2020 will continue Trump’s lying and incessant touting about an economy that has underperformed with the growth given him by PBO. Numbers artificially propped up by deficits and tax cuts will result in a potentially catastrophic and looming recession. Trump’s “trade war” has contributed to global slowing.
With the new year right around the corner, it’s worth considering what the world will look like a year from now. Our pace of change is, after all, light speed: 2020 could bring all sorts of crazy. This is true even if Donald Trump survives impeachment (which is likely) and even if he survives re-election (which is less likely, but still well within the realm of possibility).
We see through a glass darkly. Who would have predicted the Ukraine call that dominated the last half of 2019? Every day, it seems, brings us a new development, insane tweets, and new colorful characters being introduced to this drama. Why should next year be different?
A healthy, if chilling, reminder: Despite our gloominess about the future, this president has not yet been fully tested. Many of the events that could define 2020—the things that would likely determine electoral outcomes—are beyond our control. Right now, Trump is running on a very good economy. Indeed, that alone would probably be enough to guarantee the re-election of a normal incumbent president. But what happens if this economy begins to show signs of slowing? We should not root for this, but the trajectory of an economy matters, and a potential downturn could remove the best card that Trump is holding.
Is a recession coming in 2020 or 2021? Experts continue to debate the conflicting signals, but an equally telling question might be: How does the “Trump economy” compare to Barack Obama’s?
President Trump constantly refers to the economy with descriptors such as “strong,” “terrific” and the “greatest in the history of our country,” but a closer look at the data shows a mixed picture in terms of whether the economy is any better than it was in Obama’s final years. The economy is growing at about the same pace as it did in Obama’s last years, and unemployment, while lower under Trump, has continued a trend that began in 2011.