Thursday, September 20, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lied about his stewardship of the economy--hopefully.

In an attempt to turn around Republicans' chances in the midterms, Trump tweeted twice about the economy today. In both cases, he was either trying to mislead voters--or genuinely befuddled about basic economic realities.

In one tweet, he declared that the S&P 500 stock index "HITS ALL-TIME HIGH" yesterday. That's true, but the stock markets set records all the time, because the value of companies traded on them tends to increase, except in the aftermath of recessions. For example, in the year 2013, the Dow Jones index closed at a record high on 52 separate days.

In another tweet, he claimed that "there are plenty of new, high paying jobs available in our great and very vibrant economy." It's true that, ten years into the recovery from the 2007 recession, unemployment remains low--but if Trump believes that those jobs are high-paying, he should talk to his own Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their most recent report has the average inflation-adjusted wage at $10.78 per hour, up from $10.76 last August.

Why does this matter?

  • It's really, really important that a president understand basic economic concepts.
  • If the best news a president has to offer is a 2-cent raise for American workers, he probably shouldn't call attention to the economy.