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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Gov. Whitmer disputes Trump's claims of strong economy: 'Strong for whom?'

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2020 at 12:29 PM

  • Courtesy of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock
  • A tale of two economies.

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump gave his third — and hopefully, final — State of the Union address, where he touted what he has called a "blue-collar boom" for America's middle class.

"In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny," he said. "We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back."

But in a short, 10-minute response speech, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said what anyone in Michigan can see with their own eyes: This is not a booming economy for everybody. (And if you can't see that, you need to step outside of Grosse Pointe.)

"[The] reality is, not everyone in America has a job with health care and benefits," Whitmer said. "In fact, many have jobs that don’t even pay enough to cover their monthly expenses."

She continued: "It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market. What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans, or prescription drugs."

"All over the country, wages have stagnated, while CEO pay has skyrocketed," she said. "So when the president says the economy is strong, my question is: Strong for whom? Strong for the wealthy, who are reaping the rewards from tax cuts they don’t need?"

"The American economy needs to be a different kind of strong," she added.

Touting the allegedly "booming" economy is a common refrain from Trump. But as former Obama adviser and economic analyst Steven Rattner pointed out in a post-speech analysis on MSNBC, what Trump said about the economy, like most of the shit he says, wasn't totally true.

"When I was watching the beginning of that speech, I felt like I was living in a parallel universe — like I was in some other country, like he was talking about some other country — because everything he was saying made so little sense."

Job growth under President Trump's first 35 months, he said, was actually lower than under Obama's final 35 months.

While wages have been going up, when you adjust for inflation, they have grown more slowly under Trump — 0.6% to Obama's 1.1%. And GDP growth is no higher than under Obama.

The economy has grown uninterrupted since 2009, meaning that any claims to its growth must be shared with Obama. "Any way you slice it, this is at best a continuation of the Obama recovery, and at worst a slower version of the Obama recovery," Rattner said.

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