Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump - by the numbers

A Liberal Dose


Each week for the last month, I’ve had progressive friends in White County tell me, “You need to respond to what Marsha Blackburn said last month, it’s outrageous.” So far, I have held off - for fear it would be all I ever wound up doing. It would probably take two or three columns to fact-check each one coming from that quarter. However, I’ve decided to take a stab at it.

First off, she’s been talking a lot about the border, walls, and impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas (for not securing the border). That effort was tossed out of the Senate, justifiably, as it did not come anywhere close to approaching the impeachment requirement of high crimes or misdemeanors. The fact is, Blackburn and just about the entire Republican Party have abdicated any authority they have to complain about the border. A bipartisan, Republican-led bill from the Senate offered to give conservatives everything they ever dreamed of regarding border security, and it looked set to breeze through the House… until Donald Trump demanded that his Congressional supporters not pass it, because then the problem would have been solved under Biden’s watch and Trump would not have it as a campaign issue. That is not conjecture, it is established fact. So, at the command of their self-centered orange potentate, they undercut their own measure when it was otherwise assured of success. This proves that most Republican politicians don’t really want to solve that issue; they want to have it perpetually unsolved so they can blame Democrats for it. Well, they’re the ones holding that particular bag now, and sudden cries of concern and outrage over a problem they chose to allow only proves their hypocrisy.

She has spent the balance of her time lately talking about the economy, claiming it would be far better under Trump than Biden. Let’s look at some facts (easily verifiable by a quick google search) and compare how Trump did in his four years versus what Biden has done so far (through January 2024).

America lost 2.9 million jobs under Trump. So far, they have gained 14.3 million under Biden. Unemployment rose 6.3% under Trump but has fallen 3.7% under Biden. The economic growth rate fell 3.4% under Trump but has risen 2.5% under Biden. America lost 154,000 manufacturing jobs under Trump and has gained 790,000 under Biden. The trade deficit went up 40.5% under Trump (despite that being a main focus of his policies) and has gone up an additional 20.9% under Biden. The budget deficit is currently just a little more than half what it was in Trump’s last year. In Trump’s final year, the murder rate was the highest it had been in 25 years but it has fallen year-by-year under Biden (this surprises people, as conservative media makes it sound like we are living through an “American carnage” level crime wave).

A few things haven’t changed much. The poverty rate has stayed roughly the same for the past decade, and the number of people on food assistance has gone down tiny bit by tiny bit in that same timeframe.

The one area where Biden is not doing so well is inflation. Prices on everything went way up during and immediately after COVID. The inflation rate has slowed way down since then… but the problem is that, once prices go UP, they can STOP going up as fast, but they almost never go back DOWN. As a result, “real wages” - adjusted for inflation -are lower than they were under Trump. This despite the fact that the stock market has surged and the economy has grown by leaps and bounds… but the average person doesn’t feel that; they are feeling the squeeze.

Here’s something important to take into consideration. It is not just the U.S. that experienced that inflation surge - it was the WHOLE WORLD. Supply chain shortages during COVID got the ball rolling, but price gouging by businesses increased the effects. Here’s how we know that’s true: corporate profits rose by 8.5% under Trump but have risen 38% since COVID under Biden. That’s what has been causing the squeeze you feel, not Biden’s policies. Ask yourself this: do you really believe that Donald Trump would take any steps to correct for businesses maximizing their profits on your back? You know as well as I do that he’d find ways to help them do it more. In fact, those corporate leaders are hoping you’ll vote for him so they can get even more of your money.

--Troy D. Smith, a White County native, is a novelist and a history professor at Tennessee Tech and serves on the executive committee of the Tennessee Democratic Party. His words do not necessarily represent TTU.    


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