Is This The Greatest Economy Ever?
When Trump isn’t launching racist attacks on his opponents in Congress or bringing up right wing conspiracy theories he sees on Fox, he constantly claims that we have: “The greatest economy ever.” Similarly, ardent Trump supporter Don Bacon also likes to tout the economy in support of his re-election bid. (Bacon also likes to talk about bi-partisanship and civility even though he votes with Trump 96% of the time.) Is this economy really that great?
The likes of Trump and Bacon like to point out that unemployment is now at a 50 year low of 3.8% under the U3 measure. (Back when Obama was president, the GOP told us that the U6 measure was the so-called “true” unemployment rate. U6 unemployment counts so-called discouraged workers and is now at 7.2%)
What the GOP doesn’t tell you is that unemployment declined from 10% in 2010 at the peak of the Bush recession to 4.6% by the time President Obama left office. As you can see, most of the decline in the unemployment rate occurred during the Obama Administration. Trump inherited an economy which was generating over 200,000 new jobs per month and in which middle class wages were growing at their fastest rate since Bill Clinton’s second term.
Another thing the GOP doesn’t tell you is that the rate of job growth has slowed significantly since the former TV reality star took office. Trump has now been in office for 29 full months and in that time period, the economy has created approximately 5.61 million jobs. In the last 29 months of the Obama presidency, the economy created 6.42 million jobs. If the Trump economy really is so much stronger than Obama’s, why is job growth 12% weaker? The White House and Don Bacon have not yet offered any explanation for why job growth has slowed since Trump took office.
Wage growth has also slowed down along with jobs growth. Trump and Bacon like to claim that middle class wages are currently growing at a 3% rate. What they haven’t told you is that figure hasn’t been adjusted for inflation. Over the past 12 months, middle class wages have risen 3.1% against an inflation rate of 1.8%. In other words, middle class wages are barely growing more than 1%. This comes after Trump promised that his deficit funded tax cut would give the average middle class family a $4,000.00 pay raise.
While job creation and wage growth have slowed down, the federal deficit has increased significantly since Trump took office. By the time President Obama left office, the $1.3 trillion deficit he had inherited from Bush had declined to $585 billion by fiscal year 2016. It was the greatest rate of deficit reduction since the late 1940s. However, since Trump and the Congressional Republican cut taxes for the rich, the annual deficits have risen to $1 trillion per year. Unfortunately, we are looking at $1 trillion annual deficits for the foreseeable future.
Trump’s failed policies have inflicted the greatest damage on the agricultural sector of the economy. Since Trump declared a trade war on China, Mexico, Canada and the EU, agricultural exports have dried up. After Trump hit China with $200 billion in tariffs, Beijing retaliated by ceasing to purchase U.S. soybeans. Currently, soybean prices are at a 10 year low and grain prices are at a 42 year low. This has caused farm bankruptcies to double since Trump took office. Nebraska farmers — who supported the GOP — simply can’t afford Trump’s policies.
According to a recent survey from the National Association for Business Economics, Trump’s failed trade war could drive the U.S. into a recession by 2020. “Increased trade protectionism is considered the primary downside risk to growth by a majority of the respondents,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist for Oxford Economics, indicated in a recent statement. This report found what it called a “surge” in recession fears among the 52 economists who participated in the survey.
This is the greatest economy ever — for the top 1% and the big corporations. That would explain Trump’s recent descent into race baiting as his campaign theme. Trump can’t get re-elected by running on the economy because it simply isn’t working for the vast majority of Americans. Trump can only win if he can divide the American people and smear the Democratic nominee. Trump and the GOP will be running the ugliest campaign in U.S. history.
If we are to bring back an economy that works for all Americans, we must win in 2020. There is simply no substitute for victory. We will win if we are united because there are more Democrats and progressives than Republicans and right wingers. We can do this! Let’s leave it all out on the field in 2020!