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Koch Industries, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- Billionaire David Koch, a conservative force in American politics, has died, his brother Charles Koch confirmed in a statement on Friday.

He was 79 years old.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life," Charles Koch wrote in a statement, adding that his brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer 27 years ago.

"David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay," Charles Koch's statement continued. "We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result."

His death comes a year after he stepped down from Koch Industries, the corporation he ran along with his brothers, due to deteriorating health, his brother Charles wrote in a letter to company officials last June, according to The Associated Press.

Last summer, he also stepped down from the variety of business and political activities he was involved in, including the Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Chemical Technology and the Americans For Prosperity Foundation charity that largely encompasses the brothers' political work.

David Koch, along with his brother Charles, built an enormous network of conservative donors and have worked tirelessly to influence politics.

Although the Koch brothers often backed Republican candidates and lawmakers, they still clashed with officials on both sides of aisle -- including most recently President Donald Trump.

Days after the president moved forward with imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico in June 2018, three political groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers launched a multi-year, multi-million dollar campaign to tout free trade and oppose tariffs.

Trump struck back, launching a searing Twitter attack against the brothers.

"The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade," Trump tweeted "I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas."


The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018


He continued, "Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I'm for America First and the American Worker -- a puppet for no one."

ABC News' Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks on his influence on American politics:

Part of the billionaire's political legacy was facilitating the rise of libertarianism in American politics, which ultimately pushed the Republican Party farther right and branded David Koch as a controversial political advocate.

Koch's influence in politics focused on promoting the idea of minimal government, and in recent times, was most associated with Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group he founded with his brother, Charles Koch. Upon its founding, Americans for Prosperity went on to attract some of the wealthiest donors in the United States, and helped elect right-wing candidates to both the House and Senate.

The Kochs' also extended their brand of conservatism to think tanks and various other groups that backed their agenda, many of which were driving opposition to government regulation, and made the Kochs some of the most high-profile climate change deniers in the political landscape.

Democrats have long vilified the Koch brothers. In 2014, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attacked Charles and Davis from the Senate floor saying they have "no conscience," and called them "un-American." He then proposed a constitutional amendment to ban the type of anonymous political giving the Kochs perfected.

"What is un-American is when shadowy billionaires pour unlimited money into our democracy to rig the system to benefit themselves and the wealthiest one percent. I believe in an America where economic opportunity is open to all. And based on their actions and policies they promote, the Koch brothers seem to believe in an America where the system is rigged to benefit the very wealthy," Reid said.

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VictorHuang/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As summer travel comes to a close, now might be a perfect time to score savings on flights for a fall or winter getaway.

Friday marks the start of a four-week window where airfare will be at its lowest prices, according to the website CheapOair, which helps budget-savvy travelers explore the globe at a discount.

"The end of August is what we call the low shoulder season," Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper, told ABC News. "There's really low travel demand. You see people going back to school, not a lot of demand for vacation, [so] airlines have to adjust prices to still fills seats."

These great deals go through the end of November, Berg added, and prices spike back up around the winter holidays.

Experts said prices could drop 20 percent for domestic travel and European trips could boast up to 35 percent savings.

More tips to save on flights:

Plan your shopping time. Another way to ensure savings on flights is to shop during the week.

Use mobile tracking apps. Technology like Hopper can be used to plan ahead so you don't get stuck booking on the weekend. The app allows you to choose a destination, estimated travel dates and then ping users when the lowest price becomes available.

Be flexible. If you're traveling for a long holiday weekend, look for flights on less popular travel days.

Look at all the airports around your destination. Sometimes smaller hub airports can offer better deals.

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jacoblund/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Aug. 22, eight months into the year, is approximately how far into 2019 a black woman must work to earn what a typical white male was paid at the end of 2018, according to the organizers of Black Women's Equal Pay Day.

In other words, it takes the typical black woman around 20 months to be paid what the average white man is paid in 12 months.

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day also comes several months after Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how far into the year an average woman of any race will have to work to earn what an average man earned in the previous year. This year, Equal Pay Day was marked on April 2, three months into 2019.

Black women who work full-time, year-round jobs typically make 61 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, according to the National Women's Law Center, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that fights for gender justice, according to its website.

The pay gap for black women leads to a lifetime loss of nearly $1 million, the National Women's Law Center found.

