Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He bragged about an economy that was, by his standards, "in deep trouble."

Trump got two more troubling pieces of financial news today. The economic growth rate of the United cooled to 1.9%. In response, the Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates by another quarter percent, a move it uses to try to stave off or weaken an impending recession.

Trump hailed the numbers as evidence of 

When the economy grew by the exact same amount—1.9%—under President Obama, although in a strengthening direction rather than a weakening one, Trump said this:

Trump campaigned on promises to grow the economy by 6%. In reality, the U.S. economy has moved in a fairly stable and much smaller range for the last 40 years. It's not clear whether Trump ever thought he could somehow actually do this, or whether he simply thought he could actually convince other people he could.

It's not the first time that Trump's perspective has magically changed like this. During the 2016 campaign, as the unemployment rate continued to fall during the Obama recovery, Trump repeatedly insisted that the "real" rate was not 4% or 5% but 42%—or about twice the unemployment rate during the worst of the Great Depression. He immediately changed his mind when he inherited those numbers himself, calling them "GREAT AGAIN."

Why does this matter?

  • Whether a given level of growth is good or bad doesn't depend on who is president.
  • The economy of the United States is more important than Donald Trump's political needs.
  • Past a certain point, being unable to see any fault in yourself is a sign of mental illness.