Former President Barack Obama was back on the campaign trail recently, less than two years after leaving office. Most former presidents stay out of the fray, but he was called out of mothballs to help elect Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections. As such, he took swipes at President Trump’s economic agenda, saying:
“When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.” “Suddenly, Republicans are saying it’s a miracle. I have to kind of remind them, actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016.” – former President Barack Obama September 7, 2018
Whenever you study economic trends, there are two fundamental variables, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which reflects production, and unemployment. For the record, how did President Obama do as compared to President Trump?
Under President Obama – In 2016 (his last year in office) – went from 1.5% to 1.8%
Under President Trump – Since taking office in January 2017 – went from 1.8% to 4.2%
Under President Obama – In 2016 (his last year in office) – went from 4.9% to 4.7%
Under President Trump – Since taking office in January 2017 – went from 4.8% to 3.9%
The economy is not based on the performance of the stock markets, which only reflect confidence in the economy. I have had people ask me, “If the economy is so good, why won’t my portfolio go up?” It never occurs to them they may have invested badly.
There are many other variables that could be examined, such as wages, earnings, consumer confidence, inflation, the prime rate, the national debt, etc., but it is the GDP and unemployment which matter most.
President Obama supervised the recovery from the recession in 2009, one of the slowest on record. So many people were unemployed, they gave up and wouldn’t report their status, which lead to fallacious statistics and caused polling companies, such as Gallup, to define “true” unemployment.
For Mr. Obama to claim responsibility for today’s economic boom is simply fantasy land. If anything, it represents a refutation of his policies. It came about primarily for two reasons: President Trump repealing many of the bureaucratic rules strangling American business, and his reduction of the corporate tax. Consequently, companies were invigorated to invest in their businesses, pay their workers more money, hire more employees, and bring back jobs to America.
Let us not forget what President Obama said in June 2016 at an Indiana town-hall meeting, when asked about Candidate Trump’s promise to kick-start manufacturing jobs in the country:
“Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What exactly are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, what, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”
According to Bloomberg in March 2018, a rebound in manufacturing has indeed occurred, “Over the past year, according to today’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sector has added 222,000 jobs, resuming a recovery that had paused in 2015 and 2016 amid strength in the dollar and weakness in the U.S. oil and gas industry.”
Making claims to the contrary is simply nonsense. This is another example of how the Democrats are laying down a smoke screen regarding successful Republican economic policies prior to the midterm elections. It is an act of sheer desperation.<
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EDITORS NOTE: President Obama is correct in saying that we should all remember when the recovery started, it was when Obama left office. The featured image of street art is from Unsplash/Paweł Czerwiński@pawel_czerwinski