The budget released by the Trump administration Monday relies on a set of false assumptions about our economy, reflecting the distorted vision laid out in last week’s State of the Union address. In that speech, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE lied again and again about his record on the economy. It is critical that Americans know the facts.
“The unemployment rate,” President Trump declared, “is the lowest in over half a century.” What he failed to mention is that it was under the previous administration that the rate fell from a recession-high of 10 percent to a strong 4.7 percent. In fact, under President Trump, there have been 42,000 fewer jobs created each month compared to the last thirty-six months of the Obama administration.
The president claims that there has been a “blue collar boom” in wage growth, but in December wages slipped to their lowest rate of growth in 18 months. Under President Obama, median household incomes rose a staggering $4,800, compared to just $1,400 under President Trump. He cited the figure of millions no longer receiving food stamps – but it’s not because these Americans are getting ahead, it’s that they are being kicked off their food stamp benefits by this administration’s policies.
On metric after metric, President Trump takes credit for the gains resulting from President Obama’s policies – the same policies he is working to end. It’s no surprise, then, that the pace of growth on each of these indicators has begun to slip under the Trump administration. Indeed, on Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate is beginning to tick back upward – and that hundreds of thousands of jobs estimated to have been created last year were not, in fact, created at all. Under this presidency, our economic gains are being squandered, and most Americans aren’t able to access the tools to get ahead.
Where he cannot steal credit from his predecessor, President Trump simply rewrites history. He claimed that his 2017 tax scam would see GDP growth of 6 percent. Compared to GDP growth before he signed the tax scam into law, though, it hasn’t changed at all. He continues to claim that the economy is performing miracles and that his tax cuts for the wealthiest pay for themselves. American workers and their families, though, haven’t seen the benefits promised by the president and his allies. Indeed, the only major outcome of their tax scam has been trillions of dollars in new deficits and debt – a fact the president ignores when confronted with his campaign promise to eliminate the national debt entirely. On Tuesday night, he neglected to mention the words “deficit” or “debt” at all.
On health care, we see the same pattern. Under President Obama, 20 million Americans gained access to affordable health coverage, and the Democratic Congress banned annual and lifetime coverage limits and discriminatory policies that kicked those with pre-existing conditions off their plans. Perversely, President Trump pledged to “protect patients with pre-existing conditions,” even while his administration is in court arguing for the invalidation of the law that guarantees them coverage. Meanwhile, the number of uninsured Americans rose for the first time in a decade on his watch. Furthermore, just days after announcing a plan to gut Medicaid and less than a month after telling an audience in Switzerland that he plans to seek cuts to Medicare and Social Security, he falsely claimed in his speech that he “will always protect” these programs.
The president’s budget for Fiscal Year 2021 is a roadmap for his destructive policies to cut Medicaid and lay the groundwork for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It continues his ongoing war against access to affordable health care. Further, it proposes dangerous cuts to economic opportunity and diminishes the tools available to protect our national security.
Americans, I believe, can see through this president’s falsehoods, and they will see the fallacies of this budget. The millions who are working hard but still not getting ahead understand that the Trump economy isn’t working for them. Democrats will continue to tell the truth about our economy and this president’s dismal record, just as we will not rest in our own efforts to deliver real results for the people that make the state of our union stronger. When we bring appropriations bills to the House floor this year, they will be based on economic reality, not partisan fantasy.
Hoyer is House majority leader.