After March Jobs Report, it’s Obama’s Economy Again
This is pretty rich, even for Trump apologists. Danny Vink:
“Democrats’ bogus attacks on the March jobs report.”
“They’re going after Trump for disappointing numbers—but it’s still Obama’s economy.”
After the February jobs report came out, Trump and his supporters took a victory lap. But after disappointing March numbers-it’s Obama’s economy.
Vink contradicts himself too:
“But how bad is it, really? If you dig deeper into the report, it doesn’t look nearly so bad. In fact, it starts looking pretty good. The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent—and for a good reason, as more people joined the labor force. Annual wage growth was 2.7 percent, not a great figure but above inflation; the labor force participation rate held steady at 63 percent, a hidden positive trend for a number that should be falling as baby boomers retire. Dig even deeper and there is more good news: A broader measure of unemployment—the U-6 rate—declined substantially, from 9.2 to 8.9 percent, reaching its lowest level since December 2007. And the unemployment rate for people who haven’t graduated from high school fell from 7.9 to 6.8 percent.”
Vink needs to choose an argument: is it still Obama’s economy or is it that the economy is doing great and then-of course, is all due to Trump?
“Of course, Democrats are not the only ones to have flip-flopped on the state of the economy. After the release of the February jobs report, which showed strong job growth, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked whether Trump still disbelieved federal job statistics, as he repeatedly said as a candidate during the presidential election. “I talked to the president prior to this,” Spicer answered with a laugh, “and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.'”
“In one sense, though, the Democratic reversal is more surprising. For all intents and purposes, this is still Obama’s economy—at least, as much as it ever was, since presidents have a limited impact on the economy. It would have been particularly hard for Trump to have any serious impact on the economy by March: The stock market may have risen on the hopes of tax reform and infrastructure spending, but neither policy has passed Congress, and it’s not clear how they will. His travel ban is tied up in the court and he has signed few pieces of substantive legislation. Even government agencies aren’t doing that much, still awaiting nominations for hundreds of political appointees. The laws Obama signed and regulations he issued are largely still in place, already ingrained in the broader economy.”
I do agree that it’s early to be saying anything about the Trump economy yet. We can talk about Trump foreign policy in the Middle East which is killing three times as many civilians as Trump did.
But it’s early on the economy. But why does Vink think it’s worse for the Democrats to blame Trump for March numbers than for Trump to take credit for February?
Anyway, it’s early. Though, interestingly some believe Trump’s draconian immigration policy is already hurting growth:
“There are weaknesses in this economy that are surprising people,” he said on “Squawk Box.” He predicts first-quarter economic growth below 1.5 percent.
“If you talk to the people in the hotel industry, there is a weakness right now” due to fewer tourists in the United States, Fink said, blaming President Donald Trump‘s immigration policy for making people from some parts of the world feel unwelcome.
I disagree with Fink on this though:
“Gridlock in Congress — most recently evident in the recent failure of House Republicans to get enough support for their Obamacare replacement bill — is also contributing to uncertainty, Fink said.”
“The stock market would have some “setbacks” if Trump and GOP leaders are unable to deliver on the promises of broad tax reform and “true deregulation,” said Fink, a member of the president’s Strategy and Policy Forum, an advisory group of CEOs chaired by Blackstone‘s Steve Schwarzman.
If anything has been proven, it’s that the market is fine with gridlock. Obama was basically a lame duck as far as legislative action is concerned after 2011. The economy did fine during that time. True, what’s different about Trump is he’s a lame duck with his own party in Congress.
But while that’s embarrassing for him, it won’t hurt the market.
“Back in February, I did an Econlog post predicting that not much would change. Let’s look at some recent events:
1. Healthcare reform failed—we are sticking with Obamacare.
2. Early (conservative) enthusiasm about the economy has faded, as job growth for the first three months has been slower than under Obama’s last few years in office. The Great Stagnation will continue.
3. Alt-right enthusiasm for a US exit from the Middle East and a bromance with Putin seems to be fading.
4. There has been some deregulation of coal, but most utilities are not expected to go back to coal (with natural gas prices so low.)
As Sumner notes, the Deep State is a good thing:
1. When someone like Trump becomes President, it’s actually good to be living in the age of complacency. A Trump elected in 1932 would have been a much scarier proposition.
2. The establishment (now called the deep state) is a good thing, as it reduces the risk of a dangerous demagogue causing major problems.
Shaid Hamid who is always doing concern trolling that apologizes for Trump, has argued this is somehow unfair to Trump voters.
This seems ‘unfair’ only if you believe the President is-or should be-all powerful. But in fact there is a civil society and political culture, an adversarial press, the judiciary that talked Trump out of the idea that he’s all powerful pretty quickly, and, yes, the Deep State.
This is reassuring. To have a system where the Chief Executive can change everything overnight is a real risk. Potentially a good thing if you have a highly ethical and visionary leader. But what if you have a Trump? Then you have to be grateful for the permanent government.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will