Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 8/12/19

Aug 12, 2019

The two shootings in Dayton and El Paso have many similarities to many prior mass shootings. The manifesto left behind by the El Paso shooter is obviously very problematic, and by happenstance I was reading some material from Fordam University, which included a remembrance of Robert Kennedy’s graduation speech in 1967. Senator Kennedy said at that time, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy, and daring. Those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Those words are worth contemplating given today’s circumstances. We clearly need to get control in some fashion of automatic weapons, including better background checks and call out that Mr. Trump is a racist, and not as I jokingly said last week, a Trumpsapien, as the first step to addressing the issue of white nationalism.

Former Representative David Jolly of Florida has called upon voters to abandon the GOP over their failure to take action on gun control. This is a bit of a slippery slope and a tricky one. There are reasonable proposals that would not negatively impact the second amendment, such as enhancing background checks and limiting rounds for automatic weapons. There is always a time for artful compromise, and all sides of this debate should be looking to exercise that art.

The Chinese, as we noted last week, have let the yuan weaken against the dollar, and has slipped to levels that caused the stock market to take a major dive. The Chinese allowing this weakening to occur, has caused the US government to declare China a currency manipulator, neither new or a surprise. This is the latest development in the trade war and is all part of the Chinese strategy of waiting, not addressing the fundamental issues which the US government is attempting to bring to the table to discuss. This puts enormous pressure on the Trump administration because, in effect, this action by the Chinese will diminish the impact of the tariffs. The next step in this process may well be to sell-off Chinese holdings in the US, causing a further ripple in our economy. This event may be pushed forward giving greater thrust as the Treasury rates weaken, thus making Treasuries even less attractive than they are currently to foreign investors. The impact on the Chinese economy of the weakening of the yuan is largely irrelevant for intra-Chinese trade, and will keep their factories chugging along which is really the only thing the Chinese administration is concerned with. The Huawei sales results within China may be a temporary anomaly or evidence of patriotic fervor.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, has in a series of tweets (which is in and of itself ironic) called upon President Trump to cease his racist commentary. The Bishop is a person of significance, particularly in the Latino community, and raises the bar, if you will, for those calling out the President, and in my view, appropriately.

The Chinese also announced late this week that they were going to cease purchasing any US AG products as a result of the further development of the war between China and the US. This is not good news for the AG community since it is one of their largest markets. It may also be bad news politically for POTUS.

A Canadian third-party logistics provider has taken the imposition of tariffs on China for a business opportunity. Section 321 of US Customs law provides for goods that are valued at less than $800 to be shipped to the US duty free. STALCO, the company involved, has utilized this to great advantage by importing Chinese goods in bulk or providing for delivery of online purchases by shipping them to Canada declaring that they are Chinese goods, but also declaring a value of less than $800. This won’t work for everyone, but it is an interesting opportunity for some.

Mr. Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford Owens in Plattsburgh, NY and a Senior Advisor to Dentons to Washington, DC.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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