It’s the latest in a string of worrisome news about the U.S. economy. The government is expected to spend roughly $1 trillion more than it brings in through revenue this year, adding to a ballooning deficit. Business investment has begun to contract — largely because of the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade war — and manufacturing hiring has receded. The big hiring and investment announcements that piled up at the beginning of the Trump administration have ceased, as have the announcements of bonuses and pay increases that came after a tax cut law was passed in 2017.
Several White House officials have become concerned that the economy is weakening faster than expected, but they are not working on proactive plans to change its course. The Treasury Department has had an exodus of senior advisers in recent months, and the White House just announced a replacement for its chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
Instead of rolling out new policies, Trump and other top aides have escalated their attacks on the Federal Reserve, trying to pin much of the United States’ problems on what Trump alleges is elevated interest rates that are strangling growth.