So where is that economic miracle, Donald?

30 Sep

There’s a reason why Trump isn’t talking GDP growth these days. It’s because he failed by that measure.

Four years ago Donald Trump was able to sell America that the economy was in bad shape (it wasn’t) and that he, a businessman, could help. Many Trump supporters have told me then and now how we need a president who can run the country like a business. I’ve never gotten any real detail on that argument, they have just repeated Trump’s slogan.

We’ve recently learned from Mr. Trump’s taxes that he’s not very good at business. It wasn’t a big surprise given his failures in so many businesses over the years. We now know that his businesses have been kept afloat by his reality show and endorsements. And big, big loans.

So, we have a showman president, not a businessman president. Which anyone watching the past few years already knew.

But how about that economic miracle? What about the turnaround we were promised (since the economy was doing well under Obama, we didn’t need a turnaround, but let’s keep going). One way we can measure Mr. Trump’s success is with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The recovery from the great recession was slow, we were told. Trump can do better. This was also a key to his sales pitch for his tax cut: the economy would grow so much that the tax cut wouldn’t increase the deficit. He’s promised 4%, 5% even 6% quarterly growth in GDP.

We don’t hear him talk GDP much now. We don’t hear him brag how he grew the economy so much that we can pay for the huge deficits he created with his tax plan. Makes me want to know if he succeeded (OK, I know he failed, makes me want to quantify it).

With that in mind I pulled GDP data from here to check. Here it is: a table of the percent change in GDP by quarter going back to part way through the Obama administration:

I’ll be fair: I won’t include those quarters affected by the pandemic. Sure, I could also argue that with Trump’s epic mismanagement the economic hit has been far worse than it should have been. I could argue that convincingly. But let’s just look at the quarters before the pandemic. Trump had 11 quarters as president, back to Q1 2017 when he was inaugurated. For compariso, I then counted 11 quarters back to average for Obama.

Average GDP growth in Trump’s first 11 quarters was 2.5%. For the previous 11 quarters, under Obama, it was 2.4%. Trump did no better than Obama. And–this is important–that is with the short term jolt he got with his tax cuts.

So the only way Trump did as well as Obama was at the huge cost of a big deficit.

There’s a reason why Trump isn’t talking GDP growth these days. It’s because he failed by that measure.

By Matt Carey

2 Responses to “So where is that economic miracle, Donald?”

  1. wzrd1 September 30, 2020 at 17:59 #

    I remember Ross Perot wanting to run government like a business.
    My complaint then remains true. Businesses exist to turn a profit, government is by nature, non-profit or said government meets a guillotine. Well, the last for-profit government did, anyway…
    Then, we got abused by a cheap carnival barker showman, who showed the press a shiny for free campaign airtime, now we’re dying in a pandemic, while the barker calls up an unlawful private militia to kill “leftists” and antifa, since fascism is legal now.
    Apparently, we need to apologize to the Axis, since we’ve obviously lost the second world war.
    Or some other insanity, frankly, I’ve lost track on the insane tracks this failed nation has engaged upon.

    Yay! Got my damned US Bank card unlocked – again. It seems, whenever I try to draw funds from the PAUC account, they lock the damned thing.
    Ruining government like a business…

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 30, 2020 at 20:45 #

      Trump ran his businesses for his personal benefit. He’s running the country the same way.

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