The economy: Should Trump get credit?
It’s been a chaotic first year for President Trump, said John Crudele in the New York Post. But for all the sideshows, such as the Russia investigation and Trump’s “big mouth,” the president has an “ace in the hole”: the economy. Under Trump, the stock market is booming, while gross domestic product has expanded at an annual rate of more than 3 percent for two straight quarters, following eight years of anemic growth under President Barack Obama. The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.1 percent—a 17-year low. Trump took office vowing to “create jobs, bring businesses back to the U.S., and loosen the regulatory noose created by Obama,” said Liz Peek in FoxNews.com. His pro-business attitude unleashed “a sea change in expectations” among businesses, investors, and consumers—and their newfound optimism has Americans buying and investing again.
The economy is certainly humming, said Keith Boykin in CNN.com. But job growth under Trump—averaging 174,000 jobs per month—is actually lower than the 2016 monthly average of 190,000 under Obama. When Obama took office, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month and the Dow Jones had plunged to below 8,000; it was he who pulled the country out of the Great Recession and halved unemployment to below 5 percent. The truth is that Trump inherited “a stable economy in the midst of the longest streak in history of consecutive monthly job growth.” As for the stock market boom, that’s an unsustainable “sugar high,” said Lawrence Summers in The Washington Post. Investors are giddy over Trump’s financial deregulation and the GOP’s deficit-busting tax cuts for corporations. But productivity growth remains slow, and so does wage growth for the middle class. The so-called boom is built on a “weak foundation.”
Still, the economy’s “vital signs are stronger than they have been in years,” said Ben Casselman in The New York Times. Consumer confidence is at an all-time high. Household income is rising, largely because more people have jobs and are working more hours. Most economists say Trump “has had little to do with the rebound,” but voters don’t understand the subtleties of economic policy and usually associate the weight of their purse with the man in the White House. Look—if the economy were now slumping, everyone would be blaming Trump, said Monica Showalter in AmericanThinker.com. Since it’s doing so well, it’s only fair to say that “this economy is Trump’s economy.” ■