Latest GDP Numbers from Q2 Prove We’re Nowhere Near the Greatest Economy Ever…And as I’ve been cautioning all along, this may not even be considered a good economy. The economy does keep limping along since coming out of the great recession a decade ago, so things currently aren’t that bad, but conditions can be best described as blah. Trump’s repeated boasts about creating this greatest economy ever are now totally debunked, which all along his claims were totally ridiculous. Many are doing great in these times, but many aren’t. It’s increasingly an uneven economy with widening gaps between the haves & have-nots, along with rapidly increasing debt levels while the trending also points towards an economic slowdown. Trump & his sycophant party kept promising the tax cuts would pay for themselves with GDP figures jumping up into the 4, 5 or 6% range. Now we have the evidence with clear stats it was all a big lie, as the 2nd Quarter saw GDP dropping to around 2% & the downward plunge may be just beginning.
Sad but true, the Trump economy looks basically identical to the Obama economy, referred to as more of a Goldilocks economy. But one big difference is Obama did it by steadily reducing budget deficits, while Trump is fueling his economy through deficit spending from his ill-conceived, trickle-down tax cuts, a temporary sugar-high which has significantly increased our budget deficits past $1 trillion annually for the foreseeable future. Americans should at least be grateful they got the debt ceiling threat resolved, since that default bomb could have been an unmitigated disaster. But this not so greatest economy ever remains simply blah & might be sinking fast. Let’s hope we don’t fall into a full-blown recession, but a slight downturn over the next year would likely help our nation. With a clear & present danger now residing in the White House, by taking away the perception of a strong economy, Trump basically has nothing else to run on.
Here are relevant articles on the Q2 GDP growth which was reported on Friday, with cogent explanations on what’s really going on with the economy:
The economy slowed down in the second quarter of 2019, according to the latest release of economic data from the Commerce Department — a fact that says less about an impending economic downturn than it does about the way President Donald Trump’s promised supply-side supercharging of growth hasn’t materialized. In addition to the growth rate slowing to 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019, government statisticians also revised downward their previous estimates of 2018 growth. None of this is necessarily cause for alarm, despite other worrying economic signs that people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren are flagging. The new estimate for 2018 of 2.5 percent inflation-adjusted growth in GDP is fine, and though the 2.1 percent growth in the second quarter of 2019 is a bit disappointing if you average it out with the 3.1 percent growth from the first quarter of the year, it’s also still fine.
But by the same token, growth in 2016 was fine. These “fine” numbers falling between 2 and 2.5 percent real growth per year brings the economy back to exactly what it was doing under then President Barack Obama. Trump had promised 3 percent at least, and the Republican Party had also vowed that their 2017 tax bill would deliver another boost to the economy. Growth under Trump has continued, but there’s no discernible Trump acceleration. What’s more, the data indicates that the growth we have been enjoying has come largely from traditional fiscal stimulus — under Trump, Republicans have stopped caring about budget deficits and spending has gone up while taxes have gone down — rather than from any supply-side magic or boost in investment.
Trump’s growth promises haven’t delivered…There was never any analytic basis for Trump’s forecasts that he could achieve a sustainable 3 percent economic growth rate by slashing government regulations and business tax rates. But when it briefly looked like it was going to happen, Trump was happy to take credit for it, and his administration even made budget forecasts off the idea that it was going to take place. Today’s data, however, not only shows the economy slowing to well below 3 percent growth, it includes downward revisions to previous data indicating that prior 3 percent growth was an illusion.
There’s nothing particularly surprising about that, and it’s not exactly “bad news” that Obama-era growth has essentially just continued apace. But if you think there are significant downsides to Trump’s policies — like supercharging inequality or reversing decades of progress on air pollution or a rising uninsurance rate — none of this has brought us the faster growth we were promised. It’s just the same old same old. What’s more, the means by which we are achieving the growth is simply the kind of Keynesian economic stimulus that Republicans opposed back when Obama was president. There’s no supply-side magic.
