July 6, 2018

There Is No Trump Economic “Record”

Re: My new article on Medium...

I know I mainly write about corporate sustainability here, but the world has changed. The sustainability agenda will struggle in the U.S. if we don't change who's in power so my focus is increasingly on the upcoming election and making the case against Trump and his enablers.

But the myths about Trump and his "leadership" abound. As someone with an economics degree and MBA, I find one particular strand of Trump support to be frustrating: the false idea that he's responsible for a historic economy and stock market.

It should be obvious that no president even remotely controls the economy or the market -- there are billions of decisions and influences on both. But Trump supporters (and the man himself) keep pointing to the market, in part to excuse all of his failures of character. So if that's the metric supporters want to operate on, let's see if they're even right.

I pulled lots of numbers on stock performance, unemployment, and GDP growth and posted my analysis on medium.com here. The core chart that has been going around Twitter and getting some people upset is this one...

Stock%20performance%201.jpg

Many people, including Fox Business News, have repeatedly pointed to Trump's performance since Inauguration. I think that's already an absurd standard since a president's policies can't possibly interact with the economy for many months. But ok -- by that metric, Obama did better. But some on Twitter are complaining that Inauguration day is an 'unfair' starting point and we should use election day. By that measure the market under trump has grown faster than it did under Obama -- so far -- but the market was in freefall at that point in 2008, so I'm not sure how "fair" that is. But for comparison, here's the same chart starting from election day...

Stock%20performance%204%20%28from%20election%29.jpg

...and one with all 4 of the last presidents over their full terms (election day to election day).

Stock%20performance%205%20%28from%20election%29.jpg

I'm quite sure that most people don't realize how well the market did under Obama and Clinton since there's a common (but wildly incorrect) narrative that Democratic leaders are somehow bad for the economy.

I don't hold out much hope that facts will sway Trump supporters, but maybe they'll engage Dems and moderates who need good information. Anyway, all that said, please check out the full article on medium and have a happy week of the 4th...

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