It’s time to Break It Down!
Monday marked the 11th anniversary of the signing of a nearly $800 billion stimulus package intended to reverse the effects of the Great Recession. President Obama acknowledged his signing the Recovery Act in the common communications currency of the day, with a tweet. He wrote:
“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”
Anyone who knows Donald Trump is familiar with his anxiety laden fixation with all things Obama. As I have come to learn over the last three years, this is especially true when it comes to anything having to do with the economy. Trump, and many of his supporters argue, and some apparently even believe, the current economic conditions begin and end with Donald Trump. They point to his dismantling regulations, and tax bill as the sole catalysts for today’s economy.
I suppose that sounds good to those who are willing to accept everything Mr. trump says, facts, logic, and reasoning, notwithstanding. There is actually a pretty simple way to examine the TrumpWorld view on this matter. Look at the facts.
For example, Trump frequently claims that the US, under his watch, is enjoying the strongest economic run ever. If, however, one looks at jobs created over the first three years of the Trump Presidency, compared to those created during the last three years of the Obama Presidency, Mr. Trump’s narrative does not add up.
The US economy gained 6.6 million jobs during Trump’s first 36 months in office. However, during the final 36 months of the Obama tenure, employers added 8.1 million jobs.
During Obama’s last 36 months in office, the average monthly gain was 224,000 jobs. Under Trump so far, employers have been adding an average of 182,000 jobs a month.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures haven’t hit over 4% economic growth on a quarterly basis during Trump’s time in office. Trump’s 2018 yearly growth of 2.9 matched Obama’s 2015 figures, but on both a quarterly and annual basis, the Trump economy has not yet exceeded the best quarters in the Obama years. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis there were four quarters during Obama’s tenure when GDP exceeded 4%:
- Q4 2009 – 4.4%
- Q4 2011 – 4.7%
- Q2 2014 – 5.5%
- Q3 2014 – 5.0%
The US economy grew at 2.3% in 2019, its slowest pace in three years, according to the Commerce Department. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by 47% under Trump, through 3:00 p.m. yesterday. During Obama’s second term, the Dow rose 44%. That’s a comparison Trump wins…but not by much. There are other metrics, of course. The unemployment rate has reached record lows under Trump, though for some notable segments (blacks and Hispanics; ones the administration likes to tout), the rate has begun to rise.
On balance, President Obama’s tweet was a simple and unremarkable statement of fact. He did not in any way undermine Trump, nor the level of success of the current economy. He merely stated his actions were a catalyst, a device to stop the hemorrhaging job losses, to the tune of nearly 800,000 per month, and reverse the losses into gains, which his actions help accomplish. In all, Obama’s tenure ended with 75 consecutive months of job growth, or six years, plus a quarter.
For such a tepid comment, on its face, to lead to a contretemps with the current President of the United States would seem unfathomable. But, given Trump’s propensity to be driven to distraction, even by the fact that Obama is an American, one should probably recognize that this is the orbit we are locked in with Mr. Trump.
Like it or not, today’s economic conditions, good as they are (for some), were presaged by policies formulated and put in place by the 44th President. Without the benefit of those policies, the slow recovery Mr. Trump and his supporters like to point reference, would likely have lagged even more, and required a steeper climb for the current President. “Trump’s Economy: Thanks Obama!”
I’m done; holla back!
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