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Debating Trump’s Economic Boom



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With his impeachment acquittal on the horizon, Peter Baker writes for The New York Times, President Trump used his State of the Union address to stump for reelection—and his case rests on an economic boom. Three years into Trump’s presidency, US unemployment at its lowest point since 1969.
Is the success sustainable? The Washington Post asks that question in an editorial, pointing out that productivity growth is “sluggish” despite Trump’s tax cuts, while his anti-immigration policies work against overall improvements in labor participation. The critique echoes one leveled by Rana Foroohar in a recent Financial Times column: Trump’s boom story has some holes in it, she wrote, given that investment started dropping last year, deficit spending looks risky, and an economy overheated by tax cuts (which mostly funded corporate stock buybacks) looks shakier on close inspection.
The Post also asks a larger question: What are the Trump years costing us? Trump has “not only changed economic policy since 2017; he has tried to change the presidency—from a focal point of national unity to a bully pulpit for partisan and personal rancor,” the paper writes. “This is as false as it is Faustian; trust and consensus are essential ingredients of a modern, efficient economy, not to mention indispensable to a thriving, durable Union.”
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