Letter: My Numbers

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Letter to the Editor

My friend, Lawrence Weisdorn, recently wrote a letter to the editor extolling the reduction in the unemployment rate during Trump’s first three years. Selected statistics are strange in that they rarely tell the whole story. 

Yes, unemployment is at historical lows for almost every group, but during President Obama’s last three years in office, more jobs were created than during Trump’s first three years—that is also true. 

When Trump proclaims we are having the “best economy ever,” he is exaggerating (or, you could say, lying). The broadest measure of economic growth is the gross domestic product, frequently referred to as GDP. 

Although Trump predicted that with his trillion-dollar tax cut, which overwhelmingly benefited the rich, the GDP would grow to 4 percent, GDP has grown under Trump at a slower rate than in the final three years of the Obama administration. During the most recent quarter, GDP grew at an anemic 2.1 percent rate while generating a trillion dollar annual deficit in 2019, the highest ever recorded for a year not impacted by a recession.

Yes, the stock market is reaching new highs, in part caused by the asset bubble that negligible interest rates foster. (When interest rates are low, people traditionally take greater risk, such as investing in the stock market, to generate a return on their money.) 

But when we experience an economic downturn, and we always do at some point, by significantly lowering interest rates and increasing the deficit, the Trump administration has left us with limited tools to fight the next recession.

Burt Ross