Donald Trump Didn’t Create The Good Economy We Have

By on January 2, 2018

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted out his belief that the tax bill he recently signed into law will lead to “big bonuses” for workers in the United States.

There’s little evidence, however, for Trump to make such a suggestion. Corporate tax cuts don’t typically produce widespread income raises, and they’re even less responsible for jobs growth, as Trump claimed they would create jobs as well late last month. Even the companies that have since cited passage of the tax bill for why they raised workers’ pay could have actually made those pay raises long before the bill was even considered by Congress.

While many Americans have grown accustomed to treat Trump’s pie-in-the-sky predictions with a good dose of skepticism, we should still remain on guard against such claims. The rosy economic outlook is based on some analysts’ flawed perceptions of what growth might come about, and don’t match the reality of the situation — or the reality of what bosses’ mindsets are in. Many CEOs, for instance, didn’t raise their hands when asked by a Trump official whether they would give raises or increase worker pay as a result of the tax bill.

Even de-regulation, a hallmark of Trump’s “leadership” style so far through his many executive orders, can only do so much (or rather, not much at all). Though many business leaders and conservative economic forecasters like to believe that de-regulation can lead to growth, historical trends rarely back up that optimism, and research into the idea has found that, broadly speaking, jobs growth isn’t typically “stunted” in the overall economy by regulations placed on ensuring adequate health or environmental standards are in place.

A lot of the economic prosperity that has occurred under Trump, in fact, is a residual effect of a good economy that was already established while former President Barack Obama was in office. Trump’s effect on the economy is, if anything, negative: jobs growth has actually slowed down a little bit since he was elected.

Yes, the stock market is a a record high currently. But Trump can take credit for, at most, about 14 months of the latest “bull market” run, which has lasted for around 105 months. The other 91 months belong to Obama.

Credit to the stellar economy belongs to the president who helped produce the bull market after it had previously been in a catastrophic recession. The American people are aware of that — most presidents get good approval rating marks if they have a good economy. But Trump’s been a lousy president whose only economic claim so far can be that he hasn’t completely messed it up yet, and his approval numbers reflect that.

There’s no reason to credit Trump with the upward economic trends we’ve seen this year. He simply hasn’t done enough in office that would indicate a departure from Obama-era policies has improved things. And when 17 months out of every 20 of the current bull market belong to your predecessor, essentially starting you off at third base with a home-run hitter at the plate ready to bat you in, it’s difficult to give praise to Trump at all, whose only real talent has been not goofing up so badly that he’s managed to ruin the good economy he inherited as well.