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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Multiple U.S. trade conflicts — with China, Mexico and, waiting their turn, Europe, Japan and Canada — are roiling the world economy. But one or more of them is still likely to be on the boil late next year, when President Trump faces a possibly tough re-election.
The big picture: Historically speaking, wartime national leaders anywhere rarely lose re-election. That explains what appears to be a morphing of Trump trade policy from allegations of unfairness to Americans to a 2020 campaign issue.
Just today, on the way out of France back to the U.S. after the D-Day commemoration, Trump threw a new trade salvo at Beijing, threatening tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods unless the right deal is agreed to.
There is no precedent of a president running on a record of being tough with tariffs and trade, said Patrick Maney, a professor at Boston College.
Still, presidents have tried generally to look hard-boiled around financial issues:
The bottom line: Bruce Mehlman, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, said that while Trump will want to showcase that he is "standing up to China," he is unlikely to explicitly call himself a “wartime President.” That, Mehlman said, would invite "comparisons to [George W.] Bush wars that Trump opposed and invite easy attacks on his Vietnam nonservice."
Walmart in Chicago. Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty
If Walmart CEO Doug McMillon's public challenge to Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 turns into reality, it could be a big boon for the retail giant, Erica writes.
The big picture: McMillon issued his call yesterday at Walmart's annual shareholder's meeting, saying the federal rate was "lagging behind." Among the upsides of such a move for Walmart are...
"Publicly declaring support for raising a minimum wage that is well below what Walmart already pays its workers is a cost-free way for Walmart to appear 'worker-friendly' while remaining staunchly anti-union and maintaining extremely coercive management tactics," says David Huyssen, a historian of capitalism at the U.K.'s University of York.
Context: Walmart pays its workers a minimum of $11 an hour, which, while significantly above the federal minimum wage, is lower than what rivals Target ($13) and Amazon ($15) pay.
Next month, the U.S. economic expansion will reach 120 months, tied for the longest on record, and economists expect the run to continue comfortably longer. But they are watching fretfully as the signs of a coming recession pile up.
Driving the news: Just yesterday, ADP, the payroll services firm, said the economy created just 27,000 jobs in May, much lower than the approximately 80,000 needed to soak up new job market entrants, and the worst report in almost a decade.
The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics will release official monthly jobs numbers tomorrow morning, and economists tell Axios that they do not expect numbers as gloomy as ADP found. But Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist for Glassdoor, said he will be specifically scrutinizing the health care and professional business services sectors, which have been the engine of job growth.
Another ominous sign is a shift in the fortunes of corporations and labor, writes Axios' Dion Rabouin:
Dating back to the 1940s, corporate profits and labor rose and fell together, reflecting the general growth of the economy, note economists at the St. Louis Fed. But something changed about a decade and a half ago (see chart above).
What's happening: Capital Economics chief economist Neil Shearing says the change has to do with incentives for decision-makers at large companies.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Tokyo. Photo: Carl Court/Getty
If you're decorating an apartment for cheap, you might buy everything — couch, bed, dresser, cupboards, desk — from Ikea.
But what if you're in a tiny, tiny apartment, the kind that's increasingly prevalent in huge, packed cities? Well, you might go instead for Ikea's all-in-one couch-bed-dresser-cupboards-desk, Kaveh writes.
The unit will start selling in Hong Kong and Japan — where tiny apartments are the norm — in 2020, reports MIT Technology Review.