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The Trump Economy – The New York Times

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President Trump is not running a re-election campaign based mostly on policy. He has released no agenda for a second term, and the Republican Party did not publish a new platform at its convention.

But when Trump tells voters why he deserves to win re-election, he tends to focus on the economy. He created a prosperous economy, he says, and will do so again — better than Joe Biden would — once the coronavirus passes. I want to devote today’s newsletter to explaining the Trump economy, through four key points:

1. The economy was strong before the virus hit. Trump inherited a growing economy, and it kept growing on his watch. It accelerated a bit in his first two years in office, before slowing down again in 2019.

Credit…By The New York Times | Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

2. Perhaps the best news: Wages were rising, even for lower-income workers. After more than a decade of economic growth, the labor market had become tight enough that employers were increasing pay more quickly than inflation was rising. The trend began under President Barack Obama and continued under Trump.

Credit…By The New York Times | Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Trump deserves some credit. Josh Barro of New York magazine has argued that Trump’s overall economic record is problematic, partly because his tax cuts were so skewed to the rich — but also that Trump got some big decisions right. Most important, he appointed a Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, who focused on growth (rather than wrongly thinking inflation was a threat) and kept interest rates low.

4. But Trump also deserves some blame — including for the virus and the recession it caused. Trump’s economic policy geared almost completely toward lifting growth in the short term, while largely ignoring long-term dangers.

He increased the deficit, mostly to give wealthy households big tax cuts. He scrapped environment regulations, which increases the likelihood of costly climate destruction. And he hollowed out parts of the government, including its ability to respond to a pandemic.

(One year ago yesterday, Biden tweeted: “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security.”)

The bottom line: Much of the economy’s performance is beyond the control of a president. Trump had the good luck to take office with a far stronger economy than either of his predecessors — Obama and George W. Bush — enjoyed. Just look at the start of each president’s lines in this chart on job growth:

Credit…By The New York Times | Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Later, of course, Trump had the bad luck to have a global pandemic arrive during his re-election campaign.

He has tried to claim full credit for his good luck and deflect all blame for the bad news. But that’s not the fairest way to evaluate the Trump economy. Ultimately, he deserves solid marks for its performance during his first three years — and much worse marks for his long-term economic legacy.

For more: My colleague Patricia Cohen looked at Trump’s economic legacy in a story this weekend. The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Hilsenrath has also done so.

The 2020 Campaign

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
  • Biden will campaign in Georgia tomorrow, and Kamala Harris will visit Texas on Friday. Polls show a close race in both these states, which no Democratic presidential candidate has won in decades.

  • Trump plans to hold rallies in Pennsylvania today, and in Wisconsin and Michigan tomorrow. He won all three narrowly in 2016, but is now trailing in each.

  • The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Biden, the first time the newspaper has backed a Democrat for president in more than a century.

  • Fights broke out during a “Jews for Trump” rally in Manhattan. Seven people were arrested, and protesters screamed at Rudy Giuliani.

  • Among the revelations in a Times analysis of fund-raising data: In wealthier ZIP codes, Biden has raised nearly triple what Trump has; in less wealthy areas, they’re almost tied.

  • Daily polling diary: Research has suggested that local coronavirus deaths lead to a decline in voter support for Trump. And Wisconsin — a battleground state — is now in the midst of one of the nation’s worst outbreaks, The Times’s Nate Cohn notes.

THE VIRUS

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

other big stories

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times
  • The Senate voted yesterday to limit debate on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and is expected to confirm her to the Supreme Court tonight. Every Democratic senator is set to vote against, as is Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who is up for re-election.

  • Pope Francis named Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, a cardinal, making him the first Black American to achieve that rank.

  • Chileans overwhelmingly voted to scrap the country’s constitution — a dictatorship-era document — and create a new one.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series, moving to within one win of a championship. One key play: a rare and unsuccessful attempted steal of home.

  • A Morning read: As protests raged in Minneapolis, Charles Adams, a police officer and high school football coach, called some of the players on his team. “Before I hit the streets, I have to tell you guys something,” he said. “Just know that I care.”

  • Lives Lived: Edith O’Hara founded the 13th Street Repertory Company, a mainstay of the Off Off Broadway scene, after leaving northwestern Pennsylvania for New York City in her 50s. She died at 103.


The Times can help you navigate the election — to separate fact from fiction, make sense of the polls and be sure your ballot counts. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.

Seven states have already passed laws that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15. All seven are heavily Democratic: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

This year, a more conservative state — Florida — will be voting on the policy. If the referendum passes, Florida’s minimum wage would gradually rise from its current level of $8.46 an hour to $15 an hour in 2026. After that, it would rise with inflation. Currently, no southeastern state has a minimum wage above $10, and most defer to the federal level of $7.25.

