SUSAN WALSH VIA US NEWS
When every President comes into office, they automatically have many standards to be measured by-- the previous Presidents. How does a Republican president hold up against Ronald Reagan? How does a Democrat do compared to FDR? And what about each president’s immediate predecessor? These days, it is rare to see two presidents of the same party get elected consecutively, so when Presidents come into office, they are always held against a predecessor who they most likely did not even agree with. President Donald Trump is no exception to this pattern. After coming under fire for attacking former President Barack Obama on his birth certificate, ISIS, Obamacare and unemployment, Mr. Trump finds himself constantly compared to the 44th President, and he has striven to come out on top in that comparison. However, our new President has attempted to make himself look better by taking the same numbers he discredited during the Obama administration and using them to boost his ego and silence those who claim Barack Obama was better for the economy.
Quite simply put, President Trump should not be using these numbers on employment and job creation. The Obama Administration is responsible for the drop in unemployment and boost in jobs, and for Trump to take credit for them after he relentlessly claimed to the world that Obama lied is hypocrisy, and it will only raise the tensions between the political parties during an already charged time. By his last few months in office, Obama had successfully decreased unemployment to 4.9%, a net decrease of 2.9 percentage points from when he first took office, and had spurred the creation of a total ten million jobs since 2009. If those numbers sound impressive, that is because in historical context, they really are. Jobs haven’t been created so rapidly since the economic boom that came under Bill Clinton, and five percent for unemployment is lower than the historical median of 5.5% that has existed since the days of FDR. These numbers seem indisputable, yet Trump has taken every measure to put down the accomplishments of the Obama administration, tweeting out excerpts of Congressional Budget Office reports that attacked Obama’s policies. Now, with a report saying that unemployment has dropped even lower to 4.7%, and 235,000 jobs have been created in February, the new administration is understandably ecstatic. Here, they seemingly have some rock solid evidence that President Trump is doing well.
The numbers are undeniable, but the hypocrisy here comes from Trump’s habit of picking and choosing what facts he wants to believe and praise. The 4.7 percent number existed under Obama as well, but Trump met it with disdain, yet now he uses it as a marker of success. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the report that has the President so happy, but whenever the same agency reported on Obama’s success, there was no praise to be found from Trump. Instead, there are claims that Obama fabricated the numbers. But if Obama fabricated the numbers while he was in office, the numbers from February must be fabricated as well, because many economic experts from both sides of aisle agree that Donald Trump has not been in office long enough to have affected the economy. In fact, the numbers from this past February align with the steady job growth that existed under President Obama. Experts agree that the economy is still experiencing the effects of Obama’s policies, and that Trump has yet to deliver on his promises. This is not a reflection on Trump’s policies-- it just means he hasn’t actually done anything yet.
To summarize: Obama is responsible for low unemployment and high job creation after the recession, and now Trump wants to use the numbers he bashed Obama for to make himself look better even though, according to many experts, he has not contributed to these numbers in any substantial manner. The upcoming months will tell us for sure if Trump should be praised for his work in office, but for now, our President needs to focus on proving he can make a change by actually doing it, not taking credit for another President’s hard work.
Originally written and published for The Progressive Teen