Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 9/9/19

Sep 9, 2019

The riots in Hong Kong continue on with varying intensity. The local police force began spraying water filled with dye to more easily identify the protesters. One has to wonder if the Chinese have not inspired these protests in order to clamp down on Hong Kong. The way in which this has been handled, raises significant questions in my mind as to whether or not this is not another Chinese ruse.

An analysis of the economic boom that has occurred over the last ten years indicates that the bottom 50% of our population has had very little, if any, positive impact while the next 40% has seen some benefit, but the largest proportion has gone to the top 10%, but, even that group is out done by the top 1%. This ever-increasing disparity is problematic. If one reflects upon who owns stock in the stock market, it is not the average household, although they may have some investments as a result of a 401k or IRA Account. I have mentioned before Henry Ford, not the most liberal of fellows, paid a significantly higher wage to his workers for one very selfish and simple reason, they needed the money to buy his cars. It strikes me that this concept is completely being ignored in today’s economy. You need people with money to buy your products, and the top 10% is not going to keep Walmart, Target or any other large retailor in business.

The French are now pushing to ease the US/Iranian tensions, presumably to decrease the likelihood of further escalation. It is clear that Mr. Trump’s policies are not bringing about the results he predicted, and much of what he is negotiating looks like the Obama/Iranian deal. The French are stepping into the breach left by the US in terms of proposing rational solutions to complex problems. It’s too bad we have abandoned that role.

Chairman Powell says he doesn’t see a recession coming, which supports his recent statements that there are no further rate cuts imminent. Nice job of tying up POTUS, since calling for a rate cut implies a recession is in the offing. The next tweets on this will be really interesting.

Walmart announced that it will stop selling bullets and some guns in its stores, and also made the request in states where conceal carry laws exist that shoppers not bring their weapons into the store. There was some indication that Kroger and maybe others would follow suit. I wonder what polling they had access to before making this decision. My suspicion is that a significant portion of the American public is looking for some reasonable and rational control on assault rifles, and the ammunition that they utilize.

Truck makers are following suit with RV makers and John Deere in slowing down their production. This follows along with recent reports of an enormous number of trucking company bankruptcies. Are these signs the economy is weakening, as certainly manufacturing activity is declining for the first time in several years due to an enormous number of factors, but most likely led by the US/China trade war.

Boris Johnson lost his majority, and threatened a snap election. The Brexit picture becomes damper with more mist in the air than usual in Britain. POTUS delivered more confusing information with his doctored weather map for hurricane Dorian. It appears an earlier forecast gave Alabama a small chance of being hit; I guess POTUS stopped paying attention to updated information.

Scientists reported large quantities of eel DNA in Loch Ness leading to speculation that Nessy is a Large Eel. Not much romance in a big eel versus a prehistoric creature of some other nature. My grandfather took me to the docks in Brooklyn to buy eel which he ate with relish, me not so much. That said, Eel sushi isn’t bad.

Sarah Sanders told Fox & Friends on Friday, September 6, 2019 that 99% of her confrontations about POTUS were with women. That’s greater than the turnout of women in 2018. Interesting.

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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