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The Trump economy

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President Trump is not running a re-election campaign based primarily on politics. He has not released any agenda for a second term, and the Republican Party has not released a new platform at its convention.

But when Trump tells voters why he deserves reelection, he tends to focus on the economy. He has created a thriving economy, he says, and will do it again – better than Joe Biden would – once the coronavirus has passed. I would like to devote today’s newsletter to explaining the Trump economy, through four key points:

1. The economy was strong before the virus hit. Trump inherited a growing economy and it has continued to grow under his watch. He accelerated a bit during his first two years in office, before slowing down again in 2019.

2. Perhaps the best news: Wages have gone up, even for low-income workers. After more than a decade of economic growth, the labor market had become tight enough that employers were raising wages faster than inflation. The trend started under President Barack Obama and continued under Trump.

3. Trump deserves some credit. Josh Barro of New York Magazine argued that Trump’s overall economic record is problematic, in part because his tax cuts were so skewed in favor of the rich – but also because Trump made the right decisions. More importantly, he appointed Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who focused on growth (rather than mistakenly thinking inflation was a threat) and kept interest rates low.

4. But Trump also deserves some blame – including for the virus and the recession it caused. Trump’s economic policies were aimed almost entirely at stimulating short-term growth, while largely ignoring long-term dangers.

He increased the deficit, mainly to give wealthy households big tax cuts. It ditched environmental regulations, increasing the likelihood of costly climate destruction. And he’s hollowed out parts of government, including its ability to respond to a pandemic.

(A year ago yesterday, Biden tweeted: “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has reversed the progress President Obama and I have made in strengthening global health security. “)

The bottom line: Much of the performance of the economy is beyond the control of a president. Trump was fortunate to take office with a much stronger economy than that of one of his predecessors – Obama and George W. Bush -. Look at the start of each president’s lines in this chart on job growth:

Later, of course, Trump was unlucky to see a global pandemic arrive during his re-election campaign.

He tried to take full credit for his good luck and shy away from responsibility for the bad news. But that’s not the fairest way to assess Trump’s economy. Ultimately, it deserves solid marks for its performance in its first three years – and far worse marks for its long-term economic heritage.

For more: My colleague Patricia Cohen examined Trump’s economic legacy in a story this weekend. Jon Hilsenrath of the Wall Street Journal also did.

The 2020 campaign

  • The Senate voted yesterday to limit debate on Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment and is expected to uphold her in the Supreme Court tonight. Every Democratic senator is ready to vote against, as is Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who is reelected.

  • Pope Francis appointed Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, a cardinal, making him the first black American to achieve this rank.

  • Chileans voted overwhelmingly to abolish the country’s constitution – a document dating from the time of the dictatorship – and create a new one.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series, falling short of a championship win. A key game: a rare and unsuccessful home theft attempt.

  • One morning read: As protests raged in Minneapolis, Charles Adams, a high school police officer and football coach, called out some of the players on his team. “Before I take to the streets, I have to tell you something,” he said. “Just know that I care.”

  • Lives lived: Edith O’Hara founded the 13th Street Repertory Company, a mainstay of the Off Off Broadway scene, after moving from northwestern Pennsylvania to New York in her 50s. She died at the age of 103.


The Times can help you navigate the election – to separate fact from fiction, make sense of polls, and make sure your ballot counts. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.

Seven states have already passed laws that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $ 15. All seven are strongly democratic: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

This year, a more conservative state – Florida – will vote on the policy. If the referendum passes, Florida’s minimum wage would gradually drop from its current level of $ 8.46 an hour to $ 15 an hour in 2026. After that, it would rise with inflation. Right now, no state in the Southeast has a minimum wage over $ 10, and most rely on the federal level of $ 7.25.

But progressive economic policies, like minimum wage increases, tend to be popular even in the Red States. Voting initiatives to expand Medicaid, for example, have been passed in several Red states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah. And polls show a majority of Americans support expanding Medicare, spending more money on clean energy, raising taxes for the rich – and raising the minimum wage.

If the Florida initiative passes, it will add to the momentum toward a higher minimum wage, either through voting initiatives in other states or through federal politics. Biden is in favor of a federal minimum wage of $ 15. Trump said states should decide.

For more: The Times editorial board argued for a minimum wage of $ 15, and Bloomberg Opinion’s Michael Strain argued against it.

More than four decades after its release, Fleetwood Mac’s album “Rumors” returned to the Top 10 on the Billboard charts last week. Its resurgence was spurred by a viral TikTok video of a man named Nathan Apodaca, a potato worker in Idaho, longboarding to the band’s song “Dreams” as he drank from a bottle of juice. Cran-Raspberry.

This is the latest example of TikTok’s influence on the music industry. “TikTok is an early indicator and a pioneer in seeding music, new and old,” said Times music reporter Joe Coscarelli. “You might have a song like ‘Dreams’ that goes viral on TikTok, then TikTok goes viral on Twitter and Instagram, then Spotify gets the song higher on more playlists.

From there, morning shows and local news can note the phenomenon, and all of this leads to more people watching the music video or streaming the song. The effect can give old songs a second life, or reignite new songs by strangers, like “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X last year.

Dynamics are also changing the music industry. Artists like Drake tease their music early on on TikTok, and record companies pay TikTok stars to promote their songs.

In a recent episode of Popcast, Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica went into more detail.


Roast fish with sweet peppers comes together quickly for a healthy weekday dinner. Soft, flaky fish like hake, cod or plaice are perfect to accompany the garlic and parsley vinaigrette.


Friday’s spelling pangram was toothpick. Today’s puzzle is above – or you can play it online if you have a Games membership.

Here are today’s mini crosswords, and a hint: Big drop of water? (five letters).


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. – David

Correction: Friday’s newsletter changed Trump’s order of a few sentences on the virus during the debate. The correct order is: “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault he came here. It’s China’s fault. “

PS The word “mounehFirst appeared in The Times this weekend, as the Twitter bot notes @NYT_first_said.

You can see the first printed page of the day here.

Today’s episode of the “Quotidien” concerns female voters in the suburbs. And I made an appearance on this week’s episode of “The Argument,” to talk about the 2020 campaign – and also “Jeopardy!”

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