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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/18

Getting Gassed by The Trump Economy

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message Richard Stitt

Gasoline prices are nearing $5.00/gallon in some cities. Nationwide, the average price reached $2.93/gallon according to AAA. So, are you tired of winning yet or are we all being gassed including the gullible, ratings-thirsty mainstream media? A closer and more accurate look at the true economy reveals that the economy is far from the feel-good jubilation hyped by the Trump White House.

I'm reminded of the "irrational exuberance" comment made by former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan several years ago before the housing bust. No question, the stock market is rising and shareholders are euphoric. That's great news for the Wall Street day traders but main street is still treading water. However, fewer than half of working Americans have investments in the rich man's Dow Jones Industrial club.

Though the little guy has gotten a tax cut it is piddling compared to the most affluent who are reaping the lion's share of the $1.5 trillion handout, legislation which was rammed through the Republican-controlled congress using the time-worn tactic, reconciliation. It is unfunded and unpaid for just as was the 2003 Bush-Cheney $1.35 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest 2%.

But, as former VP Dick Cheney said in response to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill who questioned the wisdom and size of the tax cut for the wealthiest, "It's our due" and "Deficits don't matter."

The economy, though slowly improving, isn't roaring as some are claiming. We hear that it's "hitting on all cylinders" but, take away a couple of big movers like ExxonMobil, Apple and a few others, it is tepid at best and in some areas barely crawling.

Consider the real numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (

1) Job Growth. During the last 15 months under Donald Trump through April the average number of monthly job creation was a sluggish 182,000. By comparison, the last 15 months of the Obama administration monthly job creation averaged 206,000.

2) Average Monthly Earnings. During Obama's final 15 months in office and Trump's first 15 months in office monthly job earnings increased at the same percentage, .05% even as the (temporary) tax cut increased take home pay.

3) Percentage of eligible working age people participating in the workforce. This number was twisted by Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign with the claim that the 62.8% of workers participating in the labor force translated into nearly 40% unemployment. Of course there are many reasons why this number has been decreasing over the past 10 years: people in school, part-time and temporary workers but mainly automation and computerization displaced jobs and professions once performed by people.

The percentage was 62.9% when Obama left office in January 2017. However, in April 2018 those participating in the labor force declined to 62.8%. We no longer hear Donald Trump claiming that real unemployment is nearly 40%.

4 ) Inflation/Consumer Price Index (CPI). During Obama's final 15 months in office inflation averaged 1.18%. In the past 15 months under Donald Trump that number climbed to 2.14% and it is still rising as oil and gasoline prices continue their upward trend. click here

The Fed can't do much to play with the interest rates (which are presently going up) nor would Quantitative Easing do much to boost the economy when the so-called fiscal conservatives just passed a $1.5 trillion unfunded tax cut and a $1.3 trillion budget which was also unpaid for, unfunded, that will expire in September.

How will the exploding deficit be paid for with this disastrous version of trickle-down economics where only the most affluent received the biggest (permanent) tax cut and the greatest financial gains? Also, the so-called fiscal conservative Republican Party conveniently would like us to forget their 2011 Budget Control Act, aka Sequester, that they passed by a margin of 174-95. The bill mandated equal funding cuts from defense and domestic spending. Amnesia? As the late comedian Gilda Radner quipped, "Never mind!"

Added to the coming pain and financial pressures for ordinary Americans are the burgeoning health care costs and health insurance premiums, rising auto and home insurance and no plan to address the looming health coverage crisis caused by congress's elimination of the Affordable Care Act insurance coverage mandate which will force more people to drop their health insurance while raising premiums for those who remain insured. Health care premiums expected to go up by as much as 50%.

That big tax cut that Paul Ryan bloviated over when he told the story of one woman who said she would be able to pay for a one-year membership at Costco just went right back into her gas tank. Prices at the pump are now nearing $3.00/gallon. Automobile and truck sales are down nationwide in spite of Trump's edicts that cut pollution regulations and greenhouse gas emissions requirements and scaled back the corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE). Producing vehicles that consume more gasoline and spew more pollution into our air has been one of the EPA's signature pieces of legislation heralded by the probity-challenged EPA administrator Scott Pruitt who is now under investigation for excessive spending of taxpayer money on his personal lavish lifestyle.

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Retired. 4 years USAF Air Weather Service, 4 years Accountant Western Pacific Railroad, University of San Francisco, B.A. in English University of California, Berkeley, 38 years National Weather Service. Recipient of NOAA Administrator's Award 2001.
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