Trump vs. Biden: The Economy
Who's your baby?
Until March 2020, the economy was growing at an impressive pace with strong GDB growth and record low unemployment. Real GDP grew nearly 40% a year faster than the Congressional Budget Office had predicted. The labor force grew nearly 50% faster. Wages increased across all education levels, with the largest increase, 12%, occurring among workers with less than a high school education. The poverty-rate reductions from 2016-19 were largest among people of Asian descent (28%), followed by Hispanics (19%), whites (17%) and African-Americans (15%).
The coronavirus and lockdowns have had a devastating impact on workers and businesses, and have made prosperity feel distant.
The Case for Biden
The U.S. economy prior to the coronavirus was strong, but it was not “the best in the nation’s history,” as Trump has said. While unemployment was near historical lows under Trump, growth in gross domestic product, wages, and business investment were well below what previous presidents achieved. Morover, federal deficits relative to GDP have historically fallen during "great" economic periods, such as the 1960s and the late 1990s. Under Trump, the federal budget deficit widened before the pandemic—and it has continued to grow since.
Economic inequality has continued to increase under Trump. In recent decades, the growth in income has tilted to upper-income households as the middle class has shrank in numbers. The share of American adults who live in middle-income households has decreased from 61% in 1971 to 51% in 2019. Wages began rising during the Obama years and continued to increase under Trump, but adjusted for inflation, these wage increases were modest compared with the 2% a year seen in the 1960s.
The annual increases in GDP under Trump were similar to what they were during the final six years under Barack Obama, well below that of prior presidents. Inflation-adjusted GDP per capita increased 1.9% annually under Trump, which makes this three-year period the 16th highest among past three-year periods.
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