Let’s talk about the real economy, the one before the Pandemic! Richard J. Garfunkel January 2022

Trump’s pre-pandemic record

Trump’s record offered little legitimate grounds for boasting before the pandemic. The persistent growth in output and decline in the unemployment rate during his first three years extended trends in the recovery from the Great Recession that he inherited from President Barack Obama.

Growth accelerated in early 2018 following Trump’s sole major legislative achievement, the tax cuts he and Congressional Republicans enacted. But that didn’t last long with the economy already near full employment, and the budget deficit swelled. A temporary surge in investment resulted mainly from higher energy prices.

“It provided no long-term benefit,” wrote Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics The counter-productive tariff wars Trump initiated quickly offset any short-term benefit from the tax-cuts and the administration’s deregulation push. That’s why Trump, to avoid further damaging the economy in his re-election year, called a truce with China in January without obtaining the structural reforms he had demanded from Beijing. Trump earlier threw away leverage by abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership with allies that the Obama administration had negotiated. (The NAFTA re-structuring was a sham and if Trump would have won re-election he would have ended the tariff War and declared victory!)

By the way, because of the insipid, misdirected, politically-inspired Tariff War, direct farm aid has climbed each year of Trump’s presidency, from $11.5 billion in 2017 to more than $32 billion this year — an all-time high, with potentially far more funding still to come in 2020, amounting to about two-thirds of the cost of the entire Department of Health and Human Services. Trump’s “very serious policy mistakes,” Zandi said, were his attacks on international and domestic institutions. They include “actively trying to undermine” the Fed’s independence. Financial markets vs. the real world. (Pressuring to low interest rates without a recession or the need for a recovery.

Trump can accurately point to above-average financial market gains. Through November the S&P 500 had risen by an average of 14.34% per year during his term, slightly more than the 12.43% under Obama. (a little inaccurate because, Obama faced five months of the Bush 43 Great Recession when the DJIA went from 8200 to 6600, and then rebounded to almost 20,000 at the end of his second term – a tremendous rebound!)

But those gains have largely been driven by rock-bottom interest rates, which drive investors into stocks in search of higher returns. And the benefits of those gains accrue largely to the most affluent Americans who own most of the stocks. (Also on the subject of jobs, even with the economy on steroids, Trump created 19% less jobs in his first three years than Obama in his last three!)

The President can also cite a higher-than-average 3.32% annual gain in real per capita disposable income. But that average conceals the extent of those gains that flowed to the affluent, who benefited disproportionately from his tax cuts.

As a candidate in 2016, Trump championed the beleaguered blue-collar workers he called “the forgotten Americans.” His policies have not closed the gap between them and economic elites. (also, every recovery from recession, since WWII was started by domestic home sales, hiring countless domestic, blue collar workers. The Derivative Bust, brought on the Great Recession which was caused by a glut of 1,000,000 homes, either abandoned or with under- water mortgages.)

Through the third quarter of 2020, Mark Zandi of Moddy’s, says, the least wealthy 50% of Americans own just 1.9% of the nation’s net worth, while the top 1% own 30.5%. The surging pandemic promises make that disparity worse before Trump leaves office. (the last 15 months before the 3rd quarter of 2019 and before the Pandemic, the GDP grew at less than 2%.)

When the Labor Department issues the final monthly jobs report of his presidency in early January, Zandi expects it to show a renewed decline in employment. In the first quarter of 2021, as Trump yields power to Biden, the Wall Street firm JPMorgan predicts that economic output will shrink. (Job losses, including the 6.6 million created in the first three years, now lost, will approach or exceed 12 million. (That is the only time in the last 12 presidencies that jobs were lost since Hoover!)

Where’s the Money?

 In 2019, the Federal Reserve published its 40 years (since 1980) evaluation of Asset Allocation. In those 40 years, $21 trillion went to the 1% and $900 billion was lost by the bottom 50%! If one added $4 trillion that was also transferred to the next 3-4% of the top earners, the total transference would be about $25 trillion. As anyone can see, $25 trillion is a lot of money! It basically reflects the Republican incurred deficits (Recessions and recoveries) since the end of Bill Clinton’s 2nd term, when the National Debt stood at $5 trillion. It is now about $30 trillion.

The top bracket from John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan was 70%. All of these billions earned over the past 40 years were taxed at a lot less. From Reagan’s 28% for the top bracket through Donald Trump’s 37%, the average could be around 35%. Let us not forget the three disastrous tax cuts from Reagan to Bush 43, to Trump.

Therefore, in the most simplistic fashion, if the government had taxed, over the past 40 years, at the Kennedy Tax Rate, the revenues would have been $17.5 trillion. But, since those $25 trillion were taxed at about half the rate, the revenues dropped to $8.75 trillion. If we divided that difference by 40 years, we would come up with a differential of $220 billion per year. That works out to $2200 for 100 million families. If that $2200 had been put in a tax deferred annuity for 40 years, at the average rate of 5%, those families would have had $256,000. But, if that money had been spent each year on infrastructure, school construction, affordable housing, healthcare and better jobs, we would not be in horrible position that we are in today. We would have had more tax revenues and less debt.

June 5th, 2022

The last time I looked unemployment was at 3.6% and heading downward, On December 1, 2017 it was 4.1% after 80 straight months of recovery. In 2017, there were 2 million jobs created, so far, in 2021, after 11 months the total is 5.1 million. Let us remember in 2017, there was no COVID and a big, expensive tax cut, which would inflate the National Debt $3 trillion before the Pandemic.

What’s True

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% in fall 2019 — the lowest rate in about 50 years, since December 1969.

What’s False

No evidence showed Trump or his administrations fiscal or regulatory policies caused the 50-year low. Rather, the unemployment rate was steadily declining as part of the country’s overall recovery from the Great Recession before he took office.

The American economy expanded an annualized 6.9% on quarter in Q4 2021, much higher than 2.3% in Q3 and well above forecasts of 5.5%. It is the strongest GDP growth in five quarters with the biggest upward contribution coming from private inventories (4.9 percentage points), namely motor vehicle dealers as companies had been drawing down stocks since the beginning of 2021. Personal consumption increased 3.3%, pushed higher by a 4.7% surge in services spending, namely health care, recreation, and transportation. Fixed investment rebounded by 1.3%, led by intellectual property products that was partly offset by a decrease in structures. Residential investment however, continued to decline and was down 0.8%. Meanwhile, net trade made no contribution to growth as exports jumped 24.5% led by consumer goods, industrial supplies, foods, and travel; and imports went up 17.7%. Considering full 2021, the economy advanced 5.7%, the most since 1984. Under Trump, never broke 3% in the first three years, until it plummeted 36% from January to July 2020! The Trump Economic Miracle.

There was no Trump Economic Miracle! Just the greatest loss of jobs in 4 years since Hoover, record deficits and the rich getting richer as the billionaire class exploded.





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About admin

A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at http://advocates-wvox.com. Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel rjg727@comcast.net Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

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