What’s Happening with the Economy?
What Needs to Happen?
Stock markets are in serious turmoil. Real estate construction is slowing a bit; manufacturing could be somewhat better. Most economic indicators seem to be pretty decent – inflation is under control, unemployment is low, wage growth has perked up, and economic growth has been steadily up for the past nine years. https://www.thebalance.com/us-economic-outlook-3305669 The Obama Administration set strong economic foundations for steady growth, which are still in place. The fear right now is we may slip into a recession.
The sugar high of the recent Trump tax cuts is wearing out, and the needed business investments in improving productivity did not yet occur. There were too many stock buy backs which inflated stock prices and too few investments in new plants and equipment which would boost the long term productivity of the US economy. Federal budget deficits are spiraling up under President Trump. The uncertainties of the Trump tariff wars with China and Europe are taking a toll on agriculture, trade, manufacturing and stock market confidence. The stock markets and investor confidence are spooked because they don’t trust Trump’s visions on trade and his erratic performance in office and his endless personal hostilities with allies, foreign leaders and Congressional leaders. The corrupt, incompetent, crony capitalism from some prominent cabinet members and high White House officials are a drag on America’s economic horizon. Main St. is doing reasonably well, while under President Trump’s leadership (sic) DC is under-performing for the best interests of the American people. The poorly timed judicial overreach invalidating the ACA’s benefits for the uninsured, those with low, moderate and middle class incomes and those with pre-existing conditions will not be helpful to the nation’s economic growth and would throw the nation’s health care systems into chaos unless over-ruled.
Rural and small town America is hurting, and it is plagued in some regions by drug overuse and has an aging population while urban America has been doing comparatively well. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2017/09/05/finding-the-american-dream-in-rural-america/ Some rural Midwestern counties are offering much higher economic mobility for their residents while too many residents of rural regions in the Southeastern US are mired in poverty and low opportunity. We need to offer better health care in rural America and greater economic and educational opportunities and reliable access to the internet and other aspects of modern infrastructure for rural and small town youth and workers in or adjacent to their own communities. https://www.brookings.edu/research/why-rural-america-needs-cities/
President Trump’s prescriptions of greater reliance on the most costly and dirtiest fossil fuels are not going to help the US economy, but rather they will hold the US back from needed investments and far better long term returns on investments in renewables and alternative energy sources. They will force us to waste scarce public resources on subsequent environmental clean up.
In 2020, we need Democratic candidates with a strong economic understanding, a pro-growth agenda and a record of successfully working across the aisle; likewise we need a Republican challenger to the President who favors free trade and immigration reforms and repair of our badly distorted tax system rigged for the interests of the super-rich. In 2020 and 2022, we will need to systematically oust from federal, state and local government positions of power those Trump-istas and Tea Party acolytes who have systematically spread lies, division, hatred and chaos throughout the nation.
In the interim, we all need to work closely with those state and local governments who can advance and implement a better agenda for this nation’s future and hope that the Democratic House can head off this most misguided President of the modern era and negotiate with the counterparts in the Senate to make some forward progress on the country’s most important needs like education that works for all America’s children and health care that covers all Americans and a tax system that rewards productivity and eliminates tax loopholes and unfair tax advantages for the wealthiest Americans.
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin