President Donald Trump desperately wants Americans to believe the economy was in tatters when he waltzed into the Oval Office, saying again recently that he was “given a very tough hand,” because when he “came up here, we had an economy that was going down.”
But this couldn't be further from the truth, as pointed out in The Washington Post, meaning Trump is “either lying or delusional”.
In the past 45 years, only one president has inherited a better economy than Trump did. That was George W. Bush, who took office at the tail end of the tech bubble, when unemployment was a mere 4.2 percent. Trump has been luckier, though, in that his term didn't begin just as an economic expansion was ending. On the contrary, the slow and steady recovery that President Barack Obama kick-started with the stimulus has continued under Trump — just a little slower and a little steadier than before.
The economy is operating as one might expect, but it has naught to do with Trump's policies.
Indeed, the much touted tax cuts are not providing their promised boost and it's likely they never will:
The truth is that, so far at least, Trump's signature accomplishment, a $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations, has mostly increased payouts to shareholders, as its critics said it would — providing little boost to the economy, because wealthy investors don't tend to spend as much — and not increased business investment, as its supporters promised. Which, if it continues to be the case, would mean it wouldn't ever promote much faster growth.
So where does this leave Trump's claim that he is turning around a dying economy?
In about the three same place as his claims as a businessman:
He inherited far more than most people could ever dream but tried to convince everyone that it was far less than it obviously was. Which is to say that the “very, very small” million-dollar loan he admits he received from his father is just like the “very tough hand” he got from Obama: misleading at best and fictitious at worst when it comes to describing actual events.
The way Trump describes himself as triumphing over some of the least-adverse economic circumstances a new president has ever faced makes you wonder what he would have said about someone who managed to turn the highest unemployment rate a president has been bequeathed in the postwar period into the longest streak of consecutive job growth on record. Oh, wait, we know the answer to that one. Trump would have said that “the economy cannot recover” with that person “in office” — because that person was Obama.