Trump Economy Is Really Experiencing a Middle-Class Boom

COMMENTARY Markets and Finance

Trump Economy Is Really Experiencing a Middle-Class Boom

Nov 12th, 2019 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Stephen Moore

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Stephen Moore is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow for Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation.
The income numbers are prima facie evidence that not only the rich, but the majority of middle-income households have benefited financially from the Trump economic boom. Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Three years into the Trump presidency there is no calamity and there is no recession.

Trump is right to recite real and legitimate data that substantiates the on-going middle-class boom in America today.

It isn't Trump, but his accusers who are engaged in "rambling distortions."

I recently wrote op-eds that ran in the Wall Street Journal and on these pages that showed median household incomes under Donald Trump have soared from $61,000 to an all-time high of $66,000 in less than three years into the Trump presidency. This is tremendous news and documents substantial middle-class prosperity in Trump’s first three years in office.

The $5,003 rise in middle-class incomes is especially impressive given that incomes only rose by $1,200 in the seven years under Obama — after the recession ended.

If the media, liberal think tanks and Democrats in Congress were truly concerned about the economic well-being of “hard-working families,” as Elizabeth Warren likes to say, they would have cheered to the rafters this amazing news of rising incomes for nearly all groups.

Instead, the left has chosen to either ignore this story altogether or to denounce these findings, which come from the gold standard of economic data, the U.S. Census Bureau.

This hostility to the good news was no doubt triggered by President Trump’s ebullient reaction. He has repeatedly tweeted out the numbers on middle class income gains and is now reciting these statistics in nearly every speech.

The income numbers are prima facie evidence that not only the rich, but the majority of middle-income households have benefited financially from the Trump economic boom. This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

Sure enough, the left and the media are now engaged in a wholesale campaign to discredit the good news on family incomes. Pundits have accused Trump of using phony numbers. The Washington Post recently ran a piece entitled: "Here's How Donald Trump Inflated His Economic Record."

In one Washington Post piece, the reporter sneers of Trump's "rambling distortions" and complains: "Trump's numbers appear to have originated in a pair of columns from the Heritage Foundation's Steve Moore, who used research from a private firm called Sentier Research."

Stop right there. Yes, it is true the data comes from Sentier Research -- a private firm. But what is not ever mentioned in the article is that the data come from the Census Bureau’s "Current Population Survey," which is the gold standard of economic data.

The two Sentier statisticians who analyzed the Census data are probably the most knowledgeable people in the country on this income data. Gordon Green was the chief of the income bureau at Census for more than a decade, and his colleagues at Sentier helped build the economic model Census uses to this day.

They have worked at the income division of the Census Bureau for a combined 40 years. They are scrupulously nonpartisan, and no one has ever challenged their integrity.

"We just report the data," says Gordon Green of Sentier.

Sentier Research has been well-respected by journalists for years. But, apparently, the Sentier numbers become unreliable when they point to good news under Trump.

In my analysis on these numbers, I have openly admitted these monthly data are a first rough estimate of what is happening with incomes over time -- just as the jobs numbers are. They catch the trends over time.

Three years into the Trump presidency there is no calamity and there is no recession. Trump is right to recite real and legitimate data that substantiates the on-going middle-class boom in America today. It isn't Trump, but his accusers who are engaged in "rambling distortions" and who deserve Pinnochio noses.

This piece originally appeared in Fox Business