Donald Trump should be focusing on the strength of our economy, since it is the only thing preventing the president’s crappy approval rating from falling to new depths.
But if he is going to continue talking about the economy, Trump really ought to learn the basics. Let’s take the tweets from yesterday, one by one:
“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!”
That is wrong. First, it is a mistake to compare any percentage shift with a more static level. Second, he shouldn’t equate quarterly growth with the annual growth. Third, even if we all pretend that quarterly growth is like annual growth, Trump’s stupid boast is false. And lastly, if we treat the quarterly growth as quarterly growth, Donald Trump’s boast is further from being true.
“If the Democrats had won the Election in 2016, GDP, which was about 1% and going down, would have been minus 4% instead of up 4.2%. I opened up our beautiful economic engine with Regulation and Tax Cuts. Our system was choking and would have been made worse. Still plenty to do!”
Trump seems to be simply inventing numbers that pop into his stupid head, which makes it hard to fact-check, but what Trump said about the GDP growth rate he inherited is demonstrably wrong.
Next up is this gem:
“The Economy is soooo good, perhaps the best in our country’s history (remember, it’s the economy stupid!), that the Democrats are flailing & lying like CRAZY! Phony books, articles and T.V. ‘hits’ like no other pol has had to endure-and they are losing big. Very dishonest people!”
“ ‘President Trump would need a magic wand to get to 4% GDP,’ stated President Obama. I guess I have a magic wand, 4.2%, and we will do MUCH better than this! We have just begun.”
First of all, he’s still confusing the quarterly growth rates with the annual growth rates, which aren’t the same thing at all (just as a quarter in a football game is not the same thing as the whole game). Second, Donald Trump is badly misquoting Barack Obama, who was talking about annual growth, and also pointing to growth which the president promised to bring, but won’t. Glenn Kessler, a fact checker for the Washington Post, astutely added, “Not only did Obama never say this, but Obama topped 5% in one quarter, so who has the bigger magic wand?”
By obsessively pointing to the 4.2% growth rate, which he doesn’t understand, Donald Trump is setting himself up to fail when future GDP reports show much lower growth, as they naturally will.
I don’t blame Donald Trump for speaking about the economy; I blame Trump for not knowing what the hell he’s talking about.