20:05 GMT05 June 2020
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    On Monday night, Donald Trump fired some shots at former President Barack Obama, who has apparently taken some credit for the latest successes in the American job market and GDP growth by praising his 2009 political initiative. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump could not disagree more.

    Leaving the Trump vs Obama Twitter skirmish apart, one should really look at the numbers that have accompanied the presidencies of US former and incumbent heads of state. Hopefully, it is the figures that will help decide who was boasting more.  

    ‘Bigger’ Policy ‘Lower’ Unemployment?

    Under the Trump administration, the US has witnessed the lowest 3.5-per cent unemployment rate in the last fifty years, according to December 2019 estimates. This varies greatly from the nearly 5% that Donald Trump had inherited from his predecessor Barack Obama.

    The 44th president had entered the office to fight a horrible economic recession, with the unemployment rate peaking at 10% in October 2009, shortly after he assumed the post. Obama soon rushed to sign the Recovery Act, the one he bragged about on Twitter, to stimulate the American job market and provide temporary relief programmes, thus increasing public spending. Not everyone agreed, however, that it was precisely this initiative that offset the consequences of the recession at the end of 2009. None of the Republicans from the US House of Representatives had supported the Act. 

    Job Market Ecstatic Under Trump

    Two years after Donald Trump assumed his top-tier position in the White House, Forbes has calculated that the short stint in the presidency looked much more favourable in comparison to Obama’s last two years in office. In particular, by January 2019, Trump added 28,000 more private-sector jobs to the pool, while manufacturing jobs have grown at 714% faster rates than under Obama.

    The manufacturing sector is a vital part of any economy, but the employment growth in this segment remained rather sluggish during the Obama era, which some have argued could have been explained by the “burdensome regulatory climate” during his presidency, with six times more employees added to government jobs rather than in manufacturing. The situation has remained the opposite under the Trump administration, while the overall unemployment rate has continued to fall.

    President Donald Trump talks with former President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, after Trump took the presidential oath
    © AP Photo / Saul Loeb/Pool
    President Donald Trump talks with former President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, after Trump took the presidential oath

    As most Republican presidents, Donald Trump has also pledged to cut taxes and deregulate the American economy. He started by eliminating 2.7 significant regulatory actions for every existing one, thus reportedly saving the US economy $33 billion net. His 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have cut income taxes and lowered the corporate rates to 21% while boosting the job market even more. 

    US Economy Continues to Rise... So Does the Debt

    Both Obama and Trump have run extensive budget deficits, with 44th President even creating a historical anti-record with staggering $1.4 trillions in 2009, while adding $8.5 trillion to the national debt during his two terms. Donald Trump did not go too far from his predecessor in this realm, by also adding $5 trillion to the national debt during his first four years in office.

    However, the real GDP grew by an annual average of 2.7% during Trump, a growth rate half a percentage higher than during the Obama years. US GDP has continued to surge since its downfall in 2009, with a notable 2.9% annual growth rate registered in 2018.

    The economy, however, expanded only by 2.3% in the last year, the weakest annual growth rate during Trump’s presidency so far, in comparison to Obama’s lowest point of 1.5%.

    Some argue that if it was not for Trump’s long-debated anti-immigration policies, pulling out of major trade agreements, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the uncertainty he has created among investors with the ongoing US-China trade war, the boost to the American economy would have been even higher. However, let us leave history to judge.

    Tags:
    economy, GDP, United States, Barack Obama, Donald Trump
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