English major Chris Carr studies in a cafe.

President Trump ran on a platform of economic growth and prosperity, promising that policies like the “Trade War” would bolster the U.S. economy to unprecedented levels of prosperity. After nearly two years in office, Western Michigan University students share their perspectives on the economy they will graduate into.

Arthur Woodworth, an Aerospace Engineering major, thinks that President Trump’s economic policies might just be a boon to his career prospects. “Trump has probably helped my chances,” Woodworth said. “Most aerospace jobs are in defense, after all.” Woodworth hasn’t had to take out student loans, but he believes that if he had, he would likely struggle to pay them off after graduated.

For others however,  President Trump’s economic policy has put them into a precarious position. Deanna Cooley, a psychology major, expressed doubts over whether President Trump’s policy was rooted in any established economic theory.

“He doesn’t care about listening to people that know what to do,” she said. “Things are going downhill and he’s just trying to poke it with a hot iron. That’s not going to help, it’s just going to burn everyone.” Cooley said that she was anxious over her ability to pay back her student loans and she believes that she’ll have a harder time finding employment in all sectors due to the president’s policy.

For Taylor Vaugn, also a psychology major, it seems like the president’s policy hasn’t just made it harder for her to find openings, it’s also made it easier for employers to discriminate against her. “I feel like he hurts me especially, he hurts me because of my race,” Vaugn said.

Vaugn believes that President Trump has enabled people to discriminate along lines of race. “I feel that because of him people feel enabled to act upon their beliefs. Racists and nationalists look at the president and then he says that ‘there are good people on both sides’ and then they think that their beliefs are okay.”

Vaugn worries that her employment prospects in the future might be negatively affected by the racist attitudes of hiring managers who feel enabled by the president. “Yeah there are laws, but I think people might be more likely to ignore them under this administration,” she said. She also felt that the president’s policies have made it difficult to find jobs in most fields, even those that don’t require a college degree.

English major Chris Carr shares Vaugn and Cooley’s concerns about the economy. “I’m not confident in it at all,” he said. “I don’t have any confidence in the current job market’s ability to provide sustainable employment on it’s own, let alone after this Trade War.”

Carr believes that the damage done by the Trade War is irreparable, even with the Trade War being put on hiatus. He also expressed doubts in the wisdom of trying to bring the manufacturing sector back to the United States.

“The jobs that the president wants to bring back, manufacturing and the like, I just don’t think that those are jobs worth bringing back. With the environment being the way it is I think that we should focus elsewhere.”

Economists have predicted that the next recession will likely hit in the last quarter of 2019 or the first two quarters of 2020. For many students this could mean graduating into an economy that is just as bad, if not worse, then 2008.

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