How do Democrats sell their policies when the economy is doing well and unemployment is at 50-year lows? By avoiding the subject. At least, that’s what Democrats did during the two nights of debating.
The very first question asked in the first debate, by Savannah Guthrie, was about whether the Democrats’ far-left agenda would risk the economic growth we’ve been enjoying.
“Seventy-one percent of Americans say the economy is doing well, including 60% of Democrats,” she said. “What do you say to those who worry this kind of significant change could be risky to the economy?”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the first to answer, pretended not hear the question. Instead, she went on a rant about how the economy is “doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.” But if that were true, why are six in ten of her fellow Democrats happy with the way things are going? No one bothered to ask her that.
A word cloud of the debates shows that “economy” barely got mentioned over the two nights. Democrats talked almost as much about guns as they did jobs.
And when Democrats did talk about the economy, it was in grim, Dickensian terms.
Cory Booker said, “I see every single day that this economy is not working for average Americans” and claimed that “dignity is being stripped from labor, and we have people that work full-time jobs and still can’t make a living wage.”
For Kamala Harris, “this economy is not working for working people.” She dismissed the low unemployment number as meaningless because: “Well, yeah, people in America are working. They’re working two and three jobs.”
Amy Klobuchar complained that “Donald Trump just sits in the White House and gloats about what’s going on, when you have so many people that are having trouble affording college and having trouble affording their premiums.”
There was no talk of extending or expanding the current boom. No celebration of the gains in employment among blacks and Hispanics, the decline in poverty, the rising wages, the fact that incomes at the low end are climbing.
Democrats instead debated about how much free stuff they would give people, including health care to illegal immigrants.
The economic discussion, when it occurred, focused mostly on redistribution and class envy.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke for pretty much every one of the 20 Democrats on stage those two nights when he said: “There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands.”
The only Democrat who did mention growth at all was the one who’d actually run a business, who at one point said that “we need to have a long-term strategy to make sure this country is competitive, and we are creating jobs everywhere in this country.”
Of course, not everyone is sharing in the current boom. But there’s no denying that its benefits are widespread, certainly more widespread than anything that occurred during Barack “Middle-Class Economics” Obama’s two terms in office.
Not long ago, USA Today toted up all the ways the middle class is prospering under Trump. On the list:
- “Median U.S. household income … rose 1.8% to an all-time high of $61,372 in 2017.”
- “Employers added an average 223,000 jobs a month last year, up from 179,000 in 2017. And unemployment sank to a near 50-year low.”
- “Average U.S. wages climbed 3.3% in 2018, after being stuck at 2.5% to 2.7% (growth) for several years.”
- “Industries that employ middle-class workers in particular are benefiting. Manufacturers have added about 450,000 jobs since Trump took office, the largest two-year total in decades.”
- “The number of factory jobs ‘reshored,’ or shifted to the U.S. from overseas … hit a record 170,000 in 2017.” (Emphases added.)
Ignoring the solid gains that families are making right now won’t make them go away. And constantly portraying the economy in the grimmest light only makes Democrats look out of touch.
— Written by John Merline
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