Right On: Is this Obama’s economy or Trump’s?

Composite image | Donald Trump photo public domain / Barack Obama photo The Obama-Biden Transition Project via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News

OPINION — The U.S. is in the midst of “a remarkably positive set of economic circumstances,” according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Our economy is so good right now that Democrats have stopped bad-mouthing what Republicans have done to boost the economy over the past two years. Instead now they want to take credit for the dramatic improvement.

Barack Obama is the usurper-in-chief. He’s seen his legacy of over-the-top regulations and Obamacare’s individual mandate and tax increases dismantled by the Trump administration.

Worse yet for Obama, Republicans’ potent combination of deregulation and tax cuts has boosted the economy far beyond what he and his advisors claimed was possible. So what’s a fellow to do when his policies fell so far short?

At the University of Illinois in September, Obama had the gall to claim “when you hear about how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.”

Actually he’s technically correct: The current recovery started in the summer of 2009. But it limped along for eight years under an increasing tax and regulatory burden, growing far more slowly than any previous recovery from a major recession.

In another display of chutzpah, Obama talked out of both sides of his mouth at Rice University last month. He took credit for significant oil and gas production increases during his presidency while praising the Paris Accords that would require lower fossil fuel consumption.

A delusional Obama said, “You wouldn’t always know it but [production] went up every year I was president. That whole, suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas – that was me, people.”

He failed to mention that almost all that increased oil and gas production came from private and state lands. His administration did all it could to limit exploration on federal land.

Let’s test Obama’s claim that he’s responsible for today’s economic boom. Compare his last 21 months in office – when the economy reflected over six years of his policies – with Trump’s first 21 months in office.

During Obama’s last 21 months, gross domestic product grew at an anemic 1.5 percent rate. Growth doubled to a 3 percent rate in Trump’s first 21 months. This will be the first year since 2005 with a full calendar year of 3 percent or better growth.

So what caused the abrupt change? Deregulation coupled with individual and business tax cuts inspired consumers to buy and businesses to invest. That powerful combination has worked every time it’s been tried. Tax-and-spend Democrats seem to be a little slow on the uptake.

Obama correctly notes that the country’s unemployment rate dropped steadily through his eight years. But underappreciated is the fact that for the first time in decades the labor force participation rate also dropped during his tenure.

Far too many who couldn’t find jobs in Obama’s halting recovery stayed out of the workforce. Once people stop looking for work, they aren’t counted as unemployed. Voila, the unemployment rate dropped.

Why did they stop looking for work? They took advantage of Obama’s loosened eligibility for government welfare, choosing generous benefits over returning to the workforce. The number of those receiving food stamps and disability insurance increased dramatically during the Obama years.

Democrats would rather sweeten welfare benefits than grow the economy.

Contrast that with today’s growing labor force participation. New job openings have increased an average of 75,000 per month over the last 21 months. They increased a paltry 900 per month during the preceding 21 months.

The total number of job openings today is the highest since 2000. Attractive jobs are opening up all over a booming economy.

This impressive surge in job openings occurred when employment was already at a record high. During Obama’s last 21 months, employment increased 157,000 per month. Under Trump and the Republicans, it’s averaged 214,000 per month.

Since March of this year – for the first time ever – the number of job openings exceeds the number of unemployed. As of September, there were 1 million more openings than job seekers.

Unemployment has never been as low as it is today for African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and people with only a high-school education. Women’s unemployment is at a 65-year low; for teenagers, a 50-year low.

The Republican economy is creating prosperity for every class and color of people.

How about wages? During Obama’s last 21 months, average weekly earnings rose $1.31 each month. In Trump’s 21 months, weekly earnings have gone up $1.84 each month and since tax reform started in January, they’ve gone up $2.31 each month.

Workers today are averaging $12 a week higher wages under Trump than they would have under Obama. That’s over $600 a year: it adds up and is only going to get better.

In 2012, Obama infamously said, “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Today, the American people can respond, “We’ve got an economy – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

That somebody else is Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • Utahguns December 6, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Well let me see…
    My investment portfolio, taxes and two businesses says it’s Trump’s economy.
    Wasn’t that way in the previous years.
    Just glad I voted for a businessman to run the country for once instead of a liberal socialist community organizer.

