City of Bettendorf growing fast

Fields of soybeans surround the businesses at Middle Road and Forest Grove Drive in northeast section of Bettendorf.

By many metrics, the economy is strong both nationally and in Iowa. The stock market is doing well, and in Iowa unemployment is low — 2.6% in November.

But there also is unease here, thanks in part to crop prices that have been depressed by severe weather and flooding, as well as international trade disputes and federal ethanol policy.

The Democratic presidential candidates visiting Iowa over the past 13 months have criticized Republican President Donald Trump’s tax cuts — which the Democrats say disproportionately favored the wealthy and did not help middle-class and low-income Americans — and the Trump administration’s moves on trade and ethanol.

Most have criticized Trump for picking trade fights with Canada and Mexico, Iowa’s top two trading partners, as well as China. The candidates seem to agree that trade relations with China needed to be revamped, but they suggest Trump erred in stirring up a trade conflict without first enlisting the support of international trading partners.

The Trump administration this week signed a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, as well as the first phase of a new trade agreement with China.

The Democrats also have been critical of the tax cuts signed into law in 2017, and some of the candidates have pledged to repeal the tax cuts.

And some of the Democratic candidates are proposing new taxes to pay for their policy proposals for expanding access to health care, addressing climate change and reducing college costs and student loan debt.

Elizabeth Warren, for example, often touts her proposal for a tax on the wealthiest Americans. The U.S. senator from Massachusetts proposes a 2% tax on households worth more than $50 million, and a 6% tax on households worth more than $1 billion.

Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, would apply his wealth tax to Americans with a net worth of more than $32 million.

Graham Ambrose is the Iowa politics reporter for the Quad-City Times. 

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