The pay gap for black women comes more into focus as more and more black women enter the workforce and are the breadwinners for their families. Black women currently make up a majority of the black labor force, with 10.7 million black women in the overall labor force in 2018, according to the Department of Labor (DOL).

The actress Jessica Chastain placed a spotlight on the pay gap for black women in Hollywood when she spoke out last year after learning her costar, Octavia Spencer, who is black, was making less than other actresses, even with her Academy Award for "The Help."

"I knew women of color got paid less than Caucasian actresses," Chastain told The Hollywood Reporter. "What I didn’t know is someone of Octavia’s level, who had an Oscar and two Oscar nominations, how much less she would be getting paid. When she told me what she was making, that’s what really made me go, 'Hold up, that doesn’t compute in my brain.'"

Experts say the pay gap for women overall is a major factor in leading them to, on average, save and invest less than men.

When women do not save and invest for their future, it costs them not only money but also "degrees of freedom," according to Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO who started Ellevest, an investment platform for women.

"It costs us the inability to quit the job we don't love, the inability to leave the relationship that has become abusive, the inability to start the business we've dreamt of," she told "Good Morning America" earlier this year.

Equal pay advocates are planning to "storm social media" Thursday to put a spotlight on the disparity for black women using the hashtags #BlackWomensEqualPay and #DemandMore.

Today at 2pm, tweet your support for #EqualPay. Join @MomsRising for a Twitterstorm in honor of #BlackWomensEqualPayDay.

— Opportunity Agenda (@oppagenda) August 22, 2019

Black women still lag behind white men and women when it comes to equal pay. Let's do all that we can to reverse that statistic and help close the wealth gap. #MuchWorkToDo #blackwomensequalpayday

— Gilda Cobb-Hunter (@GCobbHunter) August 22, 2019

I want my 870k! Over a 40 year career, black women will make between 870,000 to 940,000 less than white men. Because Black women in the United States who work full time, year-round are typically paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white men. #blackwomensequalpayday

— The Corporate Tea (@TheCorporateTea) August 22, 2019

It's #BlackWomensEqualPayDay now I know why I woke up feeling so fatigued.

— Nakisha M. Lewis (@NakLew) August 22, 2019

It's a way to raise awareness of a continuing systemic problem.

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helen89/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Polo Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter of the 2019 U.S. Open Tennis tournament, and this year the brand has sustainability top of mind.

This year's ballperson uniforms are being made from yarn derived from up to seven plastic bottles and falls in line with the brands' mission to incorporate 170 million recycled plastic bottles into their packing by 2025.

"Bright lights. Electric energy. The @USOpen is a celebration of tennis in a city that never sleeps," the Polo Ralph Lauren wrote in a caption alongside a video on Instagram showing off the collection.

In addition to this year's ballperson uniforms, there is also a playful shoppable collection including a '90s style-inspired Polo shirts, hoodies, graphic sweatshirts, bucket hats and more.

U.S. Open attendees can also enjoy custom pieces for the collection through an onsite customization program.

Polo Ralph Lauren's sustainable efforts are supported through their Design the Change strategy, which is a commitment to accelerate the retailer's work surrounding global citizenship and sustainability.

In addition to the eco-friendly ball uniforms, there are plans to continually create sustainable products through three key areas including creating timeless style, protecting the environment and championing better lives.

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takasuu/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is walking back his comments on implementing a payroll tax cut after stating that it's something he's been "thinking about" as a way to save the U.S. economy, which he described as doing "phenomenally well" from falling into a recession.

"I'm not looking at a tax cut now," Trump told reporters as he departed for Kentucky. "We don't need it, we have a strong economy."

Just a day before, during a bilateral with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump suggested he was open to the idea of imposing a payroll tax cut.

"So it is something I'm thinking about, payroll taxes, I've been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time," he said. "Whether or not we do it now or not, it's not being done because of recession."

In saying so, the president contradicted his own aides who had pushed back on the notion that a payroll tax cut was under consideration.

"It is not being considered at this time," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said during an interview with Fox News earlier on Tuesday. "He's looking at tax cuts again -- we think that spurs on the economic expansion."

While speaking with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Trump also defended the U.S. trade war with China calling himself, "the chosen one."

In response to a question from ABC News' Kyra Phillips about whether taking the Americans into recession is worth it, the president told reporters, "I am the chosen one, somebody had to do it and I'm taking on China on trade. And you know what? We're winning."

