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Trump Dismisses Recession Worries      08/19 06:11

   President Donald Trump dismissed concerns of recession on Sunday and offered 
an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week's steep drop in the 
financial markets.

   BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) -- President Donald Trump dismissed concerns of 
recession on Sunday and offered an optimistic outlook for the economy after 
last week's steep drop in the financial markets.

   "I don't think we're having a recession," Trump told reporters as he 
returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club. "We're doing tremendously 
well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they're loaded up 
with money."

   A strong economy is key to Trump's re-election prospects. Consumer 
confidence has dropped 6.4% since July. The president has spent most of the 
week at his golf club in New Jersey with much of his tweeting focused on 
talking up the economy.

   Aides sought to reinforce that message during a series of appearances on the 
Sunday talk shows.

   Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, dismissed fears of a looming 
recession and predicted the economy will perform well in the second half of 
2019. He said that consumers are seeing higher wages and are able to spend and 
save more.

   "We're doing pretty darn well in my judgment. Let's not be afraid of 
optimism," Kudlow said.

   Kudlow acknowledged a slowing energy sector, but said low interest rates 
will help housing, construction and auto sales.

   Kudlow also defended the president's use of tariffs on goods coming from 
China. Before he joined the administration, Kudlow was known for opposing 
tariffs and promoting free trade during his career as an economic analyst. 
Kudlow said Trump has taught him and others that the "China story has to be 
changed and reformed."

   "We cannot let China pursue these unfair and unreciprocal trading 
practices," Kudlow said.

   Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said the U.S. needed to work 
with allies to hold China accountable on trade. He said he fears Trump is 
driving the global economy into a recession.

   "This current trade war that the president has entered our country into is 
not working," O'Rourke said. "It is hammering the hell out of farmers across 
this country."

   Last month, the Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark rate --- which affects 
many loans for households and businesses --- by a quarter-point to a range of 
2% to 2.25%. It's the first rate cut since December 2008 during the depths of 
the Great Recession.  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that the 
Fed was worried about the consequences of Trump's trade war and sluggish 
economies overseas.

   "Weak global growth and trade tensions are having an effect on the U.S. 
economy," he said.

   Breaking with historical norms, Trump has been highly critical of Powell as 
he places blame for any economic weakness on the nation's central bank for 
raising interest rates too much over the past two years.

   "I think I could be helped out by the Fed, but the Fed doesn't like helping 
me too much," Trump complained Sunday.

   Peter Navarro, who advises Trump on trade policy, shared that sentiment.

   "The Federal Reserve chairman should look in the mirror and say, 'I raised 
rates too far, too fast, and I cost this economy a full percentage point of 
growth,'" Navarro said.

   Trump acknowledged at least a potential impact on consumers when he paused a 
planned 10% tariff hike for many items coming from China, such as cellphones, 
laptops, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, shoes and clothing.

   "We're doing (it) just for Christmas season, just in case some of the 
tariffs could have an impact," the president told reporters in New Jersey.

   Navarro would not go even that far, saying Sunday "there's no evidence 
whatsoever that Americans consumers are bearing any of this."

   Kudlow was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" and "Fox News Sunday." 
O'Rourke spoke on NBC, and Navarro appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and 
CBS' "Face the Nation."

   Trump's trade war with China has been a target of criticism by Democrats 
vying to challenge him in 2020.

   "There is clearly no strategy for dealing with the trade war in a way that 
will actually lead to results for American farmers or American consumers," said 
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, a Democratic presidential 
candidate. He said on CNN that it was "a fool's errand" to think tariff 
increases will compel China to change its economic approach.

   Trump maintained that China's economy is struggling because of the tariffs 
and would like to make a trade deal with the U.S. He said he could make a "bad 
deal" and the stock markets would go up, "but it wouldn't be the right thing to 
do."

   "I'm just not ready to make a deal yet," Trump said. "China would like to 
make a deal. I'm not ready."


(KR)

 
 
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