On The Money: Trump rolls dice on uncertain economy | 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington | Watchdog group pushes 2020 candidates for 10 years of tax returns

On The Money: Trump rolls dice on uncertain economy | 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington | Watchdog group pushes 2020 candidates for 10 years of tax returns

Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--Trump is doubling down on his bet that a strong economy will help his reelection effort. The White House has held a series of events and interviews for Trump this week that are intended to show off his record and paint a picture of an economy being rewarded by Trump's policies.

 

Media blitz:

  • The president met Thursday with CEOs at the Business Roundtable, one day after he extolled his dealmaking prowess to a group of workers at a factory in Lima, Ohio.
  • He also sat down for an interview with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo. 
  • White House officials regularly compare their own metrics favorably to the Obama administration. Trump this week cited a CNN survey that showed 71 percent of respondents feel the U.S. economy is in good shape, even though the poll put his approval rating at 42 percent.

 

Trump's pitch: Trump has telegraphed the message he wants to deliver in 2020: that no matter who you are, you're in a better place than you were four years ago.

"It's going to be really easy on the debate stage when they hit me with nonsense and I say, 'Really? But African-American unemployment -- the best it's ever been,'" he said in Lima. "Hispanic, Asian, women, everybody -- it's all the best it's ever been.

"How do you top that in a debate?" he said. "What are they going to say?"

 

But hold on: While the economy has been generally strong under Trump, there are growing concerns in economic circles about a downturn.

The U.S. economy remains strong, but according to the Federal Reserve and Business Roundtable, growth is projected to slow slightly in 2019.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the U.S. economy "is in a good place." Still, the Fed downgraded its projections of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019 from 2.3 percent in December to 2.1 percent.
  • "From the standpoint of our CEOs, the tide is still running very strongly positively," Josh Bolten, president & CEO of the Business Roundtable, told reporters. "But our CEOs, I believe, are taking account of slowing growth elsewhere around the world, and some geopolitical uncertainty."

 

Key takeaway: "I think his reelection bid will live or die based on the economy," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

 

The Hill's Brett Samuels breaks down the economic picture for Trump ahead of 2020.

 

LEADING THE DAY

737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington: Boeing's crisis management team is facing its toughest test in decades amid scrutiny over the safety of its 737 Max aircraft following two deadly crashes.

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The aerospace giant has long been a powerful voice in Washington, backed by a large lobbying team and close ties with lawmakers whose districts and states are home to Boeing workers.

But with Boeing's 737 Max plane grounded around the globe and investigators and lawmakers in the U.S. demanding answers, that political clout is being tested. The Hill's Alex Gangitano tells us how here.

 

Watchdog group calls on 2020 candidates to release 10 years of tax returns: The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is urging all 2020 presidential candidates to release their tax returns from at least the last 10 years, after President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE became the first major-party nominee in decades to refuse to disclose any filings.

"Tax returns can illuminate conflicts and can also shed important light on a president or candidate's charitable giving and whether they are paying their fair share of taxes," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement on Thursday.

So far, two Democratic candidates have released at least 10 years of tax returns: Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenColbert links large 2020 Dem field to Avengers: 'A group of every available person in the universe' Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary Sanders dominates, Buttigieg surges in 2020 social media battle MORE (Mass) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand 'not worried' about being 'discounted' in 2020 race Cory Booker releases 10 years of tax returns Buttigieg gets first congressional endorsement MORE (N.Y.). CREW said some others have not released any tax returns to date, while others have shown only specific reporters some of their tax returns or have only released summaries of their documents in the past.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Cause of Action, a conservative economic group, has sued the Commerce Department over its failure to release its report on auto tariffs.
  • The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will reverse some of her predecessors' efforts to reduce the size and stature of four advisory boards, the agency announced Thursday
  • A large majority of taxpayers would rather get a refund annually than pay the IRS during the filing season, according to a poll conducted by SurveyMonkey for The New York Times.
  • President Trump wants China to "double or triple" its offer to buy US goods in trade negotiations, according to CNBC.
  • Wells Fargo said chief executive Tim Sloan has the full support of its board following a report that directors had reached out to Goldman Sachs'  former chief financial officer to lead the bank, according to Bloomberg.
  • The Treasury Department on Thursday targeted two Chinese shipping companies that allegedly helped North Korea evade international trade sanctions.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Air ambulances can be life-saving for critically ill patients who need to get to a hospital quickly, but they can also put patients in financial risk, according to a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Michelle Russo chief communications officer, effective April 9.
  • Tesla filed lawsuits on Thursday against several former employees accused of stealing company secrets surrounding Tesla's self-driving vehicle development.