Former President Barack Obama tried to claim credit on Friday for President Donald Trump’s economic success.
This would be the same former president who mocked Trump’s promises on jobs in 2016. “What magic wand do you have?” he taunted.
The reality is that Democrats, including Obama, have opposed every policy that is responsible for the current economic boom:
– Tax cuts: Democrats unanimously opposed the Republican tax cuts that Trump signed into law last year, which lowered the corporate tax rate to an internationally-competitive 21% and lowered tax rates for the middle class as well as high earners. Under Obama, Democrats tried to reverse all of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, and Republicans fought them until the very edge of the “fiscal cliff” — until the president and his party agreed to allow Bush’s tax cuts for the middle class to become permanent.
– Deregulation: As soon as Trump took office, Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to toss out many regulations that Obama had neglected to notify Congress about before leaving office. The president also used executive orders to reverse or simplify many rules the Obama administration had implemented that were obstacles to investment and economic growth.
– Obamacare fixes: Obamacare was a major drag on the economy in two ways. First, it imposed an individual mandate that forced everyone to buy health insurance — often at expensive prices. Second, it created new uncertainty in the economy, since investors anticipated that the Obama administration would follow through on promises to regulate other industries. The GOP repealed the individual mandate — over unanimous Democratic opposition — and the Trump administration relaxed the rules on Obamacare to allow individuals to buy simpler and cheaper short-term plans rather than expensive Obamacare plans. Partly as a result, premiums are growing slowly. The Associated Press reported Friday that some people will pay less next year.
– Energy: Obama literally tried to shut down the coal industry, tried to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and discouraged oil and gas drilling. Yet the strongest economic growth during his tenure came from the booming oil shale industry, which created many new jobs while keeping fuel prices low for the economy as a whole. Republicans immediately reversed his policies, allowing the energy sector to grow even more — though Obama continued to target “corporate polluters” in his speech Friday.
– Spending caps: Though fiscal discipline is not exactly a priority of the current Congress, Republicans forced Democrats to accept spending caps after taking the House in 2010. That restraint arguably helped restore a sense of economic stability.
Undeterred, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Democrats are running on promises to raise taxes, restore regulations, expand Obamacare into “Medicare for all,” limit fossil fuels, and spend more on government programs. A box of “magic wands.”