Fact checkers were kept busy Wednesday afternoon as President Trump made a several false and misleading statements while pitching his administration’s tax reform plan in Springfield, Missouri.
Trump claimed that the economy never hit 3 percent growth under President Obama as he touted new data Wednesday showing that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3 percent in the second quarter of 2017.
“We just announced that we hit 3 percent in [gross domestic product]. It just came out. And on a yearly basis, as you know, the last administration during an eight-year period never hit 3 percent, so we’re really on our way,” Trump said during a speech on tax reform.
He promised Wednesday to “go much higher than 3 percent.”
Under Obama, the economy hit or surpassed 3 percent growth during several quarters, but never achieved a full calendar year with annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3 percent or higher. Trump failed to mention that Obama surpassed 3 percent growth during 8 separate quarters while in office — reaching as high at 5.2 percent during the third quarter of 2014, according to The Hill.
But experts note that using the annual change in GDP is perhaps not the best measure.
According to Politifact:
Going by quarters, growth within a year was higher than 3 percent during two periods during Obama’s presidency, Princeton economist Alan Blinder told PolitiFact Florida. Between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010, GDP growth was 3.4 percent. From the first quarters of 2014 and of 2015, it was 3.3 percent.
Overall growth rates for several administrations have exceeded 3 percent, but Weller said context is important.
Trump also praised the tax reform signed into law by President Reagan in 1986 despite having previously opposed it, saying “so much work would be created by getting rid of that horror show.”
“I truly feel this country is in a depression, not a recession…people are kidding themselves if they think it’s a recession,” Trump said at a hearing before the House Budget Committee in 1991. “The real estate business is in a recession, one reason we’re there is because of what happened in 1986 and the changes that happened.”
“I truly believe you wouldn’t have the savings and loan crisis you have right now,” he added. “I don’t think you would have had many of the banking problems you have now under ’86. The insurance companies are going to be in very deep trouble. You have some very deep problems that can be corrected by simply putting incentives back.”