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The Problem With Patience (Editorial)

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We have a question for President Donald Trump: Which is more important, defeating countries like China in a trade war or a booming U.S. economy?

Although workers’ wages continue to lag, unemployment (3.9 percent) is historically low and GDP growth (4.1 percent in the second quarter) is robust.

What threatens the economy now is Trump’s very own trade war.

It’s a war with potential casualties in towns like Arkadelphia. Trump’s tariffs on China have added an estimated $150 million to the $1.8 billion Sun Paper plant in that town, “prompting the company to delay its plans,” the Associated Press reports. “It’s like a dark cloud hanging over the future of the project,” said Stephen Bell, president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce.

The threat of a trade war led Gov. Asa Hutchinson to send Mike Preston, head of the state Economic Development Commission, to China to reassure Sun Paper. And, according to the AP, it’s also caused “other Chinese companies considering investing in Arkansas to put their plans on hold.”

“It came up in every conversation I had,” Preston said. “The prospects especially who were looking to do investments in the U.S. have kind of said, ‘Well, we appreciate your visit and we’re interested, but we need to wait and see how this all shakes out before we move forward with doing our investment.’”

Arkansas agriculture is also feeling the consequences. Farmer Rick Bransford told U.S. Sen. John Boozman last week that he fears the tariffs will cost him markets that it took him years to develop.

Trump has urged patience, tweeting last month, “The end result will be worth it!” Economist John Maynard Keynes had a good rejoinder to those who brushed off immediate concerns: “In the long run we are all dead.”

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