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Opinion
Karl W. Smith

Trump’s Economy Is in Dangerous Territory

New numbers suggest that the president’s trade war is weighing down growth.

Are those economic storm clouds?

Are those economic storm clouds?

Photographer: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP
Updated on

There was good news and bad news in Friday’s report on U.S. economic growth, but the bad outweighed the good. If President Donald Trump wants to improve conditions — both in the economy and for his re-election — then he might start by ending his trade war with China.

First the good news. Growth for the second quarter was 2.1%, much better than expected. Year-over-year growth had reached a low of 1.3% in the second quarter of 2016, in the midst of a global slowdown and a crash in oil prices. The rebound was stronger than originally thought. With an added boost from the 2017 tax cuts, year-over-year GDP growth hit a peak of 3.2% in the second quarter of 2018.