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Obama Takes Credit for Boost to Economy, Leading Trump to Insist All Credit Should Go to Him

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Obama Takes Credit for Boost to Economy, Leading Trump to Insist All Credit Should Go to Him

2020-02-18 18:17:01

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump and Barack Obama (Image source: Public domain)

Foes Donald Trump and Barack Obama are facing off against each other each claiming credit for the economic boom. In reality, it seems they both play a part in why the economy has improved, but that doesn't take away from the former president's tweet celebrating the 11th anniversary of signing the stimulus package 11 years ago to turn the country around after the Great Recession.

"Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history," tweeted Obama.  

He passed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009. This was not a recession that was his doing, as it began in December 2007, a year before he was elected. However, under his reign, the national unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009.

Trump needs credit for the booming economy, as it's the one healthy product of his presidency. "Did you hear the latest con job?" he tweeted. "President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration. He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate and MASSIVE quantitative easing. 

"NOW, best job numbers ever. Had to rebuild our military, which was totally depleted. Fed Rate UP, taxes and regulations WAY DOWN. If Dems won in 2016, the USA would be in big economic (Depression?) and military trouble right now. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" the president added.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro stuck up for his boss in an interview with CNN. "What President Trump realized is that we had a structural problem, primarily with offshoring our jobs and overregulation and high taxes relative to around the world. He fixed those structural problems. That set up the economic boom that we're having right now," he told interviewer Poppy Harlow. 

The Trump campaign also spoke up for the current president. "President Trump reversed every single failed Obama-era economic policy, and with it, reversed the floundering Obama/Biden economy," said Kayleigh McEnany, Trump campaign national press secretary. "Obama and Biden orchestrated the worst economic recovery in modern history."

"By contrast, though, deregulating, lowering taxes, and supporting free-market policy," she continued, "President Trump has created the hottest economy on record, with unemployment hitting generational lows and all-time lows for African Americans, Hispanics, the disabled, veterans, and many other hard-working Americans." 

"Paychecks are growing at the fastest pace in a decade and twice as fast for low- and middle-income Americans," added McEnany. "It's no wonder Democrats seek to take credit for the Trump economy after eight years of betraying blue-collar workers and inflicting pain upon the middle class as Americans everywhere suffered. But the failed days of Democrat stagnation are over, and the soaring Trump economy is here to stay."

Both presidents can't be right, but in a way they are. They both have played a part in the improvement of the economy, regardless of what Trump, McEnany, and Navarro said. 

With regard to the military, it's true that Obama did cut defense spending, and the size of the military force was down during his time in office. However, Trump has gone on to repeatedly take money from the Pentagon to pay for his border wall. So really, they have both taken economic measures against the military.

The economy did add 6.6 million jobs during Trump's first three years in office, which is a terrific number. But in a comparable time period in Obama's time in office, 8.1 jobs were added. During his last 3 years in office, the average monthly gain was 224,000 jobs. So far under Trump, employers are adding an average of 182,000 jobs each month. 

On both a quarterly and annual basis, the Trump economy has not yet exceeded the best numbers of the Obama administration. Trump's 2018 yearly growth of 2.9% matched a figure from 2015 with Obama, but if you listen to his claims, you would think he was besting him. According to the number released by the Commerce Department last month, the U.S. economy grew just 2.3% in 2019, its slowest pace in Trump's time in office.

The unemployment rate fell continually during the Obama administration after it reached that 10 percent high, and it continues to fall under Trump. They're both responsible for that momentum. While the unemployment rate is the least it's been in 50 years, that downturn was started during the Obama administration. 

The stock market has surged under Trump. A Fox Business analysis shows that the market grew 31 percent in the 807 trading days before Trump's election, but it grew by 56 percent in the 807 trading days after it. Again, it's something Obama started and Trump continued, though he's picking up steam with it.

Also rising in the Trump administration is workers' wages. Yet another Fox Business analysis shows that the number had been rising faster prior to Tump's time in office.  

So who's responsible for the healthy economy we have today? It can be argued either way, Obama or Trump and is probably closer to both of them playing a part. One thing is for sure: it's definitely not former President George W. Bush who can take credit. It was under his time in office that the Great Recession started.

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