Read: Commentary: Investing In Markets Why Future Gains Lie In Tech Stocks
Overall, market volatility has been relatively constant in the first three years of the Trump presidency.
However this has spiked immensely during the start of the pandemic and remained higher than pre-pandemic levels as investors continue to face increased uncertainty.
SECTOR GAINS AND LOSSES UNDER TRUMP
With the exception of energy, all sectors delivered positive returns under Trumps administration ranging from 36.1 per cent for financials to 184.8 per cent for information technology.
Largely driven by the FAAGs as well as the shift to cloud storage solutions, tech stocks have been the biggest winner, outperforming all other sectors, although we should note that in recent days tech stocks have dropped off the back of COVID-19 concerns in Europe and the US.
How The Trump Economy Is Different
But there are two clear areas where the economy has improved since Trump won the election: Sentiment is up, and business investment is up.
Right or wrong, people feel better about the economy now. It shows in polls: 66 percent rate the economy as excellent or good, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. It also shows in the data Wall Street follows. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is at a 17-year high, and the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is at the highest levels since Ronald Reagan was president.
The bump in sentiment has yet to trigger a massive rise in spending, but the fact that Americans are saving at the lowest rate since before the financial crisis indicates some people are already consuming at their limits.
What has changed is businesses are opening their wallets. Chief executives are buying more equipment, new computers and software and investing in research. Business investment rose 4.7 percent last year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a big jump from the year before when business investment was flat.
Firms think growth is going to pick up. They are feeling more optimistic, and that’s why they are investing more today, says Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro Research.
Corporate leaders like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon are quick to say businesses are reacting favorably to Trump’s regulatory rollback and massive corporate tax cuts. Economists are a bit more measured on who gets credit.
Heres How The Economy Has Fared Under Trump And What He And Biden Plan To Do About It
Here’s how jobs and GDP fared under Trump compared to the later Obama-Biden years and what both candidates are saying about the next four years.
With the election just more than three weeks away, it is time to compare the economic proposals of the two presidential candidates. What do they believe needs to be done over the next four years? Do they match your ideas of what should be accomplished?
The comparison will draw from the candidates own websites, not political ads that stretch the limits of imagination. (Joseph Biden: joebiden.com/joes-vision Donald Trump: promiseskept.com/achievement/overview/economy-and-jobs.
As this is 2020, nothing is normal. While Bidens is a traditional candidate website, with proposals on a wide range of economic issues, Trumps is largely a review of his last four years. No new policies are presented. A discussion of the Trump economic plan is limited to an evaluation of his first terms highlights.
Also, the Trump economic data appear to end in 2019 and havent been updated. Given recent revisions, some numbers are incorrect or incomplete.
So, how has the economy done during Mr. Trumps watch?
His website points out that U.S. Gross Domestic Product growth has soared under President Trump, topping 3% in 4 quarters under his administration, and in 2018 annual GDP growth was 2.9%. Actually, it topped 3% in only two quarters, but it was 3% in 2018.
The choice is yours.
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Banking And Consumer Protection
President Trump began efforts to loosen regulations imposed on financial institutions under the Dodd-Frank Act, which was implemented following the 2007â2008 subprime mortgage crisis. The president also installed budget director Mick Mulvaney to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established by Dodd-Frank. Mr. Mulvaney had been a “staunch opponent” of the Agency’s past history of broad regulations. President Trump tweeted on November 25, 2017, that “Financial institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public” even though commercial banks generated a record level of profit of $157 billion in 2016, lending activity was robust, and bank stocks were in record territory. The Trump administration and others have asserted that excessive financial regulation since 2008 has caused banks, particularly smaller banks, to decline in numbers. However, the FDIC has noted that “Consolidation in the U.S. banking industry is a multidecade trend that reduced the number of federally insured banks from 17,901 in 1984 to 7,357 in 2011” and this trend has continued through 2017.
The Republican-controlled House passed the Financial CHOICE Act, an expansive rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act, on June 8, 2017. A less aggressive bill was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on March 14, 2018. The House approved the Senate measure on May 22, 2018.
