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Trump claims credit for the economy. Not so fast, says Obama

12 September 2018

President Donald Trump said growth in USA gross domestic product was higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in over a century, though it's happened several times since 1948, according to historical data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Gross domestic product increased at a 4.2 annualized rate in the second quarter of 2018, and the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in April, 3.8 percent in May and 4.0 percent in June.

In a detailed presentation on Monday, top White House economist Kevin Hassett told reporters the world's largest economy turned a corner in the Trump era, pointing to sharp gains in business investment, business sentiment and corporate registrations.

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GDP growth exceeded the jobless rate as recently as the first quarter of 2006, when unemployment was about 4.7 percent and quarterly GDP growth was 5.4 percent, government data show. What is true is that it's the highest in 10 years.

And indeed, most of Hassett's comments were flattering as he praised Trump's record on the economy.

The first two numbers are correct, although they measure completely different things, and in different ways. "Like, from the initial fact to what the president said, I don't know the whole chain of command", Hassett said. Trump went on to argue, "I guess I have a magic wand, 4.2%, and we will do MUCH better than this!" What magic wand do you have?

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The president seemed to be imprecisely referencing remarks made by Obama at a town hall event in 2016, in which he questioned promises from Trump regarding manufacturing jobs, not economic growth.

They also occurred at the end of Mr Jimmy Carter's and at the start of Mr Ronald Reagan's - leaving Mr Trump and Mr Obama in an unusual tug of war for credit.

But Trump got it wrong way wrong when he said it hasn't happened in a century.

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Trump claims credit for the economy. Not so fast, says Obama