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BCFC/iStock(CHICAGO) -- An Illinois teenager dropped a lawsuit on Wednesday against e-cigarette maker Juul and tobacco giant Philip Morris two days after filing it.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Illinois on Monday by 19-year old Christian Foss, claimed the companies use illegal and deceptive marketing to prey on young people.

On Wednesday, Foss filed a notice of voluntary dismissal, and Judge Jorge L. Alonso dismissed the case without prejudice.

The lawyer who filed the case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Juul did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But when the lawsuit was originally filed, the company said it has "never marketed to youth and do not want non-nicotine users, especially youth, to ever try our product."

Altria, Philip Morris' parent company, said when the lawsuit was filed that "virtually all of the conduct alleged in the complaint occurred before Altria had any economic interest in Juul."

Altria bought a 35% stake in Juul in Dec. 2018 for $12.8 billion.

Juul is the dominant player in the e-cigarette market, which originally positioned the product as an alternative to cigarettes.

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Jun/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Millie Bobby Brown is launching her own vegan makeup line called Florence by Mills.

The Stranger Things star announced the new line by posting a video about it on Instagram.

"Every young person deserves to have a good start with their skin. I want it to be vegan, clean, cruelty-free, that would be easy to get, and fun to use, and still useful but, you know, playing that sophisticated teenager as well," Brown said in the clip.

"What I want my beauty brand to represent is individuality, and embrace who you are," she added.

There will be 15 products in total geared toward Generation Z customers and it's also being marketed as a vegan, PETA-certified brand.

Brown told WWD that the line is inspired by her great-grandmother.

"I felt like a brand about individuality and bravery and being truthful should be named after somebody who was all of those things," she said.

The full list of products hasn't been announced yet.

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JHVEPhoto/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- If you’re looking to buy a small plastic water bottle when you go to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you’re out of luck.

A ban on the sale of plastic water bottles under 1 liter went into effect Tuesday, according to ABC San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV, but travelers still have the option of buying water in larger sizes.

All of the airport's restaurants, retailers, lounges and vending machines will be required to sell water in recyclable aluminum, glass or BPI-certified bottles, according to a statement released by the airport.

The new rule applies to all water, but does not include a ban on sodas, teas or juices.

“SFO continues to lead the way in airport sustainability initiatives,” Ivar C. Satero, the airport director, said in a statement. “With this move, we take a giant step towards our goal to achieve zero waste going into landfill. I appreciate the support of our SFO business community in making this bold move for our environment.”

SFO is hoping to achieve zero waste by 2021.

The airport says it has implemented the ban on small plastic water bottles because more environmentally friendly alternatives are on the rise. The full list of water options at the airport can found here.

Some travelers, however, thought the airport should have gone even further.

“I think there should be a total ban. It is inconsistent to do one size and not the other. Plastic is plastic,” Marc Fong, an airport traveler, told KGO.

“Tea and lemonade and sodas but not the water? Come on guys,” said Murrell Peddicord, another traveler.

SFO has also urged travelers to bring reusable beverage containers to fill up at the airport’s drinking fountains located in all terminals in addition to the new ban.

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TSA(NEW YORK) -- It wasn't quite "Snakes on a Plane."

A 15-inch thin, black snake with a yellow band around its neck was discovered Monday night on the floor of a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport by a "youngster," according to the TSA. A TSA officer then contained the ring-necked snake in one of the gray checkpoint bins to prevent it from escaping. TSA said the checkpoint lane was forced to close temporarily and Port Authority Police were called to remove the animal.

“It’s common for travelers to accidentally leave items at the checkpoint,” TSA’s New Jersey Federal Security Director Tom Carter said in a press release. “Typically people leave items such as their keys, sunglasses, ID, hats and gloves, but this is the first time someone has left a snake behind. We have a fairly robust lost and found program that reunites passengers with their lost items, but this passenger doesn’t need to call us about his snake.”

According to the Department of Transportation's latest guidelines on emotional support animals, it is up to an airline whether a snake is allowed to fly. An airline will not face federal punishment if it denies a passenger from bringing a snake on an aircraft.

“This snake did not catch his flight," TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told ABC.

TSA often shares unusual items its officers discover or confiscate at checkpoints.

In July, TSA officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport discovered two missile launchers within a week in travelers' checked bags.

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Bill Chizek/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Even as President Donald Trump insists the U.S. economy is “the best in the world,” he is also weighing pursuing another round of tax cuts amid concerns about a possible looming recession.

