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Jobs, growth, and higher wages leave Democratic contenders searching for excuses

Jobs, growth, and higher wages leave Democratic contenders searching for excuses

Friday’s June jobs report, with its expectations-shattering gain of 224,000 net jobs (including 17,000 manufacturing jobs) and its 4% unemployment rate (effectively full employment), reinforces what was already popularly understood about the Trump-era economy. Unemployment is historically low. Job creation is historically strong. Wages continue rising under Trump after a long period of stagnation under predecessors of both parties.

You have to give the man credit — or so you’d think. Dozens of Democrats running for president beg to differ, but they also lack adequate excuses for how all this prosperity came about if President Trump’s presidency is really the disaster they claim it is.

Even if Trump is the idiot they say he is, ordinary Americans could be forgiven for wondering whether, with his combination of tax reform and deregulation, he hasn’t proven himself to be just the right idiot for the job, and certainly better than any of the idiots they might nominate to run against him.

Chief Political Correspondent Byron York on the expanded Washington Examiner magazine

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On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried feebly on social media to back up her party’s presidential aspirants by asserting that the economy is “being hollowed out to enrich big corporations & the wealthiest 1 percent.” This assertion has no data or factual basis behind it — in fact, the link Pelosi provided went to a generic list of House Democratic press releases that came out before the July 4 holiday.

Pelosi was right to complain about the current trade uncertainty, for which Trump is mostly to blame, but the real marvel is that the economy keeps thriving in spite of this. One can only imagine how much better things will get if that uncertainty is resolved and how much more at a loss Democrats will be to explain the coming boom times.

Pelosi had the luxury of just going through the motions in talking down the U.S. economy, but the presidential candidates did not. The nation had a front-row seat to their humiliation last month as they spent part of their two-night debate time trying to frame the current, fantastic economic situation as something horrible, straight out of a Dickens novel.

In the end, the numbers expose their lies.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was arguably the worst of the bunch. She chose to posit that inequality is overriding all benefits. She claimed that the Trump economy was booming for “a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” and that its chief beneficiaries are “people who want to invest in private prisons” and drug and oil companies.

Yet the data prove every one of these statements false. First, the latest employment numbers show that job growth is currently strongest among the highest-income professions and that wage growth is currently strongest among the lowest-income professions: both signs of an economy that’s raising all boats and serving workers well, including even the unskilled.

More amusingly, Warren appears to have fibbed also about all those big industries. If you invested in private prison, oil or drug stocks when Trump took office in January 2017, then you’re hurting right now, and probably hoping that Warren and Bernie Sanders will pay for your healthcare.

The two most prominent private prison company stocks have plummeted — CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) is down about 25% since Trump’s inauguration, and GEO Group is down about 20%. The five top exchange-traded funds that track the pharmaceutical industry (each one linked somewhere here) have all lagged the the S&P 500’s 31% return since Trump’s inauguration. Exxon-Mobil and Occidental Petroleum have lost value in the Trump era, and BP and Chevron have underperformed the market, as has ConocoPhillips.

So Warren doesn’t appear to have said even a single thing that was factually true in her effort to disparage the Trump-era economy. Quite the wonk!

Sen. Kamala Harris, debating on the following night, parroted an old line from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She asserted that low unemployment numbers merely hide the unpleasant fact that Americans are “working two and three jobs … In our America, no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table.”

Luckily for Americans, and unfortunately for Harris, there has been no uptick in the share of Americans working multiple jobs. Almost no one in the U.S. actually works two full-time jobs (about 300,000, or 0.2% of all workers in 2018), and it’s not clear how many of those must do so in order to eke by. But the overall share of U.S. workers holding more than one job (including two part-time jobs or one full- and one part-time) was only 5.1% last month: a number that has been steady since 2010 and well below where it was in the prosperous 1990s. So multiple job holders can’t explain away the many other indicators of economic success since 2017.As Democrats keep searching for excuses, more and more people (600,000 last month) are entering the U.S. workforce, lured by the promise of higher wages and almost guaranteed employment. Democrats can only pray that things fall apart quickly so that what they say starts bearing some semblance to the truth.

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