Credit…Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

But progressive economic policies, like minimum-wage increases, tend to be popular even in red states. Ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid, for example, have passed in several red states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah. And polling shows that a majority of Americans support expanding Medicare, spending more money on clean energy, increasing taxes on the wealthy — and raising the minimum wage.

If the Florida initiative passes, it will add to the momentum toward a higher minimum wage, through either ballot initiatives in other states or through federal policy. Biden favors a $15 federal minimum wage. Trump has said states should decide.

For more: The Times’s editorial board has made the case for a $15 minimum wage, and Michael Strain of Bloomberg Opinion has made the case against it.

Credit…Wesley White/Ocean Spray, via Associated Press

More than four decades after its release, Fleetwood Mac’s album “Rumours” returned to the Top 10 of the Billboard chart last week. Its resurgence was spurred by a viral TikTok video of a man named Nathan Apodaca, a potato worker in Idaho, longboarding along to the band’s song “Dreams” as he drank from a bottle of Cran-Raspberry juice.

It’s the latest example of TikTok’s influence on the music industry. “TikTok is an early indicator and trendsetter as far as seeding music, new and old,” the Times music reporter Joe Coscarelli said. “You might have a song like ‘Dreams’ that goes viral on TikTok, then the TikTok goes viral on Twitter and Instagram, then Spotify puts the song higher up on more playlists.”

From there, morning shows and local news may note the phenomenon, and it all leads to more people watching the music video or streaming the song. The effect can give old songs a second life, or jump-start new songs by relative unknowns, like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” last year.

The dynamic is changing the music industry as well. Artists like Drake are teasing their music early on TikTok, and record labels pay TikTok stars to promote their songs.

On a recent episode of Popcast, the Times pop music critic Jon Caramanica went into more detail.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Roasted fish with sweet bell peppers comes together quickly for a healthy weeknight dinner. Mild, flaky fish like hake, cod or flounder are ideal to go with the garlicky parsley dressing.



The pangram from Friday’s Spelling Bee was toothpick. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Big drop of water? (five letters).


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Correction: Friday’s newsletter switched the order of a couple of Trump’s sentences about the virus during the debate. The correct order is: “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault that it came here. It’s China’s fault.”

P.S. The word “mouneh” appeared for the first time in The Times this weekend, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about suburban women voters. And I made a guest appearance on this week’s episode of “The Argument,” to talk about the 2020 campaign — and also about “Jeopardy!”

Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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As economy struggles, Fed weighs boosting bond purchases – Nanaimo News NOW

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With the economy showing signs of slowing in the face a resurgence in coronavirus cases and a return to shutdowns in some areas, there has been market speculation that the Fed could decide to boost the size of its monthly purchases.

The minutes show that while no decision was taken on what to do or when, Fed officials were keeping their options open. Some analysts believe the Fed will make an announcement on boosting the bond purchase program at its next meeting on Dec. 15-16, especially if there has been no movement by Congress to provide more economic relief to individuals and businesses.

The minutes said that many Fed officials “judged that asset purchases helped provide insurance against risks that might reemerge in financial markets in an environment of high uncertainty.”

Concern has been growing among economists that the economy is slowing after an initial rebound this summer and could even topple into a double-dip recession in the early part of 2021 if Congress does not replenish expiring support programs.

At the White House Wednesday, Peter Navarro, one of President Donald Trump’s economic advisers, told reporters that a “sober” reading of the economic recovery shows “we are facing … a chasm ahead for millions of Americans unless there can be a bipartisan” deal to provide further economic relief.

The minutes released Wednesday covered the Fed’s Nov. 4-5 meeting, held just after the November elections, and were released with the customary lag of three weeks.

At the meeting, the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero and signalled that it was prepared to do more if needed to support the economy.

A multitrillion-dollar stimulus effort enacted in the spring has helped support millions of Americans who have been thrown out of work and provided further assistance to struggling individuals and businesses.

But many of those programs have expired and jobless benefits are due to run out for millions of Americans by the end of this year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had said at a news conference following the two-day meeting that Fed officials had discussed whether and how a bond buying program might be altered to provide more economic support.

In addition to increasing the size of the program, the Fed could decide to alter the composition of the bonds purchases to focus on buying long-term securities as a way of putting added downward pressure on long-term rates.

___

AP White House reporter Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

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National child-care system would boost women’s job numbers and economy, report says – Peninsula News Review

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A new report estimates that hundreds of thousands of women could get back into the labour force if the Liberals follow through on a pledge to create a national child care system.

The paper to be released Wednesday makes the case that federal spending to create a national program would “pay for itself” in the form of extra income tax, extra spending and reduced social costs as more parents entered the workforce.

There is also the potential for tens of thousands of construction jobs as new centres and spaces are built, along with an employment boost in the child-care sector as it expands.

Report author and economist Jim Stanford says the lack of accessible and affordable daycare is a key reason why fewer women in their 30s and 40s are in the workforce than men the same age.

