Now that he’s in the White House, Donald Trump has decided that official unemployment numbers are no longer bogus but signs of his own greatness. However, as NPR points out this morning, the economy, for better and for worse, is chugging along about the same as it did prior to Trump’s occupation of the White House:
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, says some good things are happening these days, such as the surge in stock prices. Holtz-Eakin, who served under both Bush administrations and was an adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain, likes Trump’s focus on deregulation, which he thinks could help businesses.
But Holtz-Eakin says that on the whole, the economy isn’t really performing all that much differently than it has in the recent past.
“By and large, we still have the same strengths. We continue to see the unemployment rate fall. We continue to see jobs created. We continue to have the same weaknesses. We don’t see wages rising rapidly enough to greatly raise the standard of living,” he says.
It’s true that consumers and businesses are expressing more confidence in the economy. But so far there is no evidence they are spending any more than they were last year, he notes [Jim Zarroli, “Now That He’s President, Trump Is Sounding More Positive About the Economy,” NPR: Morning Edition, 2017.08.09].
Remember, assigning Presidents credit for economic outcomes is largely fallacious. But even if you can identify a causal relationship between Presidents and economic outcomes, the President has to enact policy to cause those outcomes, and Trump has enacted no meaningful economy-boosting policies.
Trump’s words appear to be boosting some companies. Missile-makers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are outperforming the market this week; so is Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, which makes iodine, which we use to treat radiation poisoning.