Originally published by Salon
In 2016 candidate Donald Trump kept his message simple. He was pro-economic growth but wanted immigration severely restricted. Late this week, as president, Trump declared he is "strongly considering" excluding illegal immigrants from all but sanctuary cities.
He was a world-class successful businessman who was going to put that acumen to work for the American people. After all, he knew the “best people”.
For years, U.S. corporations had been keeping hundreds of billions of dollars off-shore to avoid American taxation with some estimates that this cash stash approached $2 trillion dollars. There were some pretty perverse consequences from hoarding those stranded off-shore profits, as America’s decaying infrastructure was starved for capital investment and the nominally American multinationals chose to put their money to work somewhere else.
Trump’s suggested during the campaign the way to repatriate all that money was to cut the corporate tax rate and watch the hundreds of billions come pouring back. And with that flood of money he was going to dramatically grow the economy, or so the story went.
In a debate in Nevada he predicted he was going to take the rate of growth of the domestic product from an anemic one percent up to a robust four percent. “And I actually think we can go higher than four percent. I think you can go to five percent or six percent,” Trump proclaimed.
It wasn’t long after Trump, and the GOP pushed through their $1.5 trillion tax cut, that was heavily skewed to the one percent, that corporations like Harley Davidson, Inc. and General Motors Company laid off workers, took their profits and ran.
And while in the spring of last year the U.S. did experience a 4.2 percent pop in the gross domestic product, by October through December it was back down to a more typical 2.6 percent GDP expansion.
For all of 2018 the economy grew by 2.9 percent. Evidently, the slowdown in GDP growth left Trump looking for the Federal Reserve to help do with lower rates what he hadn’t been able to do with policy or new ideas. In fact, he insists that the economy’s “only problem” is the non-accommodating Federal Reserve.