The “Booming Economy” that isn’t.
Whenever the Trump Media Circus, GOP members of the House or Senate or the “stand by their man” faithful Trump voters recognize that Trump is not on solid ground with the general public, they go to the “booming economy” card.
Trump’s radioactive behavior, his dishonesty and his onslaught against the rule of law, are all mitigated, they say, if the economy is as hunky dory as it is. That’s all that really matters, they would argue.
“You can’t remove a president from office that has created a booming economy.”
The economy is not a mantra that if you chant it repeatedly, the fundamentals will realign themselves to the aspirations and yearning intentions of the person chanting it.
And of course – “hope” has come back into popular favor with these people, after having trashed it for 8 years when it was the motto of the Obama presidency. Sometimes, no matter how much something is repeated, it doesn’t change the basic reality.
That doesn’t mean you won’t hear more of same for the remainder of the year. If in fact, the economy is not “booming” – what is it actually doing?
Well, recently, we published a report about the accumulation of household debt in America and the storm clouds it is producing that hang over the nation’s financial health. The magnitude of this household debt, is a topic that the mass media reporting on the economy shies away from, because the data is contradictory to the soft data they prefer to highlight as they sing soothing trail songs to consumers to prevent a stampede.
At this point, the household debt is so close to $14 Trillion, you can reach out and touch it, though you may prefer not to. Here was the article that covered that aspect:
As a bookend to that, Tony Wyman has written an essay about how a failure in leadership has badly fumbled an opportunity to create an economic recovery in this country that would genuinely touch every segment of society and be self sustaining. What we have is something altogether different.
Here is the piece in full:
Further undermining the conventional narrative that economic conditions are as rosy as the daily messaging from the financial media, is the report issued in November from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
The report alerts readers to the economic indicators they have examined, that show that as many as nine states have been identified as heading into a downturn within the next six months. It’s worth looking at what the repercussions for the president’s re-election prospects might be in context to this.
Leading the list is West Virginia, but significantly, Pennsylvania is noted by them as being poised to experience a decline that could equal or exceed levels not seen since May 2009. Trump won both states, but while his margin in West Virginia was overwhelming, his percentage of victory in Pennsylvania was razor thin – a negligible .072 or 44,000 votes statewide.
The remainder of the votes that gave Trump the edge in electoral votes nationally, were spread between Wisconsin and Michigan, both of which, like Pennsylvania, have been experiencing significant hits to their economies from the loss of trade revenue with China.
The other states projected to experience economic reversals are Delaware, Montana, Oklahoma, Vermont, New Jersey, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Connecticut. Montana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Kentucky stand out as alarm bells for the Trump campaign as they are all states he won in 2016.
But there are more possible political lane closures for Trump, based on a review of data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
New Hampshire is a state that Trump’s political strategists have been touting as a possible pick up state, because the numbers were quite close in 2016. New Hampshire was chugging along in the first quarter of 2019 at an 8.6 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth clip, but when the data was tallied for the 2nd quarter, the engine stalled at a startling 1.4% rate.
Most likely, that state is off the pick up column now. It’s just 4 electoral votes, but they all add up on one side of the ledger or the other. Of considerably deeper concern to the Trump camp, is Ohio, which represents 18 electoral votes. Ohio went from a so-so 2.3 GDP in the same time frame, to 1.3 in the next reporting period. Job growth there is lagging even more than elsewhere in the region.
Trump is not going to be able to credibly ask swing voters in that state, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”. Rudy Fictenbaum, writing in the Columbus Dispatch, sums up the attitude of many Ohioans after 3 years of Trump:
While this may not be the view of all likely voters in Ohio, it could very well represent the views among the ranks of independents, which in recent polling, are moving away from Trump by double digits.
The Trump campaign cannot afford to have Ohio in play, but neither can it afford to have Florida in play – and in play it may be if projections of slowing growth materialize in the run up to November.
The broader national picture in terms of what has just been reported, paints a dismal picture for Trump’s “booming economy” narrative.
- The Commerce Department just released data that details a slowing down trend in the economy during Trump’s term in office. Whereas GDP growth in the U.S. was an unimpressive 2.4 in 2017, ticked up to 2.9, but never hit 3 percent in 2018, it plummeted to 2.3 in 2019.
- Worse yet, the fourth quarter slowed to 2.1%. Additional indicators of trouble ahead are that while the dollar value of the national GDP is $21.7 Trillion, the national debt is racing towards the $24 Trillion mark.
- Given the fact that American consumers are accountable to 68% of the national GDP, the slowdown in consumer spending from 3.2 in the third quarter to 1.8 percent in the final three months of 2019.
- Whereas Trump made many idle boasts about being able to boost GDP into the 4, 5 or 6 percent range, by virtue of “Trumphoria” alone, no such results have materialized, nor has his tax avoidance windfall to corporations and 1%ers produced measurable results in the GDP or deficit reduction.
- Wage growth at best, has workers at the low end of the economic strata, treading water at best. Disposable spending is down nearly by half, from 2.9 to 1.5 in the fourth quarter.