Amid the scandals and investigations plaguing the Trump administration as it heads into the 2020 elections, the President and his supporters frequently bring up what they categorize as a booming economy under President Trump.
But is the economy really booming and can Trump really take credit? Vox looked at some of the claims and statements Trump made in the 2019 State of the Union to prop up his position with his base and voters.
Trump promised growth in workers paychecks from his signature Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, promising that businesses would invest their tax savings in their business and give “billions and billions of dollars away to their workers”.
For the most part that claim has given most workers and extra 2 cent average increase in hourly compensation, adjusted for inflation.
Most US companies opted instead to invest a record amount of money buying back shares of company stock to inflate their values to shareholders. A whopping 64 percent increase from 2017 after the tax cut went into effect.
The tax cuts are akin to a sugar high that shows up quickly in the economic numbers and then begins to wear off as savings do not trickle down as promised, leaving holes in the federal budget in the billions along the way.
Trump likes to tweet out stock market numbers when the markets are doing well, not as much when they are falling. The Dow actually fell flat in gains for the year of 2018.
Trump’s trade wars with the rest of the world are also helping a few select industries while harming the rest of the U.S. economy, especially farmers as other countries retaliated in imposing tariffs.
True, the unemployment is still steadily falling, but it is on a trend that begun in earnest in the Obama post recession dig out and hasn’t radically changed from that trend.
Even under a modest economic expansion begun before Trump and with inflation on the rise, worker wages have only grown about 1.3 percent over 2018. To put it into perspective, over the 12 months of 2018, average hourly earnings only increased 85 cents, and that’s before inflation.
So time will tell if Trump can continue the economic recovery begun before he took office, but he certainly has to give credit where it is due, and take responsibility for his policies that will continue to have an effect well after he’s gone.