Trade

Currency Manipulation Critic Trump Says We Should Manipulate Currency

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

They're currency manipulators, Trump says, referring to China and the European Union among others, but Trump apparently believes we should also manipulate the value of our currency; the American dollar.

Bloomberg reports that Trump has asked his staffer and advisers to find ways to weak the value of the dollar and, moreover, Trump has urged his preferred candidates for positions on the Federal Reserve board to support an intentional effort to weaken the dollar.

President Donald Trump has grown concerned that the strengthening U.S. dollar is a threat to his economic agenda and has asked aides to cast about for ways to weaken the greenback, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump asked about the dollar in job interviews with both Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller last week, whom he’s selected for seats on the Federal Reserve’s board, the people said. He lamented that the currency’s strength could blunt an economic boom that he expects to carry him to a second term. [...]

Trump has placed blame for the strong dollar squarely on [Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell]. White House officials say the dollar is too strong because the Fed has kept rates too high, which is why Trump expects the Fed -- and not Mnuchin -- to weaken the greenback.

Trump reportedly blames our widening trade deficits on the value of the dollar -- with a strong dollar making it cheaper to import foreign goods while making exports more expensive -- but while that is a factor, it's far from the only one or even the biggest one.

The biggest factor is Trump himself and the trade war he started by imposing tariffs on foreign solar panels followed by tariffs on foreign metal and eventually tariffs on over $200 billion in Chinese goods. More recently, Trump imposed tariffs on over $6 billion in Indian goods and imposed tariffs on steel imported from Vietnam. Trump is currently threatening to impose tariffs on over $300 billion in Chinese goods and nearly $30 billion in European goods. And this brief list of new fronts Trump is threatening to open in his global trade war is very far from comprehensive.

We have a consumer and service-based economy that depends on the availability of cheap goods to grow and function. We depend on imports far more than any other nation depends on our exports and this is reflected by our trade deficit which tends to widen when our economy is relatively healthy and tighten when the economy is in recession.

It's as fundamental as physics. Trump cannot blame anyone but himself.

I mean, he can and he will, but he's wrong.

  • Being wrong never seems to stop the Nincompoop in Chief.

  • muselet

    [Trump] lamented that the currency’s strength could blunt an economic boom that he expects to carry him to a second term.

    Sweet mother of pearl. Because that’s what’s important.

    We are so screwed.

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      Well, if there was an upside to an economic downturn it would be trump getting pasted in the election because of his near single-handed destruction of the economy. Mind you, I’m not hoping for an economic collapse.