The “nattering nabobs of negativism” – or radical left voices hoping for a Trump recession – are frustrated. All indicators of a strong economy remain firm. Unemployment is at record lows, across every major demographic. Inflation is in check. Growth continues apace. Wages are rising, productivity unexpectedly growing, and trade talks with China are back on, after the President met with China’s Xi in Japan.
It gets better. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which popped to 4.2 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2018, then stayed at 3.4 percent in the 3rd, went to 2.2 percent, then 3.1 percent in the 1st quarter of 2019, and seems on track to stay high in 2019, as non-farm payrolls grow again in the 2nd quarter. If an agreement with China is reached in the next several months, the markets are likely to pop again, with or without the predicted Federal Reserve cut in interest rates.
Now, as July begins, another benchmark of strong economic performance hits. According to the Wall Street Journal, the stock market notched a 17 percent gain for the first half of 2019, best in 22 years.
Not since 1997 has a year begun that way – and this despite naysayers decrying Chinese and Mexican tariff threats, January’s partial federal shutdown, farmers’ fears for 2019 sales, unending calls for presidential impeachment, tensions with Iran, and fretting by a nervous Fed – which still cannot explain failure of the Phillips Curve, an economist’s tool predicting inflation spikes when unemployment falls.
The truth is that President Trump’s combination of reduced regulations, major tax cuts, more limited government intervention, renegotiating trade agreements bilaterally, and focus on the consumer and worker, have confounded the voices of doom.
One grows tired of hearing news anchors constantly downing the president’s strategy, trying to diminish the multiplier effect of corporate and individual tax cuts, rebutting record unemployment with cries of wages needing to grow faster, crediting Obama’s near-recession years for Trump’s roaring economy, predicting all manner of horrors from attempts to hold China accountable, pillorying the President for a tariff threat on Mexico if they did not work to close their southern border, and – well – the kitchen sink.
Unspoken is a powerful, positive, and for critics – imponderable fact. Following the tax cut examples of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, rolling back federal regulation, seeking fairness from international trading partners, and implicitly trusting consumers, workers and employers – not the government – to expand choices, create jobs, raise incomes, and improve life in America, Trump has unleashed the genius that resides in free markets and free people.
Ronald Reagan did this almost 40 years ago, to good and lasting effect. Americans are frankly glad when trusted to define their own futures, raise their own families, keep more of their own income, shop without inflation, choosing their own jobs, doctors, insurers, schools, cars, virtues and vices. In short, freedom is about allowing good people to be free – and celebrating the outcome of that freedom.
All this seems lost on the President’s critics, in and out of government, who see doom, gloom and darkness in economic light. The nature of economic growth is that it ebbs and flows, often in response to pops and pivots, shivers, shakes, shocks and quakes in the international marketplace.
But here, in a place called America, we know what we produce, how hard we work, how good we are at what we do, and how much goodness inevitably flows from economic freedom. Ironically, the political freedom that allows economic freedom also permits the “nattering nabobs of negativism” to fuss and mumble about socialism and society’s ills, filling the airwaves with gripes and grumbling, wishing for the recession that – for the foreseeable future – is nowhere on the horizon. Ah, the greatness of America!