Letter: Numbers don’t back Trump economy claims

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Trump often speaks about the “Trump Economy” when arguing he deserves a second term. He recently boasted in Minnesota, “we built the greatest economy in the history of the world and now I have to do it again … God [is] testing me.”

Mike Pence has seconded Trump’s words, claiming “the economy is soaring. … You don’t need to hear it by studying statistics.”

Neither Trump or Pence is telling the truth.

Let’s look at the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the last three years of the Obama/Biden administration, compared to the first three years of the Trump administration. The Bureau’s data show that 150,600 jobs were created in Indiana under Obama/Biden, twice the 80,100 jobs created under Trump. And the 30,300 manufacturing jobs created by the Obama/Biden administration from 2014-2016 were almost five times the 6,800 manufacturing jobs created under Trump, pre-pandemic.

The story is the same regarding real wage gains. From 2014-2016, the average Hoosier household had an increase in wages of $10,022. Under Trump, Hoosiers saw an increase of only $3,712, pre-pandemic.

These numbers are reflected across the country. The Trump administration created 6.2 million jobs before the pandemic. Obama/Biden created 7.9 million jobs from 2014-2016. And the total real wage gains for an average American household under Obama/Biden from 2014-2016 was $8,016, more than eight times the $976 gain during Trump’s pre-pandemic economy.

Trump tries to distract the country from these truths by citing the stock market and the returns in people’s 401(k)s. But the wealthiest 10% of American households own 84% of the stocks traded in the market, and only 32% of Americans have 401(k)s. The real strength of the economy is the prosperity enjoyed by working families. But even so, the market increased 187% under Obama/Biden, and only 42% under Trump, pre-pandemic.

Trump hasn’t told the truth about the economy. No wonder Pence doesn’t want people to look at the statistics. It’s time to look at the numbers, Indiana, and stop listening to Trump’s and Pence’s words.


Retired Ambassador David Carden
(Carden was U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations under President Barack Obama and is a director of the Project to Raise America’s Pay.)

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