Fact-checking 'the greatest economy in the history of our country' | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fact-checking 'the greatest economy in the history of our country'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 7:11 AM

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The economy is good continuing a resurgence begun under Barack Obama. But is it the best ever as Donald Trump has been saying repeatedly? The Washington Post Fact Checker begs to differ.

Key measures:

* Unemployment: It's been lower several times and the labor force participation is well lower than figures of the 1950s and 1960s.

* The GDP: Quarterly growth was greater several times during the Obama era and annual figures have also been higher and the benefits spread over more people.

“Real GDP growth was faster in the ’50s and ’60s," said Robert J Gordon of Northwestern University. “Most important, real income growth was equally rapid across the bottom and top of the income distribution between 1947 and 1980, while from 1980 to 2017 it has been heavily concentrated at the top. “ He added that “wages are still stagnating, average hourly earnings [growth] of 2.8 over last year is about the same as the consumer price index, so real wages haven’t grown at all. That’s very different than the period before 2007 and particularly the years before 1973.”
* The Bottom Line:

The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he repeatedly makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton — and Ulysses S. Grant.

The odd thing is that Trump does not need to claim that the economy is the greatest ever. He just needs to say it’s doing great. He should take a cue from his fans at Fox News and not push the envelope so much. Who knows? He may someday have bragging rights. In the meantime, he earns Three Pinocchios.

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