Atlas Was Shrugging: The Trump Economy
By Will Tanner ‘21
Trump's economy has defied the recessionary gainsaying of Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers for the better part of a year and a half. After so long, it is time to examine why Trump's economy is so much better than Obama's ever was.
Secular stagnation' marked the Obama economy, corresponding to “the weakest recovery since the Great Depression.” Record numbers of people were not actively looking for jobs, as shown by an anemic Labor Force Participation Rate of 62.6% in 2015. Most importantly, there was a lack of faith in the economy (only 32% of Americans viewed the economy as good or better in 2016). Under Trump those statistics have all improved, and some have improved dramatically. The Labor Force Participation Rate has increased somewhat to 63%, but much work remains so that the population can be weaned off the handouts of the Obama years and return to gainful employment. The S&P 500 has increased by a dramatic 32% since Trump’s inauguration with stock indexes seeming to reach new heights every month. Faith in the economy has been restored; now over 66% of people believe that the economy is in good or excellent shape. And finally, the true recovery from the Great Recession is happening and GDP increased by 4.2% over the last quarter alone. Trump found a way to jump start the America and now that capitalism is back, so is the economy.
Anyone who has read Atlas Shrugged remembers the economic wasteland created by unaccountable socialist bureaucrats in Washington as they attempted to combat unemployment and a weak economy through directives, increasing welfare, and punishing the producers by stealing the rewards of their labors and redistributing it to the unsuccessful. When their policies failed, those bureaucrats blamed “big business” and placed even more restrictions on businesses. Those with any ability simply gave up and left; they no longer provided any value to society or tried to build anything new. It seemed that during the Obama years his administration was following that script as closely as the American people would allow. Obamacare socialized medicine with predictably disastrous results and then blamed private insurance companies and citizens who wanted to keep their private policies when insurance premiums increased over 60% between 2013 and the end of the Obama presidency. Trade and climate control agreements were made that cost the USA billions, if not trillions of dollars in business costs, lost jobs, and outsourcing to third world countries. When the citizens of this nation clamored for relief from those suffocating and disastrous agreements they were called “a basket of deplorables” by the Washington elite despite the costs of new regulations under those agreements costing about $15,000 per American household. Obama and his cohorts of unaccountable bureaucrats issued over 680 new major regulatory rules and thousands of minor rules that costed about $2 trillion a year in bureaucratic and regulatory costs. Medicare added 11 million people to its rolls as Food Stamp recipients increased by 33%. America was becoming the socialist nightmare of Atlas Shrugged as government intervention increased and business capital expenditure spending fell, especially as the Obama policies were fully implemented in 2015 and 2016.
Trump, on the other hand, has created a business-friendly American environment. Business capital expenditure has increased 6.1% since Trump's inauguration." (that is when the Obama years ended). That new investment is due to the increased optimism brought about by Trump, regulatory rollback, and the massive corporate and individual tax cuts that the Trump administration and Congress passed. Trump promised to repeal 2 regulations for every new one that his administration passed. He has actually repealed 22 regulations for every new one passed. Businesses are rewarded for investing in the country through paying low taxes and receiving support from the presidency, sometimes publicly. If they destroy American jobs and move overseas to competitor nations such as China, however, they must contend with tariffs and bad publicity.
Although all of those statistics may have been a bit tiresome to read, I think they show an important point. America was not recovering under Obama, it was stagnating. Much like Western Europe we were becoming socialist and the economy was faltering because of that. Trump, for all his flaws, has restored America’s productivity. Tariffs and sanctions show the world that we won’t tolerate unfair trade practices that hurt the American worker any longer. Stock indexes continually reach new heights. Businesses are investing at home, not abroad. All the things that were deemed impossible pipe dreams under our previous socialist government have now not only become possible but have actually begun to happen. Obama showed what would happen when huge burdens are placed on businesses- they give up. Atlas shrugs. Trump has already shown what happens when those burdens are removed- wealth is created and businesses build toward a brighter, more productive future.