President Donald Trump recently kicked off his re-election campaign with a rally in Florida. Much like the first few years of Trump’s presidency, his next campaign is likely to be highly contentious and controversial. Through all the scandal, the president and his defenders keep returning to one issue they see as key to securing Trump’s re-election: the economy. The truth is, Trump’s economic policies are doing real harm to people in Minnesota, especially those that are already struggling to make ends meet.
The president and his supporters often point to gains in the stock market as proof of a booming economy, but almost half of all Americans have no money invested in the stock market. Most Americans don’t have extra money to invest, while a recent study found that an unexpected expense of $500 would force about half the country into debt. Trump’s golf buddies and Mar-a-Lago members may benefit from stock market gains, but those gains mean little for the millions of Americans who have been left behind in Trump’s economy.
Even Trump’s biggest economic accomplishment, his tax bill, does very little to help most Minnesota families. The richest 1% of Minnesotans will earn more from Trump’s tax cut than will the bottom 60% of our state. This is the exact same economic philosophy Republicans have been pursuing for decades: Cut taxes for the wealthy and hope some of that money eventually trickles down to everyone else. While most folks won’t see much benefit from Trump’s tax cuts, they will be left footing the bill since Trump’s tax breaks for billionaires blew a massive hole in the deficit, which we will be paying off for generations.
Not surprisingly, Trump cut taxes heavily for America’s biggest businesses, but most haven’t passed those savings along to American workers in any meaningful way. Wages for workers remain stagnant, while big businesses used the money they saved to further reward their wealthy investors. To make matters even worse, many businesses that benefited from Trump’s tax breaks went on to lay off workers, including Walmart, Pfizer and Minnesota’s own MyPillow.
Unfortunately, the damage from Trump’s economic policies does not stop at Minnesota’s tax code. The trade war Trump started is causing serious, long-term harm to farmers, which has a ripple effect on communities throughout greater Minnesota. Soybeans are Minnesota’s top agricultural export and China is our biggest market, yet soybean exports to China fell to almost zero by the end of 2018. The markets our farmers have spent decades building have been all but wiped out and median farm income just hit its lowest level in more than 23 years as a result. Farmers across Minnesota have been struggling for some time, and instead of helping them, Trump exacerbated an already brewing farm crisis.
Let me be blunt: President Donald Trump is a shortsighted, capricious, morally bankrupt and vindictive liar who prefers watching cable news to governing America and who trusts his terrible instincts more than his smartest advisers. That’s not just my opinion, that’s what countless members of Trump’s own senior staff have been telling the media since he was elected. Trump prefers to tweet rather than engaging in substantive policy discussion. He prefers to call names rather than bringing our country together and finding common ground. He cozies up to America’s worst enemies while alienating our closest allies and friends. Trump denies facts he doesn’t like while calling the media trying to expose his fallacies a bunch of liars. The idea that the chaos eroding Trump’s presidency somehow stops at our economy is simply not true. This unending chaos is destroying our country.
Trump promised to end corruption and return power to working families. He broke those promises and has been working tirelessly to further stack the deck against Minnesotans. In just over two years, he has stiffed Minnesota workers repeatedly and has devastated our agricultural economy. He has made problems in our economy infinitely worse. Minnesota cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump.
Ken Martin is chairman of the DFL Party. On Twitter: @kenmartin73.
Opinion editor’s note: An argument in favor of Trump’s re-election from Minnesota Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan was published June 21.