President Trump’s Enemies Include Robots, The Uneducated, Lazy People, Aspiring Retirees

The Donald's battle with economic reality has begun
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By Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michael Vadon [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rocky first weekend notwithstanding, President Trump gave himself some breathing room by fixing the economy before he formally took office on Friday.

Now, however, it’s on to Making the Economy Great Again. And he has some huge, amazing, beautiful plans for doing so: Namely, creating 25 million jobs—including elusive manufacturing jobs to reward his voters—and annual growth of at least 4%. To get there, he’s throwing the Trans Pacific Partnership in the garbage, along with 75% of regulations on U.S. businesses, while also imposing a border tax on companies who dare do business abroad—and all by himself, effectively, since he’s still filling out the bulk of his economic team.

All very impressive, we’re sure you’ll agree, and befitting a man with such a very good brain. Still, there are naysayers among the president’s many, many enemies, who insist that the hurdles he faces in making good on the things he says are bigly indeed, in spite of the fact that he’s never felt much compunction about actually making good on the things he says. Still….

Research shows that automation has been a bigger factor than trade in the loss of U.S. factory jobs….

“You cannot just slap tariffs on and hope that will bring back middle class jobs,” says Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT. “The jobs that went to China would come back to robots rather than people….”

Many economists, like Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, argue that today’s innovations — in mobile communications and biotechnology, for example — aren’t transformative enough to fuel the explosive productivity growth that resulted from inventions like the automobile, telephone and computer….

The tepid gains for low- and middle-income families have slowed the economy because those groups typically spend more of their income than do affluent households, and consumer spending is the economy’s primary fuel. Against that backdrop, Trump’s goal of 4 percent annual economic growth — a formidable one under any circumstances — might be next to impossible….

Trump has pledged to add 25 million jobs over the next decade. But with fewer people looking for work now than just a few years ago, it’s unclear where all those extra workers would come from.

Even his favorite people, the poorly educated, are standing in the way of the Trump Renaissance.

Many analysts say the economy needs better and more widely available post-high school education and training, whether through community colleges, vocational schools or boot camps offering technology training….

Since the economic recovery began in 2009, only 12 percent of manufacturing jobs have gone to workers with no more than a high school degree, according to research by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce.

Why Trump will find it hard to make American economy greater [WaPo]
Trump pull out of Pacific trade deal, loosening Asia ties [Reuters]
Trump tells business leaders: “We think we can cut regulations by 75%” [Reuters video]
President Trump Focuses on Trade With Promise of ‘Very Major’ Border Tax [WSJ]
Trump Moving to Fill Blanks in Financial and Economic Rosters [WSJ]

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