Cal Thomas: Stories of the economy

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, September 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Back in 2016, then-President Obama criticized then-candidate Trump for imagining that he could bring back manufacturing jobs.

OBAMA: He’s gonna bring all these jobs back. Well, how exactly are you gonna do that, what are you gonna do? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.

REICHARD: Up next, Cal Thomas on the importance of show and tell in the political narrative.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: He’s back! President Obama emerged last week from his supposedly cloistered life to attack President Trump during a speech at the University of Illinois. He claimed it was his policies, not those of President Trump, that have produced the current economic boom.

Obama said, quote—“When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.”

But during the Obama administration, the Gross Domestic Product never exceeded 3 percent annually. Obama said the days of strong economic growth were behind us, that many manufacturing jobs were lost and not returning and that then-candidate Trump didn’t have a “magic wand” to fix the economy.

But in the second quarter of this year, economic growth exceeded 4 percent and manufacturing jobs are making a comeback.

By the time Obama left office, the unemployment rate had declined from a high approaching 8 percent at the start of his administration to just under 5 percent, but was beginning to tick back upward, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In less than two years of the Trump administration, the nation has effectively gained full employment with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate. And minority unemployment reaching record lows.

Obama should receive some credit for the way his administration helped the country after the recession, but not all the credit he now claims for himself.

Obama’s speech was part of a carefully coordinated strategy to win back a House majority for Democrats. Trump did himself a favor by not responding in kind. Instead of taking to Twitter for a blistering attack, he joked that Obama’s speech put him to sleep.

The president did something last week I have long urged him to do. Statistics are dry. Show people who have jobs they couldn’t find during the Obama years.

In a speech in North Dakota, Trump brought a man onstage who thanked the president for economic policies that allowed him to go back to work. He told the audience the coal industry, quote— “had the boot of government on its throat” during the Obama administration. He recounted jobs lost and towns destroyed. Then he praised the Trump administration for bringing the industry back to life.

The audience cheered.

Flesh and blood are more powerful than ink and paper and TV news.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(Stephen Haas/The News-Gazette via AP) Former President Barack Obama speaks in Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana, Ill., on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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