Three years ago, in the final months of the Obama administration, American workers and middle class families were treading economic water in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign. The Obama years had not been good to them but, in fact, neither were many of the decades that preceded his administration.
Knowing their selfish interests lay in convincing the vast American middle class to vote for them, Democrat and Republican politicians in every election cycle promised to improve job opportunities and wage prospects.
Promises, promises! Little changed.
So, after decades of alternatively giving political power to establishment politicians of both major parties and being disappointed in almost every case, many of them took a flier and voted for Donald Trump. So, what kind of return, if any, have they gotten on their investment?
You will generally get two answers.
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial, citing the Bureau of Economic Analysis on personal income, argues “deregulation has unleashed repressed animal spirits, especially in energy” and tax reform has benefitted business investment that has, in fact, substantially increased wages. President Trump claims employment for women and all minorities has reached historic lows while bureau statistics show increasing and sustained personal income growth for the “99%.”
On the other hand, if any good economic news is reported by progressives it’s delivered begrudgingly and always with caveats. For example, “Trump’s numbers are right, but it’s generally a stretch for presidents to take credit for job creation.” Or, “Black unemployment is at a record low. But that figure is volatile on a monthly basis.” Finally, the well-worn appeal to envy: Yes, hourly wages are increasing, but not as much as for the 1%.
The reality is that from an economy where jobs were scarce and unemployment high, we now have the reverse. Businesses are not only competing for skilled workers but are scrambling to find anyone willing to work. From a price (or wage) standpoint, there is no better economic status than being a “scarce resource,” and that is what the American worker is today.
It’s about time. When it comes to employment, wages and our economy (among other things), the “hope and change” promised by Barack Obama is being delivered by Donald Trump.
This is not good news for those who believe government programs, developed and run by academic and bureaucratic “experts,” are necessary for the economy to function “fairly.” We can expect Democrats to do everything possible to convince workers (voters) what they are experiencing isn’t real or that it’s because of the “foundation” laid by the Obama administration. Yes, and they will sell you oceanfront property in Montana.
The fact is things are good economically. But there are no guarantees. Policy matters. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s tariffs will cause the economy to falter as China waits and gambles for the easy mark of a Democratic president. A lot can happen before the election. America’s economy is made precarious by short-term thinking, and wages can easily stagnate.
None of that really matters. People are going to believe what they want to believe regardless of what’s said here or elsewhere.
What matters is the reality in people’s paychecks and in their lives. People know if they’re better off today and if they feel good about their prospects.
And they also know what helps American workers. Policies that stimulate businesses to invest, grow and increase employment. Policies like reducing regulation, lowering taxes and getting better trade deals.
Oh. That’s what President Donald Trump is doing.