He estimates that between 363,000 and 726,000 women in the “prime parenting age cohort” between 25 and 50 could join the labour force over a 10-year period as a national child-care program is developed.

Among them would be up to 250,000 women moving into full-time jobs.

Stanford’s paper builds on previous research into the economic spinoffs of Quebec’s publicly funded daycare system, but develops estimates based on how a national system might look.

The Liberals have promised to make a long-term spending commitment to create a national child-care system, seeing it as a key avenue to help women harder hit during the pandemic in what has been dubbed a “she-cession.”

“Economists have agreed for years that child care has huge economic benefits, but we just can’t seem to get the ball over the line in Canada,” says Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work.

“I finally think the ducks are being lined up here and we can actually make this happen,” he adds.

“This really is the moment when we can finally move forward, and it is a moment when Canada’s economy needs every job that it can get.”

A recent report by RBC economists Dawn Desjardins and Carrie Freestone calculated that 20,600 women fell out of the labour force between February and October even as 68,000 more men joined it.

The situation was most acute for women ages 20 to 24, and 35 to 39; one of the reasons the duo cited for the sharper drop was the pandemic-caused closure of child-care centres.

Child-care centres, which often run on tight margins and rely on steep parental fees, couldn’t keep up with costs during spring shutdowns and shed about 35,000 jobs between February and July. Some centres have closed for good.

The worry Stanford notes is that many of the job losses will become permanent and more centres will close without financial assistance from governments.

Scotiabank economists Jean-Francois Perrault and Rebekah Young suggested in September that creating nationally what Quebec has provincially would cost $11.5 billion a year.

Their analysis also suggested federal coffers could reap billions in new tax revenue as women in particular would get into the workforce in greater numbers, offsetting some of the overall cost.

Stanford’s estimate is for a boost to government revenues of between $18 billion and $30 billion per year, split between federal and provincial governments.

“This literally is a social program that pays for itself,” Stanford says.

“The economic benefits of giving this first-class care to early-age children, and getting their mothers in the labour market working to their full potential, are enormous.”

READ MORE: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

He argues that provinces, mired in a fiscal quagmire worse than the federal government’s, shouldn’t stand in the way of “reasonable demands” from the federal government to create a national system.

Provinces have responsibility for child-care delivery. Stanford says they cannot afford to look this gift horse of new revenues in the mouth given the federal government would foot most of the bill.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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As economy struggles, Fed weighs boosting bond purchases – Preeceville Progress

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WASHINGTON — At their meeting earlier this month, Federal Reserve officials discussed possible future adjustments to the central bank’s monthly bond purchases to boost the economy.

The Fed on Wednesday released minutes of its Nov. 4-5 meeting revealing that while officials believed that no changes were needed to the bond purchase program at that time, “they recognized that circumstances could shift to warrant such adjustments.”

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The Fed since June has been buying $120 billion in bonds each month to keep downward pressure on long-term interest rates as a way of giving the economy a boost as it struggles to emerge from a deep recession.

The purchases have included $80 billion a month in Treasury bonds and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

With the economy showing signs of slowing in the face a resurgence in coronavirus cases and a return to shutdowns in some areas, there has been market speculation that the Fed could decide to boost the size of its monthly purchases.

The minutes show that while no decision was taken on what to do or when, Fed officials were keeping their options open. Some analysts believe the Fed will make an announcement on boosting the bond purchase program at its next meeting on Dec. 15-16, especially if there has been no movement by Congress to provide more economic relief to individuals and businesses.

The minutes said that many Fed officials “judged that asset purchases helped provide insurance against risks that might reemerge in financial markets in an environment of high uncertainty.”

Concern has been growing among economists that the economy is slowing after an initial rebound this summer and could even topple into a double-dip recession in the early part of 2021 if Congress does not replenish expiring support programs.

At the White House Wednesday, Peter Navarro, one of President Donald Trump’s economic advisers, told reporters that a “sober” reading of the economic recovery shows “we are facing … a chasm ahead for millions of Americans unless there can be a bipartisan” deal to provide further economic relief.

The minutes released Wednesday covered the Fed’s Nov. 4-5 meeting, held just after the November elections, and were released with the customary lag of three weeks.

At the meeting, the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero and signalled that it was prepared to do more if needed to support the economy.

A multitrillion-dollar stimulus effort enacted in the spring has helped support millions of Americans who have been thrown out of work and provided further assistance to struggling individuals and businesses.

But many of those programs have expired and jobless benefits are due to run out for millions of Americans by the end of this year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had said at a news conference following the two-day meeting that Fed officials had discussed whether and how a bond buying program might be altered to provide more economic support.

In addition to increasing the size of the program, the Fed could decide to alter the composition of the bonds purchases to focus on buying long-term securities as a way of putting added downward pressure on long-term rates.

___

AP White House reporter Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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