Issues & Insights

Sorry Dems, This Is Trump’s Economic Boom, Not Obama’s — Here’s the Proof

The ongoing economic boom under President Trump has put Democrats in an increasingly tight bind. How do you justify removing Trump from office when the economy is doing so well on his watch?

Here’s how CNN’s Jake Tapper posed the question to presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar.

“Unemployment is the lowest it’s been since I was nine months old. You’re really not going to give President Trump any credit for that in terms of his tax cuts, deregulation or anything he’s done?”

He put basically the same question to fellow hopeful Cory Booker.

Both stuck to their talking points. The credit, they said, belongs to President Obama.

“I think that we have had policies in place starting with President Obama that have aided that recovery,” Klobuchar said.

Trump’s National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow, didn’t waste any time responding, telling Fox News later the same day that “What Mr. Booker and some others are saying is simply not true factually.”

Kudlow is right.

While the recession ended in June 2009 — just six months after President Obama took office and long before his stimulus money was spent — Obama presided over the weakest economic recovery in history.

By the time Obama left office, in fact, GDP was trillions of dollars below where it would have been had the recovery from the so-called Great Recession been average.

What’s more, in Obama’s last year in office, the economy was stagnating again, leading many to speculate about whether the country was in a permanent state of slow growth.

GDP growth decelerated throughout 2016. It went from 2.3% in Q2, to 1.9% in Q3 to 1.8% in Q4.

“There was a sharp slowdown in business investment, caused by an interrelated weakening in emerging markets, a drop in the price of oil and other commodities, and a run-up in the value of the dollar,” The New York Times reported.

Sentier Research, which tracks real household income on a monthly basis using census data, reports that real median family income didn’t budge from August 2015 to November 2016.

In addition, the stock market was flat all year, as was the unemployment rate.

Consumer and business confidence remained humdrum.

What’s happened since Trump took office is the very definition of a turnaround.

The stock market exploded as soon as the market had a chance to absorb the fact that pro-growth Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton. Confidence in the economy suddenly surged. It’s remained at high levels ever since. GDP growth has been accelerating.

As we pointed out in this space earlier, the economy created 5.2 million new jobs created in the 28 months Trump’s been in office. That’s not far behind Obama’s last 28 months, but comes at a time when economists had already declared the economy at full employment. Plus, the gains in manufacturing, construction and goods-producing jobs have outpaced those under Obama.

The unemployment rate began to steadily decline in 2017, to the point where it’s now as low as it’s been in 50 years. The rate of wage increases suddenly started to increase.

Democrats won’t admit this, and not just because it happened under Trump.

The reason they can’t credit Trump is that the turnaround was largely the result of Trump’s reversing Obama’s anti-growth agenda and implementing policies that today’s Democratic Party vehemently opposes: tax cuts and deregulation.

That leaves Dems with pretty much just two choices: Deny that there’s a strong economy and seem out of touch. Or try to give Obama the credit and look foolish.

Correction: The original version misstated job growth in President Obama’s last 28 months in office as 3.2 million (a mistake caught by an astute reader). That number was for jobs created in Obama’s last 16 months in office. Over the last 28 months of his administration, the economy created 5.7 million jobs. The article has been updated, and we regret the error.

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John Merline

Veteran journalist John Merline was Deputy Editor of Commentary and Opinion at Investor's Business Daily. Before IBD, he launched and edited the Opinion section of AOL News, and was a member of the editorial board of USA Today, where he continues to be a regular contributor. He’s been published in the Washington Post, National Review, Detroit News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Forbes, and numerous other publications. He is regular commentator on the One America News Network and on local talk radio. He got his start in journalism under the tutelage of M. Stanton Evans.


  • Need to check the dates on the graph; you have Trump taking office in 2007.

  • For a change, this false praise of obama*comes from other mouths beside his own. Look foolish ? Yes ! The little, pencil necked, muslim fraud has put the whole democRAT party in a position where they have no choice but to lie about his success (or lack of) as president and look like blind and stupid fools.
    When pt alongside obama’s* “you didn’t do that”, it fits like a glove. Just more self praise and plain, outright lies.
    *Lower Case Intentional

    is where I got the data. It might be wrong but I assume it is OK.
    5.121 million jobs were created from February 2017 through March 2019 or 197k per month. It appears you are giving Trump credit for January 2017 to get to 28 months. Seems like an inaccurate assumption but doesn’t change much.

    Obama’s last 26 months, had 5.6 million new jobs since you seemed to want to give January 2017’s 252k to Trump. you wrote ” compared with 3.2 million in Obama’s last 28 months. ” Now I know I only used 26 or 27 months but the number of jobs is 3 million MORE than you state in your story.
    Did I make a yuuge mistake?

    • Thank you for pointing that out! I had misread the table and only went back 16 months for Obama, not 28. The piece has been updated.

  • Here’s another bit of evidence, I think. If you look at a 5-year chart for the DOW, S&P, and NASDAQ, and focus on market volume, you’ll see a marked and sustained increase in volume for the DOW and S&P right after the election. The NASDAQ is pretty much the same. I think the increased volume, especially on the broad-measure S&P indicates business confidence, and more importantly business activity.

    Perhaps the NASDAQ stayed pretty much the same before and after the election because the Obama administration was so heavily invested in the tech sectors.

    Just my thoughts …

  • The best evidence for determining who deserves credit for economic performance for the last couple of years came from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman who, on election night, predicted a deep recession with no end in sight. His prediction was based on the assumption that Mr. Trump would reverse Mr. Obama’s policies, which he did, and the economy would crash as a result, which it did not.

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