There’s fresh evidence today that the robust economy Donald Trump inherited from Barack Obama was faltering before the pandemic.
State personal consumption spending growth slowed sharply in 2019 compared to the year before, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday morning. The growth rate plummeted by a fifth.
Personal expenditures grew in 2019 but by only 3.9%, down from 4.9% in the previous year.
Counting on Trump to sign a new relief package would be like trusting that he actually knows how to improve the economy for all Americans, not just the already rich.
This official data comes just hours after Mike Pence told a whopper about American incomes during the vice presidential debate Wednesday night, a lie that escaped the notice of our major news organizations. That’s because no official announced the numbers and mainstream journalists rely way too much on what officials tell them instead of doing their own analyses of official government data.
Pence said, “the average household income for a family of four increased by $4,000 following President Trump’s tax cuts.”
Incomes Down, Not Up
In fact the average income for the bottom 50% of income taxpaying households in 2018 averaged $300 less than in 2016, Obama’s last year in office, as DCReport showed more than a month ago from the Trump administration’s own official data. Please note this is not the poorest third of Americans but the poorest third of people who made enough to pay income taxes.
Less income under Trump wasn’t limited to the poorest third of taxpayers.
Consider the 9% of taxpayers making $75,000 to $100,000. Their average income in 2018 was $128 lower than in 2016 after adjusting for inflation, my analysis of IRS Table1.4 shows.
Total income reported by all Americans did grow, but the benefits were highly concentrated near the top of the national income ladder.
In real terms income reported on tax returns increased by almost a trillion dollars over those two years. On the surface that’s good. But only those in the top 7%, those making more than $200,000 and up, saw their share of the national income pie grow. Every group making less had to get by on a thinner slice of the national income pie.
Almost half of the trillion-dollar gain flowed to the 1%, those making $500,000 and up. But even among the 1%ers the gains were not widely shared.
Just one in 285 taxpayers make $1 million or more. This very rich and very tiny group took in three of every four dollars of increased income flowing to going to the 1%ers. Under Trumpian policies, it’s good to be rich and very bad to be poor or middle class. But lying Mike Pence will bear false witness by telling you people are all doing well
When it comes to increased spending in 2019 you can learn how your state did by looking over this useful series of graphic maps at this government website. The first map shows how much the rate of spending declined in 2019 compared to 2018. The data excludes money that state residents spend overseas.
The economic weakness under Trump, pre-pandemic, wasn’t limited to the incomes of the vast majority or to spending by everyone. Job growth under Trump, pre-pandemic, ran about 3% below the rate of Obama after the Great Recession ended and job growth resumed in early 2010.
Candidate Trump promised to grow the economy by at least 4% annually and insisted that he could achieve as much as 6% growth in Gross Domestic Product, which measures our country’s total economic output. Those of us who study these matters found Trump’s claim either laughable or a lie. Time proved we were right as Trump underperformed the average of the previous 70 years.
In 2017, still basking in the glow of the Obama economy, our inflation-adjusted or real Gross Domestic Product grew 2.3% compared to 2016. Growth reached almost 3% in 2018 as the Trump/radical Republican giveaway to big corporations give a brief kick to economic growth. In 2019, however, GDP growth slid to under 2.2%
And Thursday morning brought the latest job loss numbers. Last week 840,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits. There were also 464,000 claims for pandemic unemployment aid.
In all 25 million Americans are without work right now and many more will join them soon because Trump decreed Tuesday afternoon that he would not sign any new coronavirus relief bill until after the election and then only if he wins. The stock market instantly sank, prompting Trump to do a partial flip-flop. But counting on Trump to sign a new relief package would be like trusting that he actually knows how to improve the economy for all Americans, not just the already rich.
Win or lose — Trump is about to unleash hell
With poll numbers staying put and the odds of a Joe Biden win in Tuesday's election looking good — possibly by a decisive margin — there's mounting dread about how Donald Trump will behave after a defeat. After all, Trump is a sociopathic narcissist with the emotional control of a — well, I won't insult toddlers with the comparison — and he lives in mortal terror of being viewed as a loser. He's already made clear that he will refuses to concede, no matter what, and he's grasping desperately for any way to get legal ballots thrown out so he can steal the election.
GOP senator offended LDS community after likening Trump to a ‘selfless’ Book of Mormon hero: report
Politics and religion are colliding out west after comments a Republican senator made while stumping for the president.
"Sen. Mike Lee drew criticism from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week after comparing President Donald Trump to Captain Moroni, a heroic and selfless figure in the Book of Mormon," The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening.
"To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni," Lee (R-UT) said, pointing to Trump. "He seeks not power, but to pull it down. He seeks not the praise of the world or the ‘fake news,’ but he seeks the well-being and the peace of the American people."
Al Franken warns voters Mitch McConnell ‘is not as charming as he looks’ on HBO’s ‘Real Time’
Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) showed off the sense of rumor that put him on "Saturday Night Live" during a Friday night appearance on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher.
The two politically-minded comedians had a fascinating debate on what would happen if President Donald Trump refuses to leave office on January 20, 2021.
Franken said that would be a good thing, as it would mean Trump lost and would be escorted from the premises. Maher, however, had far less faith in America's institutions.
The two agreed to disagree on the topic.
Franken urged viewers to vote for Democrats in Senate races, warning that if Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains in power he would block everything a potential Joe Biden administration might try to accomplish.