- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2020

The White House told Congress on Thursday that the current economic boom was created by President Trump’s agenda of tax cuts and deregulation, not President Barack Obama’s taxpayer-funded stimulus plan.

“Contrary to expectations that the expansion would slow as it matured, economic output and labor market gains have accelerated over the past three years,” the Council of Economic Advisers said in its annual report on the state of the economy.

Mr. Obama on Monday marked the 11th anniversary of his signing the $800 billion-plus stimulus act by saying the Recovery Act was instrumental in “paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

Mr. Trump said his predecessor was engaging in a “con job” for taking credit for the current economic growth and historically low unemployment rates of about 3.5%.

In a letter accompanying the CEA’s report to Congress, Mr. Trump wrote, “These results did not come about by accident. Instead, they were supported by our foundational pillars for economic growth that put Americans first, including tax cuts, deregulation, energy independence, and trade renegotiation.”

Tomas Philipson, acting chairman of the CEA, said Thursday that the current economy “is not a continuation of the expansion following the Great Recession.”

“The current economy breaks or reverses trends of the past part of the expansion,” he told reporters.

He said economies typically grow faster after a recession, then level off.

“The current expansion differs from that, in that growth accelerated later in the expansion, despite that monetary policy was much more constrained in the later part of the expansion, relative to the zero [interest] rates of the early part of the expansion,” Mr. Philipson said.

He said numerous economic forecasts in 2016 “were much more pessimistic, compared to what actually happened.”

The report notes that the Congressional Budget Office forecast before the 2016 election that job growth through 2019 would total 2 million.

“The total non-farm employment is three and a half times higher than projected: 7 million jobs versus 2 million jobs,” he said. “Under the Trump administration and for the first time on record, there are more job openings than unemployed people.”

When Mr. Trump came into office, employers had been adding jobs for 76 straight months, including nearly 7 million in the final 31 months under Mr. Obama.

White House officials say the continued job growth under Mr. Trump is more impressive because there are far fewer people looking for work.

The White House forecast that the economy will grow at an average of 3% over the next decade if all of the president’s proposals are enacted, including a major infrastructure bill and a second round of tax cuts. Economic growth has been averaging about 2.5% under Mr. Trump, below his prediction of 3% but slightly higher than it was during Mr. Obama’s final years in office.

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