Trump's Re-Election Campaign: An Economic Overview
When we look at President Donald Trump’s economic policies over the last four years, along with his policies going into the November elections, there’s definitely a lot to discuss.
Trade reforms could be considered the center of Trump’s economic policies over the last four years. He’s constantly pushed for “smart trade” in the United States.
He promotes mercantilism, an economic theory that involves government regulation of international trade to strengthen national power.
He uses protectionism-- the practice of taxing imports-- to protect U.S. industries from foreign competition.
Trump has imposed tariffs on several goods over the last four years; some have had a positive impact while some haven’t.
In 2018, he imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminum. This considerably increased buying costs for manufacturers, which was consequently passed on to the consumers. This led to a fall in the stock market.
A trade war between the U.S. and China also commenced in 2018, starting with Trump imposing 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products, and then escalated further.
In 2016, Trump had promised to eliminate the national debt. However, since 2017, the national debt has exploded, increasing from $20 trillion to $24 trillion as of April 2020.
The minimum wage in the U.S. has been $7.25/hour since 2009. Trump insisted on not increasing the wage, so as to not decrease employment rates and maintain competitive businesses.
Speaking of employment rates, Trump did a fairly good job, with the unemployment rates dropping to the lowest level in nearly 50 years, in mid-2019. Unemployment rates did however increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he bounced back, with nearly 4.8 million jobs added as of July 2020.
Unemployment rates for African-Americans and the Hispanic communities had also reached an all-time low.
Trump also pushed for eliminating outsourcing jobs(especially manufacturing jobs). He said he wants to bring back to the United States the jobs which have gone to Asia and Mexico.
Trump also increased the military budget, a policy which is very close to the heart of every Republican. The FY 2020 budget authorized $738 billion in national security spending, far above the $606 billion in the FY 2017 budget.
This increased military spending aimed to improve military equipment, expand the U.S. Navy and Air Force, develop a better missile system for defending the country against Iran and North Korea, and fight the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.
Under the Trump administration, the United States GDP peaked at 3.5% and averaged at 2.3% in 2019. This is significantly lesser than the 5.5% peak achieved during Obama’s administration.
The stock market saw notable soars, however, volatile.
Household income has also been increasing, however, the rate of increase has slowed.
It is quite evident that Trump’s economic policies have usually had two sides to them. While his policies have always been in the interest of strengthening the national economy, their manner of execution has proved to be counterproductive at times.
National polls have indicated that Trump is currently trailing behind his Democrat opponent Joe Biden. A large number of voters are favoring Biden because of his strong and seemingly progressive social agenda, but it’s important for voters to take the economy into account as well when they vote in November.
Reporter: Pranav Govil