Who’s responsible for the increase in the stock market and general economic growth? President Obama or President Trump?
The honest answer: Neither.
Presidents do not create economic growth. Traders – buyers, sellers, consumers – in the marketplace create economic growth.
Presidents can either stand in the way or get out of the way of economic growth.
On that score, President Trump is much better than President Obama. President Obama not only increased taxes and massively expanded regulation. He also took a moral position that business is inherently bad. The ugliest manifestation of this attitude was his statement to entrepreneurs everywhere: “You didn’t build that.”
People who dislike President Trump personally, or who disagree with him on matters related to trade and immigration, don’t wish to credit him with anything. But the fact remains he’s better for the economy than Barack Obama was, and better than Hillary Clinton would have been. Unless Bernie Sanders had managed to win, there was nowhere to go but up.
Another factor—both economic and psychological—must be considered. For a decade, especially under President Obama and the hopelessly compliant Republicans in Congress, the United States moved decisively toward a totally command-and-control economy. This made it increasingly difficult for the private sector even to function. Government had its paws on the Internet itself before Obama left office, going under the Orwellian name of “net neutrality”.
Given the surprising electoral victory of Donald Trump in 2016, the remnants of our private economy breathed a sigh of relief, in the form of the economic improvements we now see. It’s not that President Trump is an advocate of radically free market capitalism. If only he were! And it’s not that any President, especially one in his first year and with a largely oppositional Congress, can generate all that change so quickly. It’s just a relief that — at least for now — the Commies and economic totalitarians won’t be in charge after all.
If my theory is right, and a lot of what’s going on right now is an expression of relief, how could it in any way be attributed to President Obama? It’s Obama’s absence and his replacement with a pragmatic Republican—who does not detest the free economy completely—that has given us this boost. It would have happened with any sincere Republican victor, assuming there was one.
The economic improvement of the last year proves what those of us who think rationally already knew: A hampered market economy works better than an economy marching steadfastly toward economic Communism. Other than FDR and Woodrow Wilson, Barack Obama brought us closer to a totally government-planned economy than the United States has ever come.
If a few crumbs of relief can do all this for the country economically, just imagine what an unhampered free market economy could do.
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