Democrats know that President Trump’s economic record more than anything else is what will help him get reelected. And if you watched Kamala Harris’ first speech as Joe Biden’s running mate, you saw the false narrative they plan to push for the remainder of the campaign.
“The president’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Kamala claimed. “[Trump] inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground.”
Kamala Harris knows this is utter nonsense. The economic crisis we’re experiencing right now is because of the lockdowns, for which there was overwhelming bipartisan support. It’s also been quite clear that it’s the Democrats who have wanted to keep the economy shut down as long as possible, and based on this line of attack, it’s obvious why. They don’t blame China, which is responsible for the virus in the first place and for covering up the disease for weeks before alerting the World Health Organization.
Nope, for Biden and Harris, it’s more politically expedient to blame Trump for the economic contraction that resulted from the lockdowns that they supported and currently want to prolong.
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As Kyle Smith at National Review noted, the United States also wasn’t even the hardest hit economically of countries and regions that also locked down. “Donald Trump is not the president of the euro zone, which suffered through an even more dire economic contraction in the second quarter: minus 40.3 percent, on an annualized basis, as against minus 32.9 percent in the US,” he wrote. “The U.K. suffered a contraction of 59.8 percent, also on an annualized basis. Donald Trump is not the prime minister of the United Kingdom. The U.S. economy did slightly better than Germany’s in the second quarter.”
Now let’s address the second part of Kamala’s whopper, that the great economy we experienced prior to the pandemic lockdowns was thanks to Obama and Biden.
There have been eleven recessions since World War II, each of which was followed by a recovery. We did experience an economic recovery after the 2009 recession, under Obama–it just happens it was the worst one. Here are the facts: All jobs lost in post-World War II recessions were recovered after an average of twenty-five months. But, it took seventy-seven months for employment to return to pre-recession levels after the 2009 recession, making Obama’s recovery the slowest recovery of all of them, and by a wide margin. Obama is also the only president in U.S. history to have never had a single year of 3.0 percent or greater GDP growth.
Economic growth during Obama’s presidency was so bad that mediocre economic growth was considered the new normal. In September 2016, CBS News reported that “with U.S. economic growth stuck in low gear for several years, it’s leading many economists to worry that the country has entered a prolonged period where any expansion will be weaker than it has been in the past.”
And then Trump was elected, and everything changed. The economy started to take off. The anemic growth of the Obama years was replaced by strong economic growth that benefited the middle class, minorities, and women in ways that just didn’t happen during the Obama years. For example, under Trump, African-American unemployment reached its lowest record level in history. Investor’s Business Daily noted that there was “no upward trajectory to the economy on anyone’s radar when Trump took office,” but “now that the economy is outperforming everyone’s expectations, Trump’s critics want to pretend that the current boom was already baked in the cake.”
Needless to say it was not.
One key factor in the economic boom under Trump has been deregulation, which, as we know, is a four-letter word to Democrats.
Deregulation has benefited the mining and manufacturing industries, and, as the Wall Street Journal noted last year, per capita incomes “have grown at significantly faster rates under President Trump than they did under Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin and even Iowa despite retaliatory tariffs on American exports.” Then there’s the inconvenient truth that the Obama economy was far better for the wealthy than it was for average Americans–something 2020 Democrats are trying to suggest is a hallmark of the Trump economy. “The Federal Reserve’s bond purchases and near-zero interest rates for eight years [under Obama] drove up asset values and let corporations borrow cheaply while the Administration’s punishing regulations bred business uncertainty that depressed investment in human and physical capital. Those with financial assets prospered more than middle-class wage earners. The Obama Democrats talked constantly about inequality rather than growth, and the result was less growth and more inequality.”
In short, there was more income inequality under Obama than under Trump.
Despite nearly four years of Democrats claiming that Obama deserved credit for Trump’s economy, Americans weren’t falling for it. A poll released in January found that only 9 percent of voters credited Obama and the Democrats for the economy, while 42 percent credited Trump and the Republicans.
Even the recovery we’re starting to get now is better than the one we had after the 2009 recession under Obama. As Vice President Pence recently pointed out, more jobs have been created in the last three months than were created during the entire Obama-Biden administration:
Facts don’t lie, Democrats do. Trying to blame Trump for the economic impact of the national shutdown that they supported is pretty low. Trying to give credit to Obama and Biden for Trump’s economy after eight years of anemic growth is just pathetic.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis