The U.S. Trade Deficit Trump Promised to Shrink Has Exploded to Record High

The president is about to embark upon a reelection campaign with a core promise unfulfilled.

trump painting
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Despite more than two years of President Trump’s “America First” policies, the Commerce Department said Wednesday that the U.S. posted a $891.2 billion merchandise trade deficit last year — the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.

The American trade gap with China also hit a record $419 billion, The Washington Post reported, while Trump attempt to reach a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to the 2018 report, the United States bought far more in foreign goods than it sold to customers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, marking the third consecutive year of rising deficits.

The president thus begins his reelection drive with a core campaign promise unfulfilled, the Post noted, and with a recent flurry of economic research showing that his embrace of tariffs is damaging the U.S. economy.

Economists speculate that the trade deficit is growing because of broad economic forces, including a chronic shortfall in national savings that was exacerbated by last year’s $1.5 trillion corporate and personal income tax cut. As consumers increased their spending, purchases of imported goods rose while the overvalued dollar weighed on exports.

“Macroeconomics end up ruling,” former Commerce Department official, William Reinsch, told the Post. “You can’t wish it away. You can’t tariff it away.”

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