Eye on Politics: Recession fears, Texas’ abortion law and the future of DFW International Airport

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) —  Is the United States in a recession? How is business at DFW International Airport more than two years after the pandemic derailed the travel industry? What does the end of Roe v Wade mean for the future of abortion access in Texas?

CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink explores these topics and more in the latest episode of Eye on Politics.  

Every week, CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above or stream it every Thursday and Friday at 7 pm on CBS News DFW.

Is this a recession?

For the past few months you’ve been hearing a lot about the economy — record high gas prices, higher mortgage rates and prices on food and other essentials. 

Last week the Gross Domestic Product report came out, showing the U.S. economy shrank for the second straight quarter. 


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There’s been a lot of debate over whether the U.S. is technically in a recession. President Joe Biden and his administration said the current economic situation doesn’t meet the definition, but Republicans disagree

“You can call if whatever you like,” said Southern Methodist University economics professor Mike Davis. “Call it a banana. I don’t care. What we found out today is that the economy continues to slump.”

SMU Professor on whether the US is in a recession


Davis said that regardless of whether this meets the criteria to be labeled a recession, we need to resign ourselves to the fact that we’re in for some tough economic times. 

What’s driving the slow-down? There are a lot of factors at play — supply chain shortages and inflation among them.

“But you also see the beginning signs that what The Fed Reserve has been doing with interest rates is actually starting to have an impact on the economy,” Davis said. 

In an effort to bring down inflation, The Federal Reserve raised rates three-quarters of a percentage point last week. It marked the fourth rate increase of 2022. The idea is that higher interest rates will drive up the cost of borrowing money, potentially causing consumers to hold off on major purchases, leading to lower demand, which means lower prices. 

This national economic slowdown comes amid a time of growth for Texas. Companies and jobs continue to move to the state, bringing new residents with them. 

According to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, between newborns and transplants, roughly one-thousand new people call Texas home everyday. 

“Here in Texas, we’re not anticipating a recession,” Hegar said. “Do we think the growth will drag? compared to what we’ve had in the last year? Absolutely. Because we’ve had a record year.”

Davis said Texas may be protected a bit by the strong oil and gas industry and by the cost of housing, which is still lower than most of the rest of the country. But he said Texas may still be vulnerable.   

“People should be prepared for anything,” he said.

His advice to personally prepare? Take care of your own finances: make sure your job is secure and put money into savings if you can.

We also talked to the comptroller about his recent revision of the revenue forecast for the state’s budget. Watch the full episode of Eye on Politics to hear more, or watch Jack Fink’s one-on-one with Hegar in the video player below.

Texas Comptroller on state budget projections, possible recession


Travel rebounding at DFW International Airport

When the pandemic struck, DFW International Airport lost 95 percent of its traffic, according to CEO Sean Donohue. More than two years later, we checked in to see how business has rebounded.

“When all is said and done for the summer, my guess is we’ll be very close to being about 100 percent and spot-on to what we saw in 2019,” Donohue said.  

Beyond just rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, there are big plans on the horizon for growth. Among the plans — a new zero-carbon utility plant that’s being partially funded by a $35 million grant from the federal government. 

Donohue said because 100 percent of the energy DFW International Airport purchases is wind powered, this new electric-powered plant helps promote the airport’s position as the largest carbon neutral airport in the world.

“We take our stewardship of the environment very seriously because aviation is a big industry in terms of emissions,” he said. “Sometimes what gets lost is the practicality of it and the business benefits of it. Since we have purchases 100 percent wind power, we’ve actually reduced our annual electricity cost by $20 million.”

Jack also talked to Donohue about terminal expansions and what to expect from concessions now that travel has rebounded. Watch the full episode above for details.

Other political headlines that affect Texas

AbortionThe state’s new abortion law, the so-called trigger law, goes into effect August 25. The date marks 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its final judgment after overturning Roe v Wade. Formerly known as the Texas Human Life Protection Act, the law bans almost all abortions in Texas. Doctors who defy the ban will face felony charges, fines and may lose their professional licenses. Abortion rights advocates and providers have vowed to fight this in court.

On Capitol Hill – The U.S. Senate and House passed a $280 billion bill that incentivizes companies to build plants that manufacture computer chips. In the senate, Sen. John Cornyn voted for it, while Sen. Ted Cruz voted against. The bill is headed for President Joe Biden’s desk this week.

Uvalde Investigation – Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez has been reinstated just a few days after she was placed on administrative leave. 

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