Growth of US economy under Trump was worst since Hoover

The former president’s claim that he created the ‘greatest economy in the world’ is a fantasy

Graig Graziosi
Monday 02 August 2021 22:41 BST
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Donald Trump has often touted economic growth during his presidency as evidence that he was a successful president, but a recent revision to GDP dating back to 1999 has suggested his rosy view of the period is a fantasy.

The revisions were part of the US's gross domestic product report that was released on Thursday by the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The revisions revealed that economic growth under Mr Trump was the worst since President Herbert Hoover, who was in the White House from 1929 to 1933, the period of the Wall Street Crash and the onset of the Depression.

Bloomberg reported the results of the analysis, which began with the Dwight D Eisenhower administration – 1953 to 1961 – as that was the first time the BEA reported full quarterly data.

GDP growth under Mr Hoover was negative 7.4 per cent. Mr Trump performed better, with the GDP growing 1.6 per cent during his time in office, but that number is extremely low when compared to every other president since Mr Hoover.

The coronavirus pandemic is a major contributor to those numbers, as the economy and global trade effectively ground to a halt due to the hurdles presented by the virus.

Judging a president by the nation's GDP growth is not a fair measure of their success, as there are numerous contributing factors to economic conditions that a president has little control over. However, because Mr Trump insists that he has created the greatest economy the world has ever seen, it is important to note that his boasting is entirely unfounded.

Overall, economic growth has been generally lower in recent years than it was a few decades ago. Part of the reason for that decline is likely due to a decline in population growth. When adjusted for the decline in population, Mr Trump fares slightly better, putting him ahead of both President George W Bush and his father, as well as Eisenhower, but nowhere near the top.

Despite Republicans long promoting the idea that theirs is the party of fiscal responsibility, the periods of highest GDP growth are all during Democratic administrations. Economic growth has increased more under Democrats than Republicans in every administration for the past 75 years.

Mr Trump, like many Republicans before him, focused his economic strategy around a massive tax cut for corporations and the nation's wealthiest people, which some economists argue did little to actually aid in overall economic growth.

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