US President Donald Trump will deliver his third State of the Union address tonight, before a joint session of Congress in Washington.
Coming a day after the first 2020 election presidential primary, and on the verge of a Senate acquittal of two impeachment charges, Trump will undoubtedly devote considerable attention tonight to the purported accomplishments of his administration, including his “phase one” trade deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
However, while the Trump administration claims tough trade policies have boosted economic growth, many economists and business owners say tariffs and hard bargaining are weighing heavily on business investment and confidence.
For instance, many in US agriculture claim that subsidies to US farmers to offset losses due to tariffs—valued at $14.5 billion last year alone—have not been enough. In a recent poll in Iowa, 44% of farmers stated that they have experienced “financial hardship” since Trump came to office.
Nevertheless, a flourishing US economy—reflected in record-low unemployment and high consumer confidence—will be a tremendous boon to Trump’s chances of re-election. But the future of the US and world economy remain a preeminent factor. The onset of a recession or a resumption of trade tensions could see blue-collar support for Trump, decisive in 2016, decline or collapse.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.