Trump has stimulated his way to mediocrity…In policy terms, a particularly interesting insight the new data provides is into where the growth is coming from. In the second quarter, we saw increases in household consumption spending, federal government spending, and state and local government spending. That was offset by reductions in exports, in business investment, and in residential investment. In other words, the basic supply-side dynamics of the American economy where businesses invest in improving the long-term productive capacity of the economy got worse. It’s not entirely clear why. The good news is that the problems were offset by considerable fiscal stimulus — both in terms of tax cuts that boosted household spending but also critically in terms of a huge boost in outright government spending. There’s nothing wrong with giving the economy a little fiscal boost when interest rates are low.
But note that government spending growth was negative in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, and nearly zero back in 2015 and 2016. The reason for that is back when Obama was president, Republicans pretended to believe that it was very important to keep government spending as low as possible. If instead spending had been allowed to grow modestly during this six-year period, millions of unemployed people could instead have found work and the United States would overall be much richer today. On the other hand, a better economy back then might have led to worse results for the GOP in the 2014 and 2016 elections. The case for Trump’s tax cuts, however, was supposed to be not just that they’d give the economy a brief stimulus but that they would generate a massive boom of business investment. It didn’t happen, and now business investment is actually going into reverse. The economy, to the extent that it’s growing, is doing so thanks to policies Republicans claim to reject.
Another article putting to bed Trump’s claims this is the greatest economy ever are seen from this beginning to the article slate.com/business/2019/07/trump-gdp-report-economy.html:
This week, much of the story that the White House likes to tell about its economic record fell apart. It’s not just that growth appears to have slowed, though it has. On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the country’s gross domestic product expanded at a middling 2.1 percent annual rate during the the second quarter, down from 3.1 percent over the first three months of 2019. This was only a preliminary estimate, a guesstimate really; the government will gather more data and revise that number in the coming months. But it was clearly worrisome to Donald Trump, who tried in vain to put a glass-half-full spin on the news while also placing blame for any weakness on his nemeses at the Federal Reserve. Friday’s report also robbed the White House of a favorite talking point. Previously, the government believed that the economy grew by more than 3 percent in 2018, a mark it hadn’t hit in more than a decade. This milestone led Trump (or, really, his press shop) to boast that he had “accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.” He was particularly jazzed that growth hit 4.1 percent for one quarter that year. It turns out we didn’t reach 3 percent growth after all. In its annual data revisions, which also dropped Friday, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by just 2.5 percent or 2.9 percent in 2018, depending on exactly how you measure it. It also turns out that growth never actually hit 4 percent in the second quarter of 2018, which—despite being sort of meaningless—had been a point of pride for Trump. In short, goodbye, bragging rights.
Of course, whether or not our GDP growth rate managed to pass a somewhat arbitrary numerical threshold isn’t all that important in the scheme of things. But Friday’s numbers also dealt a deeper blow to the White House’s narrative about how it has supposedly resuscitated the economy from the doldrums of the late Obama years. Trump and his advisers like to claim that by loosening up regulations and cutting taxes on corporations, the administration unleashed a flood of new business investment that has helped push growth along. Their case has always been fairly flimsy: Much of the growth in business investment over the last couple of years was driven by the oil and gas industry, as frackers ramped up drilling in response to higher prices. Still, there was at least some uptick in business investment outside the fossil fuels sector that they could point to as proof that they were doing something right. After the Commerce Department’s latest data revisions, that no longer seems to be the case. As Harvard Kennedy School economist and former Obama adviser Jason Furman notes, business investment outside of oil and mining has actually slowed down during the Trump administration. It’s possible the investment would be even weaker were it not for Trump’s tax cuts and deregulatory moves. But on the face of things, there’s really no obvious case to be made that they’ve unleashed a boom in business investment.
