As the year begins, it is a natural impulse to look back before we look forward. For many of us, the year 2016 was encapsulated nicely by the John Oliver bit interviewing people in Times Square (“F you 2016 and 2017 you don’t look so great either so F you too!”), but for the minority of American citizens who voted for Donald Trump, 2016 was a triumphant year. They deserve to revel in their victory and as Trump himself declared in Orlando on December 16th “You people were vicious, violent, screaming… but now basking in the glory of your victory.” A lot has been made about the “post fact” political realities, but there is one place where facts can be an undeniable measure of reality and political energy: the economy.
Trump and his supporters claimed that the Obama economy was a “disaster”, so let’s look at the economic facts as they existed when Obama took office and as Trump takes office so we can have an objective measure of the Trump economy.
In 2009, when President Obama took office the unemployment rate was 9.5% (the worst in 34 years), it is now less than 5%.
In 2009 the GDP was – 5.4%, it is now +1%.
In 2009 the poverty rate was 14.3% and climbing, it is now 13.5% and declining.
In January 2009 the Dow Jones average was 7,949.09 and falling, it is now nearly 20,000 and rising.
In 2009, the real wages of Americans were stagnant, in 2016 real wages have seen the first increase since 1979.
The budget deficit in 2009 was $1.4 trillion (an increase from a $236 billion dollar surplus from the Clinton years), in 2016 the deficit is $ 439 billion.
So, based on economic facts, if Trump is to be as successful as the “disastrous” Obama, he must decrease unemployment to 0%, boost the GDP 6.4%, the Dow Jones should be at least 31,941, create a budget surplus of nearly $1 trillion. And the man who also said that the minimum wage was too high, must somehow continue to raise real wages.
So let’s give him a chance to measure up to President Obama…