Guess what? Donald Trump is lying about the economy on Twitter again.
I realize that won’t come as a surprise to most of you, but this time, he’s really outdone himself.
“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!”, Trump exclaimed on Monday morning.
I imagine he’s going to end up deleting this tweet, so for posterity, here’s a screengrab he can’t delete:
As usual, there’s some ambiguity here because Trump (and Don Jr.) have never demonstrated a firm grasp of the difference between quarterly GDP data and yearly figures, but as stated (i.e., using the revision of Q2 GDP as the President does there and using the latest read on the unemployment rate from the August jobs report), that is not just untrue, it is laughably false. Here’s the reality:
This has literally happened so many times over the past 70 years that it’s easier to express it in terms of percentages. Over the past seven decades, growth has been above the unemployment level 20% of the time.
In other words, that is one whopper of a lie the President just told to 54 million Twitter followers.
This is part and parcel of Trump’s ongoing effort to pitch what’s happening in the U.S. economy as a “miracle”, when in fact, it’s just not. It’s not that the data isn’t good. In fact, if you wanted to be charitable, you could conceivably characterize things as “great” if you wanted to.
But that’s not good enough for Trump. Everything has to be compared to history in order to perpetuate the demonstrably false claim that he’s presiding over a historic renaissance in the American economy.
In July, Trump held an actual press conference to celebrate the release of quarterly GDP data. That was so laughable a spectacle that it was difficult for market watchers and economists to find the right words to explain to the uninitiated how bizarre it was.
Trump described the data as “amazing”. In fact, the Q2 GDP print would have been just the fifth best quarter of the Obama presidency and as you can see from the following chart (which also serves as another way of visualizing just how false Monday’s tweet is), it is by no means a historical anomaly.
Following the July press event, Don Jr. took to Twitter to perpetuate the lie that “Obama never broke” 2% on quarterly GDP prints. There were in fact multiple quarters during the Obama years where the annualized pace of growth was greater than 2%.
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: These are outright, demonstrable lies. The President’s inability to comprehend quarterly data aside, he is perpetuating a fairy tale. It is a myth. He is saying things to his base that have no basis in reality.
Just to underscore the point, even Fox News is trolling him…
Since 1948, there have been 63 quarters with a GDP growth rate higher than avg quarterly unemployment rate
Recent Quarters with GDP Growth higher than Unemployment Rate:
•Q2 1996 https://t.co/xc873PMf6K
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) September 10, 2018