In what could be a boon for Hillary Clinton, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported that real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the third quarter. This increase was largely driven by the sale of durable goods such as cars and refrigerators. The purchase of nondurable goods was down along with investment in housing. On the other hand, the third quarter saw a large increase in exports.
Overall, this is good news for Clinton, since it reflects well on the administration of President Obama and the Democratic Party. Donald Trump is trying to sell this as a change election similar to how President Obama sold 2008, but there are some major differences between the two.
For a start, President Obama is much more popular than George W. Bush was. When he left office, Bush’s approval ratings were at a dismal 22 percent. President Obama, on the other hand, currently sits at 52.5 percent. President Obama managed to, at least partially, paint John McCain as a continuation of Bush’s failed policies. Trump is trying something similar by tying Clinton to Obama, but it might backfire. Given the president’s current popularity, some people might be open to four more years of President Obama’s policies.
The other major difference between 2016 and 2008 is, of course, the economy. As this latest report shows, the economy is improving thanks to President Obama’s policies. Trump has claimed that current GDP growth is too slow. He has pledged that, if elected, the US would see four percent growth. However, most economists claim that his projections are simply absurd. Trump is, as Bill Clinton said, trying to recreate the economy and society the U.S. had 50 years ago, but that economy is gone.
Another problem with Trump’s complaints regarding the GDP is that he’s comparing apples to oranges when he complains about China’s seven percent growth. Developing nations always see faster growth than developed ones because they have nowhere to go but up.
To be fair, there are plenty of valid criticisms of the GDP, but, setting those aside, 2.9 percent growth is a good sign for the economy. It’s also a good sign for Clinton and the Democratic Party.
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