Of all the people Democrats could’ve featured during the first night of their ratings-deficient convention this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made for an especially odd choice.
Most notably, Governor Cuomo maligned President Trump’s performance amid the coronavirus pandemic, either brazenly or cluelessly ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room that his state accounts for the most pandemic deaths, with no close competitor.
According to Johns Hopkins University, New York accounted for 32,846 coronavirus deaths as of this week. New York’s closest competitor in that regard is New Jersey, with less than half at 15,916. Third place is California at 11,296. Meanwhile, supposedly reckless red states like Texas and Florida have economically outperformed those blue states while avoiding their elevated death counts.
America’s coronavirus death toll stands precisely in the middle among Group of Seven nations, so we’re hardly the unique failure that President Trump’s antagonists insist. But imagine how much more favorably we’d compare without the disproportionately high death counts of deep-blue states New York, New Jersey and California.
An equally dishonest but incessant theme repeated throughout this week’s Democratic National Convention is that President Trump somehow represents a singularly incompetent economic leader.
Inconveniently, however, that messaging collided with the S&P 500 closing at a new record high this week. The market closed at 3,389.78, surpassing its February 19 high of 3,386.15, and erasing its 34% drop from its February high to its March low. “The whole chapter from peak to peak,” reported The Wall Street Journal, “spanned 126 trading days and marks the index’s fastest-ever recovery from a bear market.”
The S&P 500 thus joined the Nasdaq, which bounced back from its March coronavirus depth to reach a new record high back on June 4. This week, the Nasdaq marked its 34th new record high, meaning that two of the nation’s three leading markets have not only recovered but reached new records. For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is also nearly back to its February record as it continues its ascent.
Ah, some may reflexively respond, those are just wealthy people’s stock markets that don’t reflect the U.S. economy, right?
First of all, those markets fuel everyday Americans’ 401(k) plans, pension plans, retirement plans and other savings accounts. Second, as the Journal separately reported, “stock market laggards like small-caps and industrial shares surged in August, a sign that the market’s breadth is widening after months of dominance by big technology companies.”
And third, the U.S Department of Commerce reported last week that household retail sales rose 1.2% in July, marking the third consecutive month of gains. What’s most notable is that July household spending was 1.7% higher than even February, the month before the coronavirus hit. Think about the gravity of that milestone: Even amid a pandemic that hasn’t yet disappeared, everyday Americans’ spending has nevertheless reached a new record high.
Perhaps most importantly for purposes of evaluating President Trump, however, the U.S. economy despite its own coronavirus headwinds continues to outpace our supposed superiors in Europe.
The U.S. economy contracted approximately 2% in the first quarter of 2020, and approximately 9% in the second. Germany under the allegedly masterful Angela Merkel contracted approximately 3% in the first quarter and 10% in the second. Italy contracted approximately 6% in the first quarter and 13% in the second, France approximately 7% in the first and 14% in the second, while Spain suffered a 6% contraction in the first quarter and 18% in the second. And the United Kingdom suffered a fairly mild 3% first-quarter contraction, but a ghastly 20% contraction in the second.
If President Trump is so singularly incompetent as his antagonists claim, how can that be?
It would be one thing if the coronavirus pandemic was somehow limited to the U.S., but it has obviously hit every nation on the planet. Accordingly, the question isn’t whether the U.S. economy has suffered, but rather how we’ve fared compared to other nations hit by the same pandemic.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen reported its latest economic confidence measurement rose 5 points to 114.9, which is notable because it stood at 108.1 on Barack Obama’s last month in the White House. Yet there Obama was this week, similarly accusing Trump of economic mismanagement, even as Americans amid a pandemic maintain greater economic confidence than they did during his final month after nearly a decade in office.
For his part, Joe Biden promises a return to the policies of the Obama/Biden years, which is an odd elixir considering that they brought us the objectively worst economic “recovery” in recorded U.S. history. Biden promises to raise taxes, increase regulation, reduce American energy independence by banning fracking and other energy innovation via a multi-trillion dollar “Green New Deal” and allow Senators Bernie Sanders (I – Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D – Massachusetts) to push him toward bankrupting seniors’ social safety net with their “Medicare for All” plan.
President Trump’s policies of lower taxes and less regulation not only brought us the most prosperous economy in human history before the coronavirus pandemic began in March, but has allowed America to outperform its European counterparts that Biden, et al. seek to emulate.
Americans must ask themselves whether the objective comparisons itemized above justify that risk.
Reprinted with Permission from - Center for Individual Freedom by - Timothy H. Lee