Four years ago was a time of fear and chaos.

As COVID-19 spread, the number of deaths was increasing. Panic spread in the financial markets. Oil prices fell slightly became negative. The Federal Reserve cuts To deal with the sudden recession, the US government cut its benchmark interest rates. period of historical borrowing-Add trillions of dollars to the national debt- Keep families and businesses afloat.

But when Donald Trump missed the moment Recent RallyThe former President expressed pride.

“We had the greatest economy in history,” the Republican told his audience in Wisconsin. “The 30-year mortgage rate was at a record low, the lowest rate ever recorded … 2.65%, that’s what your mortgage rates were.”

The question of who can best steer the US economy could be the deciding factor in who wins November presidential election. Whereas Gallup poll in April found that Americans were most likely to say immigration was the country’s biggest problem, and the economy in general and inflation were also high on the list.

Trump may have an edge over President Joe Biden on key economic concerns, according to a report. The survey was conducted in April by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public AffairsThe survey found that Americans were more likely to say Trump as president helped the country in terms of job creation and cost of living. About six in 10 Americans said Biden’s presidency hurt the country in terms of cost of living.

But the economic data exposes a much more complicated reality of Trump’s tenure in the White House. His tax cuts never produced the promised growth. His budget deficit soared and then remained relatively high under Biden. His tariffs and trade deals never brought back all the factory jobs that were lost.

And there was the pandemic, an event that led to historic job losses for which Trump takes no responsibility, as well as low inflation — for which Trump takes full credit.

If anything, the economy during Trump’s presidency has never lived up to his own hype.

Decent (not extraordinary) growth

Trump assured the public in 2017 that his tax cuts would cause the U.S. economy to grow at “about 3%,” but added, “I think eventually it could go up to 4, 5, maybe even 6%.”

Excluding the 2020 pandemic, average post-inflation growth under Trump was 2.67%, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Including the pandemic-induced recession drops that average to 1.45%.

In contrast, growth averaged 2.33% during then-President Barack Obama’s second term. So far, Biden’s term has averaged 3.4% annually.

More government debt

Trump also assured the public that his tax cuts would benefit the economy by leading to strong growth. The cuts were broad but disproportionately favored corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

The tax cuts signed into law in 2017 never fulfilled Trump’s promises to reduce the deficit.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the deficit grew to $779 billion in 2018. The Congressional Budget Office had forecast a deficit of $563 billion before the tax cuts, meaning the tax cuts increased borrowing by $216 billion in the first year. In 2019, the deficit grew to $984 billion, about $300 billion more than the deficit forecast by the CBO.

Then came the pandemic, and a flurry of government aid sent the deficit soaring above $3.1 trillion. That borrowing enabled the government to make direct payments to individuals and small businesses as the economy was in lockdown, often causing bank accounts to swell and many people to feel better, even as the economy was in recession.

Deficits have also been much higher under Biden, as he signed into law a third round of pandemic aid and other initiatives to tackle climate change, build infrastructure, and invest in American manufacturing. His budget deficits: $2.8 trillion (2021), $1.38 trillion (2022), and $1.7 trillion (2023).

The CBO estimated in a report released Wednesday that extending parts of Trump’s tax cuts that expire after 2025 would increase the national debt by an additional $4.6 trillion by the year 2034.

Low inflation (but not always for good reasons)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation was very low under Trump, never exceeding an annual rate of 2.4%. Under Biden, the annual rate reached 8% in 2022 and is currently 3.4%.

There were three big reasons why inflation remained low during Trump’s presidency: the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis, actions by the Federal Reserve, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Inflation was already low when Trump entered the White House, largely due to the slow recovery from the Great Recession, when financial markets collapsed and millions of people had their homes foreclosed.

Inflation averaged no more than 1% during Obama’s second term, as the Fed struggled to spur growth. Still, the economy was expanding without overheating.

But inflation averaged 2.1% in the first three years of Trump’s presidency, close to the Fed’s target. Still, the Fed began raising its benchmark rate to keep inflation at the central bank’s own 2% target. Trump repeatedly criticized the Fed because it wanted to boost growth despite the risks of higher prices.

Then the pandemic struck.

Inflation plummeted and the Fed cut interest rates to keep the economy afloat during the lockdown.

When Trump celebrates historically low mortgage rates, he does so because the economy was weakened by the pandemic. Similarly, gasoline prices fell below $2 per gallon on average because no one was driving during the pandemic outbreak in April 2020.

fewer jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US lost 2.7 million jobs during Trump’s presidency. Excluding the pandemic months, he added 6.7 million jobs.

By contrast, 15.4 million jobs were added during Biden’s presidency. That’s 5.1 million more than the CBO estimated the number of jobs he would have added before coronavirus relief and other policies became law — a sign of how much he boosted the labor market.

Both candidates have repeatedly promised to bring back factory jobs. Between 2017 and mid-2019, Trump added 461,000 manufacturing jobs. But that growth stalled during the pandemic and then turned into layoffs, with Republicans reporting a loss of 178,000 jobs.

So far, the U.S. economy has added 773,000 manufacturing jobs during Biden’s presidency.

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