"He's looking at at tax cuts again, we think that spurs on the economic expansion," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said during an interview with FOX News Tuesday.

The possibility was discussed during a White House policy meeting on Monday. The idea of a payroll tax cut has also been floated in recent days, though officials say that idea has been tabled and is not under active consideration.

"It is not being considered at this time," Gidley reiterated on Tuesday. "We are always looking to give people back their hard-earned money and that's with the conversation was about."

Publicly, the president continues to strike an optimistic tone about the strength of the U.S. economy and has sent his top economic aides on television to further amplify the White House message.

“We have the strongest economy, by far, in the world,” Trump insisted to reporters on Sunday. “I don’t see a recession. I mean, the world is in a recession right now. And -- although, that's too big a statement.”

To the extent Trump does acknowledge weakness in the economy, he points blame at the broader global landscape and at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom he hand-picked for the job but has since fallen out of favor with Trump, who believes the Fed should further lower interest rates.

Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019

The president’s renewed interest in another round of tax cuts comes after his previous pledge, in the weeks just before the 2018 midterm elections, to pursue a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class. After the election, the president dropped all discussion of the promised tax cuts.

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selimaksan/iStock(CHICAGO) -- A dime doesn’t buy much these days, but this rare dime that recently sold at auction cost a pretty penny.

The 1894-S Barber dime is considered among the rarest and most coveted coins in the country -- only nine are known to exist -- according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which specializes in antique coins and currency.

Dell Loy Hansen, a Utah businessman and owner of the Real Salt Lake soccer club, paid $1.32 million dollars for the 125-year-old coin last Thursday at the Stack’s-Bowers Rarities Night Auction in Chicago.

“This was an opportunity to buy yet another famous rarity for the growing collection,” Hansen said in a statement.

The 1894-S dime was designed by engraver Charles E. Barber and struck in San Francisco on June 9, 1894, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service.

The dime, which was once owned by former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, is ranked No.6 in the respected “100 Greatest U.S. Coins” listing, behind the likes of 1804 silver doll and the 1913 Liberty Head nickel.

Hansen has been collecting coins for years, and is amassing the first privately-held coin collection of items from 1792 to the present day, according to David Lawrence Rare Coins, which is helping Hanse in the pursuit.

John Brush, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, called Hansen’s purchase “one of the most exciting acquisitions that we have made.”

“This opportunity to acquire such a legendary rarity is something that you can only dream about as a child,” Brush said in a statement.

Great history behind the pictured coin which just sold for $1,320,000! #Auction #PCGS #Coins #Numismatics

— PCGS (@PCGScoin) August 16, 2019

Brush was in Chicago for the auction and did the bidding for Hansen.

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Caitlin Boston(NEW YORK) -- A 35-year-old who paid off more than $222,000 in debt accumulated through student loans shared how she pulled it off in a celebration video that has since gone viral.

Caitlin Boston donned a purple spandex bodysuit and a Korean wedding crown and danced to Lizzo's "Good As Hell" in the video, in which she also explains how she was able to pull off the remarkable feat.

"I really wanted to figure out a way to express what I wanted the next phase of my life to be like," Boston told Good Morning America. "That wasn't about debt in any sense ... it was about celebration and gratitude and joy."

While the video is carefree and light, Boston reveals in it that her father committed suicide while she was working to pay off her debts. She said she made her last student loan payment on Aug. 6, what would have been her father's 72nd birthday.

Boston said it was a "humbling" conversation with her late dad that forced her to go into what she describes as "attack mode" to pay off her staggering debt. Boston's starting balance from both her undergrad and graduate school loans totaled $147,602.95 in 2009.

"I called my dad in a panic not knowing how I was going to manage this," Boston recalled. "[It was] just a very honest conversation where he said, 'We can't help you. We have our own debt. You're going have to figure this out on your own. You have a college degree now so you're gonna be fine. Just put together a plan.'"

One decade after that conversation with her dad, Boston said she paid off a total of $222,817.26, a figure that ballooned because of interest.

How did she do it?

"I never missed a single loan payment or took more than four weeks off of work in a single year the past 10 years," she wrote on the screen of her dancing video, which was first reported by BuzzFeed. "Not even when my father committed suicide. My dog died, my family disintegrated and my mom had a stroke -- all within the same six-month period."

