Feb. 08--Trump emphasized the strong economic improvement achieved on his watch. The president noted 5.3 million jobs have been created, including 600,000 manufacturing jobs, "something which almost everyone said was impossible to do." The 304,000 jobs added in January were "almost double what was expected."
"Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else," Trump said. "Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps."
The U.S. economy, he noted, "is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office." Unemployment "has reached the lowest rate in half a century," and the unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and Americans with disabilities are all the "lowest levels ever recorded." The president noted, "No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year."
By most objective measures, the economy is in its best shape in a decade. But you wouldn't know it from the Democratic response to Trump's speech, given by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Abrams insisted "families' hopes are being crushed" and "far too many hardworking Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck." She said Trump's tax cuts "rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming, and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living."
Yet wages are growing at the fastest rate in a decade. Could wage growth be stronger? Certainly. But Abrams ignores the fact that most of the preceding years of lower wage growth occurred under a Democratic administration implementing Democrats' preferred policies. And the tax cut package included middle-class items like doubling the child tax credit. The Tax Policy Center concluded the plan would "reduce taxes on average for all income groups." Obviously, it financially benefited far more than much-maligned "1-percenters."
Abrams said, "In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security." But middle-class people faced even greater struggle and enjoyed less security when her party was in power.
If Democrats want to beat Trump on the economy, they need to not just say things could be better, but also explain why things weren't better when they were so recently in charge.
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