As Donald Trump’s bragging about the economy reached a crescendo last fall, former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki provided a helpful reality check for the American people. “A buffoon could have kept the recovery going,” Psaki explained, “and in fact one has so far.” That Trump had inherited an Obama boom, an expansion which kept rolling into 2019, was indisputable. As the trend lines for gross domestic product, job creation, the unemployment rate, the major stock market indices, consumer confidence, median household income, and more confirmed, the American economy was on a very healthy path when Barack Obama handed over the controls to Trump on January 20, 2017.
But now, the buffoon in the Oval Office is apparently running out of luck. As predicted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and most observers, the small bump from the GOP’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” of December 2017 was short-lived. As also forecast, the hemorrhage of red ink caused by Trump’s windfall for the wealthy will not be: In 2020 the annual budget deficit will hit $1 trillion, double the Obama-era low in 2015. Under Trump, trillion-dollar deficits will continue for the foreseeable future. Worse still, CBO and other analysts are warning that Trump’s dangerously misguided trade war with China is hitting American consumers and the U.S. economy hard. Calendar-year growth is now pegged at 2.3%; in 2020 CBO is cautioning, GDP growth will only be 1.8%. With Germany and the U.K. already entering recession territory, economists are sounding the alarm that the United States could be next.
For the 45th president of the United States, the real culprit for these worrying economic developments can be found in his own mirror. But Trump’s ego, and the entire rationale for his 2020 re-election campaign, both depend on denying that inescapable truth. So Donald Trump is doing what he does: blaming someone else for his own obvious failures. His Federal Reserve chairman, the media, and, of course, Democrats, he insists, are guilty of trying to sabotage an American economy he wrongly calls the “best ever.” As he put it on August 15:
The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!
Four days later on August 19, a frustrated Trump thundered:
Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish!
It would be very selfish, indeed, had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted by declaring:
“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals [because] their storyline is that there must be some villain out there who’s keeping this administration from succeeding.
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for [him] to be a one-term president.”
But Nancy Pelosi didn’t say those things about President Trump. No, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said them about President Obama. And it was McConnell, along with his allies in the GOP-controlled House and the right-wing media, who engaged in unprecedented obstructionism and ceaseless subterfuge to torpedo the Obama Recovery.