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No, Trump didn’t create ‘the greatest economy in history’ — or even in the last few years

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Steve Mnuchin and Donald Trump (Mandel Ngan:AFP)

The most repeated phrase of the Republican National Convention was that President Donald Trump created the greatest economy the world has ever seen. The evidence, however, shows that it’s not the greatest in world’s history, or American history.  It may not be even better than the Obama economy, even before the pandemic devastated our economy.

GDP Growth: I went to Macrotrends.net to gather all of the data on annual growth rates from 1961 to 2019, before the pandemic.  In his best year, 2018, Trump’s growth rate was 3.18 percent, good for 29th best since JFK took office. In 2019, the GDP growth rate was 2.33 percent (41st best) and in 2017, it was 2.22 percent (44th best) out of all 59 years. In 1950, our first quarter GDP growth rate was 16.7 percent, according to Trading Economics.

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And that’s before 2020. The Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that our economy shrank by 5 percent during the first quarter, and a historic low -32 percent in the second quarter, as confirmed by Trading Economics.

Unemployment: President Barack Obama inherited the Great Recession, which began at the end of the George W. Bush administration. The unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in 2009. It declined every year down to 4.7 percent in 2016, according to Forbes. It has further declined under Trump to 3.5 percent in 2019 but then shot up to 14.7 percent in April in the midst of the pandemic. As of this writing, it is still in the double-digits.

Annual Median Household Income: As the Joint Economic Committee concluded: “During the last two years of the Obama administration, annual median household income increased $4,800. This is three times more than the $1,400 increase during the first two years of the Trump administration.” And this was published before the declines of 2020.

Stock Market: I expected that the stock market would have done better for Trump than Obama. I was incorrect.  According to the JEC: “Between President Trump’s Inauguration Day and November 2019, the Dow Jones Average increased more than 40 percent, while over the eight years of the Obama administration, the DJIA increased almost 150 percent – a substantially greater pace.” The stock market had declined so much before Obama took office, that his numbers look better primarily for this reason.

Trade Deficit: Given his rhetoric on the trade and all of his claims to success.  I was surprised to discover that under Trump the trade deficit became worse than it did under the Obama administration. “Despite his aggressive trade moves, the total monthly trade deficit in goods and services — that is, the value of goods and services exported by the US minus the value of imports — has gotten larger in the last couple years,” confirms Business Insider.

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There is no evidence at the writing of this column that this was the greatest economy in the history of the world, or America, over even the last several years. Times had been generally okay since the Great Recession of 2007-09 for both presidents, until the calamity of 2020.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.  His views are his own.  He can be reached at [email protected]. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.


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2020 Election

Outrage against Dianne Feinstein as potential Judiciary chair comes out against Senate reform

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received harsh criticism on Monday after coming out against Senate reform of the filibuster.

“I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose," Feinstein argued.

"It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein falsely claimed.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1308169580658012160

Feinstein is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain the Senate, despite never attending law school or having ever tried a case.

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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham announces embattled Sen. Joni Ernst will vote for whomever Trump nominates to replace RBG

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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday announced that GOP members of the body would be united in voting for whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The nominee’s going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, as reported by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake.

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2020 Election

A Never-Trump Republican changed her mind — then crumbled when she tried to explain why

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In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, Republican Danielle Pletka declared that despite the fact that she refused to vote for Donald Trump in 2016, she now feels compelled to support him in 2020. The piece quickly caught fire online, inspiring ridicule and sympathy from differing corners and triggering a surprising amount of discussion.

In one sense, it’s hard to see what the big deal was. The Post publishes opinion pieces in support of Trump frequently, and this one was not particularly special. Pletka herself is not a particularly notable figure. Like many op-eds, it was sloppy and unpersuasive, making huge leaps of reasoning and glossing over critical points in the argument. It didn’t take seriously any compelling counterarguments. It was, in other words, a mere display of partisan loyalty from a Republican who would prefer to be inside the tent than outside of it.

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