Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie wrote in an opinion-editorial published Wednesday that journalists are on a mission to weaken the support of Donald Trump’s base, arguing the administration’s economic agenda could a drive wedge between the president and his voters.
Jamelle Bouie claims President Trump’s policies aimed at countering Beijing’s unfair trade practices, including the application of tariffs on Chinese products, could lead to higher prices for everyday products and mass layoffs around the country.
The Slate political correspondent writes:
For the better part of two years now, reporters have been trying to find the issue or offense that could fracture Donald Trump’s base of support. They have traveled to “Trump country” for regular updates from working-class whites and other key Trump constituents, only to find that those voters have been unmoved by each controversy. But if there’s anything that could break the president’s hold on his base, it might be an economic agenda that harms their pocketbooks and hurts their livelihoods.
Rather than bring jobs back, Trump started a burgeoning trade war that threatens to raise prices on consumer goods, undercut business investment, and produce thousands of layoffs. And those losses may hit Trump voters hardest. “Tariff-exposed jobs are more than twice as likely to fall in counties that voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016 than in counties won by Democrat Hillary Clinton,” reports the Washington Post. “There are more than 1 million jobs exposed to China tariffs in more than 2,600 counties carried by Trump, and fewer than 564,000 exposed jobs in Clinton’s counties.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s tax cuts have done little to stimulate economic growth or improve workers’ wages. “Worker pay in the second quarter dropped nearly one percent below its first-quarter level,” reports CBS News. The New York Times notes that “[h]ourly earnings have moved forward at a crawl, with higher prices giving workers less buying power than they had last summer.”
Reacting to Bouie’s piece, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe tweeted, “So “journos” are trying to “fracture,” as opposed to INFORM, the public? What an unintentionally honest admission!”
On July 6, President Trump carried out his threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, accusing Beijing of stealing or pressuring U.S. companies to hand over technology. China responded with similar duties on the same amount of U.S. imports — including soybeans and pork. The Trump administration on July 10 announced a second possible round targeting $200 billion worth of goods, prompting Beijing to vow “firm and forceful measures” in response.
The newly-minted tariffs, along with subsequent threats to apply more, have not led to an increase in U.S. consumer product prices or slowed businesses’ hiring sprees — and the Federal Reserve says it’s far too soon to speculate if the measures will. “On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have moved close to 2 percent. Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance,” the U.S. central bank wrote in its July statement.
The global bond market is signaling the U.S. will continue to experience sustained economic growth, outpacing European and emerging markets. “The premium to hold high-yield dollar bonds around the globe versus U.S.-listed corporate peers has widened to levels last notched back in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In other words, rarely has U.S. debt looked in such good shape relative to peers in the $2.4 trillion market,” reports Sid Verman and Luke Kawa.
A day after the Slate article, President Trump revealed nearly two dozen companies and trade organizations are signing his pledge to provide job training and apprenticeship programs as a way to boost the U.S. economy.
As Breitbart’s Michelle Moons reported, at an event at the White House Thursday, President Trump said the pledge will help train about 3.8 million students and workers for new jobs and rewarding careers. Some of the companies signing the pledge include IBM, Lockheed Martin, and FedEx. The pro-growth president signed an executive order creating a National Council for the American Worker and a workplace policy advisory board, noting the U.S. needs “people with training” to fill vacancies at a time of a low unemployment rate of four percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.