Since this is Obviously Not the Greatest Economy Ever, Who Can We Trust to Fix It?
I have issues with both major parties, but since it’s so difficult for any independent or 3rd party to break through, we must choose from the options available. For the sake of an argument, let’s try hard to imagine our president is a normal human being, not some miserable old codger. So let’s just try to pretend he’s none of these things: divisive figure, chronic liar, corrupt con man, racist & bigot, probable criminal, abuser of women & likely a rapist. I know for myself it’s impossible to imagine Trump is none of those things in light of all we’ve found out about him, but for the sake of making a point let’s try. Policy positions become somewhat irrelevant since I do believe such horrible stuff about our prez, but as I said let’s try hard to pretend & focus only on the issues.
If the choice is just between Dem or GOP, which party is best positioned from a policy standpoint to address these pressing concerns? Here’s the large list: health care*, prescription drug costs, infrastructure, gun background checks, environmental/safety concerns, climate change/alternative energy sources, immigration reform/fixing DACA, not separating families living here, not separating families at the border & locking them into inhumane conditions, budget deficits**, education, college costs, day care, minimum wage, bubble up instead of trickle down, tax code that benefits the middle class instead of the wealthy, policy positions that benefit workers instead of multinationals & big donors, antitrust enforcement, gerrymandering, dirty money in politics, election security, & supporting close democratic allies over brutal dictators. Perhaps we should also throw in which party is least likely to support a corrupt demagogue or advance a fascist dictatorship?
*a caveat on health care assuming one side doesn’t go all in on removing private insurance right away, with the other side pushing policy positions that would take away insurance from millions of citizens along with removing coverage for preexisting conditions.
**budget deficits based on empirical evidence the past half-century when they tend to go up much more under a GOP president.
In examining that list above, what really stands out is how the Dems are on the better side of all these important issues rather than the Trumpian GOP! Personally, I was a lifelong GOP supporter, but circumstances have changed & the GOP has drastically changed! Until the GOP reverses course & goes back to being rational instead of radical, there really is no choice which party now deserves our support.
The So-Called Greatest Economy Ever Would Never Have So Many Problems
We’re doing a terrible job of fixing our problems since we’re largely failing to identify what the problems really are. Plus we’re so bitterly divided, we are unable to agree around the basic facts, as the GOP has adopted this warped view of reality fed to them by the prez & his echo. Overall we keep seeing workers losing ground as the middle class struggles, with the American Dream only accessible to a narrowing class of Americans. I firmly believe fixing these problems first requires being crystal clear on what the problems really are, which here in our Part 3’s from www.TheVORACS.com, we’re always posting articles about our main economic challenges pulled from the newsfeeds. We’ve found plenty more again this week as seen from these links below…
40% struggling to come up with $400 in a pinch highlights the uneven nature of the economy & the depths of the inequality problem:
A way should be found to reduce inequality while increasing productivity, if we ever become determined enough to truly search for answers:
Our wide divides are seen playing out in the land of plenty:
Which also plays out in the land marred by poverty:
A preview for the next link:
Trump ran on a populist theme for workers, but his actually policies are doing the exact opposite since he’s too beholden to big corporate interests:
The tax cuts produced this monster of a deficit & inequality booster:
A take on Trump’s personal/business taxes:
Trump squawks about the cost of the Mueller probe? His golfing has cost us 3 times as much! Actually Mueller broke even through seizing Manafort’s assets:
Trump & the GOP dismally failing to deal with the pension shortfalls:
The prez & his party letting us down in not corralling the excesses of Big Pharma:
The Trump GOP also dropped the ball on infrastructure:
Wage theft a serious yet underreported problem, contributing to the escalating income/wealth gaps:
Every issue these days are viewed through a partisan lens, even our perceptions of the economy:
Manufacturing already looks to be in a recession:
Family farms in crisis:
Debt bombs will further weigh down the economy moving forward:
