Death Of China’s Edge And A Koch

Grind for August 27th
“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

Hit Me Again

The Headline

Trade war with China continues as both sides announce new tariffs

The Grind

President Trump on Friday said he would increase existing tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 15% starting September 1st.

If the two nations fail to negotiate a trade deal by October, he plans to increase existing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 25% to 30%.

Earlier on Friday, Beijing announced new tariffs on $75 billion of US goods (roughly 60% of annual exports to China).

The Details

US stock markets dropped sharply after the announcement, with the Nasdaq falling 3% and the Dow and S&P dropping about 2.5%.

China’s new tariffs on American goods will begin on September 1st and will expand to autos and auto parts in mid-December. The taxes range from 5% to 25%.

Trump on Friday also urged US companies to stop doing business with China and claimed the US had lost ‘trillions’ of dollars to China over the years.

“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them,” he tweeted. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

Another One Bites The Dust

The Headline

Libertarian philanthropist David Koch dies at age 79

The Grind

Chemical engineer, philanthropist, and GOP mega donor David Koch passed away this week at age 79. He had been suffering from prostate cancer since 1992.

David is survived by his brothers Charles, William, and Frederick, his wife Julia, and his three children. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, David was the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth of $59 billion.

The Background

David Koch earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering at MIT before joining his family’s oil-refining business.

Following the death of their father in 1967, Charles and David took their other two brothers to court for control of the company and won. Together, they transformed Koch Industries into an industrial behemoth with interests ranging from oil pipelines to home goods like paper towels.

David utilized his fortune for philanthropy, donating more than $1 billion to educational institutions, medical centers, arts and cultural institutions, and public-policy organizations. He contributed $134 million to MIT for cancer research there.

The political network he built with Charles includes more than 700 donors who give at least $100,000 each year and a group called Americans for Prosperity that is rivaled only by the Republican Party itself in its influence on the conservative agenda.

The Koch network also spent a considerable amount of money supporting causes such as healthcare, education, tax law, immigration policy, government regulations, and criminal justice system reform.

Despite his support for conservative candidates, David was a social liberal who supported same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to have an abortion. He opposed the Affordable Care Act and was not convinced the government needed to address climate change.

The Koch brothers did not endorse President Trump in 2016 and have criticized him over his failure to repeal Obamacare, inaction on immigration, and use of tariffs as a negotiating tactic.

The network has continued to shift away from the Republican Party under the leadership of Charles, who took control of the network in 2018 after David bowed out due to health problems.

This summer, the Koch network launched four new PACs and said it was ready to endorse candidates from any political party. The PACs will focus on immigration, free expression, free trade, and economic opportunity.

Did you know… Connecticut and Rhode Island never ratified the 18th Amendment (Prohibition)