Misleading conclusions on the Trump economy

Dear Editor:

Regarding Phil Grant’s letter “Trump’s strong economy supported by statistics” [Aug. 15], I don’t have a problem understanding the facts about the economy as Mr. Grant suggests, just how he presents facts and then draws misleading conclusions.

For example, in his latest letter he states, “If you look at GDP per capita directly (Trading Economics), you find from Obama’s years, end of 2014 through 2016, that GDP per capita grew on average $759.65 per year per person. Under Trump, end of 2016 through 2018, GDP per person grew $1,003.65 per year per person.”

I assume Mr. Grant would have us conclude that somehow Trump is responsible for GDP growth (which he isn’t) and for all the extra money you see in your paycheck. As presented, his facts are true but the statement is misleading.

GDP per capita is calculated by dividing GDP by average population for the year. Since both change each year his statement is worthless when comparing administrations. Mr. Grant does the same to prove his points by using productivity (which needs a constant hourly wage to make comparisons), average hours worked per year and average hourly wage (both dependent on the size of the labor force, GDP and many other factors that change each year).

To compare administrations it’s necessary to look at growth rates. That’s why I quoted the Bureau of Economic Analysis that GDP growth was higher on average under Obama in 2014-15 than in Trump’s first two years.

Mr. Grant does not mention our unsustainable federal deficit and national debt. Those facts and their growth rates are more useful when analyzing administrations. Even then presenting just statistics does not get to the underlying causes.

Arguing over GDP and which administration is best for our economy detracts from the issues we should be discussing. Both administrations are the problem due to their unwavering support of capitalism and the growth imperative. Better to discuss a transition to a sustainable economy that recognizes limits to growth, focused on equality, shared sacrifice and resilience; an economy that prioritizes the health of people and environment over corporate profits.

I’m giving up on Mr. Grant. I suspect informed readers get that Trump is not helping our economic situation.

Phil Neal


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