Trump is celebrating the GDP growth of 4.1%, but it isn’t such a great achievement when Obama’s economy had higher GDP growth in four separate quarters.
Video of MSNBC’s Ali Velshi going inside the new numbers:
Second quarter GDP growth is impressive. Now, there are several one-time factors. But I want to take a look at what GDP is and why quarterly figures alone have to be looked at in context. GDP, look, it’s much more complicated than this. I know some of you are going to get angry I put such a short description. GDP is basically the total value of everything produced by everybody and every company in the country. It’s a big scorecard of the country’s economy. Now we have seen high rates like this before, in fact we’ve seen higher quarterly growth rates. During the Obama administration, quarterly growth reached four percent or higher four times during the Obama administration. It actually got above five percent in 2014, but this is the highest since 2014. The annual GDP growth rate never broke 3% under President Obama.
I tend to like to look at this one a little more. Last time we saw that kind of growth was during the Bush administration, 3.3%. Back in 2005. Right now, federal reserve officials forecast GDP to be up by 2.8% compared to last year, for all of 2018. Then to tail off to 2.4% in and 2% in 2020. I have seen numbers that are higher estimates for this year than 2.8%. I’m going to call it 3 for argument’s sake. That’s probably a number you should be thinking about. The boost was fed in part by spending from consumers and businesses and a rush from farmers getting their soybean exports into the global market ahead of new tariffs.
Obama had a higher GDP growth rate several times
Obama beat the GDP growth rate Trump is celebrating several times, but the Republicans would always respond by dismissing the numbers. The Republican dismissals became so extreme that by the end of the Obama presidency they were claiming that the economic numbers were fake. The numbers were real then, and they are real now, but they also won’t help Trump and the Republican Party in November for one big reason.
The economy doesn’t feel great because wages are not going up fast enough
It doesn’t matter what the economic numbers say. If people don’t feel like they are doing well, the incumbent party is going to lose the next election. Trump’s policies have made income inequality worse. From the tax cuts for the wealthy to rising health care costs and gas prices, people in the middle and lower parts of the economy are getting squeezed while the wealthy are doing very well.
Things haven’t gotten better on the ground for most Americans. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.
Obama had better GDP numbers multiple times, so while Trump throws himself a parade, keep in mind that in the pocketbooks of a majority of Americans, Trump and the Republican Party remain massive failures.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association