Back in 2004 — when he was more of a Blue Dog Democrat and had yet to move to the far right and launch the Patrick Buchanan-influenced MAGA movement — Donald Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I’ve been around a long time, and it just seems the economy does better under the Democrats than under Republicans.”
Trump, of course, isn’t saying that in 2022. In fact, he is claiming that Republicans — specifically, MAGA Republicans — are better for the U.S. economy. And some recent polls have found that most American voters, ahead of the 2022 midterms elections, trust Republicans more than Democrats on the economy. But authors David Rothkopf and Bernard Schwartz, in an op-ed published by the Daily Beast on November 4, argue that when it comes to the U.S. economy, Democrats have a much better track record.
“According to a wave of recent polls, the economy is the dominant issue on the minds of Americans going into next week’s elections,” Rothkopf and Schwartz, a private investor, explain. “A recent Pew poll concluded nearly eight in 10 voters said the economy will be ‘very important’ to their voting decisions. Another such poll, by ABC News and Ipsos, showed that almost half of respondents cited either the economy or inflation as the issue about which they were most concerned. The poll indicated that concerns about the economy and inflation are ‘much more likely to drive voters towards Republicans.’”
The authors continue, “But that impulse is not only ill-considered — every bit of available evidence makes clear that the GOP is the wrong party to which to turn if you seek better U.S. economic performance in the future. In fact, it is not close. When it comes to the economy, the GOP is the problem and not the solution. If anything, it is a greater obstacle to our economic wellbeing today than it has ever been.”
Countless Republican midterms candidates have been claiming that the U.S. economy is in terrible shape. But in October 2022, the U.S. had a national unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And Rothkopf and Schwartz argue that “the economic record of President Joe Biden and the Democrats” is one of “creating jobs, reducing the deficit, and enhancing our competitiveness.”
“History tells a very stark tale,” Rothkopf and Schwartz observe. “Ten of the last 11 recessions began under Republicans. The one that started under former President Donald Trump and the current GOP leadership was the worst since the Great Depression — and while perhaps any president presiding over a pandemic might have seen the economy suffer, Trump’s gross mismanagement of COVID-19 clearly and greatly deepened the problems the U.S. economy faced. Meanwhile, historically, Democratic administrations have overseen recoveries from those Republican lows. During the seven decades before Trump, real GDP growth averaged just over 2.5 percent under Republicans and a little more than 4.3 percent under Democrats.”
The authors continue, “Republicans have also historically presided over huge expansions in the U.S. deficit, while Democrats, since Bill Clinton’s administration, have overseen dramatic deficit reduction. Ronald Reagan more than doubled the deficit from $70 billion to more than $175 billion. George H.W. Bush nearly doubled that to $290 billion. Clinton ended his administration with a $128.2 billion surplus.”
Biden, Rothkopf and Schwartz note, has a much better track record on “job creation” than Trump or President George W. Bush.
“The U.S. lost jobs under Trump and created relatively few under George W. Bush,” Rothkopf and Schwartz write. “Of the 14 presidents since World War II, seven were Democrats and seven were Republican. Of the seven with the highest job creation rates, six were Democrats. Of the seven with the lowest job creation rates, six were Republicans. What about now? Biden and the current Democratic Congress have created more jobs than the past three Republican administrations combined…. Republicans are just plain bad at managing the economy. They have been for as long as anyone who is alive can remember.”
Featured image: Unemployed men lined up outside a soup kitchen in Chicago in 1931 (Wikimedia Commons)