James Shott / November 6, 2018

The Economy’s Strong Performance Has Trump Enemies All Flummoxed

Citing President Donald Trump’s “nativist fear” in the opening paragraph of an article in The New York Times titled “Republicans Have a Humming Economy to Tout, but Trump Rhetoric Muddies the Message,” writers Astead W. Herndon and Sydney Ember proceeded to analyze the economy of Trump’s second year.

Citing President Donald Trump’s “nativist fear” in the opening paragraph of an article in The New York Times titled “Republicans Have a Humming Economy to Tout, but Trump Rhetoric Muddies the Message,” writers Astead W. Herndon and Sydney Ember proceeded to analyze the economy of Trump’s second year.

The article does a passable job of showing the strength of the economy, and it fairly criticizes Trump’s penchant for careless or objectionable language and how it interferes with good news.

Here are some reminders of the economy’s strength:

  • 250,000 jobs were added in October. Hotels and restaurants added 42,000 jobs; health care companies hired 36,000 workers; manufacturers filled 32,000 jobs; and construction companies took on 32,000 workers.

  • The unemployment rate is 3.7%.

  • Average hourly earnings have risen 3.1% over the last year.

  • Third-quarter GDP is +3.5%.

However, this comment from Herndon and Ember is an attention-getter: “President Trump’s blistering message of nativist fear has become the dominant theme of the campaign’s last days…”

“Nativist” clearly implies that Trump favors the interests of Americans, as if it is wrong for the leader of a country to favor that nation over others.

Adding the word “fear,” however, drives the article over the cliff. It charges Trump with being afraid of immigrants and fearful of the country allowing people to immigrate here. That’s an interesting position to hold for a man who has an immigrant wife. It’s equally as foolish as the criticism that he is anti-Semitic — his son-in-law is Jewish, and the daughter who married him has adopted Judaism.

As Herndon and Ember are reporters, neither having psychology or psychiatry credentials, their analysis of the president is immediately thrown open to suspicion of reportorial bias, which, of course, is unheard of at the Times (cough, cough).

To any thinking person, the idea that we should at long last secure our borders and tighten up immigration policy to prevent gang members, murderers, drug dealers, child traffickers, and other undesirables from getting into the country is a no-brainer.

Not content to go quietly into that good night like his predecessors have sensibly done, Barack Obama, the blessedly former president, is making the rounds criticizing his successor.

Since Election Day 2016, when Trump was declared the winner, the economy has been doing great, and as time has passed that performance has only gotten better. But Obama claims to have started it all. “Where do you think that started?” he asked an audience.

Obama took office in January 2009, as the recession was winding down. The Great Recession lasted 18 months, less than half that of the Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta called the recovery “atypical and very weak compared to other post World War II recoveries.” Obama’s policies were responsible for this.

After a recession the economy will eventually produce a weak recovery pretty much on its own, but it needs help to prosper. Like a car out of gas at the top of a hill, it can roll toward the filling station on its own until it hits flat land. Then it needs help. Under Obama’s watch, he used the brake on the downhill roll and didn’t push after that. And that is his basis for taking credit for today’s good economy.

What has transpired since Trump won the 2016 election had nothing to do with anything Obama did, because the results we see today came from doing the opposite. Remember Obama saying this? “When somebody says … that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? … What magic wand do you have?”

Trump’s response: “Here, hold my coffee!”

Obama now defends the thousands of people traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border with the idea of busting through our border as they did in Guatemala and Mexico.

“They’re trying to convince everybody to be afraid of a bunch of impoverished, malnourished refugees,” Obama said, imitating a contestant in a stand-up comedy tryout.  “They’re telling you the existential threat to America is a bunch of poor refugees 1,000 miles away," he added. "They’re even taking our brave troops away from their families for a political stunt at the border. And the men and women of our military deserve better than that.”

As poet Browning said (sort of), “How do I deceive thee? Let me count the ways.”

  • Impoverished and malnourished? It’s no picnic, but people provide food along the way and often transportation, thanks to their financial backers.

  • A serious threat? Yes. Existential? No. Obama grossly exaggerated.

  • A bunch of poor refugees? Some of the 5,000-7,000 no doubt are; some, perhaps many, surely are not.

  • Taking troops away from their family? Troops deploy. They are sent places, as Obama surely remembers from sending them to the border and to Eastern Europe.

The Democrats’ desperation is palpable. They’ve resorted to threats, intimidation, exaggeration, and untruths trying to save their party in today’s election and to save the country from the good things that have occurred since that great Election Night in 2016.

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