Joe Biden is at it again — living in his own parallel universe. The same former vice president who says that his son, Hunter, was hired by the Ukrainian oil and gas company because of his expertise in energy policy is now claiming that President Trump has “squandered” the strong Obama economy he inherited.
Here is how Mr. Biden put it in a speech last week in Scranton, Pennsylvania: “Donald Trump inherited a strong economy from Barack and me.” Then he added: “Things were beginning to really move. And just like everything else he’s inherited, he’s in the midst of squandering it.”
What’s next? Jimmy Carter taking credit for the Reagan boom?
This is the continuing history rewrite of the left to explain the booming economy in the third year of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Today we are at or below record levels of unemployment, inflation and interest rates in half-a-century. Wages and salaries are rising at their fastest clip in at least two decades. There are an all-time high 7 million unfilled jobs in the United States.
The Washington Post is freaking out about the continued good news on the economy — and especially the latest data — that I reported on these pages two weeks ago that median household income is up by $5,003 since Mr. Trump became president. This was based on Census data, but The Post ranted last week that Donald Trump continues to “inflate his own numbers.” Nearly every assertion in the article was wrong or twisted — and Mr. Trump was right.
What is especially rich in the claims by The Washington Post and Joe Biden and others that Mr. Trump’s success is just a continuation of the Obama economy is that this time three years ago these same Trump haters promised that a Trump presidency would cause a “global financial calamity” and even a “second Great Depression.” The stock market would “never” recover from Mr. Trump’s election, Paul Krugman of The New York Times assured us.
Now, whoops, with the economy surging, all of a sudden, it is just Mr. Obama’s doing. The double standard here is so transparent that only someone suffering from TDS — Trump Derangement Syndrome — would miss it. If the economy were crashing today, the left would say that it’s all Mr. Trump’s fault. But with the economy doing quit well, Mr. Obama gets the credit.
The continuation of the Obama trend argument is leaky at best. First, Mr. Obama gave us the weakest recovery from a recession since the end of World War II. The economy grew by about 14 percent in the Obama recovery over seven years. In the normal recovery, the economy grew by almost twice that amount, or 27 percent. In the last Obama year, the economy slowed down to a piddly 1.6 percent growth and economists warned that a “recessions is right around the corner.”
Yes, Mr. Biden is right that at the end of the Obama-Biden presidency, “things were really starting to move” — in the wrong direction. This is why Mr. Trump won the election. Nearly every poll in 2016 showed that jobs and the economy were the biggest worries of the American voters — especially in the Midwestern states that Mr. Trump flipped from blue to red.
Income growth had grown in Mr. Obama’s second term, but it flattened out in 2016 — and the surge in middle-class incomes started to accelerate in early 2017, after Mr. Trump took office.
Middle-class incomes have grown almost three times faster under Mr. Trump than Mr. Obama. This is like trading in a Pinto for a Porsche and as you are flying 80 miles down the highway saying this is just a trend.
Small business and consumer confidence as well as the stock market surged in the days after the Trump election and have stayed high ever since. Coincidence? Hardly.
More to the point, most of Mr. Trump’s policies have been to reverse Obama policies — not to continue them. Mr. Obama raised tax rates, Mr. Trump cut them. Mr. Obama grew regulations at a record pace, Mr. Trump has been rescinding them at a record pace. Mr. Obama negotiated the Paris Climate Accord — a $100 billion tax on the American economy — and Mr. Trump smartly pulled us out.
Mr. Obama passed Obamacare, Mr. Trump has been everyday finding ways around the law they called the Affordable Care Act, in order to reverse stampeding health costs and try to make health care “affordable.”
The economy is far from perfect and the latest weakness in industrial production, for example, are worrisome. The China trade standoff has clearly slowed growth in Mr. Trump’s third year in office. I would never say never to a recession in the next year or two — but I’m with Larry Kudlow — it doesn’t seem likely right now.
But the biggest threat to the economy right now is that we repeal the Trump growth policies and return to Obamanomics. This is what Mr. Biden is promising, and if it comes to pass we will learn the bitter lesson that the good old days under Mr. Obama — really weren’t so good at all.
• Stephen Moore, a columnist for The Washington Times, is an economic consultant with FreedomWorks and served as a senior economic adviser to Donald Trump.