The economy is booming, but who should get credit for that boom has been a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.
The president is quick to accept credit for the roaring economy, often citing it as one of his biggest successes since taking office.
Our Economy and Jobs Market is BOOMING, the best in the World and in our Country’s history – and we have just started!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
✔️5.8 MILLION new jobs
✔️Enacted the largest tax cuts & reform in American history
✔️Rebuilt our military
✔️Unemployment at a near 50yr low
✔️Unemployment for African Americans & Hispanic Americans at lowest in history
✔️Wages rising at the fastest pace in nearly a decade
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 22, 2019
But with another presidential election on the horizon, several 2020 Democrats don’t want to let Trump take credit for the current boom. Instead, they claim that former President Barack Obama should receive credit because Trump is only riding the coattails of his 2008 economic recovery.
Nearly every one of the 23 Democrats running for president has made this claim, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and, of course, former Vice President Joe Biden.
During a campaign event on Saturday, Biden said:
“I know President Trump likes to take credit for the economy and the economic growth and the low unemployment numbers, but just look at the facts — not the alternative facts. President Trump inherited an economy from Obama-Biden administration that was given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life. Just like everything else he’s been given in his life, he’s in the process of squandering that as well.”
While it’s true that the economy improved under Obama’s presidency, that’s not the full story. Here are five things Democrats aren’t saying.
Trump’s economy is breaking records.
Following the 2008 recession, the Obama administration oversaw a consistent decline in unemployment and steady job growth. By the time he left office, the economy was stable with an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent — down more than 5 points from a 2009 peak.
Although the economy was stable, it was nothing to write home about. Under Trump, women, black Americans, Hispanic Americans and veterans have all seen historically low unemployment. The stock market hit all-time highs. The GDP grew at rates economists didn’t think were possible.
While Trump’s claim that the economy is the “best it’s ever been” may be exaggerated, he is still presiding over one of the best economies in the history of the United States — even if Democrats want to say otherwise.
Obama’s recovery was the slowest since WWII.
Many Democrats have been quick to say that Trump is riding on the coattails of Obama’s economic recovery, but none of them mention how incredibly slow that recovery was. As Forbes points out, Obama oversaw a jobs increase of just 1.72 percent in his first three years following the recession. For comparison’s sake, former President Ronald Reagan oversaw a jobs increase of 8.97 percent in three years.
In the same vein, Obama saw a GDP per capita growth of 4.34 percent — lower than that of Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Obama claimed 2 percent economic growth was the “new normal.”
On the note of slow growth, Obama claimed that the stagnant economic growth the U.S. faced under his leadership was the “new normal” because of the changes to the global economy. In 2010, the president was trying to sell the American people on the idea that businesses were just becoming used to operating with fewer employees because of corporate greed.
Under Trump, Americans have seen quarterly economic growth rates top 4 percent — shattering Obama’s “new normal.”
Obama thought Trump needed a “magic wand” to bring back jobs.
Not only did Obama think lethargic economic growth was America’s “new normal,” he didn’t even think it was possible for some jobs to return to the U.S. Following the recession, many American companies either automated away jobs or sent them overseas. When asked about this, Obama claimed Trump would need a “magic wand” to get those jobs back.
Watch Obama’s comments:
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) June 2, 2016
“[When Trump says] he’s gonna bring all these jobs back. Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have?”
Under Trump, manufacturing jobs that needed a “magic wand” to return grew at a rate of 714 percent faster than the did under Obama, as IJR reported.
Trump’s policies have made the economy stronger.
While there are several individual statistics to point to as evidence that Trump has improved the economy in one area or another, it really matters what policies he specifically passed to improve the economy.
Trump has focused on two major areas to improve the economy: regulations and taxes.
For every new business regulation added by the Trump administration, the president vowed to remove two that he found to be unnecessary — a goal he’s outpaced since taking office.
As for taxes, the Republican-led Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 cut corporate tax rates — which were the highest in the world prior to Trump taking office. Following the tax cuts, more than 800 U.S. companies announced they would be investing in their company with their newly saved tax dollars, including offering wage increases and bonuses to their employees.
While general trends of declining unemployment and increasing jobs were consistent under Obama and Trump, there are several economic metrics that turned around in direct response to Trump’s economic plans. As NPR noted in a report on Trump’s economy, blue-collar jobs, business investment, and small business optimism all skyrocketed when Trump took office.
Obama may have started the economic recovery following the 2008 recession, but to say the current economic boom is just a continuation of that success that was not motivated by Trump’s policies is misleading at its best and partisan lie at its worst.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.