Boston said she did all the usual things to save, like living in places with low rent and living with roommates, cutting costs at the grocery store and working extra jobs. She also said she demanded equal pay in her career.

"I think that as a woman you have to be your own advocate," said Boston, who works in the tech industry. "I don't think that you can get far without thinking really strategically about how you want to get paid."

Boston calls her approach to getting paid what she deserved the "over and under method," which involved her asking her coworkers and strangers in her same field if they made over or under a certain amount of money.

With that knowledge in her pocket, she was able to ask for salary increases. Boston's advice to other women is to expect that you're being underpaid and make it your job to figure out by how much and demand that.

"Be strategic. Know your worth. That's it," she said.

Now that Boston has paid off her debt, she can look back and reflect on what her dad would think of her accomplishment.

"I don't think I would have been able to do this if he hadn't given me the work ethic that he did, so, yeah, I think he's happy," she said.

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Wolterk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's the fast-food food face-off we've all been waiting for, and people are watching to see which chicken sandwich will reign supreme.

In one corner, we have chicken sandwich veteran Chick-fil-A, whose longtime slogan boasts, "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich."

In the other corner is Popeyes, who recently introduced their first-ever crispy chicken sandwich on a brioche bun.

Chicken. Brioche. Pickles. New. Sandwich. Popeyes. Nationwide. So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak. In. Complete. Sandwiches. I mean, sentences.

— Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) August 12, 2019

Chick-fil-A tweeted Monday a seemingly simple message about their no-frills recipe for success that has acted as a catalyst for the next great Twitter food fight.

Bun Chicken Pickles = all the ❤️ for the original.

— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) August 19, 2019

Popeyes reply tweeted with "...y'all good?" hinting at the brand's apparent subtweet response to their new sandwich.

... y’all good?

— Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) August 19, 2019

Of course, the social media debate has ruffled some feathers and prompted other fast-food brands to weigh in.
Wendy's is the undisputed queen when it comes to spicy chicken in the fast-food arena, which, thanks to some recent petitioning from Chance the Rapper, is back on their menu. So it came as no surprise when the fiery-branded chain tweeted out that the others are just playing second sandwich fiddle.

Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.

— WENDY'S SPICY NUGGETS ARE BACK!!! (@Wendys) August 19, 2019

Popeyes almost immediately clapped back at Wendy's with a reply, saying, "Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause y'all looking thirsty."

But Wendy's came back with an even harder hit, this time at the expense of Popeyes' other menu items.

lol, guess that means the food’s as dry as the jokes

— WENDY'S SPICY NUGGETS ARE BACK!!! (@Wendys) August 20, 2019

Naturally, Shake Shack decided to make light of the argument and said if people want a delicious chicken sandwich "without the beef," they know where to go.

If you're lookin' for a chicken sandwich (without the beef 😉), you know where to find us.

— SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) August 19, 2019

As of the time of publication, McDonald's and KFC had yet to wade into the chicken sandwich conversation on social media.

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Jorge Villalba/iStock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- In an effort to further make its stores a one-stop shop for customers, Target announced on Monday it is launching a new food and beverage brand next month.

The brand, called Good & Gather, is the retailer's largest owned brand launch and is expected to roll out in stores and online starting Sept. 15. It will include a wide array of products "from dairy to produce, ready-made pastas and meats to granola bars and sparkling water" as well as "product extensions including kids, organic, seasonal and signature lines," Target said in a press release.

The retailer said Good & Gather products have been tested thoroughly for taste and quality, and are made without artificial flavors, sweeteners, synthetic colors or high fructose corn syrup.

“Our guests are incredibly busy and want great-tasting food they can feel good about feeding their families,” Stephanie Lundquist, executive vice president and president, Food & Beverage, Target, said in a statement. “We saw this as a huge opportunity for Target to help."

Target's current food brands, like Archer Farms and Simply Balanced, will eventually be phased out once Good & Gather launches. However, the retailer said customers "will still be able to get most of the products they know and love under the Good & Gather name, many of which have been reformulated to be even better, having undergone rigorous testing to ensure that they taste great and meet the brand’s ingredient standards."

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tupungato/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump and his top advisers on Monday continued to dismiss talk that the the U.S. economy is showing signs it could be headed for a recession amid his trade war with China.