Fact Check: Trumps Claims On The Economy
In an appearance at the Economic Club of New York, the president overstated some of the economys gains on his watch, understated others and often cited inaccurate statistics.
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The United States economy is slowing and wage growth has slipped, but household incomes are rising and the unemployment rate is at a half-century low. This is the complicated and somewhat contradictory state of the American economy that President Trump painted over with a big smiley face at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.
In remarks and a question-and-answer session, Mr. Trump continued to portray himself as a savior of what had been a moribund economy, trumpeting job gains and increased worker pay on his watch. To support his claims, he unleashed a flurry of economic statistics. Some were accurate, some were misleading and some appear nowhere close to the truth.
Here are some of the presidents claims.
What the president said
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Economic Hardship Is Elevated Across The Country
Amid this wobbly recovery, millions of Americans are still struggling to meet their basic needs. The CARES Acts core supports notably the weekly $600 unemployment insurance supplement and the one-time Economic Impact Payments cushioned consumer spending and enabled jobless workers to stow away a small amount of savings. But after Republicans allowed the UI supplement to expire in July, and continue to block new relief, these reserves are largely depleted. Consequently:
Data V Spin: The Truth About Trump And The Us Economy
Can Trump take credit for the economys pre-COVID strength? And did his policies really lift all Americans?
President Donald Trump presided over the final years of an economic expansion in the United States that lasted an unprecedented 128 months. But the record run which began in June 2009 came to a halt this year when the US and global economies fell off the COVID-19 cliff.
In a matter of weeks, tens of millions of Americans found themselves out of work as businesses in every sector shut their doors.
Back on February 4 before lockdown orders swept the nation Trump highlighted his stewardship of the economy during his State of the Union address, telling the American people:
From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the US economy slashing a record number of job-killing regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, colour, religion, and creed very, very high.
But did Trumps policies really revive the economy for the benefit of all Americans? And does Trump or his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, have the winning policy mix to get the economy back on track as the country remains mired in the coronavirus pandemic?
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‘free And Fair’ Trade Deals
Trump has often stressed his “America First” trade stance including the levying of billions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs with China which he said had gained an unfair advantage over the US. The president insists his policies have pressured multinationals to bring jobs back home and forced other nations to open their restricted markets to US firms. The tax cuts provided further encouragement, he said.
“Tariffs on China haven’t done much for the manufacturing sector, but have undercut farm income,” Prakken told DW, adding that there hasn’t been a notable shift in direct foreign investment coming into the US from Trump’s policies, while thousands of American farmers went out of business when Beijing restricted US agricultural imports.
In July, NAFTA 2.0 an update of the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico came into force. But despite promises that it would bring 180,000 new US jobs, the trade deal has no provision to stop work being outsourced to low-cost Mexico. Car manufacturers have continued to relocate their US plants across the border.
Election research shows that economic development just before the election can be decisive, says Prakken. “Most models of the economy’s impact on US presidential elections stress the role of unemployment and income growth 6-9 months before the election.”
Despite Trumps Massive Corporate Tax Cuts Business Investment Isnt Growing Like Never Before
Capital investment is a measure of how much businesses spend on research and development, equipment, and similar assets. The figures below represent the percent change from the previous year. The data on investment in the economy are in the billions. Given our deadlines, we did not include the preliminary estimate of third quarter investment, which has grown more slowly than in the second quarter.
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What Does Joe Biden Say About The Economy
Biden claims that rather than a V-shaped recovery, the US is heading for a K-shape where wealthy Americans are recovering quickly but those on lower income have not.
Biden said he would increase corporate taxes and create more jobs by bringing manufacturing back to the US that would “create an additional $1 trillion in economic growth”.
In this plan, the government would spend $400billion to buy American products and services, while $300billion would go towards research and development.
Biden’s climate change plan, called the “Clean Energy Revolution,” would invest $2 trillion into combating the planet’s greatest threat.
