Donald Trump spoke in Detroit on August 8, and outlined some economic plans that he claims will benefit low- and middle-income Americans. But fact checking on that plan shows otherwise. He placed the blame for that and other cities’ problems on Democratic economic policies, but this shows his fundamental misunderstanding of history, because the problems faced by cities like Detroit go much father back than President Clinton’s terms in office.
Touting what amounts to Reagan’s trickle-down economics, the Trump economic plan includes pulling out of free-trade deals and getting tougher on China over trade and currency policies. But experts in economics and trade fear that such actions would result in a “trade war” which would send consumer goods prices skyrocketing, which would disproportionately harm low- and middle-income Americans.
Increasing tariffs on foreign imports, which Trump claims will “bring back trillions of dollars and millions of jobs,” would actually result in a loss of up to 4 million jobs, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue said, and in effect impose a consumption tax on Americans that would cost the average family more than $2,000 a year.
Washington Post economic policy columnist Jim Tankersley apparently agrees with those job numbers, although, as he points out, a number of other think tanks—including the liberal Roosevelt Institute—question some of the assumptions on which these numbers are based.
Much of the American economy is based on consumption, and we learned back in the Great Depression that if people don’t make enough money to cover the necessities and then be able to buy things afterward, the consumer economy suffers.
Regardless of who is right or wrong in this economic debate, what is clear is that Trump chose the wrong city in which to make such announcements in. More than 80 percent of Detroit is African-American, and Trump is only polling at about 2 percent with the African-American population nationwide. As a result, he had to stop his speech at least 12 times while protestors were escorted out.
What do you think? Would the Trump economic plan spur a trade war, or would the results be more moderate–or perhaps an improvement? Please share your thoughts in the comments.