Polling consistently shows the economy to be President Trump's strongest issue, and he defended his record in an ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.
Many economists look at the economy since COVID-19 hit and see a K-shaped recovery — where "the people at the top who have a lot of stocks are doing pretty well" while everyone else is sliding downward, as moderator George Stephanopoulos put it. Trump is more bullish. "It looks like it's going to be a super V," he told an uncommitted voter who had asked him about acting more "presidential." "We're going to have a great economy next year."
The stock markets have recovered and even reached new highs, driven by tech companies, but half the 22.2 million workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic are still out of work. When Stephanopoulos pointed that out, Trump said: "George, stocks are owned by everybody. You know, they talk about the stock market is so good, that's 401(k)s. ... You have people that aren't wealthy but have done well because of the stock market."
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About 55 percent of U.S. adults own stocks, either in individual companies or mutual or index funds, Gallup reported in June. And the richest 1 percent of Americans own more than half the stock owned by U.S. households, the Financial Times found. New York's Jonathan Chait gave Trump the benefit of the doubt.
Trump also suggested incorrectly that America's 50-year growth in income inequality peaked under his predecessor.
Inequality was still growing in the U.S., Pew noted in pre-pandemic February.
In fact, the super-wealthy have done very well during the pandemic — U.S. billionaires increased their collective wealth by $685 billion as of early August, according to one analysis. Watch Mother Jones try to put that in perspective. Peter Weber
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