It appears that during his final year in office, President Barack Obama didn’t have to wait for Congress to label him a ‘lame duck’ President as his fiscal policies in 2016 spoke for themselves. Because not only did Obama do little to lessen the budget deficit, which saw the national debt reach a level just below $20 trillion, but he also did nothing to help the American economy when it came to trade as the trade deficit grew to its highest level in four years.
The December figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with Hong Kong ($2.1), South and Central America ($1.0), Singapore ($0.9), Saudi Arabia ($0.4), and Brazil ($0.2). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($30.2), European Union ($12.9), Japan ($6.8), Germany ($5.2), Mexico ($4.6), Italy ($2.8), India ($2.0), South Korea ($1.8), Canada ($1.5), Taiwan ($1.0), OPEC ($1.0), France ($0.7), and United Kingdom ($0.2).
- The deficit with Canada decreased $1.7 billion to $1.5 billion in December. Exports increased $1.0 billion to $22.4 billion and imports decreased $0.7 billion to $23.8 billion.
- The deficit with Mexico decreased $1.2 billion to $4.6 billion in December. Exports increased $1.6 billion to $20.7 billion and imports increased $0.5 billion to $25.2 billion.
That was the good news; the bad news is that for all of 2016, the goods and services deficit was $502.3 billion, up $1.9 billion from $500.4 billion in 2015, and the biggest going back to 2012. – Zerohedge
Of a most significant note was the fact that both exports and imports were down in 2016 at the same time deficit spending soared higher against the prior year. And this appears to be a good indication that the economy slowed down quite a bit, as the U.S. consumer is the primary data point in the model for GDP growth.
Rising inflation, stagnant wage growth, higher rents, and the dark cloud of increased Obamacare premiums have made consumers have to spend more money on necessities, and have less discretionary income to spend on other goods and services. And these are the roadblocks that Donald Trump will have to tackle in his first 100 days if his dream of making American great again is to have a chance of success.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for The Daily Economist, Secretsofthefed.com, Roguemoney.net, and Viral Liberty, and hosts the popular youtube podcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.