President Donald Trump’s economic policies aren’t working. He’s imposed harsh tariffs on nations around the world centering on steel and aluminum, touting the measures as poised to send the United States’ position in the global economy soaring.
According to data the Commerce Department released this week, the country’s global trade deficit hit a ten year high in October, reaching $55.5 billion. That marked the fifth straight month of increases with an overall spike of 11.4 percent just since October of the previous year, months after Trump took office.
The number reflects how much more the United States imports than it exports, and President Trump has routinely pointed to the numbers as justification for his trade policy. The problem, though, is that his trade policies are making the numbers even worse according to his standards.
In the face of retaliatory tariffs that other nations have imposed, exports just of U.S. soybeans plummeted by $800 million in October compared to the previous month, which constitutes a slash of 46.8 percent. There are hardworking American farmers behind those losses.
This week, President Trump has touted a supposed deal for the Chinese to purchase an unspecified amount of agricultural goods — but on the one hand, no formal agreement has actually emerged, and additionally, those supposedly incoming purchases would have a long way to go to compensate for the losses American farmers have sustained thanks to his administration’s trade wars. The Farm Bureau just recently released estimates of losses just to Nebraska farmers at as much as $1 billion when including lost labor pay that would have otherwise cycled back into the local economy and cancelled and otherwise absent orders.
Down in reality, the dismal numbers continue. In October, as imports of consumer goods kept chugging along while American workers found themselves left out in the cold, the trade deficit with China rose 7.1 percent just compared to the previous month.
The tumult has wrought havoc elsewhere, like on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average has struggled to maintain any overall gains at all this year, plummeting in value well over 1,000 points just this week.
Meanwhile, the president has kept up with his allegiance to his economic policy. This week — sending more shock waves across the stock market — he insisted that if there’s no final trade deal reached with China within 90 days, more tariffs would come down since he’s a “Tariff Man.” He and Chinese President Xi Jinping have for now agreed to hold off on tariff increases for 90 days — a timer that’s already started.
Trump’s economic policy efforts have amounted to lots of tumult and little change in the past through means like the new North American trade agreement that is in many respects just a recycled NAFTA and that the president has even still touted as maybe one of the greatest trade agreements in the history of the United States and world — seriously.
A similar claim about the pre-eminence of his presidency earned him literal laughter at the United Nations General Assembly, and yet Trump keeps pressing on and on.
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