- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2018

President Trump Friday hailed a new report on the strong growth of the U.S. economy, calling it proof that he has forged a “turnaround of historic proportions.”

“We’re on track to hit the highest average annual growth rate in over 13 years,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “We’ve turned it all around.”

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the economy grew at a pace of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, propelled by consumer spending in another win for Mr. Trump’s policies of lower taxes and fewer regulations.

The growth was the fastest since 2014, following first-quarter growth of 2.2 percent that was revised up from 2 percent.

Mr. Trump, who reached a truce this week with the European Union in a trade war, also noted that the U.S. trade deficit fell by $52 billion in the second quarter.

“That’s a tremendous drop,” the president said. “As the trade deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers.”

He said if the economy continues to grow at this rate, it could double in size 10 years faster than it would have under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

“These numbers are very, very sustainable,” Mr. Trump said. “This isn’t a one-time shot. America is being respected again and America is winning again because we’re finally putting America first.”

The president also said more than 3.5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps since he took office.

“That’s because they’re able to go out and get a job,” he said.

Consumer spending grew 4 percent, more than expected, while nonresidential business investment climbed at a pace of 7.3 percent.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Texas Republican, said “our economy is booming,” and he credited “a competitive tax code, bold reforms to regulations, and encouraging news this week on trade.”

“Solid growth should never be a one-quarter occurrence; it needs to be the standard in America,” Mr. Brady said. “While Democrats are declaring their desire to take our country back to a time when Main Street businesses were pessimistic about the future, families paid higher taxes, and our global competitors all leaped ahead of us, Republicans are determined to build on this growth to continue strengthening our economy for workers and families.”

Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, credited the growth spurt to Trump administration policies.

“Over the last six months, tax reform and regulatory relief have sparked the robust manufacturing job growth we predicted, improving lives and livelihoods across the country,” he said. “The business optimism of our member companies stands at a record high, and 86 percent of them plan to invest in new plants and equipment, 77 percent plan to increase hiring, and 72 percent plan to increase wages and benefits for workers.”

He said the GDP numbers also underscored the urgent need for the job-training programs that the administration is pushing.

The Democratic National Committee downplayed the positive report, saying in a statement, “Trump will try to boast about the economy, but the reality is that economic growth is not expected to continue at the same rate and workers have not benefited. Workers’ wages have actually decreased over the past year.”

Josh Bivens, an analyst for the Economic Policy Institute, said the second-quarter growth level has been reached or exceeded four other times since the recovery began in 2009.

“These rates of growth are higher than average for the post-2009 recovery, but hardly remarkable,” he said in a blog post. “There remains no evidence at all of the tax cut boosting economic growth.”

S.A. Miller contributed to this article.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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