    • iceplant December 6, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Yeah, right.
      In a mere two years, your portfolio has somehow magically improved thanks to Trump.
      Are you paid to troll SGNews?

      • Ginnie December 7, 2018 at 8:02 am

        I totally agree with you. Trump is nothing but a grifter! Trump’s policies are going to throw this country into another recession.

    • bikeandfish December 6, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      You are doing better than the average portfolio then. After a remarkable 14-16 months after Trump was elected (and it was undeniably good) we have seen stocks crash to pre-Jan 2018 levels. And continue to crash they have.

  • iceplant December 6, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Do you like apples, Howard?

    “A delusional Obama said…”

    It was at this point I stopped reading your drivel. I’ve had enough.
    You people who continue to rank on Obama and cut him down by constantly insulting him are disgusting. Why? Because you’re the same hypocrites that cry foul when people cut Trump down. And Trump has actually earned his criticisms.

    Everyone knows when this current economy got rolling. And that was LONG before Obama left office.
    Keep trying to convince yourselves otherwise. The rest of us are sick and tired of you lying to us and telling us Trump is some great savior of American society or that we owe him some debt of gratitude. We owe him NOTHING. Zip, zero, nada, bupkiss.

    Your president is a human dumpster fire who takes credit for things that he has little or nothing to do with. The right is so desperate to hang on to power that they’ve thrown themselves behind the single worst person to hold the office of president, ever. Under criminal investigation no less. An investigation that has so far netted criminal charges and indictments of people directly tied to Trump including his own personal “I’d take a bullet for Trump” lawyer, Michael Cohen.

    Spare us all the sanctimonious BS, Howard.
    Tick tock tick tock… only a matter of time now. Keep ignoring that Mueller locomotive thundering down the tracks.

    How ya like them apples…?

    • Comment December 6, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      I’ve long since given up on Howard for anything resembling original thought.

  • chris keele December 6, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Yes I think Howard pretty much hit the nail on the head, it is so hard to hear the truth for the Obama pep club folks. They just want to talk Trump down no matter what, don’t bother them with the facts, they have already made up their minds.

  • bikeandfish December 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Don’t have much time right now but Howard’s columns are full of Cherrypicking, like that final quote. It is out of context to provide a hyperpartisan narrative. At some point intellectual dishonesty just needs to be called lying and his columnd play with that line more and more.

    Funny also how his articles call out the misstatements of those on the left but he never retracts his own verifiably wrong claims.

  • DesertBill December 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    The economy is very important, but there are things much more important in the long run.

    I winced when you called him a businessman, reflecting on his many business failures and bankruptcies. He is not the type of businessman I tried to emulate when I ran a company. I think integrity, among other things is also important.

    Obama inherited a horrible economy and turned it around. And he did it without saddling my kid’s future with a $1.5 trillion future tax deficit.

    I also dislike overregulation, but with enough business leaders having the low morality of Trump, some is necessary. He can deny climate change all he wants, and foolishly stand alone in withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, but again it is our children and theirs that will suffer. Talk with El Paso about drinking water. Talk to Pacific Islanders who are losing their countries.

    I wouldn’t argue that economic growth has better overall than under Obama. But there are other things, which I value even more than the dollar. Trump can’t pass a day without lying, can’t miss any chance to hurl a fourth-grader’s slur at anyone who disagrees with him, puts the dollar above human life (Khashoggi) and his licentiousness is a horrible example for us all.

    When you total up the overall effect of this man, he falls short in about every important category except the economy. For me that is way too high a price to pay.

    • Comment December 6, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Yep, the man pretty well epitomizes moral decay. I agree with some policy thing he does from time to time, but that doesn’t redeem him from being human garbage.

      • John December 7, 2018 at 3:20 am

        Desert Bill, get real. How the hell are you going to end climate change?

        Have you ever noticed the earth that along with the rest of planets are traveling through space in a pattern they have been in since the ‘big bang’?

