Just one day after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, famed New York Times writer Paul Krugman wrote, “It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover? A first-pass answer is never … So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”
Nearly two years later, Krugman couldn’t possibly look more foolish, as President Trump has ushered in one of the most stunning and successful economic turnarounds in modern history. Under former President Barack Obama, the economy was stuck in neutral, but Trump has pushed the economic gas pedal firmly to floor by allowing businesses and individuals to control more of their own money and easing government-imposed restrictions that limited growth throughout Obama’s tenure.
The evidence showing the widespread successes of the Trump administration is overwhelming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of full-time employees in the United States has increased by 4 million since August 2016. Black and Hispanic unemployment has reached historic or near-historic lows (depending on the measure used), and the average unemployment rate for women in 2018 is now the lowest it’s been in 18 years.
In addition to strong employment numbers, enrollment in welfare programs has plummeted under the Trump economy. For example, in June 2018, enrollment in the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, commonly called food stamps, was 4.1 million lower than it was in June 2016.
Likewise, in Obama’s final year in office (including January 2017), monthly Medicaid rolls increased by an average of 179,000. Under the Trump administration, Medicaid rolls have decreased by an average of more than 98,000 per month. Incredibly, more than 1.6 million people have left Medicaid since Trump’s first month in the White House.
Some have suggested these economic gains are the result of reforms instituted by the Obama administration, but those assertions don’t hold up when the data are carefully examined. For instance, in Obama’s final full year in office, from January 2016 to January 2017, the unemployment rate improved by only one-tenth of a percentage point. But under Trump, the unemployment rate has been reduced to 3.9 percent, a full percentage point lower than it was on Election Day.
Stock market data reveal an even more striking pattern. In October 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 18,922, only 200 points higher than what it had been the year before. Over the next three months, in anticipation of Trump’s pro-growth economic policies, the market would soar to 20,618. And since then, the Dow has skyrocketed well past 26,000, an increase of more than 39 percent.
As these figures show, in addition to other evidence, the Trump administration is presiding over truly spectacular economic growth, and it’s due almost entirely to Trump’s pro-business policies. Unlike the Obama administration, which increased regulations at breakneck speed, the Trump administration has cut unnecessary red tape.
The Obama administration began a relentless war on fossil fuels, which it claimed are responsible for causing climate change. The Trump administration has rolled back or reduced in size and scope many of these policies, including the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have eventually shut down virtually every coal power plant in the country. Trump has also pledged to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, approved oil and gas pipelines across the country, reformed various Environmental Protection Agency rules, and worked to open up additional oil and gas drilling operations off America’s shores and in Alaska.
Unlike Obama, who sought to increase taxes, Trump, working alongside Republicans in Congress, signed tax reform into law in December 2017, spurring further economic growth. Tax reform dramatically cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, lowered most personal income tax rates, doubled standard deductions, increased the child tax credit to $2,000, and allows companies with cash overseas to bring the money back to the United States at a much lower tax rate.
The Trump administration and Congress have also eased burdensome rules on financial institutions — many of which were imposed by Obama and Democrats — making it easier for some small- and medium-sized lenders to provide funds to businesses and entrepreneurs. CNBC called one bill signed into law by Trump “the biggest rollback of bank rules since the financial crisis.”
The Trump administration is leading the United States out of the economic dark ages of previous administrations, and it’s accomplishing this feat by embracing free-market, pro-liberty values that have long served as pillars of the conservative movement. More progress is needed, but there’s no denying the Trump administration is succeeding in fulfilling its promise to make America’s economy great again.
Justin Haskins (@JustinTHaskins) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is an executive editor at The Heartland Institute.