Trump And The D.C. Republicans Are The Biggest Threat To The Economy
Recently, Trump and the D.C. Republicans have been celebrating the economic progress we have had in the U.S. since 2010. They were exultant about last Friday’s jobs report which indicated that unemployment had dropped to 3.8% — the lowest level since Bill Clinton was president. What they failed to mention was that Obama reduced the unemployment rate from 10% in 2010 to 4.6% by the time he left office. Trump is like a man who was born on third base and believed he just hit a triple.
In any event, all that glitters isn’t gold. Since Trump has taken office, middle class wages have become stagnant again after increasing by 5.2% between 2014 and 2015 (Wage growth then surged to a seven year high in 2016.) At the same time, new job creation has slowed since January 20, 2017 and GDP clocked in at a disappointing 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018. In addition, approximately 44% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. Most Americans aren’t benefiting from the so-called Trump recovery.
Trump and the D.C. Republicans are putting this limited economic progress in jeopardy by declaring an all out trade war against Mexico, Canada, the EU and China. The Administration recently announced it would impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China. Trump compounded this blunder by slapping on 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum imported from the EU, Canada and Mexico.
Our trading partners were quick to retaliate. China ceased buying soybeans from the U.S. altogether — causing commodity prices to plummet in Nebraska and other agricultural states. The EU will impose tariffs on corn and numerous other goods. Canada has vowed “full, total retaliation” and Mexico will set tariffs on pork bellies and other agricultural exports.
The American agricultural and business community — which supported Trump in 2016 — immediately expressed alarm. Steve Nelson — the president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau — said: “The announcement regarding steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union puts more than $1.8 billion in annual Nebraska agricultural exports at risk. This action, as well as the decision to move forward with $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese products and services, will have consequences for Nebraska families.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has forecast that Trump’s foolish trade war could cost the U.S. 2.6 million jobs and even push the economy into a recession. As the Washington Post stated: “If these figures are in the ballpark, Trump’s tariffs may go down as the worst economic decision since Smoot-Hawley, of which the president apparently is ignorant.”
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Congressional delegation has done nothing to stop this damage to Nebraska’s agricultural based economy. Deb Fischer attended a meeting at the White House where she essentially begged Trump not to wage a trade war. Apparently, that plea has fallen on deaf ears. Fischer has taken no legislative action to reverse this policy disaster.
The usually quiet and always supine Representative Jeff Fortenberry emerged from seclusion and blandly stated that the “ the tariffs on China may or may not prove to be a beneficial move for the U.S.” Like the rest of his Nebraska colleagues in Washington he has done nothing.
It is foolish for the Congress to roll over since the Trump Administration appears to be following the trail blazed by the Coolidge and Harding Administrations. In 1925, Coolidge signed into law a big tax cut that favored the wealthy. Subsequently in 1930, Herbert Hoover — over the objection of just about every economist in America — signed off on the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill that wrecked the world economy with a trade war. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has been doing virtually the same thing.
As Nebraska Democrats, we can do something to stop the madness. We have nominated an excellent slate of Congressional candidates. I would urge all of you to support Jane Raybould, Jessica McClure, Kara Eastman and Paul Theobald. They will stand up to Trump and put Nebraska first. If you want different results out of Washington, you have to elect different people. Now let’s get it done!