President Donald Trump likes to tell Americans, especially his rabid base of supporters that “he inherited a mess” when it comes to the economy. He also likes to give people the impression that when he came in, things were not only horrible but he “turned it around” with his policies that mostly favored the already affluent and corporations.
One doesn’t have to be an economist to see that these claims are simply false. One look at a chart shows that what Trump did wasn’t an economic recovery, but rather was more akin to a person standing at the last mile of a marathon and simply taking the baton from the race’s leader, finishing the race then contending that he not only won the race, but came from behind in the last mile.
That isn’t even close to what really happened.
If any reasonable person looks at the chart below that shows the unemployment numbers from 1990-2020, drawn from numbers from Trump’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is easy to see that the Obama/Biden administration had the country on a steady rising course since they instituted policies that helped bring America out of the recession of 2008-2010 (shaded areas show periods of economic recession).
In the above chart, it is easy to see that when Obama came in he inherited a recession. During the first months of his presidency, Obama/Biden instituted policies and stimulus that not only turned the economy around in a major way. From there, throughout his tenure, economic recovery was steady and solid. When Trump comes in, the downward trend continued, but slowed its momentum and was almost flat before the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Now lawmakers are scrambling to find the funding to help the millions of Americans desperately need to stay afloat. Since those tax cuts that Trump and the GOP pushed in 2017 didn’t fill the government’s coffers as they promised, it might be that those tax cuts are at least partially responsible for them to actually have the funds to help those Americans. All that money is now in the hands of the wealthy and corporations that used the windfalls for things like stock buybacks and bonuses to themselves.
Nothing ever “trickled down.”
It is speculation, but not unreasonable to suggest that if those tax cuts wouldn’t have happened, America might be in better shape now instead of experiencing some of the worst economic numbers in its history. The tax cuts didn’t deliver the increased revenues that were promised. They also never came close to paying for themselves, as promised by the administration and their allies.
Combine that with Trump dismantling Obama’s pandemic response team (some officials were reassigned to other roles in the government but the team and their exclusive mission were ended) and Trump downplaying the virus early on instead of taking the bull by the horns, and “we are where we are” as they say.
Tackling the virus early instead of insisting that it would “magically go away” when the weather got warmer is what should have been done. Trump’s predictions turned out to be flat wrong. In July, America saw the worst daily death tolls so far in the majority of states. Many of which those states were ones that opened up early vs continuing public safety measures like the “lockdowns” and preventing businesses from operating normally, if at all for the sake of public safety and saving lives.
Now Trump is saying that if Joe Biden is elected, the economy will crash. The thing is, the economy already crashed. And it isn’t like this is the first pandemic to hit America or even the past decade. Obama and Biden squelched the 2014 Ebola outbreak and tried to get Congress to be prepared for the next one — The GOP blocked it.
“Biden to raise taxes by 3 Trillion Dollars.” Actually, it will be much more than that, and much of it on nonsense. Markets and your 401k’s will CRASH. Jobs will disappear!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2020
Will Biden raise taxes? Technically yes. But Biden has proposed ending Trump’s tax scheme that have been failures according to the data and most experts. Biden has also pledged not to raise income taxes on people making less than 400,000 dollars a year.
Also, part of those increases will come in the form of raising the cap on taxes for Social Security and Medicare up to that 400,000 dollar mark. Something that many have called for to ensure the two popular programs are solvent for the long term. The cap is currently around 137,000 in 2020. Well over 90 percent of Americans would be unaffected with that change.
As the numbers clearly show. Trump didn’t inherit a disaster or mess. Obama and Biden grew the economy at a strong and steady pace while lowering the deficit during most of their tenure with their policies. Trump’s policies have left the American treasury shortchanged when Americans really need it not to be. There is no reason to believe that Biden retaking the helm will cause what Trump predicts — and many of Trump’s predictions about economics and the coronavirus have not panned out at all.
Furthermore, Trump’s claim that “jobs will disappear” and that 401Ks will crash isn’t based on anything that has ever actually happened. Biden, along with Obama saw the stock market increase at a greater rate during his first three years vs Trump’s performance. Just like the unemployment numbers, what has happened under Trump is merely a continuation of the path that the previous administration put it on. A continuation that actually has slowed under Trump according to much of the available data.
It seems the “marathon” analogy about unemployment could be applied to the stock market as well.
Also, making sure things like Social Security solvent for the long term isn’t “nonsense” as Trump claims while he pushes to eliminate payroll taxes for the year. Payroll taxes are what fund Social Security and Medicare and will almost surely make them less solvent, if not totally insolvent. That would leave future senior citizens and other beneficiaries of the popular programs in worse shape. Something conservatives have been trying to do for a very long time. It is also something Trump promised not to do, except when he said that he would consider it.
Featured image via screen capture