Free trade

Want to cure the trade deficit? Start a recession

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. trade deficit — how much the country buys from abroad, versus how much it sells — rose to a 10-year high last year. And economists surveyed by Axios say there's only one certain way that President Trump can achieve his cherished aim of slashing it: push the economy into recession.

Driving the news: The 12.5% jump in the 2018 trade deficit, reported today by the Commerce Department, is the result of a growing economy, stimulated by Trump's tax cuts, economist agree, and not something amiss.

Farmers hit by Trump tariffs, crop prices struggling to repay loans

A  government program has the highest default rate in farming loans for at least nine years.
Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Low crop prices and President Trump's tariffs' impact on export markets are hurting U.S. farming. The number of farmers defaulting on Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency loans has reached a nine-year high, the Associated Press reported Wednesday night.

The big picture: The Department of Agriculture has disbursed $7.7 billion in aid to farmers in an attempt to reduce the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from Trump's trade war. January figures delayed by the federal government shutdown show 19.4 percent of FSA direct loans were delinquent, compared to 16.5 percent for January 2018, Kansas-based Farm Service Agency executive director David Schemm told the AP.

Go deeper: Grading the impact of Trump's China tariffs

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