The State of the Union Is Bleak
Instead of fixing things as promised, Trump is making everything worse.
|Richard Hine||Feb 4|| 4|
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Why the “Trump Boom” Is Really a Bust
After three years, Trump is pinning his re-election hopes on the so-called “strength” of the economy. His message is based on a few simple talking points that, taken alone, sound kinda good if you don’t examine them too closely: Unemployment is low. The stock market is high. Wages are going up. What more could America want, right?
For people living in the real world, though, Trump’s pitch is just a bunch of lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Lies: Ivanka has “created 14 million new jobs.” Donald Trump, Economic Club of New York, November 2019.
Damned lies: “The United States is in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before.” Donald Trump, Davos, January 2020.
And statistics. “Wages are rising fastest… in the bottom quintile.” Ivanka Trump, CES, January 2020.
(That maybe statistically true. But Trump doesn’t deserve the credit. Higher wages for those at the bottom are being fueled by a patchwork of city and state minimum wage increases that predominately benefit workers in blue states. Meanwhile, the real value of the federal $7.25 minimum wage in states such as Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas has declined 17% since 2009.)
The reality is, Trump’s broken promises have caused economic pain across the nation, with red states and MAGA voters hit especially hard. Food stamps are being cut. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—along with coverage for pre-existing conditions—are all under threat. A coronavirus panic or actual pandemic could make economic conditions much, much worse. And, of course, because Trump has cut the CDC budget and eliminated crucial personnel, America is woefully unprepared to face the coronavirus threat.
The Stock Market Won’t Save Us
Nearly two-thirds of 40-somethings have less than $100,000 in retirement savings and 28% of those in their sixties have less than $50,000.
Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and corporations—which he promised would “skyrocket” the economy—have sent the debt and deficit soaring while GDP growth is actually slowing as we head into 2020. One of the main drivers of the stock market’s recent gains has been share buybacks by corporations that pump up valuations for investors without creating additional investment in jobs, R&D or facilities. Even though stocks are up, a coronavirus pandemic could have a major impact on the global economy. Which won’t be good news for anyone banking on continued gains in the stock market to help fund their retirement.
Meanwhile, many of the groups Trump specifically promised to help—including farmers, factory workers, coal miners and steel workers—have found that Trump’s promises have been all sizzle and no steak.
At the same time, middle class Americans are falling deeper into debt just to maintain their lifestyle. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported:
Consumer debt, not counting mortgages, has climbed to $4 trillion—higher than it has ever been even after adjusting for inflation.
For 38 million Americans who still live in poverty, things are getting worse not better, as this CBS This Morning video illustrates:
For those already struggling to put food on the table, Trump’s recent decision to cut 700,000 people from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (aka “food stamps”) will cause additional despair. As Mother Jones reported:
“These are folks who are already living on the edge,” says Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. She adds, “It is our national nutrition safety net and it serves 40 million Americans. I’ve never witnessed anything like this. It’s a deliberate attack.” Unsurprisingly, the rule will hit communities of color and people living in rural areas the hardest.
Mother Jones also notes that the ripple effect of cuts like these will cause further pain throughout entire communities, forcing grocery stores to close and worsening the quality of life for everyone.
For everyone not rich enough to afford the Mar-a-Lago initiation fee (which doubled the minute Trump took office), the State of the Union is bleak—and getting bleaker. If the richest country in the world were truly going through “an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” there would be no need to wage a war on the poor or cut earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare while continuing to amass more debt.
Here are some of the data points you won’t hear from Trump tonight or his huckster buddies on Fox News:
The Trump tax cuts were an absolute bust. They did nothing to boost the economy, which grew at 2.3% in 2019, a slower rate than Obama delivered in 2014 or 2015, a period that combined solid growth and substantial deficit reduction.
The $19 trillion debt Trump promised to eliminate in 8 years is now $23.2 trillion and growing.
GDP growth, already well below the 3% benchmark Trump promised but never delivered, is slowing as we head into 2020. His promise to unleash 5%-6% growth with his $2 trillion tax scam is now as worthless as a degree from Trump University.
Middle class families are maxing out their credit just to stand still.
Manufacturing is in a recession.
Farm bankruptcies are surging, despite Trump’s bailouts.
Coal mining companies are going bankrupt.
Steel workers are being laid off.
The wealth is not trickling down to the poor—and fractional gains in poverty wages still leave many people living in poverty even while working full-time.
Trump’s record on healthcare is abysmal. Despite his lies to the contrary, his Administration is still fighting in court to deny coverge to those with pre-existing conditions.
While he would never admit it out loud, even Trump knows how badly his economic policies are failing. That’s why he is already signalling that, instead of raising taxes on the rich so we can actually pay for things again, he’s planning to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in his second term. (All of which he previously promised not to touch.)
Trump’s State of the Union speech will undoubtedly be an occasion for him to congratulate himself for fixing problems he’s actually making worse. But, as always, facts will be in short supply. And what he doesn’t say will be as revealing as what he does.
Unprecedented from The Daily Edge is dedicated to exposing Trump’s and the GOP's corruption, cheating and conning. Because losing in 2020 is not an option.
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