If GDP growth was spread out evenly across the population, every person in your family should have had $4300 more to spend in the last year. Did that happen for you?
Dear Trump supporter:
From now until the November midterms, you are going to hear Trump and the GOP selling you that everything is getting better for you and all Americans citing the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product, as proof. In theory, GDP is the sum of the dollar value of everything made in the US for any given year. In theory, if that GDP number goes up, it should means things are getting better for Americans. The second quarter’s GDP growth was 4.1%. It’s a good number. But does it really mean things are getting better for you?
Let’s take a look at the recent history of published GDP figures. ( Google GDP and GDP per capita. ) The numbers are in trillions of dollars, which is 1,000 billion.
I also show a line graph which breaks the GDP numbers down to GDP per person. That should be the only important graph to average Americans because it shows how the GDP growth is helping the average American. And it’s not!
You can see that our ability to buy things with this GDP “growth” has been slowly sinking. That’s because our annual inflation usually outruns our GDP growth. Note: Trump’s tariffs are going to accelerate the cost of living and inflation way beyond the 4.1 % reported GDP growth.
What Do These Graphs Mean?
Though GDP goes up nearly every year since 2000 from 1% to 4%, when you adjust for inflation, cost of living and population growth, the per capita spending power of the average American is on a slow 40 year slide – going back to Reagan. The Clinton economy started very badly, but made a valiant recovery in its last few years resulting in an almost even situation for most Americans. Bush’ s presidency was the worst for most Americans and ended with a depression. Obama’s term made up the slight loss of the Clinton presidency, but what was lost in the Bush years and the years before has not been recovered. And Trump’s presidency has really just begun, so it’s hard to tell if GDP growth is helping most Americans so far. With tariffs and oil prices up, it feels like another economic wash. So let’s look closer.
In Trump’s first two years you can see GDP is up 1.13 trillion dollars. But how does that help you? Divide the GDP growth by the number of people ( man, woman and children) in the USA. That is 1.13 trillion divided by 300 million. That number is $4300 per person. That means that if GDP growth was spread out evenly across the population, every person in your family should have had $4300 more to spend in the last year. Did that happen for you and yours?
What happens if that $4300 per person money only goes to CEO’s and people like Trump who are already super-rich? The answer is – it does not help you. An increase in GDP only helps the average American if the money is shared with the average American. It’s the degree of GDP profit sharing that measures how economic growth helps the average American. And if the standard of living keeps sinking, clearly that GDP growth still means very little to the average American. And yet, you are going to hear Trump and the GOP going on and on about how wonderful they are making things for average Americans.
Dear Trump supporters, your GOP and president are lying to you. They are pulling the wool over your eyes. Trump has said “They only know what we tell them” and “How stupid are the people of Iowa”. That tells you how much respect he has for you. He still has that casino owner mentality. Everyone is a sucker to Trump, except people richer and more crooked than he is. That’s why he speaks well of dictators like Putin Kim Jong-un.
Trump thinks you are a sucker if you …
- work for a living and pay your share of taxes
- enroll your kids in the Armed Forces ( Neither Trump nor his kids enlisted in any form of public service)
- don’t take advantage of your power and get as much sex and money as you can
- really care about others. That ” I really don’t care” jacket was a reflection of Trump’s mentality – not Melania’s. She was trolling him. She seems almost decent.
- respect rules and laws
- pay people who work for you fairly when you don’t have to
- go to church and/or pray of be spiritual
Trump does none of the above and never has. I think even his supporters know that.
The Folly of Deregulation
Another talking point is that Trump is smart for deregulating industry. While I can agree that some regulations are overdone, when regulations force large profit-oriented corporations to keep our common environment clean and safely remove their own wastes – that’s a good thing. Of course, company profits will go up when they can just dump their wastes in a river. But who pays for that clean-up and the resultant health damages to us all? We all do! Future waste clean-up and health costs to humans are not factored into the GDP number.
So the GDP growth number is simply not a true or full measure of the state of health of our economy. It’s just one of many measuring tools. But you will hear the GOP tout GDP growth as something that is good for you. I am just pointing out that when things are really good for you – you will know. We don’t have to be told that X or Y is or will be good for us. We will know in our hearts, minds, spirits and pockets when things get better.
GDP is like a baseball team’s batting average. Higher is generally better. But without good pitching, defense, and coaching – the team with the most hits does not always win, does it? It’s the final score that matters. GDP does not inform us on how Americans are doing as individuals.
Coca-Cola just announced the price of a Coke is going up because the aluminum cans will cost more due to Trump’s tariffs. The government could have stipulated that the billionaire Coca-Cola Company could not pass the tariff ( a tax ) on to American consumers, but that is not how the GOP or the Trump government operates. They freely let the manufacturers pass their cost increases on to consumers with no oversight. – And that means you and I are paying the tariffs – not the big companies. Further, the tariff money goes directly into Trump’s treasury and does not help the average American at all unless it is shared with them. And that is not being done. What a scam! And then he tries to get his supporters to like the idea of getting no bang for their buck.
We all end up paying for Trump’s tariffs. Further, any self-dealing politician (Trump is not the only one ) with foreign bank accounts can favor this or that industry or company, after they are secretly paid in those accounts. It’s called picking winners. It’s also called graft. I know our American farmers are figuring that out right now. If I had the ability to make one rule to save democracy, it would be to stop the ability of politicians to have secret banks accounts. That’s how the crimes get done.
One thought that occurs to me these days is maybe Russia will be allowed to hack the US Treasury and the banking sector this cycle. It’s certainly do-able. No one is looking that closely. Trump certainly has done nothing to stop Russian hacking. We hear talk about hacking the grid. Is this how Trump will pay Putin back for the election help? Who really knows? We let them have private meetings. How stupid is that? We’d never know from Trump. And you cannot deny he has done little to nothing to stop Russia’s cyber-war efforts.
Dear Trump supporter,
Do not be fooled by the GOP’s GDP victory lap. Unless you experienced a $4300 per person increase in your family’s income, your share of that gain was heavily diluted. The entire GOP effort has been to lower standards for average Americans to benefit the super rich, like the Koch’s and Trump’s. That’s why you see them trying to break up affordable healthcare and lower taxes more on the rich than the poor. Those two efforts should tell you all you need to know.
Trump has been at war with the world since he was a kid. – And he has not outgrown that child within himself. That is his personal struggle. Dear Americans, Trump’s struggle does not have to be ours.