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It is a fact that China does not play fair in international trade; an orderly reckoning was overdue.

It is also a fact that President Trump's herky-jerky, escalating showdown with the United States' largest trading partner, a skirmish that has metastasized into an all-out war, risks doing lasting damage to American businesses and consumers, as they are forced to pay rising prices on the road to promised victory.

Trump ran for president howling about the United States' trade deficit with China as though it was some gaping wound in our national flesh.

In fact, while U.S. manufacturing has of course experienced shrinking pains as we've opened the gates to unfettered trade with Mexico, China and other nations, Americans have long benefited from low-cost products. We get something for that trade deficit in goods — which, ahem, hit a record $891 billion in 2018, under Trump's policies.

What isn't growing under Trump: American exports. And, now perhaps, stock prices.

As he fires more salvos and the trade war now expands to a new battlefield of currency, the Chinese economy is slowing, leading Beijing to hunker down, and widening American casualties.

Trump can promise ever more billions in tax dollars to hard-hit U.S. farmers, but he cannot and will not take the edge off American consumers who will see products get more expensive. Nor can he control investors spooked at the prospects of a new economic cold war.

Trade wars, Trump infamously said, are good and easy to win. They hardly ever have winners, and are especially bad when neither army's commander-in-chief has an exit strategy.

— The Daily News, New York

As is often the case, in its rush to deal with one week's crisis du jour, New York state has implemented a law that doesn't address the entirety of a problem.

Local school districts have begun planning for a new law that does not recognize religious exemptions for students who are not vaccinated. The state Senate and Assembly voted June 13 to eliminate the exemption. Previously, families were allowed to cite religious beliefs to void school-required vaccinations in order to enroll. Students have up to 30 days after entering school to show proof of the first dose of immunization.

While most schools don't have many students try to enroll who don't have their vaccinations, what happens for school districts who regularly transport unvaccinated children on a school bus filled with vaccinated children? Many school districts are obligated to transport students who live in the district but are not enrolled at any of its schools. This stipulation includes students who attend private school and home school including many Amish children in the county.

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Will school districts have to make special accommodations for unvaccinated students on their school buses? Will they have to make special trips? Will parents be responsible for transporting the students from now on? Of course, the state's hastily passed legislation doesn't address that concern.

The start of the school year is about a month away, and busing plans are being developed now. The state needs to develop some guidance, quickly.

— Post-Journal, Jamestown

Last week the New York state reported that more than 4,000 undocumented college students had applied for financial aid, something they were unable to do before the state Legislature passed the Jose Peralta Dream Act in the recent session.

The act is simple, easy to understand, easy to demagogue. Young people brought here by their parents go through the public school system because the state does not discriminate. Those with a high school diploma who sought to attend college faced an immediate obstacle. Without money to pay the bills themselves, which is the case for most, they could not apply for financial aid. State law required that such aid go only to those who are citizens.

The Dream Act treats these accomplished youngsters the way most people believe all should be treated. If you have the grades, if you have a clean record, if you fill out the forms, you should be able to go on with your education.

Who could be against that? Far too many members of the Republican party including many in this area who saw in the Dream Act not a chance to reward young people for their hard work but a chance to use race and ethnicity to divide the community and get a few votes along the way.

These politicians never failed to stir up anger and resentment by saying that we should not be giving a free college education to illegal immigrants while hard-working New Yorkers struggled to come up with funds to pay for tuition and expenses.

That was a lie, one repeated early and often. The Dream Act lets everybody apply for financial aid. Those without documentation are getting the same treatment as others, not favorable treatment. It does not harm those who work hard to help their children go to college. It embraces everyone who works hard for that reason, immigrant, undocumented and all others.

It should be a symbol of hope and community, and now that is is being implemented it will have a chance to be that.

— Times Herald-Record, Middletown

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