        You ignore the only true fact is the various climate changes over a few thousand years prior to man walking erect included the earth Ice Age as well as our Tropical Years. Both happened well before man and well before cars and emissions. You follow the scientific Chicken Little scientists lame theories claiming we need to fight climate change really need to WAKE THE …* UP! We are in an unstoppable orbit. That goes on and on and on just like the Energizer Bunny.

        Accept reality. Millions of years have gone by with climate changing and there’s NOT a damn thing can be done to change it

        Green house gasses?
        Sure! Keep dreaming!

        Change our orbit or our flight through space? If we could do that, we’d collide with other planets and we’d all be dead in an instant.

        As for Obama? He failed to do a single thing to improve anything EXCEPT for helping Mexicans and Muslims to have better lives. Not one of the 4 stooges (both Bush idiots Clinton and Obama) helped Americans.

        As for Trump he accomplished more in his first 18 months than all of those 4 stooges plus all presidents all the way back to Nixon failed to do anything of substance to help America.

        As for stock market slumps?

        Trump fixed treaties to work for the USA and his actions totally resulted in stock market increases. However the Dumbocraps and their never ending lies , twisted fake facts were the cause of fear among investors who believed the anti Trump babblings of people like you and pulled away from investing and began panicking which directly caused a bad market.

        Blame both Clinton Cloned Clowns and brain dead clinton worshippers for that result

        As for me? I’m doing great under Trump! I have 32 cars, 6 boats, and 8 custom built Harley’s plus 3 homes. I’m happy, no extatic is the better word, because for the first time since JFK we actually have a President who knows business and ESPECIALLY how to negotiate a deal!

        6 MORE YEARS DON!

        * Ed. ellipsis added

        • ladybugavenger December 7, 2018 at 2:55 pm

          Why 32 cars? Was 30 not enough? And 6 boats. Well, that’s just dumb. 3 homes? Geeeeze, I’m not impressed at all. 🤮

          • Comment December 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm

            He sounds like a complete clown.

  • dodgers December 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Well said Howard. As usual, the Trump-haters can’t stand the success.
    As for Mueller, he’s still searching for the crime.

    • Ginnie December 7, 2018 at 8:06 am

      We’ll see….Mueller is breathig down Trump’s neck. Cohen, who was considered part of his family will be the one who brings Trump down!!

  • utahdiablo December 6, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Stock Market is up 36% from Trumps election night win Nov 9th 2016 through today Dec 6th 2018….and that’s even with the 900 points the Dow dropped over the last two sessions….Look it up….the only thing Obama did was enlist the Fed reserve heads to keep the interest rates at all time lows for 8 years…now the rates are rising again as they should in a strong economy….enjoy your 401Ks and Trump in 2020 for his 2nd term

  • Jmfixitman December 6, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    My God what a ridiculous question. Nothing that is going on now is to Obama’s credit. Other than my ridiculously high medical premiums…

  • Neil December 7, 2018 at 6:28 am

    FYI Howard, presidents don’t control the economy. Bankers do. Presidents are only there to give fools someone to credit or blame and keep the people divided.

  • Carpe Diem December 7, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I can’t recall a time when doom and gloom was not only predicted, but prayed for by Democrats. When the opposite happened, they want to take credit.

    Obama, sit down and shut up, please. You have been one of the worst.

  • Red2Blue310 December 7, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Anyone that believes ANYTHING positive Trump tells them, should buy a bridge. Trump has said about the $2 trillion deficit he and republicans created over 2 years in office that he doesnt care about it because he wont be around to take the blame. Between the tariffs, broken half ass promises and over reactions to chaos he started, I dont believe a thing he pronounces anymore. Obama was way better. Trumpers you got played. Look at your Utah state politicians that dont care what you want. Hillary would have made a better president without the cover ups, womanizing, skyrocketing costs, pedophilia prasing, whitehouse firings, crazytown antics, hateful statements, and Alzeimer outbursts like we have now. The list goes on so long Im tired of writing. Trumpers need to sit the next election OUT. There is something wrong with you.

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