2019-05-24 —

President Trump likes to brag about the supposedly booming economy. So do other Republican politicians. Some journalists have gotten into the habit too, exaggerating the strength of the economic expansion, because it makes for a good story. Here's the truth: There is no boom. The economy has been mired in an extended funk since the financial crisis ended in 2010. G.D.P. growth still has not reached 3 percent in any year, and 3 percent isn't a very high bar.

Last week, while attending an economics conference in Washington, I discovered one particularly clear sign of the economy's struggles -- namely, that it keeps performing worse than the experts have predicted.


Over time, the differences between the experts' predictions and the economy's performance have added up. The American economy would be about 6 percent larger today -- producing $1.3 trillion more in goods and services this year -- if the forecasts had come true. And for most families, real-life experience has been more disappointing than the G.D.P. numbers, because much of the bounty of the economy's growth has flowed to the affluent.


The 2017 Trump tax [was] is a dreadful piece of economic policy -- essentially a giant effort to aggravate income inequality. Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy most are huge and permanent. Tax cuts focused on everyone else are smaller and temporary... A better policy response would start with a tax cut focused on the majority of Americans, not the wealthy. And there are many other ways to take on secular stagnation... Infrastructure projects, to jump-start investment. The retirement of coal-fired power plants, which would also lead to new investment. Stronger safety-net programs, including Social Security, to reduce the savings glut. More aggressive antitrust policies, to combat monopolies. And a Federal Reserve that, at long last, stopped making the same mistake -- of overestimating both growth and inflation.

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