to reduce inequality. These ideas, good, bad, counterproductive, will our next guest recently helped address those questions in a presentation for the John Locke foundation's Shaftesbury society Robert Weibel's is professor of economics at Wake Forest University and his latest book is titled in all fairness, equality, liberty and the quest for human dignity. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. So we really do here quite a bit about equality, not just an election year, but especially during an election year.

As you tackle this topic. Equality one of the things that you want people to keep in mind so I thoroughly agree impact I would call it an obsession that we have politically with this and the danger is that we could go in the direction of democratic socialism, which is not to be good for very many people in the economy. So what we try to do in this this book and what I doing in the talk is kind of focus on the big picture as to what what is equality, why does it matter I think inequality is a beautiful thing. I would not want everyone to be equal, I would not want to live in a world of clones. The differences amongst us, that's that's beautiful, but of course it can go too far and so inequality can be a very nasty thing as well.

So what we need.

Of course this is that right sweet spot there and what we try to to do in the in the book is think about good inequality and bad inequality. There's a lot of good inequality out there that arises from us. For example, trading with each other. If you know a little bit of economics. The principle of trade is comparative advantage by David Ricardo's idea if we were all equal. There would be no point in trading with there be no gains from trading with each other. So those good kind of inequalities from trading voluntarily exchanging with each other so they were both better off is what we want. Cultivate but will we want to diminish are the bad kind of inequalities, especially when somebody you know you uses the cloud to play the political system to get some little special favor thrown their way. They're not deserving no hearing you discussing inequality.

This is the type of discussion that you rarely hear that there could be good inequality versus bad inequality. Why is it important that people know that not all inequality is created equal.

That's a good way to put it and so can I think down people know that they can imagine living in a world such complete equality because they know that they respond to incentives themselves and if there's criminal level everybody down things and I can be very pretty.

You will have an incentive to do things like: get an education by God and work hard and happen to society be seen what happens to societies like that in other countries Cuba or some country like that soberly, deep down, knows it but what they want to do is get their slice of the pie bigger and so so many people go out and rent seek go to the government and try to get a bigger piece of the pie, not by producing more wealth but justifies it no more somebody else's slice and this happens across the board's crony capitalism is the bailouts that we saw attending 12 years ago now is those kinds of things that we need a lesson but it's also like it's also like people campaigning like working to cancel your college loan at right, I asked. I mentioned this to my wife. She just exploded at the idea. If I paid my debt for college exactly right. But somehow this is become politically acceptable to be able to go and through no merit of your own and just cannot go in and take things that you don't deserve from the political system we are chatting with Robert Weibel's professor of economics at Wake Forest University's latest book, which covers many of these topics is titled in all fairness, equality, liberty and the quest for human dignity. We were talking about equality and inequality and as the book title suggests, this is also tied in with liberty if you're going to address equality or inequality. It is good to have an impact on liberty and potentially a negative impact topo what's the balancing act we need.

So I guess the key is what we mean by liberty because, like all these words out there that have good meanings they get captured by somebody and twisted around so you know, liberty, freedom once meant freedom to do good to lead to good moral life to do productive things to help other people out to gain from exchanging with them and then freedom has devolved, and in recent years in liberty and some the people's minds is no license, it's that I can do what ever the bleep I want to do thanks to the plate.

By the way, you do whatever the belief you will, is the problem of that's the way you think about it and so it is change from me acting as a free man does not, as a slave does into me being able to do whatever I want and not have to live with the consequences like going back to the student loan example right going to school is far more expensive than you should have majoring in something this not in our new very much money and borrowing money from somebody else and promising to pay him back and then think you should be able to walk away from this Gottfried write liberty license, freedom from responsibility is what too many people seem to want these days. Imagine borrowing your friends car and say oh you want back.

