There are a significant number of people who think the current administration has performed well on the economic front. I’d like to examine that a bit.
First, as has already been pointed out, the administration inherited an improving economy with unemployment dropping below 5%. The Republican Congress and administration then pushed through a large income tax cut while accelerating government spending. To fund this the government borrowed on a large scale. Cumulative deficits over the four year administration will reach more than three trillion dollars without the impact of the COVID 19 crisis.
This rate of deficit spending is unsustainable and only justified when necessary to recover from a severe recession. Partly as a result of this excess borrowing the Senate now is reluctant to devote additional funds toward COVID recovery.
Looking at the U.S. COVID recovery status it’s evident that the U.S. has performed poorly relative to its peer group. Among the 22 countries with a human development index above 90%, we are tied for the third highest rate of unemployment through August (the last month with broadly available data).
At 8.4% the U.S. trailed only Canada at 10.2% and Sweden with 8.8%. Fourteen of the countries were below 6% unemployment and four of those even below 4%.
So to summarize, under the Trump administration the deficit was mismanaged to stimulate an all ready strong economy. This in turn led to a poor rate of recovery from the COVID crisis.
Why would anyone think that is good performance?