As Winston Churchill supposedly said, “If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions — unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions.”
Even the “experts” don’t know for certain which way Minnesota’s economy is headed next, so for mere journalists to predict a doom-and-gloom nightmare scenario with such conviction, especially at a time when the economy is doing so objectively well, smacks of pure political motivation.
Don’t worry about the pessimistic propaganda coming out of the media about our economy. Minnesota is currently enjoying virtually unprecedented prosperity, and that’s not going to change as long as President Donald Trump is in the White House.
Minnesota’s journalists seem to have made up their minds: Our economy is on death’s door and President Trump’s “trade war” is about to put the final nail in its coffin. This partisan propaganda, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Minnesota’s economy isn’t just doing well; it’s thriving. Our 3.3 percent unemployment rate, for instance, is lower than the national average, which itself is at a 50-year low. The Trump administration has delivered the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, rising wages, the most robust GDP growth since before the Great Recession, and a nationwide manufacturing boom that’s been particularly impactful here in Minnesota.
What then are the prophets of doom talking about?
Much of the naysaying seems based on attempts to read the tea leaves and predict the impact and outcome of our trade negotiations with China. But this wild speculation is premature, misleading, and laughably misinformed.
First, the Trump administration’s effort to reach an equitable and sustainable trade settlement with China is not some flight of fancy. It’s an absolutely necessary endeavour that American leaders have put off for decades, leading to a dysfunctional system in which the Chinese government wields incredible power over U.S. manufacturers, brazenly steals American intellectual property, and unfairly dumps subsidized products on the American market at below-market prices in order to hurt U.S. producers.
Second, there is no indication China’s retaliatory tariffs signal we have a real “trade war” on our hands. America undoubtedly has the upper hand in these ongoing negotiations because our tariffs are inflicting a lot more pain on the Chinese economy than their tariffs are inflicting on ours.
Third, even if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team are unable to convince the Chinese to accept a fair deal in the short term, there’s no reason to believe we would suffer from leaving tariffs in place for months, or even years. What we lose in cheap Chinese consumer goods and raw materials we make up for with increased demand for American-made products. In fact, the tariffs Trump has imposed on China might actually provide a net benefit to our economy.
A recent study found that imposing a 25 percent across-the-board tariff on all Chinese goods would boost America’s GDP by more than $500 billion over four years and create 721,000 new jobs, many of them high-paying skilled manufacturing positions. In addition to helping domestic manufacturers, the study concluded that tariffs on Chinese goods would actually benefit consumers, because the higher prices would be offset as producers relocated to the dozens of other countries where manufacturing costs are even lower than they are in China.
Michele Bachmann is a former Minnesota congresswoman known for her conservative Tea Party politics and her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.