The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

“America is roaring back,” Donald Trump pitched to the global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland. Those back home should be asking two questions: How loud, really, is that roar? (The economy’s, not Trump’s.) And what price are Americans paying for his approach to growth?

The Davos billionaires are not unimpressed by the opportunities offered by the grand deregulator. If the United States wants to let their mining companies ravage its public lands, why would they stop it? Energy Fuels, a Canadian uranium producer, successfully lobbied the Trump administration to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah by 85 percent.

If the U.S. permits the world’s financial predators to go after ordinary Americans with abusive loans and such, well, there’s money in that. And who in Davos is going to argue against lower taxes on their investments?

Speaking of investments, the U.S. stock market has performed admirably in Trump’s first year. No denying that. But the globally oriented know that others are doing better. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “foreign stock returns edged out those in the U.S. last year for the first time since 2012.”

As for this year so far, stock market yields in dollars have risen by a higher percentage in France, Germany and Sweden than in the United States, according to Morgan Stanley Capital International. Just don’t tell America’s little people that France, Germany and Sweden enjoyed these gains without dismantling their generous universal health care systems. Their populations would never put up with it.

In a 2016 presidential debate, Trump vowed to raise American economic growth by four percent a year — hey, maybe six percent. “We’re bringing (the gross domestic product) from 1 percent up to 4 percent,” he assured voters. “And I actually think we can go higher than four percent.”

For the record, real GDP grew by 2.3 percent last year. That was not bad, though nowhere near four percent.

In Obama’s last year in office, real GDP rose only 1.5 percent. But for two years under Obama, it grew faster than Trump’s 2.3 percent. Guess Obamacare didn’t destroy the economy after all.

The Affordable Care Act certainly wasn’t the nation’s “biggest job killer” as Ted Cruz once stated with great confidence. The U.S. added 2.24 million jobs in 2016, Obama’s last full year in office. That’s more, by the way, than the 2.06 million jobs created in Trump’s first calendar year.

A trade war would be no fun for the American economy, especially for farmers so dependent on export markets. The attendees at Davos also find Trump’s hostility to multinational trade deals worrisome, as well as baffling.

There must have been some silent guffawing when Trump said that the U.S. may re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is the 12-nation trade pact that he pulled the United States out of the first Monday of his presidency. The assembled knew full well that a few days before the Davos speech, the other 11 TPP members had agreed to create a trade bloc without our participation. They’re moving on.

So what have Americans given up for this kind of economic growth? They’ve been held back from fully participating in the booming green energy economy — a Trumpian payoff to the fossil fuel interests. Their health coverage is in jeopardy, and in coal country, so is their health. Meanwhile, the country’s precious (and priceless) natural heritage is being sold off piece by piece.

Rising deficits, made worse by the new tax law, threaten a recovery already old by historical standards. When things turn south, as will inevitably happen, there will be a reckoning. And many Americans will ask, Were the gains worth what we lost?

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at

PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Republicans in the Arizona state Senate are officially off the hook for the $2.8 million needed to replace hundreds of voting machines ruined during the GOP-led, scandal-ridden "audit" of the 2020 election results in the state, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in August to force GOP state senators — who had signed an agreement saying that they would be responsible for any costs incurred from their "forensic audit" of the state's 2020 election — to pay the millions for the machines.

Keep reading... Show less

In December 2019, when then-President Donald Trump was facing his first of two impeachments, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched the nonprofit Right Direction America to defend him. The 2022 campaign of far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a hardcore Trumpista, donated $100,000 to the nonprofit earlier this year during Trump's second impeachment — and journalist Roger Sollenberger, in an article published by the Daily Beast, stresses that the donation raises some questions.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}