A Bankrate.com poll found that 38 percent of Americans say their financial situation has improved since the 2016 election. 45 percent say their financial situation is about the same. 17 percent say it’s worse.
The coverage of this survey tries to make these results seem like a repudiation of President Trump’s economic policies and claims of success. Bankrate blares: “Just 38% of Americans say their finances have improved since the 2016 election.” Bloomberg declares: “Many Americans Say They Haven’t Benefited From Trump’s Economy.” Raw Story ridiculously scoffs: “Majority of Americans say the Trump economy has left them behind — or made things worse.”
In reality, improvement in the economic lot of nearly 2 in 5 Americans during a period of less than two years (with fewer than half that number saying they are worse off) is a success story, considering that the U.S. economy wasn’t in a recession at the end of 2016. How often have leftists claimed that the economic lot of average Americans has remained flat, or become worse, over a period of decades? These claims are dubious, if not entirely bogus. Nonetheless, an economy strong enough to have lifted nearly 40 percent of boats since November 2016 is nothing to sneeze at.
I suspect, moreover, that the 38 percent figure understates the case. Anyone who, on way or another, is in the stock market is probably better off financially (or should be) than was true two years ago, assuming no major change in other circumstances (e.g., retirement). It may be that Democrats would rather not admit to pollsters that they are better off financially under Trump.
In a sense, Trump plays into the hands of leftist media spinners through exaggerated claims about what he, and only he, can do and has done to “fix” the economy. The American economy is a giant, complex machine. The American president doesn’t really drive it and his ability to influence its course in the short-term is rather limited.
But Trump’s braggadocio doesn’t excuse the media’s pathetic effort to make positive poll numbers seem negative.