Remember when Trump said he’d fix the trade deficit? It just rose again.

Ryan Koronowski

Ryan Koronowski Research Director, ThinkProgress

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised “brilliant trade” policies that would drop the national trade deficit “like you’ve never seen before.”

Two years after he was elected, despite his singular focus on trade, America is importing more goods, while exporting less, than it ever has.

The federal government announced Thursday that America’s trade deficit hit $55.5 billion in October, rising almost a billion dollars from September. This is a ten-year high.

Rising imports for goods were the main driver. America’s global seasonally-adjusted trade deficit in goods hit $76.9 billion in October, the highest it’s ever been. It was $66.5 billion in January 2017. The trade surplus in services decreased by $0.1 billion from September to October, to $22.6 billion, which, combined with the deficit in goods, brings the total trade deficit to $55.5 billion.

These are not the numbers Trump had in mind when he was interviewing for the job.

Candidate Trump promised a massive drop in the nation’s trade deficit. “The trade deficit was only $84 billion when Bill Clinton was first inaugurated. So, we’ve taken from $84 billion, which is a lot of money, to now $800 billion,” he told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire in June 2016. “And going up, going fast unless I become president. You will see a drop like you’ve never seen before. You have never seen before.”

He promised he would negotiate, “fair trade, smart trade, I even like to say brilliant trade.”

China is America’s biggest trading partner. America’s trade deficit with China hit $43.1 billion in October, which is far higher than it’s ever been. The first time that number hit $40 billion was in September. Trump identified trade with China as the biggest priority for his trade policy during the campaign and as president. He promised he could shrink the trade deficit with China.

“In China, think of this, we have a trade imbalance of almost $400 billion a year,” Trump told a crowd in 2015. “Can you imagine if we could straighten it out? Could you imagine if I could get that down to, and I promise I’ll do better than this, but could you imagine if I could get it down to $100 billion a year in losses?”

In 2016, America’s trade deficit with China was $347 billion; in 2017, it was $376 billion. Through the first ten months of 2018, it was $344.5 billion — each month so far this year the trade deficit has been hundreds of millions or billions higher than it was.

The stock market, which has risen since Trump was elected, has not been reacting well to the drama surrounding the president’s supposed trade deal with China. The Dow and S&P 500 are having their worst quarter in seven years, and have eliminated all gains from the year.


Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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