When Donald Trump was running for president, he claimed he would be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” It hasn’t turned out that way. In fact, he’s not any better on jobs than Obama.
Through the first 28 months Tump has been in office, the U.S. economy added 5.4 million jobs — at least according to the official Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In the last 28 months of the Obama presidency, the economy added 6.1 million jobs.
In other words, the job creation we’ve seen through the first two-plus years-plus of the Trump presidency merely continued the job growth trend we saw through the last 28 months of Obama’s term. In fact, job creation has actually slowed slightly under Trump.
As with so many things, this narrative that Trump and the Republicans have “fixed” the economy after Obama wrecked it simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It’s like claiming Obama ended the Bush wars.
I’m not pointing this out to criticize Trump. I’m suggesting that when it comes to jobs, and the trajectory of the economy more generally, perhaps you should focus on factors other than who sits in the Oval Office.
People have become so obsessed with politics in Washington D.C. that they have become blinded to the most significant driver of the U.S. economy — the Federal Reserve. Taxings, spending and regulatory schemes imposed by Congress and whoever happens to live at 1600 Pensylvania Avenue certainly impacts the economy, sometimes significantly. But the effect of these political programs pales in comparison to the impact of Federal Reserve monetary policy. The Fed drives the business cycle and wrecks the economy no matter who hold the reins of power in D.C. Other policies operate within that framework. If you fail to account for the Fed, you will never understand the economic big picture.
Trump made a bad political calculation when he took credit for the rising stock market and strong employment numbers. By branding the economy with a Trump T, he’s set himself up to take the fall when the whole thing crashes. Ironically, He sang a different tune when he was a candidate. He called the jobs numbers “phony” and accurately described the rising stock market as a “big, fat, ugly bubble.”
But hey, that’s politics.
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