An American president should not submit to lectures at a private meeting in Europe about trade policies and issues of war and peace.
With its purchases from the rest of the world exceeding its sales by half a trillion dollars a year, America remains the true locomotive of the world economy. The German-led Europe and China-dominated East Asia are living off America and the rest of the world with their respective trade surpluses currently running at annual rates of $394 billion and $480 billion.
Stay home, Mr. President. The former President Bill Clinton made a relaxing trip to the Alps at the end of his two-term mandate in 2000. That's a far cry from military standoffs, reforms and electoral agenda facing the current presidency.
If Trump wants to help the country and lead for another term of office, he may wish to focus on health care, education and vocational training to get some of those 95.5 million Americans back into the labor force for meaningful and productive lives.
Structural labor market reforms — including manpower training and relocation — are an urgent task if Trump wants to lift America's dismal potential and noninflationary growth from its current 1.8 percent to the 3 to 4 percent range he is talking about. The stock and the quality of human capital is the key determining variable to reach that objective.
There is no labor force shortage in America. The last batch of numbers are showing that 4.9 million Americans were working part time because they could not find full-time jobs. And another 1.6 million just quit looking for a job because they could not find any. That puts the actual unemployment rate at 8.2 percent — not the officially reported 4.1 percent — and the number of people out of work at 13.1 million, double the reported number of 6.6 million.
If the supply of qualified labor is not increased, an attempt to force faster growth through explosive policy mixes (a combination of cheap money and lower taxes) will quickly run into capacity bottlenecks to cause inflation bursts and recessionary relapses.
America's growing capacity to create real and sustainable wealth is a key feature of statecraft, and a foundation for leadership in education, science, technology and human development.
Commentary by Michael Ivanovitch, an independent analyst focusing on world economy, geopolitics and investment strategy. He served as a senior economist at the OECD in Paris, international economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and taught economics at Columbia Business School.
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