How Is The Trump Economy Doing?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on the economy during the past two years.

The article reports:

President Trump has had a tumultuous two years in office, but as he starts to ramp up his reelection campaign, he can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had held steady at 3.8%. That brings the average unemployment rate for the first 26 months of Trump’s presidency, from February 2017 through March 2019, to 4.1%.

Starting with the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, there has never been a president who oversaw such a robust employment market at this point in his presidency. This is demonstrated in the chart below. The official BLS unemployment data go back to 1948, and thus is not available for the comparable period in the Harry S. Truman era or earlier.

Since the economy is a strong player in presidential elections, these numbers are important.

The article concludes:

The strong economic performance will also be a test of a lot of models predicting the outcome of elections. Many analysts rely heavily on the state of the economy when predicting whether an incumbent will get reelected. However, typically, when the economy is strong, it is also associated with a solid presidential approval rating. Yet Trump has polled consistently lower than other presidents, despite the strong economy.

For instance, take Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, whose unemployment rates came closest to Trump, at 4.4% and 4.5%, respectively. At the comparable points in their presidencies, according to Gallup, Eisenhower was polling at 71 percent and Nixon, while less popular, was still at 50%. In contrast, Trump is currently polling at 39%.

That’s why predicting the 2020 election is so perilous, especially with the Democratic nomination battle so wide open. It’s easy to come up with a scenario in which Trump loses reelection despite having the strongest presidential term for employment in recorded history, because he turns off voters in many other ways. On the other hand, it’s also possible to imagine an outcome in which the strength of the economy convinces voters to get past their objections with Trump and stay the course rather than risk radical change being promised by Democrats.

The strong economy may be the reason the Democrats are trying to get so much mileage out of the Mueller Report. It may be their only hope.

An Unbelievable Temper Tantrum

America needs tax reform. Our current tax system is a tribute to lobbyists and special interests in Washington. It is not pro-growth and does not encourage Americans to save and plan for their futures. There is pretty much universal agreement that the tax code needs to be reformed. But the process of reform has run up against a truism stated by Harry S. Truman, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” The plan to reform the tax code has encountered opposition based not on its worth, but on politics–the Democrats don’t want President Trump to achieve any success, and also, part of the Democrats success as a party is in class warfare. Cleaning up the tax code might have an impact on those Democratic voters that receive more money from the government than they contribute. That is the actual reason the Democrats are going to fight any changes in the tax code. Now for the reason they will give (because it works politically).

From a Thursday editorial in the Investor’s Business Daily:

Taxes: Democrats say they won’t work with President Trump on tax reform unless he first releases his tax returns. This has to be the lamest excuse for not fixing the tax code we’ve ever heard.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week that “if he doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done.”

Democrats say that seeing Trump’s tax returns is critical to tax reform, because otherwise how would anyone know if changes to the tax code will benefit Trump.

As Schumer put it, “releasing his own full tax returns (would) erase any doubt of where his priorities lie.”

Not coincidentally, this argument has started popping up in newspaper opinion pages at the same time.

USA Today posted an op-ed on Saturday by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, arguing that “before this administration even thinks of proposing any changes to the tax code, we should see what tax code provisions the president himself has been and is taking advantage of, and how much tax he has paid in the past few years.”

Some of President Trump’s tax returns have already been released. Also, we just finished eight years of a President who never released his college transcripts, or an explanation of why he had a Connecticut Social Security Number when he has never lived in Connecticut. The fuss over President Trump’s tax returns is simply a political red herring.

The article concludes:

Besides, the entire point of doing tax reform is to broaden the base and radically simplify the tax code — taking away the loopholes and other tax gimmicks that Democrats are sure Trump has used or will use, in exchange for lower and flatter tax rates.

The tax reform plan that Congress comes up with will have to be judged on those merits, not on how it might, possibly, conceivably affect one person many years from now.

Simplifying the code in this way will also make seeing a politicians’ tax returns — Trump’s or anyone else’s — even less important, since tax liability will be a straightforward calculation and there will be far fewer ways to dodge the tax man.

The real story here isn’t Trump’s tax returns. It’s the fact that Democrats don’t want to engage on tax reform because their highly agitated liberal base doesn’t want them to lift a finger to work with Trump on any issue.

Tax reform is vital to restoring economic growth and vitality. No one denies that. If tax reform fails — and the economy suffers as a result — it won’t be Trump’s tax returns that are to blame. It will be shortsighted Democratic lawmakers kowtowing to the extremists in their party.

The Democratic Party using the tax return issue to block tax reform is another reason that the Party is rapidly losing voters. As someone who feels that the Democratic Party has become a party that seeks to divide Americans and create divisions among us, I am not unhappy that they are losing support.