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Last Word: Obama’s policies have eased America’s struggle

The case has been made by some people that the economic growth of today is entirely because of President Trump and Congressional Republicans. Unfortunately for them, the facts don’t stand up on their side.

The main point continuously brought up is the 4.2 percent growth (increase in the total cash amount of goods and services produced) recorded in the second quarter of this year. They forget to mention that this is quarterly growth (a period of three months) and that Trump had a below average first-quarter growth rate of 2.2 percent.

Another point they forget to mention is the fact that former President Obama had quarterly growth higher on four separate occasions (Washington Post). Experts also disputed the claim that Trump could reach 4 percent annual economic growth (growth over an entire year), which he still has not accomplished (Fortune).

It is claimed by some that Democrats cannot point to anything that President Obama did that could explain the economic growth of today. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was an important piece of legislation that was largely responsible for the economic recovery following the recession of 2007-2008.

The stimulus package saved an average of 1.5 million jobs per year for 4 years, or 6 million jobs, raised national economic output by 2 to 3 percent (quantity of goods or services produced), and prevented 5.3 million more people being impoverished (New York Times).

Another point to bring up is the 2.9 percent annual growth that President Obama had in 2015, higher than President Trump’s 2.3 percent growth in 2017.

But let’s take a minute to look closer at the effect that Trump has had on the nation’s economy. Some would have you believe that he is a white knight, spreading prosperity to all, but this is far from the truth.

Many Americans are struggling due to increasing costs of healthcare, food and energy expenses. The tax cut that Trump passed has barely affected the pocketbooks of many Americas, especially those less well-off already. Wages are growing at a slower pace in regard to inflation (increase in wages vs. increase in prices) now than they were under President Obama (Bloomberg News).

Many working-class Americans are still struggling, but President Trump has focused his efforts on giving tax breaks to billionaires and cutting subsidies designed to lower health care costs for everyday Americans.

Trump’s proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have left millions of Americans with higher health care costs, and many millions more would have lost the access to healthcare entirely. The economy has improved under President Trump, for the already wealthy while everyday Americans continue to struggle.

The elephant in the room concerning Trump’s current record on the economy is, of course, the massive increase in the budget deficit. Congressional Republicans hammered Obama for the increase in the budget deficit that was required to lift the country out of the recession of 2008.

Under President Trump, however, the United States is now projected to have 1 trillion-dollar deficit by 2020, with the budget deficit for 2017 climbing to 666 billion dollars, an 80 billion dollar increase over the previous year (New York Times). The budget deficit for 2018 is currently projected to increase to 750 billion dollars (Forbes). In contrast, President Obama had a budget deficit of 587 billion dollars (Forbes).

Even with Trump cutting safety and environmental regulations, giving a massive tax break to wealthy billionaires, and starting in a much better position than his predecessor, Trump has done little to increase economic growth compared with President Obama.

Obama was able to save the American economy from a second great depression, brought the United States to a strong and healthy economy and did so while also extending health care to millions of Americans. I’d say he did a pretty good job, all things considered.

Ryan is a freshman Computer Science major and a member of the BU Democrats.

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