President Donald Trump may be backing off his Mexico tariff threat now, but his broader trade war policies have already devastated jobs and businesses. These actions come as the May jobs report shows sluggish numbers for the president.
On Friday, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich broke down what it all means to MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
"75,000 new jobs is really bad," said Reich. "You need 125,000 new jobs just to keep up with the increase in the labor force. And relative to where we have been in this recovery that starts in 2009, it’s a very bad jobs report overall. There is a slowdown, no question about that. But if you add on to the slowdown, all of the direct and ancillary damage that comes from these tariffs, tariffs against China, retaliation from China, and tariffs that are threatened against Mexico, I mean you could easily find the American economy in a recession, certainly before the election."
"Well, there's been a lot of debate about this, right?" said Hayes. "Are the effects of this big enough to actually knock America off of an expansion and into recession. I've seen people arguing on both sides. The sheer size of it relative to the size of the American economy is not big enough, and I've seen others argue, it can. What’s the case that it could?"
"Well, it's the interaction, Chris, between the tariffs, and also the slowdown that is almost inevitable given how long this recovery has gone," said Reich. "I mean recoveries don’t go forever. They gradually slow down. American companies and American individuals, American consumers, are deep in debt. That’s another thing that's not talked about very much, but that debt is a problem. And then finally you've got that big tax cut for big corporations and the wealthy that did not trickle down, it just added $2 trillion over the next 10 years to our debt. Now, put all of that together and you get an economy that is very, very vulnerable."