What is Trump Doing for the Poor?


I recently debated a dear friend on the merits of the Trump administration and found him extremely hostile and convinced that Trump can do nothing good for America. This is understandable since the mainstream media agrees with this narrative. Certainly, Trump’s style and manner are offensive to most fair-minded people, including me. But the real question is how are his policies affecting Americans?

My friend was particularly convinced that Trump is doing nothing to help the poor. The liberal talking points would agree with him. They say Trump’s tax cuts have benefited only the wealthy and big corporations. They say the poor and middle class have been left behind. What is the truth? Truth matters, because all our emotions won’t change anything if our facts are wrong.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page addressed this very issue today. They pushed back on liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s response to the latest economic news. Pelosi’s statement after the surprisingly good monthly employment jobs report was: “The October jobs report offers further evidence that the Republicans’ disastrous special interest agenda is hollowing out the middle class while enriching the wealthy and well-connected.”

Here is the response to Pelosi’s statement from the WSJ editorial board: “What hipster doofus wrote that? The real news from October is that the labor market remains remarkably resilient despite this year’s downshift in the economy to 2% annual growth. Hundreds of thousands of workers are returning to the workforce, age gains are healthy, and those gains continue to spread to non-rich corners of the labor force.”

Job growth has averaged 176,000 new jobs in the last three months, even better than the 167,000 new jobs per month from earlier in 2019. More impressive is that the labor force continues to expand, with 325,000 new entrants in October and more than a million since July. That’s more than a million Americans who decided looking for work was better than taking welfare. This lifted the labor force participation rate to 63.3%, which is rising despite baby boomer retirements. The employment ratio for prime-age workers, ages 25 to 54, rose to 80.3%, which is the highest since January 2007. Can there be any better indicator of the success of the Trump economy?

The editorial board took the unusual step of outwardly chastising Pelosi: “Hollowing out the middle class? Come on, Madame Speaker. The economy you’re describing is closer to the employment ratio during the Obama expansion, which was still 76.4% in January 2014, four and a half years after the recession ended.”

“The current job market is attracting middle and working-class workers who have been on the sidelines for years. Perhaps wages are now rising enough to make work more valuable than public benefits, or maybe job openings are finally available that meet their skills. Whatever the reason, the jobless rate for African-Americans fell again to 5.4%, a new low since records have been kept, and the third successive month at 5.5% or lower so it’s not a statistical anomaly. The labor participation rate for Hispanic-Americans reached 67.3%, the best since September 2010.”

They go on to point out that far from an economic boost only for the wealthy, the Trump economic boom has not only put poor and middle-class workers back to work, but their wages have increased an average of 3% over the last year. Economist Steven Moore puts that wage increase at 6.8% for the middle class. These gains may actually be dampened somewhat by the large number of new entrants into the work force replacing retiring seniors because these entry-level workers can be hired for less.

Let’s see if the picture is clearer now: Trump’s economic reforms have created more jobs for the poor and middle-class, raised wages for everyone, and lowered unemployment rates for African-Americans to historic lows and for Hispanic-Americans to the lowest numbers since 2010. Add to that the improvement in education for minorities through School Choice initiatives and you have multiple reasons why the poor and minorities should be supporting Trump. Sadly, you’ll never hear that from the mainstream media – or Nancy Pelosi.