For Trump, It's Obviously #1. Others Predict Disaster

The economy looks great, but some see a recession coming
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2019 4:10 PM CDT
The Economy: 'Spectacular' Or Heading for a Cliff?
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 3, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Record job growth. Historic low unemployment. Rising wages. Even the Washington Post—hardly President Trump's biggest backer—is breathless over the US economy, but some experts are wondering whether the party can last. First, the good news: Employers tacked on 263,000 new jobs in April and US unemployment sank to 3.6%, marking 103 consecutive consecutive months of job growth (a record) and the lowest unemployment since 1969. Wages are up for many, the stock markets are strong, and expected high inflation isn't happening. "'Spectacular' is the only way to describe this jobs report,” says a Loyola Marymount University economist. "It is hard to believe that this 10-year-old recovery keeps pumping out home runs." Now, under the hood:

  • Is it Trump's? "The job market had already been improving for years when President Trump took office," per the New York Times, but "warnings that trade wars and erratic management style would throw the economy off course have proved wrong so far."
  • Can it last? The Financial Times warns of a coming downturn. It says the cheery 3.2% expansion reflects factors like higher government spending and rebuilt inventories, which can't last. And personal consumption and business investment did poorly.
  • Looming debt: John Mauldin, who predicts a recession starting around 2020, points to debt danger. "High levels of debt reduce interest rates, productivity, and GDP growth, exactly as we see in Japan," he writes at Forbes. "To some degree, we already see the first evidence of that in the US."
  • No way: Kenneth Rapoza pooh-poohs that, writing at Forbes that "there is no recession sight here at home" and "no recession on the horizon in China either." He says Trump tax cuts and regulatory reductions are working.
  • 2007 redux? Trump's policy resembles George W Bush's: higher spending, lower taxes, and deregulation. "Both presidents were also offered a similar opportunity: to put the nation’s finances on more solid ground," writes Richard Carroll at Bloomberg. Don't be surprised, he says, if this high-wire act also crashes.
  • Good for now: Trump clearly plans to ride these numbers in 2020, the AP reports. "I'll be running on the economy," he said Friday.
  • Bad for Dems: Democrats are mostly avoiding the economic numbers as they run for president, reports Fox News. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are emphasizing income inequality while Joe Biden says, "The middle class is hurting, it's hurting now."
(More economy stories.)

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