Warren warned us ahead of the 2008 crash, & now she’s warning us again:
In my newly found support for Dems since the recently radicalized GOP has left me behind, this is a critical point we must not overlook in our exuberance to oust Trump. Before we dive headfirst into this utopian progressive vision, the thing we must never sacrifice is personal ambition & individual initiative, or otherwise America would lose who we really are. Throwing government handouts at every problem is not only unaffordable, but the wider the safety net, the more who’ll jump in & enable a widespread/destructive dependency mindset. That would become a permanent trap it’s imperative we avoid!:
It’s important to find that right balance:
Defeat socialism by defeating the GOP:
Our failing trust in government is greatly hindering our ability to actually get constructive things done:
Grifting often wins on the radical right, so donors should save their money:
Trump already has blood on his hands over the tepid federal response after a major hurricane which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Puerto Ricans, so this lie is flat-out cruelty:
More cruelty at the border:
More Trump lies as there was no new wall built, at least until his packed court finally threw him a bone this week in the form of some funding (does that mean Trump’s campaign promise of Mexico paying for it is null & void?):
He doesn’t do anything other than lie to us & divide us, so his only real purpose is to glorify himself in feeding his massive ego:
The prez has accomplished peak polarization:
More racist overtones from yet another asinine comment inside these next links, shades of his sh**hole countries comment or recent go back tweets. For those of you out there who like me were lifelong Republicans, but have yet to drop out, you should consider at some point human values would trump political ideology. Presidents who completely lack character cannot be effective leaders, so it’s confounding the vast majority of the GOP base still support this vile excuse for a human being, unless Trumpeters personally share similar traits:
DO NOT MISS THIS HEARTFELT VIDEO! Trump is unfit for office just based alone on his divisive tone alienating so many Americans, so any person with human compassion & moral integrity should certainly be able to share this news anchor’s emotions & pain:
Progressive Dems, please don’t lose sight of the fact winning is the primary goal, while the important mission to fix our many problems can evolve after you take power:
Trump’s Hot Air Further Blowing Up Our Growing Debt Balloon
Trump in the past has even admitted he doesn’t care about when the growing debt bubble evolves into a real crisis, since he’ll be out of office by then anyway. His presidency was always about him, not our country. Trump loves to heckle his political opponents with childish nicknames, but maybe we should give it back to him by accurately calling him Deficit Don:
In the Midst of a Retail Carnage
A big giant has embarked on their crusade to dominate practically all retail sectors:
And it’s brought on the retail workers carnage:
A De Facto Impeachment Inquiry Has Just Begun
The House judiciary committee just embarked on an impeachment inquiry without formally calling it that: huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-impeachment-house-judiciary-committee. It looks like the right move from a semantics standpoint, moving the ball forward & strengthening their case in the courts, while also keeping the public engaged with the reality this is a very important & serious process. Trump-world was relieved if not downright giddy over Mueller’s halting performance, but by Friday with House reps openly expressing the beginning of an impeachment investigation along with some not-so-good GDP numbers, I sense the momentum has swung back: thedailybeast.com/jerry-nadler-were-pursuing-a-de-facto-impeachment-inquiry.
We’ll have lots more to say about this impeachment probe when we begin our week with Part 1 on Tuesday night, but for now we’ll start with a punchy tune. So like Private Eyes assigned to unveil all the facts, the various investigators can aggressively proceed with the mission to soon tell us the level of criminality our president has committed, since we already have seen a potpourri of credible clues Trump has done many crimes in a wide assortment of ways. Yes, he is unfit for office as he really does look to be the most criminalized president in our nation’s history, but we just need more proof to successfully & constitutionally force him out. So we’re relying on all these private eyes conducting the investigations to provide the definitive evidence in the case for impeachment, which doing so requires they get all the documents & witnesses needed in putting the jigsaw puzzle together, from which our nation must follow the facts & rule of law to wherever they lead: