Shortly before his resounding defeat of Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election, Republican nominee Ronald Reagan posed a memorable question to American voters: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”
In the four decades since, the question has become a key metric by which presidencies are judged — and the Daily Wire reported that at least one expert believes President Donald Trump has fared quite well in that regard.
The facts are in
Economist Karl Smith, the former vice president for federal policy at the Tax Foundation and assistant professor of economics at the University of North Carolina, penned an opinion column for Bloomberg in which he argued that Trump’s economic policies had been successful and should be continued — regardless of which presidential candidate is deemed the winner of the recent election.
That perspective is bolstered by the results of a Gallup poll taken in the final weeks of the 2020 presidential race.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its economic toll, a majority of respondents indicated that Trump’s economic policies had been better for the American people than his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
In fact, 56% of those surveyed said their economic situation had improved over the prior four years. Compared to the same point in 2012 as Obama’s first term came to a close, just 45% of respondents said they were better off than when he was first elected.
As Smith noted in his editorial, the unemployment rate at the end of Obama’s second term was 4.7%, which was deemed “full employment” by many experts.
“This is a rocket ship”
Nevertheless, Trump’s economy managed to defy expectations and drive that number down to 3.5% before the economy-wrecking public health crisis.
Trump’s tax cuts, a reduction in interest rates, and other factors combined to launch the U.S. economy to unseen heights, as evidenced by a substantial gain in median family household income during his first term in office.
“In 2016, real median household income was $62,898, just $257 above its level in 1999,” Smith wrote. “Over the next three years it grew almost $6,000, to $68,703. That’s perhaps why, despite the pandemic, 56% of U.S. voters polled last month said their families were better off today than they were four years ago.”
For his part, the president has often touted his administration’s economy, including his prediction of a “V-shaped” or rapid rebound of the nation’s pandemic-plagued economy.
“This is better than a V,” he declared in June. “This is a rocket ship. This is far better than a V.”