One of Rush Limbaugh’s great talents is his ability to simply utter just a couple of sentences, and be able to concentrate an almost immeasurable amount of idiocy into such a small statement. Below are four quick points to counter one of those very statements in which he tries to compare the Trump vs. the Obama economy (see his full Facebook post here):
Limbaugh: “There’s some great economic news here today, ladies and gentlemen. Trump’s first year economic growth is now officially at 2.3%. In Obama’s first year, the economy shrank 2.8%. This is a 5.1% turnaround in economic growth, from minus 2.8% to plus 2.3%. This is simply phenomenal.”
This is a truly remarkable statement that does nothing short of purposefully misrepresenting economic climates for partisan purposes. Here are the actual facts and context:
a) Obama took office when we were losing 750,000 jobs a month with GDP growth bottoming out several months later amongst the economic turmoil of the second worst crash in U.S. history that occurred under the Bush administration’s watch. Contrast this to Trump’s first year in which he inherited an economy that had 75 straight months of job growth, with millions of jobs being added over this period, including hundreds of thousands of new jobs added during Obama’s final months.
b) Using the “first-year” metric to argue the success or failure of a president’s economic accomplishments is nonsensical. Legislation isn’t written and policy isn’t passed the very second the President is sworn into office. The economy of a president’s first year is more of a product of residual legislation already in the books from the prior administration. It takes time to propose, debate, and pass new meaningful legislation, and after implementation, it takes even more time to see its effect. I attribute very little of the 2017 economy to the Trump administration, good or bad. But since then, his GOP tax-scam passed along with other GOP economic initiatives that have been written into law. Now this becomes the economy he is responsible for from this point on.
c) The “American Recovery and Investment Act” was signed into law by Obama in February of 2009 which led to the ending of the recession five months later. By March of 2010, the economy was now adding around an average of 250,000 jobs a month, beginning the streak of 75 straight months of job growth with sustained positive GDP growth that continued throughout his remaining six years as president. Rush isn’t going to mention that though. Instead, he’d like to keep the discussion centered only around the economic record of Obama’s first year which, like any other first-year president, was operating based on the prior administration’s economic policies. And as an added bonus, Obama had to deal with the clean up of the unfathomable mess left by the Great Recession that had occurred just before George W. Bush left office.
d) Perhaps Limbaugh’s most asinine idea here is comparing the economic growth of each president’s first year in office, and then declaring that this somehow represents a “5.1% turnaround in economic growth”, completely disregarding Obama’s seven years that occurred between each president’s respective first years in office ( and thus conveniently excludes Obama’s 75 months of consecutive job growth). Limbaugh’s statistic is simply a meaningless number that cannot be used to gauge any measurement of presidential economic performance.
As much as Limbaugh complains about mainstream media slanting and misrepresenting figures, the number he did on these statistics to manipulate them into positive Trump propaganda is truly mesmerizing. Any unbiased source would never allow a statistic to be used in such a blatantly dishonest manner- but somehow Limbaugh gets away with it once again. Because his loyal followers are not looking for the truth. Instead, they’re looking for confirmation that the incompetent sociopath they voted for is a good president. And they will seek out this reassurance regardless of its honesty. ■