White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke way too soon on Saturday when she tried to say that Trump has proven his critics wrong on the economy.
Sanders tweeted, “How many times will the ‘experts’ be proven wrong about [Trump] until they finally acknowledge his policies are working?”
Sanders included a screenshot of a 2016 CNN Money article entitled “Trump promises 4% growth. Economists say no way.”
Sanders wanted her followers to think that all of these experts were obviously wrong, and that Trump was right to take a victory lap over the latest data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showing that during the second quarter of 2018, the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent.
In the CNN article Sanders cited, about a dozen economists said that 4 percent annual GDP growth “is impossible, or at least highly unlikely.”
But Sanders made a very basic error, as many of the over 5,000 responses to her tweet pointed out — she confused the growth rate over a single quarter with the growth rate over a whole year.
After all, quarterly GDP growth repeatedly topped 4.1 percent during President Obama’s time in office.
But GDP growth goes up and down from quarter to quarter — so it would indeed be “highly unlikely” for the annual GDP growth in 2018 as a whole to top 4 percent.
The 4.1 percent quarterly growth was also well shy of the 5 percent or higher that Trump himself was teasing as recently as Thursday.
Even worse for Trump, though, is that analysts agree the second quarter result is partly due to a temporary increase in U.S. soybean exports, which were an attempt to blunt the impact of Trump’s trade war.
Once retaliatory tariffs from China kick in, however, that effect is expected to be reversed, and create a drag on the economy for the rest of the year.
Finally, despite being handed a roaring economy by President Obama, Trump has actually overseen a sharp decline in real wages for American workers. That’s thanks to his approval of the GOP tax scam, which has become political poison for Republicans trying to win reelection this November.
Sarah Sanders lying is nothing new — but this particular lie exposed the uncomfortable truth that Trump’s economy is already letting workers down, and that his trade war is likely to cause even more damage going forward.