by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Is President Trump fulfilling candidate Trump’s promises?
You can make a case that he is, based on some surprising and widely unexpected economic developments. Vice President Mike Pence, writing in The Des Moines Register, put it succinctly: “The evidence is clear: America is back.” He adds, “It’s no accident.”
Pence and other Trump enthusiasts can point to increasing macroeconomic growth. Growth rose 4.1 percent in the second quarter and is up more than 3 percent for the year. Unemployment was down to 3.9 percent in July. The S&P 500 stock index is up 6 percent since the Trump presidency, while the rest of the world’s stock markets are down 6 percent. These are numbers any recent administration would boast about.
More notable are positive trends among subgroups that weren’t doing so well before Trump took office. Former Obama administration chief economic adviser Jason Furman, writing for Vox, notes that in the past three years “recent wage growth .?.?. at the low end of the wage scale” is stronger than growth among the higher-paid.
Similarly, Bloomberg columnist and portfolio manager Conor Sen makes the point that job growth has been greatest among “goods-producing workers and the least-educated workers.”
Both Furman and Sen contrast current trends with those in the 1998-2001 period of torrid economic growth, when income gains were concentrated at the top of the economic spectrum and employment gains were concentrated in office jobs and “meds and eds” — the government-financed or heavily regulated health care and education sectors.