Jeanette Strong: Greatest economy in history

“I've been around for a long time. And it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans. Now, it shouldn't be that way. But if you go back, I mean it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats,” Donald Trump, March 21, 2004 interview.
“My Administration and I built the greatest economy in history, of any country,” President Donald Trump, Aug. 18, 2020.
Despite the economic crash which occurred under former President Donald Trump, he and his followers still claim Trump built “the greatest economy in history.” Is that true? What do the figures say?
When Trump became president, the U.S. was experiencing the longest economic recovery in our history. The recovery began in July 2009 and lasted for 127 months, through January 2020. Trump benefitted from this recovery even though he didn’t create it. (Forbes, Feb. 17, 2020)
To put this in job creation terms, in 2018, Trump’s best year of job creation, about 2.31 million jobs were created. Under President Barack Obama, in 2014, more than 3 million jobs were created; in 2015, 2.72 million; and in 2016, over 2.34 million.
In eight years, Obama created 11.6 million jobs. More jobs were created in Obama’s final three years than in Trump’s first three years, before the pandemic hit.
How many jobs did Trump create in his four years? He had a net loss of 2.9 million jobs, the first president since President Herbert Hoover to leave office with fewer jobs than when he came in. Trump even referenced Hoover in that March 2004 interview: “…we've had some pretty bad disasters under the Republicans. Including a thing called the Depression.”
How about Gross Domestic Product? Trump projected a GDP of over 4 percent. “And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.” (Presidential debate, Oct. 19, 2016.)
How close did he get? His annualized overall GDP growth averaged 1.6 percent. To compare, Obama’s annualized growth was 2.1 percent, with several quarters over 5 percent, and President Bill Clinton’s was 3.7 percent. Clearly Trump fell far short of his goal.
One issue Trump was very vocal about was the international trade deficit. Trump believed that if Americans bought more from certain countries than we sold, we were falling behind. He promised to reduce the trade deficit and put us ahead.
How did that work out? In 2020, the U.S. trade deficit was the highest it had been since 2008. It increased 40.5 percent from 2016, during Trump’s four years.
The national debt is another issue Republicans are talking about and Trump promised to fix. In a March 31, 2016, interview with Bob Woodward, Trump said he would eliminate the national debt. When asked how long that would take, he said, “I would say over a period of eight years.”
Trump reaffirmed that promise with Sean Hannity on Fox News on July 27, 2018: “We have $21 trillion in debt. When this (the 2017 tax cut) really kicks in, we’ll start paying off that debt like it’s water.” Instead, the debt grew from $19.9 trillion on Jan. 20, 2017, to $27.7 trillion, a 40 percent increase. One more broken promise.
So, under Trump, net job losses, a weak GDP, and increases in the trade deficit and the national debt.
How does President Joe Biden compare, even with the pandemic still raging? In his first seven months in office, Biden created almost 5 million new jobs; job growth continues.
The stock market is performing well. According to Forbes, Sept. 25, 2021: “…by President Trump’s favorite measure of success President Biden’s post-election stock market gains have beaten Trump’s equivalent 10 plus month’s returns… The stock market has not crashed under Biden as Trump predicted.”
Other indicators, including GDP, are also doing well.
What about Trump’s observation regarding Democratic presidents? Forbes, Nov. 7, 2016, said: “The U.S. economy has performed better when the president of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, almost regardless of how one measures performance. For many measures, including real GDP growth (on which we concentrate), the performance gap is both large and statistically significant.”
History proves we are better off economically under Democratic presidents. If Republicans care about the American people, they will cooperate with Democrats, instead of obstructing, to make our economy work for everyone.
If they’ll do that, our future will be healthy and prosperous. With that hope, Happy New Year to all!
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at


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