An Old Boss And Groundhog Day

While I’ll start today’s article with an old boss story that is not the message. Most old boss stories are about a boss from hell; this one is certainly not. It goes back close to two decades. My immediate boss got transferred – he was a boss from hell that I survived – and I was the heir apparent to his slot. For whatever reason(s) the company went outside and hired Lonny. We were set up to be rivals but the story didn’t end that way at all. We actually became friends and both of us were soon the highest paid in our two titles in a company that was number one in the world in its industry. That’s a nice story but the relevant part for today is that the relationship entails a political story.

One day Lonny and I were discussing politics. He told me he was registered as an independent and had no real party preference. He also confided that he was close to a single-issue voter, that issue being which candidate he felt would be better for the economy. I told him that despite the old wives’ tale about the Republicans being better for the economy actually the Democrats were. Lonny was no fool. Some time later he told me he did some research and found my statement was true. I don’t know if he changed his registration but I know he became a reliable Democratic voter.

On Groundhog Day the New York Times ran an article tracing America’s economic performance under post-Great Depression presidents and of course the rule of thumb proved true with the economy generally faring better under Democrats and perhaps more importantly the disasters happening under Republicans. Here is a link to the article: https://www.nytimes,com/2021/02/02/.opinon/sunday/democrats-economy.html?referingSource=articleShare

Let’s look at Trump’s performance (the self-proclaimed great businessman and dealmaker). I want to examine two metrics: the national debt and the annual federal budget deficit.

The January 2017 national debt was $19.9 trillion. In December of 2020 it was $27.7 trillion. That is an increase of $7.8 trillion or 39.9% over roughly the Trump administration. I’m certain the excuse Trump and his sycophants would offer is the pandemic and to a degree that is true. I will also contend that Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic significantly added to its negative impact on the economy. Keep in mind Trump’s America had less than 5% of the global population and over 20% of its infections. The Trump Tower Tax cut which had a negligible positive effect on the economy (and I’m being generous) also significantly added to the debt.

The federal budget deficit for FY 2016 was $584 billion. For FY 2020 it was $3.3 trillion. Again, roughly over Trump’s time the budget ran $2.7 trillion deeper in the red. Or it got 82% worse. The budget may be an even better measure of Trump’s management ability. (Hint: it’s almost non-existent.)

It is always difficult to assign responsibility for economic numbers especially in the transition of administrations. I contend that this comparison will prove favorable to Trump over future comparisons. A prime example is that the Biden administration will probably get its proposed $1.9 trillion relief package passed. If we adjust the Trump impact on the national debt for that we are now up $9.7 trillion or 48%. This is a relief package primarily necessitated by Trump’s incompetence and therefore in an accounting sense “chargeable” to him.

With the movie of the same name in mind, the New York Times article coming out on Groundhog Day is poetic justice. On multiple occasions I have called for a warning label on ballots reading, WARNING: Voting for a Republican may be hazardous to your health, I was referring to physical health; maybe I should have been talking economic health also. I haven’t talked to Lonny in years; I hope he is doing well, is still smart enough to research what people (even his friends) tell him and is still voting for Democrats.

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