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Worse Than Inflation


Worse Than Inflation

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  • Worse Than Inflation

    Let's remember Trump's real record in office

    (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Public opinion polls about the current presidential race are mystifying in a lot of ways. How can it be that the twice impeached, convicted felon Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party again? As inexplicable as it is to many of us, I think after eight years we have to accept that almost half the country is beguiled by the man while the other half looks on in abject horror and carry on from there. But as much as we may be dismayed by this adoration and fealty to Trump the man, it's still maddening that so many voters — including even Democrats — insist that everything was so much better when Donald Trump was president. I can't believe that people have forgotten what it was really like. By almost any measure it was an epic show.

    One obvious explanation is that Trump lies relentlessly about his record. So after a while people start to believe him. According to Trump, we had unprecedented prosperity, the greatest foreign policy, the safest, the cleanest, the most peaceful world in human history and it immediately turned into a toxic dystopia upon his departure from the White House.

    The reality, of course, was far different.

    From the day after the election, Trump's presidential tenure was a non-stop scandal. Even in the early days of the transition, there were substantial and well-founded charges of corruption, nepotism and collusion with foreign adversaries. There was the early firing of Trump's national security advisor, the subsequent firing of the FBI director and eventually the appointment of a special counsel. He did manage to set a record while in the White House: the highest number of staff and cabinet turnovers in history, 85%. Some were forced out due to their unscrupulous behavior, others quit or were fired after they refused to carry out unethical or illegal orders ordered by the president. This continued throughout the term until the very last days of his presidency when a handful of Cabinet members, including the attorney general, resigned over Trump's Big Lie and refusal to accept his loss.

    Yes, those were really good times. Let's sign on for another four years of chaos, corruption and criminality.

    But, let's face facts. What people think they miss about the Trump years was the allegedly great pre-pandemic economy and the world peace that he brought through the sheer force of his magnetic personality. None of that is remotely true. The Trump economy was the tail end of the longest expansion in history begun under President Barack Obama and the low interest rates that went with it. Nothing Trump did added to it and he never lived up to even his own hype:
    Trump assured the public in 2017 that the U.S. economy with his tax cuts would grow at “3%,” but he added, “I think it could go to 4, 5, and maybe even 6%, ultimately.”If the 2020 pandemic is excluded, growth after inflation averaged 2.67% under Trump, according to figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Include the pandemic-induced recession and that average drops to an anemic 1.45%. By contrast, growth during the second term of then-President Barack Obama averaged 2.33%. So far under Biden, annual growth is averaging 3.4%.

    Inflation started its rise at the beginning of the pandemic (Trump's last year) and continued to rise sharply in the first year of the Biden administration before it started to come back down. The reasons are complex but the fact that it was lower under Trump is simply a matter of timing. Trump's economy was good but it wasn't great even before the pandemic. He had higher unemployment than we have now, he blew out the deficit with his tax cuts and his tariffs accomplished zilch. Sure, the stock market was roaring but it's even higher now.

    Unlike Trump, who simply rode an already good economy, Biden started out with the massive crisis Trump left him and managed to dig out from under it in record time. No other country in the world has recovered as quickly and had Trump won re-election there's little evidence in his record that he could have done the same. All he knows is tariffs and and tax cuts and he's promising more of the same.

    On the world stage, he was a disaster. From his ill-treatment of allies to his sucking up to dictators from Kim Jong Un to Vladimir Putin, everything Trump did internationally was wrong. He was impeached for blackmailing the leader of Ukraine to get him dirt on Joe Biden, for goodness sakes! Does that sound like a sound foreign policy decision? The reverberations of his ignorant posturing will be felt for a generation even if he doesn't win another term.

    And despite the alleged peacenik's boast that he never had a war while he was president, it's actually a lie. The US had troops in Afghanistan fighting throughout his entire term despite his promise to withdraw and there was a very ugly drone war carried out throughout his term. Trump bombed Syria and assassinated Iranian leaders and did all the things American presidents had been doing ever since 9/11. His only answer today to the vexing problems that are confronting Biden in Ukraine and Israel is to fatuously declare "it never would have happened" if he were president. On Gaza, Trump's solution is "finish the problem" and I don't think there's any question about what he means by that.

    Trump's labor record was abominable, his assaults on civil rights and civil liberties were horrific and he did nothing positive on health care. There was the Muslim ban, family separations, the grotesque response to the George Floyd protests and the rollback of hundreds of environmental regulations. And then there was January 6.

    Trump, who called himself the greatest jobs president in history, was the first president since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression to depart office with fewer jobs in the country than when he entered. He can say that doesn't count because of the pandemic but so much of that was his fault that it actually is. It was his crucible and he failed miserably.

    His administration had disbanded the pandemic office and failed to replenish the stockpiles of medical supplies so we already started out ill-prepared. He denied the crisis at first, and we learned from Bob Woodward's interview that he knew very well how deadly it was, he lied, he put his son-in-law and some college buddies in charge of logistics. He pushed snake oil cures and disparaged common sense public health measures because they threatened his desire for a quick economic revival despite the fact that Americans were dropping dead by the thousands every single day. And, as always, he blamed everyone else for his problems. COVID killed far more Americans than other peer nations and it was due to Trump's failed leadership.

    For all these reasons, anyone who looks back on the Trump years as a golden time when everything was so much better isn't remembering the reality of those four awful years. There are worse things in life than inflation.

    Heather Digby Parton
    Last edited by Thienloi524; 06-08-2024, 10:08 PM.

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