America’s 45th president lead his campaign with assuring promises of an improving economy. Two years into his term, America now wonders if former businessman Donald Trump delivered. Well, it depends.
“There’s a big difference between the level of economic performance; the direction of change in the economy; and the pace of change”, according to senior economics correspondent for The New York Times Neil Irwin.
If American economists were to look only at levels of economic activity, it would be quite safe to say that Trump unleashed the holy grail of providence upon the nation. Let’s start with the basics: there are five main ways to measure an economy’s health: growth, jobs, wages, inflation, and debt. The GDP, Gross Domestic Product, is pretty much the total value of everything produced in a country. Under the Trump Administration, increased the GDP by three percent. That’s roughly three trillion dollars and ten million jobs. Historically speaking, however, per person GDP growth trends are expected to some degree. It is not uncommon that workers develop greater levels of productivity over time, within the same economy.
That is not to say that things have not changed- because they have. Today, America has the largest small business optimism since the 80’s and consumer confidence is at a 17 year high. Unemployment rates went down in the first year of Trump’s term, and the US trade deficit dropped by over 50 billion dollars. Even with all this, politicians and economists generally agree that the US might owe credit to someone beyond Trump: Trump’s tongue.
The president’s severe optimism regarding economic prospers may very well be a leading cause in consumer and producer confidence. It is far easier to take a business gamble if the economy is painted solid enough to carry it.
It’s not all sunshine and tax cuts in this Trumpian America, however. According to Heather Long, an economic correspondent for the Washington Post, “The problem for Trump is that it’s not getting much better. Wage growth is still hovering around 2.6 to 2.8 percent, which is barely above inflation. That’s far short of the 4 percent wage growth during much of the 1990s.”
Economists have even gone far enough to point out the intersectionality of the US economy- if American stocks are doing well, it’s because the rest of the country is too.
Lisa Cook, former Obama Administration said, “We set in motion what you see now. You cannot create an economy overnight”. Though things are certainly ramping up, only time will reveal if Administration opened up a money machine or will soon approach a relentless stagnation.