Both the pro-trump and anti-Trump sides of the aisle keep telling us the economy is in remarkable shape. The Trumpers brag about it because they think it will help him gain a second term, while the anti-Trumpers worry that this “great economy” will… well… help him gain a second term. After all, “it’s the economy, stupid,” right?
Well, not so fast. For one thing, any positives in the economy are a continuation of the Obama economic recovery. However, when you look more closely than the usual 4-5 most common indicators, the truth is, the economy isn’t all that great. We are certainly not in the midst of a boom, no matter how many times per day Donny Tweets as much. And make no mistake; the voters who matter most know this and understand it quite well. A lot of Americans are openly curious as to where all of this economic growth has gone because it’s not apparent to most of them.
Yes, that’s right. While we have very low unemployment and wages are starting to creep up, and the sick market is setting records, we are also in the middle of a nasty and unproductive trade war. We are also running record deficits, thanks to the Republicans’ latest tax cut scam, which only affected a handful of rich individuals and corporations. And if you look at the current “major indicators” that Trump and the GOP want you to look at, all of it was well underway long before Trump was accidentally installed in the White House. In 2016, for example, median household income increased for the second consecutive year, and Black and Hispanic median incomes have increased at nearly three times the rate of whites. And since 2017, those increases have slowed. (Source) Put simply, it’s proven that Trump is taking credit for Obama’s accomplishments on the economy. This should be obvious since it’s impossible to point to a single thing Donny has actually done to improve the
While Trump and the GOP can point to those few indicators to show us in the middle of able to snow a lot of people into believing that’s the case, a closer look tells the real story; once again, with this supposed “boom,” the rich are getting richer, and everyone else is being left out. Also, we have to keep in mind that the mere fact of having a job doesn’t mean the worker isn’t poor. That may have been the case in the 1960s, but it’s no longer the case. As of now, 43 million Americans are among the poor, even though they are employed. That’s 12 percent of the population, or one in every eight Americans. They make less than $1,020 per month from their job, which is not enough to pay for food and a place to live in any American city outside the poorest 4-5 states in the country.
We have all heard these stories; in large cities across the nation, working people, and often their families are either homeless or living in shelters or their cars because the cost of rent has skyrocketed and is well beyond their wages. (Source) Increased numbers of homeless people
It is also a fact that one-third of Americans have zero savings and another third have less than $1,000 in the bank. That means two-thirds of Americans are literally living paycheck-to-paycheck, and most of them are having to rely on luck for survival. Does
We have come to rely on the simple figure of “unemployment” as an indicator of economic success. However, when you dig deeper, that number is insufficient to tell the whole story. One-third of all workers in this country make less than $12 per hour, which comes to $24,960 per year for full-time, and a total of 42 percent makes less than $15 per hour, which comes to $31,200 per year full-time. If you take those numbers and subtract the cost of rent and food alone, you can see how difficult it is for the working poor in this country, unless they want to live in the rural south; the poorest regions of the country. Of course, then, the cost of health insurance in states who rejected Medicaid money and the ACA in general would put those people in the red, anyway.
Also, according to the few numbers Trump wants you to know about, while inflation continues to be comparatively slow at about two percent per year, even during this period of massive wealth building for the rich, average wages are growing at about the same rate, which means no one who works for a living is seeing themselves getting ahead, even a little.
Then, there is debt. Credit card debt seems to have leveled off in recent years, but it’s still at more than $1 trillion. The student loan crisis has been ongoing for quite a few years now, to the point that millions of seniors are using their Social Security to pay down their student loans. Millions of households are looking at financial collapse because of their level of debt, with no way to pay it. And, even if we “progressives” get our way and boost the minimum wage to $15 nationwide, we are still looking at massive poverty.
And for those who think the working poor should just apply for government assistance, they should know, there is such thing anymore. The “Welfare Reform” passed in 1996 got rid of cash “welfare” payments and replaced them with block grants for states; block grants that states can use for any purpose. Not only has the money dedicated to welfare assistance not moved up in 23 years, but three-quarters of people living in poverty do not receive cash assistance, nor is any available to them. In addition, to pay for their asinine tax cut for the rich, Republicans have been cutting programs for the poor to the bone, based on their theory that the economy is good, let’s save money on that.
What seems crazy is that a large number of people buy Donny’s bullshit, and they don’t see a problem with the current economy, even though they’re struggling just to keep things together. Maybe they think “trickle down” just hasn’t gotten to them yet; who knows?
We have to get rid of the entire GOP. We cannot allow them to turn our country into a third world economy again. We looked the other way while their policies started the stock market crash and the Great Depression. We allowed them to use their idiocy on economic matters to start an unregulated mortgage aftermarket, which led to the 2008 Great Recession. And now, we’re allowing them to characterize the current economy as the “best one ever,” when most of us are living on the edge of disaster.