After telling reporters Sunday “We have the strongest economy, by far, in the world,” the president on Monday reinforced his position, sending a series of tweets boasting that the economy is "very strong," again blaming the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jay Powell, and accusing Democrats of trying to "will" the economy to "be bad" in order to hurt his chances in the 2020 presidential election.

Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019

But with the yield on a 10-year Treasury bond falling below the two-year yield, some economists say that's an indicator the U.S. is heading toward a recession.

“I don’t see a recession,” Trump said as he left a 10-day vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. on Sunday, downplaying the potential an economic drag could have on his prospects for reelection. “I'm prepared for everything. I don’t think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying. I saw the Walmart numbers; they were through the roof, just two days ago. That's better than any poll. That's better than any economist.”

A recent survey found that about one-third of economists think the U.S. economy will be in a recession in 2021 – more than eight percent higher than a poll of economists last February.

During an address at the Detroit Economic Club Monday, Vice President Mike Pence continued the administration's defense of the economy, declaring, “the American economy is booming.”

"Despite the irresponsible rhetoric of many in the mainstream media, the American economy is strong and the U.S. economic outlook remains strong as well,” Pence boasted. "This economy is growing and frankly you don't need to hear the statistics to know it.”

Pence warned that a Democratic victory in 2020 would "wreck" the economy and "the gains of the last two-and-a-half years would be wiped out.”

“Taxes would skyrocket. The stock market would tank. Jobs would vanish and we would get that recession these naysayers keep talking about,” Pence predicted. “President Trump and I are never going to stop fighting to make sure that never happens.”

The vice president was joined in the Motor City by Housing Secretary Ben Carson, who cited a "historically strong economy” and dismissed economists who believe there are “natural cycles” of economic growth.

“The economists [are] always saying, there are natural cycles and the economy will cycle up and it will cycle down and that it has nothing to do with who's in office. What a bunch of crap,” Carson quipped. “You get people who actually understand the economy and they know how to stimulate it and it goes up, and then you get people who say let's just tax everybody to death and regulate everything and it goes down. So it is a natural cycle in that sense but much of the credit for this rising tide belongs to this administration, including Vice President Pence."

Monday morning, White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed economists’ forecasts of a U.S. recession in 2021.

“It's nice to see the media finally cover the Trump economy,” Conway said, mocking a reporter during a gaggle on the White House driveway. “You seem to cover it only when you can use the Sesame Street word of the day, ‘Recession.’”

“You're using a tweet here or a report there, or an economist's words here and there. The fact is, the fundamentals of our economy are very strong. And you know it,” Conway asserted. “We have more people working in this country right now than ever before in the nation's history. We have more people coming off the sidelines going back to work.”

"The fact is, the fundamentals of our economy are very strong," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says, amid economic signs that some say point toward a possible recession.

— ABC News (@ABC) August 19, 2019

Trump argued that the poll showed “most” believe there won’t be a recession.

“Most of them are saying we're not going to have a recession. But the rest of the world is not doing well like we're doing,” Trump said Sunday. “We are doing better than any country, or even area, anywhere in the world. We're doing great. And our consumer is really, really strong, and it looks like they're going to be for a long time.”

Conway said that the economy “is the president's strongest suit” and claimed that “a majority of Americans approve” of the president’s handling the economy “in most legitimate polls.”

“The fundamentals remain strong,” she said. “It's good to hear people covering the economy again after such a lengthy hiatus, but you don't have a magic wand to say, ‘And now we're in a recession.’”

On Sunday, the president maintained that “China is eating the tariffs” because of “monetary manipulation” but declined to comment when asked whether he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping in recent days.

“They want to make a deal,” Trump contended, adding that Xi “obviously” has the trade war in mind. “We'll see what happens. But they definitely want to make a deal.”

“It's something he could do fairly easily. It could be, unfortunately, very ruthless. So I do think it plays on his mind,” Trump added. “He's thinking about what I've had to say. It would have an impact on trade. There's no question about it.”

Peter Navarro, a White House trade adviser, predicted that the U.S. economy would be strong through 2020.

"One of the things the president does beautifully is engage with the business community, labor leaders and everybody in between," Navarro told ABC’s Martha Raddatz during an interview on “This Week” on Sunday.

During his summer break from the White House, Trump met at Bedminster with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss the impact of tariffs.

“Samsung is not paying tariffs because they're based in South Korea. And it's tough for Apple to pay tariffs if they're competing with a very good company that's not,” Trump said Cook explained. “I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I'm thinking about it.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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