California Gov. Gavin Newsom stacked up his state’s financials against America’s and mocked Donald Trump for racking up an extra $3 trillion in debt for what the president characterizes as a “booming” national economy.
Trump promised to balance the budget when he was campaigning, but the national debt has now reached a record of more than $23 trillion. (“Who the hell cares about the budget?” Trump asked donors at a fundraiser last month.)
California, meanwhile, is reporting “record surpluses,” low unemployment and high job growth, the Democratic governor tweeted Thursday. “Progressive policies and economic growth DO go hand-in-hand.”
The health of the U.S. economy is drawing new scrutiny after it was thoroughly touted by Trump in his State of the Union address Tuesday. “Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before,” Trump said.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) agreed that the economy is booming — “for Trump and his billionaire friends. The wealthiest people in our country have never, ever had it so good.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also fired back at Trump’s economy boast in her Democratic response to the State of the Union speech.
“All over the country, wages have stagnated while CEO pay has skyrocketed,” she said. “So when the president says the economy is strong, my question is: Strong for whom? Strong for the wealthy, who are reaping the rewards from tax cuts they don’t need?”
The jobless rate is low, but Trump inherited a strong economy that is largely continuing a trajectory begun during the Obama administration after the nation was pulled out of a major recession.
The economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs per month and the unemployment rate has fallen 1.2 percentage points while Trump has been president. But during Barack Obama’s last 35 months in the White House, the number of jobs increased an average of 227,000 a month, and the unemployment rate dropped by 2 percentage points.
The wealth gap among Americans is the largest since data was collected beginning more than a half-century ago, and college education, child care and health care costs are increasing.
Economic growth slowed to 2.3% in 2019, the lowest rate of Trump’s presidency. The president promised he would boost the growth rate to at least 3% and possibly as high as 6%.
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