I didn't know you. I actually had to get when you borrow money is kind of the same thing you know not be amended this slip out of paying your debts there. So it used to be that freedom and liberty meant to live a good moral life and our society and some oasis turn that on its head will some people are going to hear us and say we understand what you're saying but shouldn't we do something about inequality are there things that we can and should do. In fact we do a lot in this country. A lot of people might not realize this but we have the most progressive tax system in the world.

Essentially, in this country. Of all the other countries in the OECD's account of the rich countries club we have the most progressive tax system of the week a lot of programs in place tied in with that.

For example, a lot of people might not realize the earned income tax credit. This is a subsidy that goes too low income working people. Okay, so you can just not have a job you got working specially when you have dependents we other taxpayers subsidize workers so that at the peak. If you working about minimum wage job full time and have a dependent where can add roughly 40% to your income. We do things like that a lot in this country that don't get much press and in artificial poverty statistics. Poverty never seems to go away is because they don't count these monies as part of your income and poverty, they only count what you earn in the labor market. Essentially, they don't count the transfers you get from the ever okay will in poverty is not getting OFS that the way you do it so we do a lot in this country but one of the main things we can do is just unfettered people right free them to have their own initiative and so we've got another example in this country. Creeping occupational licensing laws. People who want to get into the profession need more more training, more more certification even it doesn't really help them do that job better and so it's those kinds of freedoms. I think that we can give people economic freedoms that'll allow them to economically flourish as well.

That is the voice of Robert Weibel's professor of economics at Wake Forest University. If you'd like to learn much more about this and related topics.

The book is titled in all fairness, Robert Weibel's thanks so much for joining us think you will have more on Carolina journal radio just about real influence. You either have it or you don't and at the germline foundation we have it, you'll find our guiding principles in many of the freedom forward reforms in the past decade here in North Carolina. So while others talk or complaint or name call. We provide research solutions and hope our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day jobs, healthcare, education, and more. When you look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control over your life. Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse envy of every other state research is how policymakers make decisions that ensure you keep more of what you are.

Expand your choice of schools for your kids. Widen your job opportunities improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future for truth for freedom for the future of North Carolina. We are the John lock foundation. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio Donna Martinez after years of debate over how to best serve North Carolinians.

His medical needs are covered by the program called Medicaid Gov. Roy Cooper has now signed into law a bill sent to him by state legislators that will transform the Medicaid program transformation designed to improve the health of Medicaid patients and to save money as well. Jordan Roberts is following all of the issues related to Medicaid in North Carolina. He is the healthcare policy analyst for the John Mott foundation and joins me now Jordan, welcome back to the shelf thanks talk about the basis of the change to the program is going from a program that pays doctors and hospitals for each service that they provide to what yeah so what you just described is called a fee-for-service. And that's typically how we've paid healthcare providers but now were switching to a managed care model where the state will pay managed-care organizations, private insurers, essentially a per member per month rate based on how many Medicaid enrollees they can get it within their plan and then that managed-care company uses that per member per month rate how they see best fit to manage the care of these Medicaid enrollees and try to improve health outcomes and save money on the backend and the way it works is we give this money to managed-care companies and they have to spend a certain amount of it and anything above that they can keep his profit anything below that they would have to spend on their own during the debate over this over the past HALF-dozen years or so. As we talked about this here in North Carolina. There had been a concern by those who were opposed to this, they said well based on the description you just gave us how do we ensure that a medical provider will be ethical and have the patient some best interest at heart.

If there's a profit motive and Jim tell us about that. How do we ensure that these folks are really good to be caring for people right so I mean I think the biggest thing is that there there are oversight and safeguards built into these managed-care contracts to make sure that the managed-care companies are meeting all of their standards and metrics that they need to meet so that's one things I can't just deny someone exactly out of treatment certainly happen but you know we were getting better at managing and overseeing these companies but I think the biggest thing is that you know what this does is it essentially allows these statewide insurers to compete and so have a Medicaid and really wasn't happy with the care they're getting with one company is for statewide companies that got a contract and they're all essentially competing to provide the best care so it is really an incentive to get as many Medicaid patients in your plan as possible and you do that by you providing good care. Having the best network and showing your medicated are Medicaid enrollees that you are plant. Your plan is the best of the there is that arm that profit motive there, but that's how we ensure that we have a good administration, good management of the plans, but so it just it just depends on you know how much or what how much these managed-care companies are willing to do Jordan. This is been going on for so long. Give us a sense of them. How this started out. I know that during the Pat McCrory administration.

