Donald Trump isn’t the American president yet, but every move he makes – whether intentional or accidental – already affects the U.S. So it’s a bit unsettling when Trump acts without realizing the consequences of those actions and shakes up international relations between the two largest economies in the world. Why is China so angry? What can the U.S. expect as a result of Trump’s latest action?
Trump Triggers China By Calling Taiwan. Is This Bad?
Last week, Donald Trump called Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen as “a courtesy”. The problem with that call is that the U.S. – along with China and much of the world – has not recognized Taiwan as an independent nation since the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter formalized the “One China” policy. That international policy grew from communist revolutionaries dethroning the nationalist government in 1949, with the nationalist government escaping to Taiwan. Both sides have laid claim to China ever since. As such, Trump managed to insult China and shake up international relations with just that one call. And in true Trump fashion, the president-elect took to Twitter to poke China even more.
Obviously, China is not happy.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry claims Trump was tricked by Taiwan into taking the call. The following day, China lodged a formal diplomatic protest with U.S. officials, citing the One China policy as the political basis of U.S./China relations. Trump tweeted out that Taiwan’s president called him, not the other way around, and he just happened to pick up. Except, a government spokesperson for Taiwan publicly stated that both sides had arranged the call in advance. Trump then went back to his Twitter battleground to tell the world it’s okay to accept the call because the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment.
The big question “many people” are asking is whether this was an isolated case of “oops, I had no idea”, or if this is what the country should expect under President Trump. What’s unnerving is that Trump did not bother reaching out to the State Department or Secretary of State John Kerry for guidance. He just winged it. Earlier in the week, Trump called Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a “terrific guy” and invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who called Obama a “son of a whore,” to visit Washington. Trump is welcome to shift foreign policy how he sees fit as president. Voters gave him that power. But these unplanned calls are complete u-turns, and could unsettle not only the country’s peace, but the economy as well through the loss of trading partners.
Now the world waits to see China’s response. China’s options include severing U.S. relations, punishing Taiwan’s businesses with trade embargoes, or even threaten U.S. companies, such as Apple, who rely heavily on Chinese manufacturing. The Chinese government could also start flexing its military muscle with the world’s largest army as a scare tactic. However, China will most likely do nothing – this time.
Watch Al Jazeera news about China’s protest over Trump’s Taiwan call.
Trump is the first president in history to come into office with zero political experience. He needs to spend a little less time on Twitter and more time understanding international policy and running a country.
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Trumps Wants a Bigger Stimulus Check
The White House made renewed calls to Congress to come up with a second bigger stimulus check. This time, President Donald Trump wants Republicans to go beyond their skinny proposal and issue a bigger relief package. This includes a bigger stimulus check for Americans.
On Wednesday, Trump urged Republicans to support a bigger COVID-19 relief bill. He tweeted: “Democrats are “heartless”. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).”
Stimulus Check Update
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany clarified the tweet during Wednesday’s press briefing. She said the president referred to the $500 billion “skinny bill” GOP Senators passed last week. Last Thursday, the Senate voted on a Republican bill on a $500 billion stimulus package. Democrats opposed it en masse, saying it did not contain enough to help everyone. The measure didn’t pass, getting only 52 votes (it needs 60 to pass). McEnany said Trump thinks that the relief amount was too little, and it “didn’t include direct payments.” The President “wants more than the $500 billion and he’s very keen to see these direct stimulus payments.”
In particular, the President looks to favor bigger stimulus checks for American households. While both parties are discussing sending a new batch of $1,200 stimulus checks, he wants a bigger amount. Trump said on Wednesday: “I’d like to see it be very high because I love the people. I want the people to get it.” The president did not say how much higher the stimulus checks should be. He did say “I like the larger amount. Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that.”
House Problem Solvers Caucus
Two days ago, the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus proposed a compromise $1.5 trillion stimulus package. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says that the plan was “very thoughtful.” I’m probably more optimistic in the last 72 hours than in the last 72 days,” Meadows said. He also said that if Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is willing to stay in session, a bill might pass soon. Meadows thinks the biggest obstacle remains “the amount of money that is outlined for state and local help.”
In a press release, the caucus states: “Having seen no progress on a new COVID-19 relief package in four months, and in recognition of Americans’ increasing suffering, the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) has developed a comprehensive, bipartisan framework to meet the nation’s needs for the next 6-12 months, that can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the President.”
Several Democrats have already rejected the plan, saying the plan needs more money.
Top Democrats in Congress, however, are warming up to the President’s call for a bigger stimulus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that the White House’s pronouncements were encouraging. In a joint statement, they said: “We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package.”
“We look forward to hearing from the President’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway with a bill that is equal to the massive health and economic crises gripping our nation. By the end of the week, 200,000 Americans will have died from the coronavirus. The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on Republicans abandoning their obsession with doing as little as possible while the coronavirus rages through our nation,” they said. Pelosi also committed that the House will remain in session until Congress passes another coronavirus relief bill.
While there is no definite timetable nor a clear agreement on the budget yet, Trump has helped advance the talks where a deal must be made. If there is a time for compromise, it has to be now. Otherwise, it will take an election for much-needed help to arrive.
