We should define lies as “That’s a Donald Trump” going forward. But here is the thing, we tend to be so overwhelmed by the constancy of Trump’s lies that we tend to ignore them. We do that at our peril. Unchallenged lies become truths to many, and they can make the difference in close elections.
The economy is doing very well in many aspects. Employment is relatively high even though wages are not keeping up with real inflation. This recovery did not start with Trump but with the Obama Administration. In a recent speech, former President Obama pushed back on all the hoopla about the economy under Donald Trump.
President Obama pushing back on Trump economic lies
“By the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, ” the President pointed out. “Poverty rates were falling.”
And he continued.
“When you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” the former President said. “I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on, when the job numbers come out, monthly job numbers and suddenly Republicans are saying it’s a miracle, I have to kind of remind them. Actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016 and — anyway. I digress. So we made progress, but — and this is the truth — my administration couldn’t reverse 40-year trends in only eight especially once Republicans took over the house of representatives in 2010 and decided to block everything we did. Even things they used to support.”
Robert Reich gave even more context to refute Trump lies about his economic prowess.
On the claim that Trump is giving us the best job growth ever.
Wrong. Job growth has actually slowed. In the last 19 months of the Obama administration, the economy created 3.96 million jobs. In the first 19 months of Trump’s, 3.58 million.
On the claim that we are in a period of the lowest unemployment ever.
Rubbish. The unemployment rate is now down to 3.9 percent. That’s good. But it doesn’t measure how many people are still too discouraged to look for work or are working part time who’d rather be working full time. The labor participation rate (percent of prime working age work who actually have jobs) has been stuck at 88.9 percent for over a year.
And the current 3.9 percent rate is hardly better than ever in history. It was 3.4 percent in 1968 under Johnson, and below 3.9 percent for much of 1951, 1952, and 1953, under Eisenhower.
The practical question is always how low the Fed will allow unemployment to fall before raising rates, for fear of inflation. In 1996, unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, but Fed Chair Alan Greenspan then raised rates. This time around, Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her successor Jerome Powell have been quite accommodating, but Powell is starting to raise rates again.
On the claim that we are in the fastest economic growth ever.
Wrong again. The economy is now growing at annualized rate of 4.2 percent (that’s for the 2nd quarter). That’s not as good as the 5.1 percent and 4.9 percent achieved in 2 quarters in 2014, or the 4.7 percent in one quarter in 2011. During the Clinton years of 1997-1999, it grew by over 4.5 percent annually. Under Reagan, the recovery averaged 4.4 percent a year. Under Eisenhower, even faster.
On the claim that under Trump we have the best wages ever.
Not even close. Today’s hourly wage has less purchasing power than it did over four decades years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the average hourly wage in January 1973 would be $23.68 today. Yet today’s actual average hourly wage is $22.73. And, of course, the lion’s share is going to the top.
There is such a barrage of lies and misinformation from Donald Trump and his administration that one can get lost or overwhelmed trying to refute them all. We must challenge them all, however. We must do so often in all spaces, social media, blogs, articles in print and online, on the radio, on videos — everywhere. You see the lies from the administration is metastasizing cancer, and we all must become a constancy of chemo to ensure its eradication.
His falling poll numbers may indicate that we are somewhat doing the job, but we cannot rest. I am pretty sure as the 2018 election gets closer an overflowing river of Right Wing and Corporate dollars will flood in to support these guys. Remember, they don’t necessarily like Trump, but they are happy that while he is entertaining the mainstream media and other gullible folk, the looting of the United States continues in full vogue.