Media Perspective: What’s new under Trump
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, much attention has been paid to the fate of America’s once-prosperous manufacturing communities, where residents are now facing the effects of rapidly evolving technology, increased automation, and a growing Chinese manufacturing sector. President Trump appealed to many such Americans with campaign promises to bring back blue-collar jobs and negotiate trade agreements favorable to the American worker. Now that Donald Trump is in office, how will he turn those promises into policy?
On July 13, Brookings hosted a half-day conference to discuss the future of manufacturing policy under the Trump administration. Experts discussed the administration’s activities and proposals for this sector of the economy. Will the president’s plans for American industry be too big to fulfill? How will U.S. policy impact and react to changes in the international market? And ultimately, what will it mean for the American economy and its workers?
This conference marks the sixth annual John Hazen White Forum on Public Policy, which convenes leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss and identify solutions to the United States’ most pressing challenges.
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Sentiment inside the Beltway has turned sharply against China. There are many issues where the two parties sound more or less the same. Trump and others in the administration seem heavily invested in a ‘get very tough with China’ stance. It’s possible that some Democrats might argue that a decoupling strategy borders on lunacy. But if Trump believes this will play well with his core constituencies as his reelection campaign moves into high gear, he will probably decide to stick with it, if the costs and the collateral damage seem manageable. But that’s a very big if, especially if the downsides of a protracted trade war for both American consumers and for American firms become increasingly apparent.