America is Wealthy Again: The First Year of the Trump Economy, By the Numbers
It has been one year since Donald J. Trump shocked the world, pulling off a historic come-from-behind victory that is easily the biggest political upset in American history, if not one of the greatest political upsets of all time.
While many will indeed celebrate this day by reminiscing about that glorious November evening when the world changed forever, it does far more justice to the man in office now to instead reflect on the one year that has passed since then. Now, one year later - and not even a full year into his actual presidency - he has no shortage of accomplishments to boast about. In just about every area - from foreign policy, to the home-front and domestic policy - he has delivered on many of his promises and more.
In the realm of foreign policy, ISIS is dwindling down to near extinction, the Iran Deal has just been decertified, most of the “Cuban Thaw” has been reversed, North Korea is being diplomatically strangled even further, and he has withdrawn the United States from numerous disastrous international deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord.
On the home front, the border wall has already been funded and numerous prototypes have already been constructed for the testing period. Deportations of illegal aliens from within the country are up by 34% since Trump took office, while illegal immigration across the southern border is down nearly 80%. The unconstitutional executive amnesty programs DAPA and DACA have both been rescinded.
After being failed by the Republicans in the Senate, President Trump has taken the serious issue of health care into his own hands, more determined than ever to reverse the catastrophic damage done by the Obama Administration. In the first few major steps, he signed a major executive order rolling back many of the burdensome regulations of Obamacare, allowing individuals and businesses alike to buy insurance across state lines. He has also ended the national subsidies for Obamacare, essentially cutting the major source of funding for the disastrous law right out from under it. These moves by the President were praised by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky as “the biggest free market reform of healthcare in a generation.”
However, there is no single area with a higher quantity and higher quality of success under the Trump Administration than the U.S. economy. Call it booming, soaring, roaring, or what you will - but there is no dispute that the economy, in terms of speed and strength, has witnessed a comeback that is easily on par with Ronald Reagan’s recovery in the early-1980’s, if not even greater.
The Stock Market and GDP
Of course, the single most consistent trait of the Trump Presidency’s success has been the spike in the stock market. As the DOW Jones has gained almost 4,000 points (rising from just over 19,000 to just under 23,000 since Trump was elected) and seen an unprecedented total of 48 record closes in the year 2017 alone.
As a result of this, the economy has benefited tremendously: The gains in the stock market over the last year translate to over $5 trillion added to the American economy. The national GDP has benefited even more greatly: Surpassing most expectations, the second-quarter GDP saw a growth rate of 3.1% (higher than most expectations of a simple 3.0% or lower), and the third quarter - even with the multiple devastating hurricanes that struck the American South in September - saw a growth of 3.0% against expectations of around 2.5%.
As Yahoo News put it, the economy simply “shrugged off the hurricanes,” and the momentum is expected to continue into the fourth quarter. As of now, the U.S. GDP has risen to an astounding $19.25 trillion since the President took office - the highest it has ever been in U.S. history.
The Jobs Market
The jobs market has been soaring under President Trump, with labor force participation rate and job increases up, and unemployment down: Over 1.5 million jobs have been created since he took office. Since Trump’s election, the economy has seen increases of either well over 200,000 jobs, or just under 200,000, on a monthly basis since November - the only two exceptions are April (148,000) and September (110,000), the latter of which, again, was largely attributed to the many hurricanes.
But even the wrath of multiple hurricanes could not stump the booming Trump economy. After the devastation of Harvey, Irma, and others, the economy - expectedly - actually jost jobs for the first time in seven years, as 33,000 jobs were lost in the month of September.
Even then, the unemployment rate still fell further from 4.3% to 4.2% - the lowest unemployment rate since 2001 - and the number of those claiming unemployment benefits dropped faster than most predictions expected; after the first week of October, only about 1.89 million laid-off workers have been reported as receiving unemployment benefits - the lowest amount in 43 years. More specifically, approximately 1.5 million fewer Americans are on food stamps than when Trump took office.
On top of this, the one other crucial element of the jobs market - the labor force participation rate - has also been cause for celebration among the President’s supporters. The labor force participation rate rose to 63.1% - the highest rate yet for Trump’s presidency - and now approximately 154,345,000 Americans are employed in some capacity: The highest amount of employed Americans in the nation’s history. It has also been reported that average wages are still steadily rising: In September alone, average wages rose by 12 cents to $26.55, the latest in a consistent 12-month increase of 74 cents (2.9%) overall, up from $25.81.
This, of course, has translated to overwhelming consumer confidence, once again defying expectations. In the month of October, American consumer sentiment spiked to 101.1, after 95.1 in the month of September. This translates to the highest consumer confidence level since January of 2004. Furthermore, the gauge of current conditions sentiments produced even greater results: a jump from 111.7 to 116.4, the highest since November of 2000.
As such, expectations for the economy to get even better have also risen dramatically - from 84.4 to 91.3, also the highest since January of 2004. In October, the rate spiked even higher to 125.9; it exceeded expectations and marked the highest level of consumer confidence since December of 2000 (128.6). This optimism subsequently translated to a spike in home prices to an “all-time high” in the month of August.
Even the seemingly-invincible national debt has not been able to escape the power of President Trump’s fiscal responsibility. Although the national debt has ultimately still risen since he took office, its growth has been much slower than under the Obama years. This is primarily because, in the first roughly seven-and-a-half months of the Trump Administration, the national debt was actually decreased by over $100 billion - the largest decrease in the national debt in U.S. history, and the first decrease overall since President Eisenhower’s decrease of $4 billion in 1957 and 1958.
But perhaps no poll speaks louder than a Pew Research Center poll that was just released: Of the Americans surveyed, 82% said that they believe they have either successfully achieved the American Dream (36%) or are on their way to achieving it (46%). This stands in stark contrast to similar polls from just a few years ago, before Trump was President: A CNN poll in 2014 showing that 60% of Americans felt the Dream was unachievable, and a Ripon Society poll in 2016 that saw 70% of Americans declare that the next generation would not achieve the Dream. This poll even crossed racial and ethnic lines, with 62% of African-Americans and 51% of Hispanic-Americans feeling that they were on their way to achieving the Dream.
As The Gateway Pundit best described it, this economic recovery is “historic.” The rate at which the economy has come roaring back since Trump was first elected is monumental in and of itself. But it also the fact that the economy has done so without any major economic legislation being passed yet, and the recovery being based solely on rhetoric.
If this kind of a comeback can happen as a result of President Trump simply using business-friendly words, then imagine what it will look like if business-friendly policy finally passes. The GOP’s new tax reform plan is not just a political test to determine the party’s ability to govern successfully - it is a test to see how far our economy can truly go when government steps back, and - with less burdensome regulations - lets the market do its work.
America is wealthy again.