- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2018

So the left has been up in arms for days now about the government shutdown, pitching wails over the Wall Street numbers and stock market showing and predicting nothing but gloom and doom and financial suffering because of President Donald Trump.

Then along come retail sales and put all that blather in its place.

“U.S. Holiday Retail Sales Are Strongest in Years, Early Data Show,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Christmas Day.

And this from CNBC, the following day: “Retail is having its best holiday season in 6 years.”

In six years. Imagine that.

What that means in political-speak is that even the darkest Trump hours seem to pretty much beat out the best Barack Obama hours.

What that means is the naysayers in the anti-Trump camp have lost yet another bullet point to make their anti-Trumping case.

A chart from Digital Commerce 360 shows total retail sales growth plummeted in 2009, rose slightly in 2010 and 2011, and then fell and stayed about the same through 2017. The dots and lines followed roughly the same route whether retail or e-commerce.

The Balance, meanwhile, reported this: “Retail sales hit a record of $5.7 trillion in 2017, according to the U.S. Census. That’s better than the pre-recession high of $4.4 trillion spent i 2007. It’s also a 42 percent increase from 2009’s record low of $4.06 trillion.”

Trump doesn’t get all the credit for this chugging economy, of course.

But his turn-back on regulation is a definite boom. So, too, his pro-business approach to politicking, and his tax reform that’s given corporations some much-needed relief — relief that’s in turn been passed along to employees via bonuses and raises.

Just ask any good consumer confidence prognosticator how this administration’s been doing over the past months. The answer’s all good.

And the people are spending and buying again.

Retail sales are up 4.2 percent from last year; year-over-year retail sales, meanwhile, rose 4.3 percent. To put that into perspective, an economy that’s considered healthy and happy registers somewhere in the range of 3 percent retail sales growth year-over-year.

This Christmas, under this administration, was the merriest in years.

The Washington Post in November reported this: “Trump’s big 2020 problem: The economy could be in recession.”

CNBC, this week, reported this: “Trump has unsettled Wall Street and Washington, and it will likely get worse.”

But if the buying habits of the public are anything to consider — and they are; they’re one of the bluntest ways of gauging the true economy, as a matter of fact — the fact is: it’s historic time.

Shoppers have spoken, and spoken loudly. Total retail sales around the nation rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from last year at this time. That’s nothing to sneeze and for Trump’s political future, these numbers are nothing to yawn.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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