Effects On Corporate Taxation And Behavior
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported in December 2019 that:
- The Tax Act lowered the statutory corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% in 2018, although corporations continued to reduce their taxes below the statutory rate via loopholes. The Tax Act closed some old loopholes, but created new ones.
- The effective corporate tax rate in 2018 was the lowest rate in 40 years, at 11.3%, versus 21.2% on average for the 2008â2015 period.
- Of 379 profitable Fortune 500 corporations in the ITEP study, 91 paid no corporate income taxes and another 56 paid an average effective tax rate of 2.2%.
- If the 379 businesses had instead paid the 21% tax rate, it would have generated an additional $74 billion in tax revenue.
The Economic Policy Institute reported in December 2019 that:
- Working people saw no discernible wage increase due to the Tax Act. The tight labor market and higher state-level minimum wages can explain the wage growth in 2018.
- The Tax Act has not increased business investment, with the small increase in 2018 a “natural bounceback” from a weak 2015â2016, and a sizable decline in 2019.
- Companies used much of the tax benefit for stock buybacks, to the tune of $580 billion in 2018, an increase of 50% from 2017.
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The American Economy Is Growing
Donald Trump has spoken of his desire to turbo-charge the US economy to a growth rate of as high as 6%.
The latest figures, released by the US Department of Commerce in December, show that it grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the third quarter of 2017.
However, after the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates for the third time in 2017 in December, it is possible growth will slow in the coming months.
Consequences If Aca Repealed
President Trump and Republicans in Congress tried repeatedly to repeal or replace the ACA, without success. In February 2018, 20 states, led by Texas Attorney GeneralKen Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney GeneralBrad Schimel, filed a lawsuit against the federal government alleging the ACA is now unconstitutional because the individual mandate tax which NFIB v. Sebelius rested on was repealed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Writing in the Washington Post in September 2020, Catherine Rampell summarized some of the adverse consequences if the ACA is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court:
- 50+ million non-elderly adults with pre-existing conditions could be declined health insurance, or be charged more by insurance companies
- 12+ million low-income persons would become ineligible for Medicaid, thereby losing insurance
- 9+ million persons receiving tax credits to reduce insurance premiums on the exchanges would either pay more or lose coverage
- Minimum essential coverage for prescription benefits and substance abuse treatment would no longer be required in insurance policies
- Children would no longer be able to stay on their parentsâ plans until age 26
- Preventive care would again involve cost-sharing
- More Americans would have healthcare plans without comprehensive protection
- Insurance companies would again be able to impose lifetime limits.
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Asylum Seekers And Refugees
In 2018, the Trump administration increased the requirements for the refugee-screening process. As a result, only 22,491 refugees were resettled that year, the lowest figure since 1980. He ordered that asylum seekers be returned to Mexico while waiting for the asylum process to begin their hearings.
Via a memorandum to the Secretary of State, for fiscal year 2019, President Trump authorized 30,000 refugees to be admitted to the U.S. At the end of the year, 29,916 refugees were admitted from Africa, East Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Near East and South Asia regions.
His Policies Are Improving It A Lot
The argument that President Trump has somehow caused increased economic growth and job creation is wrong, asserts Mathew Yglesias of Vox. It is true that the economy is doing well and so is the stock market. However, the former is continuing a pattern of growth that was already established during Obamas presidency. Trump had almost no effect on it. The stock market, which also broke records under Obama, is growing quickly. But its benefits will be felt disproportionately by Americas already wealthy elite. Trump has created the narrative that he fixed the economy, but his presidency has changed little that wasnt there before.
Democrats are doing whatever they can to discredit the fact that Trump has in fact strengthened Americas economy, holds Ed Rogers of the Denver Post. While it may be true that it was already doing alright under Obama, Trump has given it a huge burst of energy. His pro-business agenda and tax cuts have created gains that will affect everyone, whether they be poor or rich. The success of his policies showed in Davos, where the president was hugely popular for his economic reform. Business leaders and politicians want the policies that Trump has introduced. His opponents are wrong to discredit his achievements.
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