President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans relentlessly run their mouths about their ability to “get the economy going again.” But they have yet to produce or enact any ideas that would generate results.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections for U.S. growth in 2017 released Tuesday show the economy will likely continue the moderate growth rate that’s characterized the U.S. since emerging from the Great Recession. While the news isn’t horrible, it’s not enough to reach the growth Trump promised.
The IMF predicts that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by roughly 2.3 percent this year, which would be slightly higher than the 2.1 percent it’s been averaging since the economy registered annual growth again in 2010. Last year, the U.S. grew 1.6 percent.
The 2017 growth rate should be enough to keep the unemployment rate reasonably low and corporate profits rising. With a bit of luck, American workers might even get a raise.
But 2.3 percent growth is far below the sky-high expectations stoked by Trump during the campaign when he repeatedly said he would get gross domestic product to grow at 4 percent or higher. That’s something many economists consider highly unlikely.
Of course, projections can be off. And the IMF notes that it prepared the April estimates without a lot of clarity on what the Trump administration is going to do on key economic issues like taxes, spending, and deficits — details that present a “wide range of upside and downside risks to the current baseline forecast for the United States.”
But that’s just the point. Even if you take Trump’s claims that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act and overhauling the U.S. tax code to lighten the load for America’s richest families would spur growth at face value (I don’t), the administration is nowhere near accomplishing either of those goals. The healthcare bill collapsed before it even came to a vote in the House. And while Trump promised a “phenomenal” tax plan within his first 100 days in office, he keeps fast-talking around the fact that the deadline is slipping away.
Republican sentiment on the economy shot sharply higher after the election. If Trump can’t deliver at least something that looks like a “win” to those voters, the president will likely pay some sort of political price.