mauldineconomics.com / BY GEORGE FRIEDMAN AND JACOB L. SHAPIRO / MARCH 6, 2017
A domestic political battle is brewing in the United States between President Donald Trump’s administration and the Republican Party over the president’s economic plans. Trump’s key economic positions during his campaign included his opposition to free trade deals, his promise not to cut Social Security and Medicare, and his support of large-scale infrastructure spending. These are all positions that have clashed with general Republican orthodoxy. They were also the reason that some Bernie Sanders supporters found themselves nodding in unexpected agreement with Trump’s proposed policies.
We can bring one key insight to this conversation as the battle lines are being drawn. It is extremely difficult to speak of the US economy as an undifferentiated whole. The US has varied economic interests at both the regional and state levels. This makes it extremely difficult to find a one-size-fits-all policy that can fix every problem.
This is not only true for the US—almost all large countries (and even some small ones) are highly regionalized. It is also not to say that national economic statistics are useless—they can be used to make important observations about the overall performance of a national economy, especially in terms of the economic power of a given country. But too often, discussion of the US economy focuses disproportionately on the national level and not enough on the regional.