The shrinking field of candidates to take on Donald Trump in November paints a picture of the economy that doesn’t match reality.
Actually, contends every 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, the economy is in really bad shape. It is only working for the wealthiest among us, while leaving behind the poor, the working class, and the shrinking middle class.
Democrats could simply say: “Yes, it’s true that the economy has been doing rather well for most Americans since Barack Obama saved it from the nefarious clutches of the Republican party, but it’s important that we never forget the men and women — and especially minorities — who’ve yet to benefit from this recent economic uptick. We can do better!”
That, of course, would mean implicitly admitting that easing regulatory oversight, cutting taxes, and leaving the economy largely alone can be a successful formula for growth, which won’t do. So, instead, the Left continues to be consumed by the zero-sum fallacies of “inequality” to such an extent that it often sounds like it’s more interested in punishing the wealthy than in lifting the poor.
Wages for the lowest-end earners, in fact, have grown faster than they have for higher-wage earners in recent years.
Smart people kept telling us that unemployment wouldn’t go much lower than 4.7 percent. They told us tax hikes would hurt the economy. Well, the jobless rate averaged 3.7 percent through last year, and it’s now at 3.5, which is lower than at any other time since 1969. There are more open jobs than there are people trying to find a job.
Yet, in last night’s debate, Biden again asserted, to applause, that the middle class was “being clobbered” and “killed.” (The middle class is actually quite alive. It isn’t losing ground to poverty. It has been losing ground to the upper-middle class for 40 years, however.)
Democrats will also demonize the profit-mongering villains of “Wall Street” for their supposed complicity in these supposed problems. Last year the S&P 500 rose by 29 percent, the NASDAQ by 35 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 22 percent.
As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helpfully points out: “Economics 101 reminder: The stock market is NOT the economy.”
It’s true, the stock market is not the economy. But more Americans than ever are invested in it. When Ocasio-Cortez was born, fewer than 30 percent of Americans owned any form of stock; now that number is over 50 percent.
Now, whether we’re living in the greatest economy the nation has ever experienced, as Donald Trump often contends, is up for debate. It’s safe to say we’ve been experiencing one of the strongest stretches in modern history since back when gridlock hit D.C. during the Obama administration.
The salient question is how many Americans really believe the economy is in bad shape. A recent CNN poll found that 76 percent believed that the economy was very or somewhat good — an almost a ten-point jump from a year earlier, and the highest level recorded since 2001. A Gallup poll finds historic highs in economic-confidence indicators as well.
So, how can this justify the Democrats’ misleadingly gloomy depiction of American capitalism, because nothing can.
For additional information you can check with our friends over at National Review.