- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2019

President Trump is riding one of the strongest economies in modern U.S. history, even as House Democrats move their impeachment effort into high gear this week.

The government’s final major economic report before a looming impeachment vote showed numbers that could hardly be better. Employers created 266,000 jobs in November, including 54,000 in manufacturing, far surpassing Wall Street’s expectation of 187,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, the lowest since 1969, while the jobless rates for women and minorities are at or near historic lows. Average hourly earnings rose 3.1%, beating expectations.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow summed up the jobs report for the president this way: “It’s a sunny day, sir.”

“I don’t see any end to it,” said Mr. Kudlow, adding that the upward revision in the past four months of employers’ hiring is “a leading indicator of a strong economy.”

CNBC’s Jim Cramer called the state of the economy, from the stock market to employment data, “the best numbers of our lives.”

The White House and its Republican allies are using the historically strong economy as an impeachment defense, as much as Mr. Trump points to the transcript of his “perfect” phone call with Ukraine’s president.

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said in a Twitter post that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, “is counting impeachment votes” while the president is counting new jobs, rising wages and record low unemployment.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, said the U.S. economic performance would be even better “if Democrats would drop their impeachment obsession” and pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that has been awaiting a vote in Congress all year.

The president joked, perhaps with a tinge of bitterness, about the irony of facing impeachment in the strong economy as he addressed 4,000 Israelis and American Jews on Saturday night at the annual conference of the Israeli-American Council in Florida. Mr. Trump recounted that an informal adviser called him recently with unspecified good news.

“Tell me. I need some good news,” the president told the man. “I got people trying to impeach me.”

Mr. Trump told the crowd, “Don’t forget, this has been going on for three years.”

The president warned that Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would impose “a 100% wealth tax” if they take control of the White House and Congress.

“Even if you don’t like me, some of you don’t,” Mr. Trump told the audience, “you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes” if the Democrats win.

Presidential son Donald Trump Jr. commented on Twitter over the weekend, “imagine what the Trump economy could do if Democrats even pretended to be interested in anything but their non stop 3 year impeachment charade? Dems care much more about trying to hurt @realDonaldTrump than they do helping Americans.”

Democrats say impeachment of the president has nothing to do with the economy, but some of their traditional constituencies are doing better than ever on pocketbook issues under Mr. Trump.

The unemployment rate in November was 5.5% for blacks, 4.2% for Hispanics and 2.6% for Asian Americans — all near record lows. The jobless rate for women was 3.5%, a 50-year low.

A CNBC poll this fall found that 45% of the public was worried that impeachment will have a negative effect on the stock market, and 40% are worried about its impact on the economy. Republicans were twice as concerned as Democrats about the potential economic impact of impeachment.

Bloomberg economists Carl Riccadonna and Yelena Shulyatyeva lowered their projections for the unemployment rate to fall to 3.3% through next year and summed up the jobs report as an unquestionable positive for Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign.

“On Nov. 3, 2020, as voters head to the polls, they will be facing the lowest election day unemployment rate since Dwight Eisenhower won his first term as president in 1952,” they wrote.

The president receives his highest poll numbers on his handling of the economy. Mr. Trump’s approval rating on the economy is 53% in the latest Real Clear Politics average of polls. His overall job approval rating is 43.7%, and his handling of foreign policy is approved by 41.1%.

“America is working,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters. “It’s a middle-class boom. They’re making good money. They’re coming back out of the woodwork to work, and they’re producing. I know over time business cycles come and go. I get that. I do this for a living, but I don’t see any end to it right now. What I see is more strength.”

Gad Levanon, an economist at the Conference Board, agreed with that assessment. He said Friday’s jobs report, “more than any other report in recent months, squashed any lingering concerns about an imminent recession in the U.S. economy.”

“Employment growth also shows no signs of slowing further despite the historically low unemployment rate,” he said on CNBC.

Speaking at a White House roundtable Friday on cutting red tape, Mr. Trump cited new numbers showing his administration has cut regulatory costs by $50 billion and has rolled back 7.5 regulations for every rule created. He credited his regulation cutting for boosting the economy as much as the tax cuts he approved in late 2017.

“Our regulatory reform efforts are delivering prosperity to forgotten men women and children of America,” Mr. Trump said. “We are seeing a middle-class boom led by blue-collar jobs.”

The president said he is seeing the positive results. “Every state I’ve been to in the last three months is having the best year they’ve ever had. And that’s because of the federal policy,” he said.

He suggested the economy will help him weather impeachment if and when the Senate holds a trial.

“They’re very thankful,” he said of states with booming economies. “The governors are very thankful. The senators are very thankful. They’re all very thankful.”

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