Over the past few weeks, a non-stop series of escalating disasters have plagued the Trump presidency. In no particular order…
Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of multiple federal crimes, and he faces the start of yet another criminal trial September 24.
Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including violating campaign finance laws by paying off porn star Stormy Daniels to conceal her affair with Trump from voters ten days before the 2016 election. Worse, Cohen claimed he did so at the personal direction of Donald Trump, making the president an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal crime.
Long-time Trump confidants like National Enquirer chairman David Pecker and Trump Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg have been granted immunity, flipped on Trump and are cooperating with the Mueller Russia investigation.
Excerpts from a new book by two time Pulitzer Prize-winning Watergate reporter Bob Woodward revealed the catastrophic dysfunction inside the Trump White House, portraying Trump’s ignorance, petulance and impulsiveness as a genuine threat to national security, causing his own staff to treat him like a toddler with a loaded gun.
An anonymous member of the Trump administration penned a damning op-ed for The New York Times that confirmed Bob Woodward’s reporting, explaining that Trump’s inner circle is actively protecting the country from Trump’s worst impulses, and describing Trump as amoral, anti-democratic and unfit for office.
In a shocking tweet, Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for bringing criminal charges against two “popular” Republicans who were amongst Trump’s first supporters, furious that it might put two Republican congressional seats in jeopardy.
That one bears repeating: the President of the United States literally suggested that the Justice Department should ignore Republican crimes if it increases their chances of keeping the House. This is the kind of crap that happens in banana republics – and now Trump is importing it to America.
Yet despite all that chaos and corruption, die-hard Trump supporters insist we’re still “winning” because of the fabulous booming economy, which they firmly believe is so much better than the lackluster economy under President Obama…
Except is that really true? Is the economy under “business genius” Donald Trump such a dramatic improvement over the “limping” economy under economic amateur Barack Obama? And by what metrics, exactly? Job growth? The stock market? GDP? Inflation? The trade deficit? The national debt? Deficit spending?
Let’s start with job creation. Just last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. economy created 201,000 jobs in August 2018. Pretty terrific, right? That means in the first 19 months of Trump’s presidency, he oversaw the creation of 3,583,000 jobs.
By comparison, President Obama in his last 19 months in office created 3,960,000 jobs – which means that Obama created 370,000 more jobs in his last 19 months than Trump created in his first 19 months.
That’s despite Trump’s national debt-exploding tax cuts, which were sold on the premise that they’d unshackle the untapped power of the U.S. economy and create a dramatic surge in job growth. Or at least, that was the trickle-down B.S. the tax cuts were promised to deliver.
Instead, the tax cuts fueled record stock buybacks that padded corporations’ bottom-lines and made the rich richer, while working class joes got an average 2.8% wage increase, which was mostly wiped out by 2% rising inflation. As a result, average Americans received a whopping raise of less-than-a-penny per dollar. Hooray!
What about the stock market? Skyrocketing, no? Actually, it’s flat for the year: at the end of January 2018, the Dow closed at 26,149. Last Friday, it closed at 25,916. We’re still playing catch up, just trying to reach the numbers we hit at the beginning of this year.
But look at the GDP! 4.2% for last quarter! So much better than Obama ever accomplished, right? Actually, no: from 2009 through 2014, Obama beat those quarterly GDP numbers four times, hitting 4.5%, 4.7%, 4.9% and 5.1%
Remember, Trump’s 4.2% GDP is only for one quarter – Q2 2018. Coincidentally, that’s the same quarter American businesses were rushing to make moves before Trump’s ill-fated tariffs kicked in and screwed up international trade, thus artificially goosing the GDP numbers.
Inflation rate? The worst in 6 years.
The U.S. trade deficit? The highest in 10 years.
The national debt? On the day Trump took office, the debt was at $19.9 trillion. 19 months into his term, it’s at $21.4 trillion. That translates to Trump adding over $263 billion to the national debt every single month since he became president.
Deficit spending? Under Obama from 2009 to 2014, deficit spending was reduced by two-thirds. By the final year of his presidency, Obama shrunk the deficit down to $587 billion.
Under Trump, deficit spending is “booming” as well: it was up to $665 billion in 2017, and the Congressional Budget Office reports that deficit spending has already hit $895 billion for the first 11 months of fiscal 2018. According to the White House’s budget projections for 2019, federal deficits will again top $1 trillion… and according to the CBO, it will stay there through 2020.
Also, with federal revenues shrinking thanks to Trump’s mammoth tax cuts for himself and his fellow elite, there’s no end to the red ink. So much for the once-again debunked conservative fairy tale that tax cuts pay for themselves.
But hey, that rock-bottom unemployment rate! The “Mighty” Trump has reduced the unemployment rate from 4.8% when he took office in January 2017 to just 3.9% now – that’s nearly a full percentage point lower in only 19 months!
Of course that’s so much more impressive than when Obama reduced the unemployment rate from 5.8% in November 2014 to 4.7% in May 2016, dropping a full percentage point lower in… only 19 months.
While the economy is doing well under Trump – largely thanks to inheriting Obama’s tailwinds – the idea that Trump’s economic performance is blowing away Obama’s is just hyperbolic baloney the right wing media has been feeding their base to help them rationalize their continued support of a repugnant, divisive, corrupt and unchecked presidency.
Fortunately, we have a chance to provide checks on this lawless president and introduce real accountability on November 6, when the midterm elections take place. And that is the last thing Trump wants.