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Ask the experts: Trump’s biggest economic impact

April 12, 2017

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We asked five Reynolds Center friends to weigh in on President Trump's biggest economic impact so far. (Photo taken from Flickr).
We asked five Reynolds Center friends to weigh in on President Trump's biggest economic impact so far. (Photo taken from Flickr).

President Trump has been in office less than 100 days, but he’s been making headlines for weeks with his talk about tax reform, trade bills, economic stimulus and infrastructure spending. To get a better perspective on the new administration’s economic influence, we asked five finance experts to identify Trump’s biggest impact on the economy—so far.

“It’s too early to assess any substantial impact President Trump has had on the economy since he’s only been in office since January. There are two jobs reports that came out since he was inaugurated. The jobs creation numbers were solid for January and February and the unemployment rate dropped further to 4.7 percent, nearing what many economists consider full employment. But the January survey was conducted while President Obama was still in office. And the world’s biggest economy just doesn’t shoot up in a couple of months. This is part of a long upward trajectory we’ve seen since President Obama took office.

“One thing President Trump can take credit for: the stock market’s spike after his surprise election in November. Investors sense that President Trump will cut regulations and taxes, which will further enhance corporate profits. And corporate profits have been one of the engines pushing stocks higher for some time now.” —Susan Lisovicz, Visiting Professor of Business Journalism, ASU

“I think it’s too early to tell, but you’re already seeing some of the post-election glow fade. Wall Street is booming but there’s still a lot of uncertainty on what he’s going to do with trade deals, corporate tax rates and health care. On a consumer level, there’s a huge gulf between the haves and the have nots. Many Americans haven’t recovered from 2008. —Alicia Swasy, Reynolds Chair & Professor, Washington & Lee

“Hate to disappoint but so far, Trump hasn’t had any impact on the real economy. The real economy—the goods and services produced and consumed and the people employed—is a really, really big thing. It’s like an ocean liner and it takes time and force to turn it. Trump has certainly talked about changes in trade policy, and proposed a budget which, if implemented, would have a significant impact on government spending, but it is much too early to see results.

“The first area to watch is in the regulatory area. The executive branch has a fair amount of power here to effect change without Congressional approval, and Congress itself has been using some relatively new authority to cancel most regulations put in place during the last year of the Obama administration. These changes can be expected to change strategic decisions made by some businesses and those should be seen fairly quickly.

“The stock market is generally considered to be something separate from the real economy and there is no question that there has been an impact. What many call the “Trump bump” started the day after the election with a strong market rally. Although the rally has slowed a little in the last few weeks, the Dow 30 is still up about 13 percent since the election. The stock market is said to be a forward-looking indicator while most economic statistics look back. The stock market is focused on future corporate earnings, which does not always translate into economic wellbeing on Main Street. But you certainly can say the Trump rally means Wall Street thinks Trump will be good for Wall Street.” —Scott Gurvey, Contributor to businessjournalism.org

“Trump’s demonization of immigrants threatens one of our greatest sources of innovation, creativity and economic vitality.” Alan Deutschman, Reynolds Chair & Professor, University of Nevada Reno

“Stay tuned. Improved economic data and corporate earnings now being released can’t really be attributed to the new administration just yet, but the strong stock market has definitely been boosted by hopes of the administration getting future tax cuts approved. The economy gaining steam is likely to continue a while no matter what happens. The stock market, on the other hand, has been displaying greater caution about what will actually be achieved. With so many wild cards in Washington’s future months, pay attention!” —Andrew Leckey, President, Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism 


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