Watch this as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is optimistic a Covid-19 relief package is still possible:
Do you think a stimulus package will pass soon? More importantly, do you agree with Trump that it should contain a bigger stimulus check? Share with us your thoughts on what the second stimulus package should contain. Comment below and let us know.
Six Weeks Of Additional Unemployment Benefits Will Arrive Soon
Americans in nearly every state should soon be receiving up to $1,800 in unemployment benefits. It comes as part of an executive order signed by President Trump in August.
Those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic can expect to receive an additional $300 in weekly payments. This will come for up to six weeks as part of the $44 billion aid package. The money will come from the Disaster Relief Fund which is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Individual states had until September 1 to apply for the aid. Also, only South Dakota chose to forego the additional help.
“States should plan to make payments to eligible claimants for no more than six weeks from the week ending Aug. 1, 2020,” said a FEMA spokeswoman.
The 49 states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam, and the Virgin Islands, have yet to start issuing the money. Many expect to start issuing the benefits in late September of early October. With six weeks having passed since the week ending August 1, people expect many states will issue the amount in a lump-sum payment.
“Regardless of where the states and territories are in their process to receive and distribute the FEMA funding, FEMA will fund six weeks in $300 supplemental unemployment benefits to every state and territory that has applied for this assistance by Sept. 1,” the FEMA spokeswoman said.
Four states, Montana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Kansas have agreed to pay an additional $100 to laid-off workers in addition to the federal aid amount. This means unemployed workers in those states could receive up to $2,400 over the six weeks.
What Americans can Expect
The average state unemployment benefit of $330 per week. With this, Americans can expect to receive about $630 in weekly unemployment benefits once the federal funds roll out.
The White House memo says eligibility for the additional funds will be limited to those already receiving at least $100 in unemployment assistance through regular state programs or other aid initiatives like a shared-work program.
During a recent interview on Fox Business, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said there is no harm in using additional unemployment benefits while questioning why Democrats continue to delay a targeted stimulus bill that covers items that both sides have already agreed on.
“Why not put in some more unemployment assistance? There’s nothing wrong with that, it would be a great help to people. President Trump has done it by executive order, President Trump is deferring payroll taxes by executive order, and he’s keeping up the eviction moratorium by executive order, but we could get some help by Congress codifying all that I think that would be quite useful also. There are things, targeted specifics that would be smart. Not political, not grab bags, not asks that have failed time and time again.”
Moore: The Fed Owes Trump An Apology
The Federal Reserve owes President Trump an apology, says Stephen Moore, in a recent op-ed piece for Fox Business.
Moore says that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell essentially admitted as much during his recent speech during the Jackson Hole symposium.
Powell said that the Fed has continually come in below its target inflation rate of 2%. He mentions it will now let inflation run higher as needed.
“The Fed is tacitly admitting that its deflationary monetary policy has restrained growth and held down wages,” said Moore, adding that the Fed is now aiming for higher inflation to get money moving in the economy.
“Powell’s 3,000-word address could have been summarized in just one sentence: “President Trump was right; we were wrong,” said Moore.
Moore says Trump has been sounding the alarm for the last few years that the Fed has been too tight with its monetary policy. This causes commodity prices to fall and long term interest rates to plunge.
“Trump may not be a trained economist, but when it comes to how to create growth, this real estate titan has uncanny instincts.”
The economy was humming along before the pandemic. However, growth could have been even better if Powell didn’t consistently take the wrong approach to economic growth, says Moore.
“We could have even had a higher tide of growth in real GDP and wages if the Fed had been following his (and our) advice. He’s instinctively rejected the wrong-headed limits to a growth model that pervades modern economics—as do we.”
Powell received the nomination to become Fed Chairman to grow the economy, but he has failed this far, says Moore. Instead of allowing inflation to pick up in early 2018, Powell quickly took action to slow growth.
“In nominating Powell, Trump hoped that the new Fed chief would deliver a pro-growth monetary policy. Out of the gate, he got anything but.”
“In February 2018, the Fed foolishly squashed a robust, full-employment/rising-wages recovery because he bought into the Fed’s wrong-headed “Phillips Curve” thinking, which posits that growth and wage increases incite inflation,” says Moore.
Trump had previously stated that the Fed was fighting “phantom inflation” and Moore says the President was proven right. Fortunately, the Fed demurred to Trump and the economy came roaring back.
“Meanwhile, the stock market tanked and growth stalled out. Had the Fed not taken Trump’s advice and reversed course in early 2019, the economy would have capsized.”
While the Fed has promised this new course will result in higher inflation when needed, Moore isn’t sure how they will accomplish the task.
“Powell is not saying how he expects to hit his new, higher PCE inflation target when the Fed has not been able to hit the old, lower target despite (presumably) employing all of its “tools” — near zero rates and several trillion dollars of asset purchases.”
But Moore says he welcomes the new approach.
“The new mindset, if it sticks, is welcome news. We don’t want runaway inflation by any means, but growth and people working don’t cause inflation – they combat inflation. More goods produced means lower, not higher prices.”
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