• Market Crumbs

Vape Ban Is Now On Hold As Trump Caves

Image via mirror.co.uk

Last week, Market Crumbs asked the question "Could Vape Users Sway The Presidential Election?" The post detailed how the "vape lobby," with the #WeVapeWeVote hashtag, appears to be prepared to vote for any candidate other than President Donald Trump should he follow through with any sort of ban or regulations on vaping.

Another issue, which also would directly affect Trump's reelection chances, is the number of mom-and-pop vape stores that would be affected by such legislation. Trump's campaign manager even reportedly warned him that his plan could backfire as his supporters who use e-cigarettes could abandon him if he follows through with a ban.

The post closed saying "He could always resort to his strategy of delaying, which has thus far worked well in the trade negotiations with China." 

Well, that's exactly what he's done. Trump has decided to not act on e-cigarettes because of possible job losses and voter pushback. Trump reportedly decided not to sign the one-page "decision memo" while on board a flight a few weeks ago. His concerns reportedly had to do with job losses and angry voters hurting his reelection chances. 

"President Trump and this administration are committed to responsibly protecting the health of children," said White House spokesman Judd Deere. "At this time, we are in an ongoing rulemaking process, and I will not speculate on the final outcome."  

Trump "allies working for the vaping industry" told Trump's inner circle that battleground state polling of his voters showed the issue costing him support. Tony Abboud, the executive director of the group that commissioned the poll, said "Bans don’t work. They never have."

First Lady Melania Trump and Trump's daughter, Ivanka, apparently were the ones advocating for the ban all along. "He didn’t know much about the issue and was just doing it for Melania and Ivanka," said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Not everyone is pleased Trump backtracked, particularly Scott Gottlieb, who oversaw the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through a part of Juul's meteoric rise in popularity. Gottlieb called Trump's move a "Pyrrhic victory" for the vaping industry. He wants action now, saying "Bottom line: There are reasonable steps to dramatically limit access and appeal to kids we can take now that won’t foreclose opportunities for adults or shutter adult vape shops."

Where the administration goes from here is not clear. It appears unlikely a decision will be made before the election, which is now less than a year away. Trump ended up using the same playbook as the trade war, which is overpromising only to end up delaying. The only question is, if this was driven by fears of voter revolt, why does he continue to focus on the stock market, which is surely not benefitting a large majority of the voters he'll need to win a reelection?

Leftover Crumbs

  • It means markets can rally further on hopes of a trade deal. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to place higher tariffs on Chinese goods if they don't make a deal. "If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher," Trump said during the meeting. As has become the norm, markets completely ignored the latest sign a trade deal is far from being signed despite the two sides having "agreed in principle" all the way back on October 11. 

  • This should help trade talks. In a later development yesterday, which the market appears to be taking more seriously, China condemned the U.S. Senate's passage of the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act." The bill, which is aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong, will now head to the House, which previously approved its own version of the bill in October. President Trump could still veto the bill, a decision that could be driven by the market's reaction. China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the bill interferes in China’s domestic affairs and "strongly condemns and resolutely opposes." The Hong Kong government was also displeased, saying they "expressed deep regret" over the bill's passage.

  • WeNeedLawyers. The New York State Attorney General has opened an investigation into WeWork. The investigation is looking into whether Adam Neumann, WeWork’s co-founder and former CEO, engaged in self-dealing to enrich himself via buying properties and leasing them back to WeWork. The NYAG investigation comes less than a week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it is investigating whether WeWork violated financial rules leading up to its IPO. WeWork confirmed the investigation, saying "We received an inquiry from the office of the New York State Attorney General and are cooperating in the matter."

  • This could put a dent in share buybacks. The National Transportation Safety Board recommends Boeing redesign the engine covers on the 737 NG plane to better withstand the impact of engine failures. Nearly 7,000 models of the plane have already been delivered to airlines worldwide. The investigation was prompted by a fatal accident last year in which a fan blade broke off an engine and hit a passenger, the first U.S. airline fatality in nearly a decade. Boeing replied to the NTSB, saying they are "committed to working closely with the FAA, engine manufacturers, and industry stakeholders to implement enhancements that address the NTSB’s safety recommendations."

  • Maybe they need a better IT department. The Walt Disney Company has another headache on its hands following the botched Disney+ launch last week. Users are reporting they've been locked out of their accounts. The culprit? Hackers. According to ZDNet, login credentials are now being offered for free on hacking forums and for sale elsewhere on the web for anywhere from $3 to $11. The hackers didn't waste any time either. Disney+ accounts were reportedly put up for sale online within hours after the service's launch.