FACT CHECK: Trump Lies About The Economy At Davos
January 21, 2020
During his Davos speech this morning, Trump repeatedly touted his economic record. Unsurprisingly, many of his claims were lies.
LIE: “I’m proud to declare that the United States is in the midst of an economic boon, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
FACT: Trump has failed to hit 3% GDP growth every year — much less 4% growth or higher that he promised.
2017: “President Donald Trump’s promise to grow the economy by 4 percent a year did not come through in 2017… The gross domestic product, a broad measure of the national economy, grew 2.3 percent in 2017.”
2018: “U.S. economic growth in 2018 missed the Trump administration’s 3% target by any measure, which could renew criticism of the White House’s $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.”
2019: “The American economy appears to have grown by a little more than 2 percent in 2019, though the statistics are not yet fully compiled. That is likely to be the slowest rate of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and well below the growth he promised that his economic and regulatory policies would produce.”
LIE: “When I took office three years ago, America’s economy was in a rather dismal state.”
FACT: Trump inherited a vibrant labor market with strong income growth.
FactCheck.org: “Obama also leaves Trump an unemployment rate that is well below the historical norm. Currently it stands at 4.7 percent…. Trump enters the White House at a time when incomes have begun to rebound after years of stagnation. In 2015 median household income jumped 5.2 percent — the largest one-year percentage increase since records began in 1967.”
FACT: Job and income growth has slowed under Trump.
FactCheck.org: “The average monthly gain under Trump so far is 191,000 — compared with an average monthly gain of 217,000 during the four years before he took office.”
Bloomberg: “By several measures, middle-class Americans’ incomes have risen more slowly under Trump than during Barack Obama’s final years — hardly a period renowned for gangbuster pay increases. Workers should finally be getting big raises with the unemployment rate down to 3.5%. Yet while wage growth picked up last year, it is still subdued and slowing again after manufacturing output contracted in the first half of the year.”
LIE: “Since my election, America has gained over 7 million jobs, a number unthinkable.”
FACT: The economy has added nowhere close to the 25 million jobs Trump promised, and is on pace to add far fewer jobs than in Obama’s last term.
TRUMP: “Donald J. Trump unveiled a pledge on Thursday to create 25 million jobs over the next decade, but he offered few details on how he would achieve that ambitious goal as president.”
FactCheck.org: “Yet Trump is far behind the pace needed to fulfill his campaign boast that he will be ‘the greatest jobs president that God ever created.’ At this rate he will not even come up to the gains made during Obama’s final term.”
LIE: “For the first time in decades, we are no longer simply concentrating wealth in the hands of a few. We’re concentrating and creating the most inclusive economy ever to exist.”
FACT: Most Americans say Trump’s economy is hurting the lower and middle class.
CNBC: “A majority of Americans say the economy is only benefiting the wealthy, despite record-low unemployment and rising wages. A poll by Pew Research Center found that 69% of Americans say the economy is helping the wealthy, while hurting the poor, those without college degrees and the middle class.”
Pew Research Center: “About six-in-ten Americans (58%) say the economy is hurting those in the middle class, while 32% say the middle class is being helped by the current economy. Americans across income levels are about equally likely to say the current economy is hurting the middle class.”
FACT: Trump’s tax law is helping the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations while leaving everyone else behind.
CBS News: “Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, top earners are also expected to get the biggest overall reduction in taxes over the five-year period studied by the CBO — their tax rate is projected to slide by 3 percentage points over the next two years, versus a dip of only 1 percentage point for the bottom 95% of earners, according to the CBO. The tax rate for households in the 96th to 99th percentiles is expected to fall by 2 percentage points.”
Washington Post: “In the first year of the law, the amount corporations paid in federal taxes on their incomes — their “effective rate” — was 11.3 percent on average, possibly its lowest level in more than three decades, according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank.”
LIE: “As a result of our efforts, investment is pouring into our country. In the first half of 2019, the United States attracted nearly one quarter of all foreign direct investment in the world.”
FACT: Foreign investment growth in the U.S. slowed under Trump compared to Obama.
New York Times: “But statistics from the government and other sources do not support Mr. Trump’s claim about his policies’ effectiveness in drawing investment and jobs from abroad. Foreign investment in the United States grew at a slower annual pace in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s tenure than during Barack Obama’s presidency, according to Commerce Department data released in July. Growth in business investment from all sources, foreign and domestic, accelerated briefly after Mr. Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017 but then slowed. Investment growth turned negative this spring, providing a drag on economic output.”
FACT: Business investment growth has slowed since Trump’s election.
Wall Street Journal: “Corporate tax rate reductions were meant to spur business investment, but that isn’t happening. Business investment has expanded at a 4.2% annual rate since Mr. Trump’s election, a slowdown from the 5.2% annual rate that prevailed before it. Firms have slowed investment in hardgoods, such as structures and equipment—which tax cuts were meant to benefit—and picked up their pace of investment in softgoods, including computer software and intellectual property.”
LIE: “Under Ivanka’s leadership, who’s with us today, our Pledge to America’s Workers has become a full-blown national movement, with over 400 companies committing to provide new job and training opportunities to already close to 15 million American students and workers. 15 million.”
FACT: The pledges Trump cited were not new jobs and largely counted already planned training opportunities.
CNN: “According to interviews with many of the pledge’s largest signatories, however, the numbers advertised at the Oct. 31 event largely represented a tally of already-planned training programs rather than the brand-new opportunities Ivanka Trump claimed. Take the Associated General Contractors, a trade group that represents about 26,000 construction companies and suppliers. The organization pledged 172,500 apprenticeships, safety programs, and upskilling courses over the next five years — all steps it planned to take with or without the pledge.”
Washington Post: “Yet these are not new jobs but training opportunities. Moreover, the numbers reflect pledges over a five-year period, not something already achieved, as the president framed it. Unlike many of the president’s statements, there are at least real numbers attached, but his claim is still a real stretch. Trump may be a proud father, but he earns Three Pinocchios.”
LIE: “And to replace with a new system that puts workers before the special interests. And the special interests will do just fine, but the workers come first.”
FACT: Trump rolled back rules and enforcement efforts to protect worker safety.
NBC News: “The number of federal workplace safety inspectors has fallen under the Trump administration, according to new data obtained by NBC News, raising questions about the government’s efforts to protect workers and the long-term impact of the White House’s move to slow hiring.”
The Hill: “The president also rolled back the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Internet privacy rules and the Labor Department’s workplace protections that required companies to report injuries and illnesses that occur on the job.”
FACT: The White House opposed any efforts to raise the minimum wage.
CNBC: “Kudlow calls federal minimum wage ‘a terrible idea’”
HASSETT: “Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said he and President Trump have not discussed the administration’s position on raising the federal minimum wage.”
FACT: The Trump administration issued an overtime rule that benefited four times fewer workers than the Obama-era rule it replaced.
Bloomberg Law: “The Trump administration today unveiled a final rule to extend overtime pay eligibility to an estimated 1.3 million workers, replacing a stalled Obama-era initiative that would have covered four times as many employees.”
EPI: “This 8.2 million is made up of 3.2 million workers who would have gotten new overtime protections under the 2016 rule and won’t get them under the Trump rule, and 5.0 million who would have gotten strengthened overtime protections under the 2016 rule and won’t get them under the Trump rule. That means this administration is turning its back on millions of workers including 4.2 million women, 2.9 million people of color, 4.6 million workers without a college degree, and 2.7 million parents of children under the age of 18.”