2008 record      


No question about it — one year into President Trump's first term, the economy is on a roll, creating wealth, income and jobs for Americans, and building opportunities for the young. It's a triumph of economic realism over foolish skepticism.

Critics so disliked Trump as he entered office last year that they were all but rooting for him to fail. A few headlines tell the tale:

"President Trump is about to tank the economy" (TheWeek.com). "Millennials think the Trump economy is going to implode" (Chicago Tribune). "Investors ignoring the risks in Trump's presidency" (MarketWatch). "Why the Trump Economic Boom Will Never Come" (Foreign Policy). "Trump is being handed a great economy. What happens when it goes south?" (Washington Post).

OK. You get the picture. We did a simple, random Google search for "Does President Trump deserve credit for the economy?" As a sign of how skeptical the Trump-hating media are, it returned 826,000 results.

But it's fair to ask: What has Trump accomplished when it comes to the economy? The numbers don't lie.

Stock market: The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 31% over the past year, "more than any other president since Franklin Roosevelt," CNBC.com reminds us. Total stock market wealth added since Trump's first inauguration: $5.5 trillion.

Jobs: Over the last year, 2.2 million jobs were added to the economy, as the unemployment rate fell from 4.8% to 4.1% currently. Minorities experienced their lowest unemployment rates ever in December 2017, after a year of solid gains. Unemployment claims, meanwhile, are at a 45-year low.

GDP: President Trump entered office amid what appeared to be a dangerously slowing economy, with just 1.2% growth in the first quarter of 2017. But growth immediately picked up, rising to 3.1% in the second quarter, 3.2% in the third quarter, and, based on recent data, 3% or higher in the final quarter of 2017 — making the longest stretch of 3%-plus GDP growth since 2005.

Tax cuts: Trump's $1.5 trillion in tax cuts lowered the corporate marginal rate from 35% to 21%, and cut rates sharply for middle-class and lower-income Americans. The results are in: Less than three weeks after the tax bill became law, more than 164 companies — ranging from AT&T and Apple to Visa and Wal-Mart — have announced pay hikes and special bonuses for their workers. Apple stunned markets last week, announcing it would bring $245 billion back from overseas, hire about 20,000 new workers and hand out bonuses of around $2,500 for each of its employees due to tax cuts.

Confidence: Our IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index stands at 55.1, well above the 49.3 average over that measure's lifetime, signaling continued confidence in the strength of the economy. The optimism index is close to its all-time high and has now been positive — above 50 — for 16 months. Meanwhile, a separate IBD/TIPP index for financial stress is at its lowest since we began measuring it in 2007.

Regulation: Trump fulfilled his promise to cut more rules than he enacted. Indeed, he eliminated 22 regulations for every regulation he added, cutting some $8.1 billion in costs. More important, he pulled out of the ruinous Paris Climate Deal, which the NERA economic consulting group estimated would cost the U.S. some $3 trillion in compliance costs over the lifetime of the deal.

The point is, this last year has been a humdinger for President Trump. Coming in with the lowest of expectations, he has exceeded virtually all forecasts and the dire predictions of doom by his naysayers. Tax cuts and deregulation, the twin pillars of Trumponomics, have been a success by any measure. If Trump's second year is as successful as his first, the "blue wave" Democrats expect in the 2018 midterm elections may not materialize.

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