They focused on trying to just shore up the Medicaid program as it was constantly over budget yeah is that what really started the discussion about hate. Maybe there's a better way to operate this guy thinks yes to the McRae administration a little bit before my time of the rock foundation, but during that time the state was suffering from a lot of Medicaid budget shortfalls.

We are spending way more than you know. We had anticipated and I was causing problems in the budget, but that was one reason but I think the other reason mainly is that the majority of states have switched to this managed-care model just to get the state out of this risk bearing position with Medicaid patients because it's it's a tough tough population.

Unique health needs to manage and sell getting this handing that risk over to managed-care companies that are experienced in this and have you know, bounce networks and you know understand how to manage the care of these folks can be much more prosperous arrangement for both the state and the patient so the Medicaid budget shortfalls and just kind of the need for the state to get out of this business and you still provide that care, but allow people who are more specialized and distant to handle it. Tell us a little bit more about the folks who are covered by Medicaid and sometimes people get confused between Medicaid and Medicare and Medicare being the government program for people over the age of 65.

Medicaid is much much different rights. These are to be neediest populations in our state. These are poor children, mothers, the elderly, blind, and in some some disabled folks. These are really the people that are most posted in need of assistance from the state and so those the populations that are going to be in this managed-care, managed-care arrangement, not all of the about 2.2 million Medicaid enrollees will go into managed care about 1.6 of the total will.other remaining portion will still remain a fee-for-service just for reasons that your weekly don't need to get into here, but it's it's the majority of the Medicaid patients, and so these are the most needy not risk our populations are state that because it has become really important to the discussion of a related but different issue in North Carolina other people who are covered by Medicaid as you described, folks who really need help their living on the margins for one reason or another. There's been a lot of talk about well, North Carolina should expand the population that is allowed to be covered by Medicaid.

The John Locke foundation and you in particular have been writing a lot about this over the last couple of years.

North Carolina has not expanded Medicaid as it could under Obama care. Tell us why not well.

The main reason why I think myself and a lot of people in the legislature been against this policy is just the vast expansion of government. Government healthcare we we provide this service to the neediest populations because you know that's what what we should do and we should help these folks, but you know there has to be a cut off the limit and you know just the affordable care act allowed us to expand up 238% of the federal poverty line, and so you know what we believe is that there are other solutions that we can use to help these folks that are uninsured or Struggle to afford their current health insurance to help them get to help them get that without expanding the government scope of of of healthcare and so this Medicaid transformation very different. The Medicaid expansion. This was some of the political back and forth those on the left said we should expand Medicaid and is on the right said we should move into managed care organization, but varied very different populations.

And you know we we we want to provide for the neediest in our state and Medicaid transformation in getting into managed care is one way that we could possibly do that. Yeah, in two different issues. I think so fascinating about how how the discussion has kind of overlapped at times about that Gov. Roy Cooper is a big proponent of adding 500 to 600,000 more people to the Medicaid rolls and you've written eloquently Jordan about the profile of those people that would be added. Many of them would have many other options. Able-bodied working people. That's right yeah so yeah that's right is interesting to see Gov. Cooper sign this because I was his biggest sticking point was that you are saying to Republicans at the legislature you know if you guys want your medicated transformation. Your privatization medicated and you're out to expand it for me and you know that's what was interesting to see play out and grab the governor signed that bill so we can get this get this going. Jordan, thank you thank you that's all the time we have for the program this week on behalf of my cohost Mitch. Okay I'm Donna Martinez.

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