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The White House Has a Plan to Revive the Economy: Don’t Talk About it

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:58 PM
Laura Hoy
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:58 PM
  • The Donald Trump administration is planning to omit key economic projections from its budget review.
  • The lack of transparency suggests Trump has something to hide.
  • The projections likely exist- why not share them?

Donald Trump is refusing to be fact-checked once again. This time it’s Americans, not Twitter, looking for answers.

The Washington Post, citing White House sources, reveals that the Trump administration won’t reveal its economic forecasts this summer , despite having done so every summer for the past 5 decades.

According to the report, the ongoing volatility would keep the White House from releasing a full ‘mid-session review,’ which includes the government’s expectations for unemployment, inflation and other measures of economic growth. 

Donald Trump Follows in Wall Street’s Footprints

Donald Trump, Trump economy, trump administration
Wall Street was given grace when it withdrew guidance, what about the President? | Source: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Every year the US government releases a federal budget proposal in February. Then in the summer, the numbers are updated to reflect changes in the economy moving forward. If ever there were a time that the budget needs updating, it’s now.

The budget report will be updated, the report added, just not all of it. 

The direction of the economy is the most worrying omission, but projections regarding the national deficit will be notably absent from the budget report as well. Donald Trump will be reporting government spending data as well as new legislation, though. 

This earnings season, US companies withdrew their year-end guidance  because of the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. Investors were largely sympathetic to the challenging nature of trying to price in the costs of such an immense uncertainty. So why does it matter that Donald Trump and his administration want to do the same thing?

Donald Trump is Protecting His Re-Election

The most obvious reason is the fact that Donald Trump is up for re-election. There are a lot of people who believe the President is using this opportunity to hide the dire figures  that could cost him the election. They point to Barack Obama’s release of the same figures  during the Great Recession as the reason Trump should reveal the predictions.

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Many believe the president is hiding data ahead of the election| Source: Twitter 

Notably, though, the Great Recession was a bit easier to account for. The current situation depends heavily on what happens come autumn. A vaccine would be a game-changer,  a second wave of the virus would have the opposite impact . The variables in Donald Trump’s situation are markedly more volatile.

Lack of Transparency Disappoints

Donald Trump, Twitter, economy
Donald Trump’s refusal to reveal the trajectory of the economy is worrying | Image: REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t release the projections. A best-case and worst-case version could satisfy the public’s want for more clarity. 

Plus, by arguing that the economic projections are too difficult to calculate, it suggests the administration is flying blind. Surely these projections exist and the government is using them to guide their decision-making, why can’t the public be trusted with that knowledge?

Why Hide Now?

What’s most infuriating about Donald Trump’s refusal to be transparent about where the government sees the economy going is that the President has no issue making bold, unproven statements every day.

He happily touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine without knowing for certain whether it would work. He unapologetically spitballed ways to combat the pandemic during news conferences. He even stoked conspiracy theories about a potential murder investigation into a fellow politician. 

Donald Trump, Donald Trump twitter, tweet
Donald Trump has no problem making unproven statements regularly |Source: Twitter 

Most telling, though, is the fact that Donald Trump happily promotes the idea that the economy is on the road to a strong recovery. He regularly tweets about it and often brings it up during press conferences.

Donald trump tweet, Donald Trump twitter, economy
Donald Trump always exudes confidence when it comes to the economic recovery |Source: Twitter 

People believe him because he’s the President and he has access to the kind of data and projections that back his positive sentiment up. Suddenly he’s unwilling to make predictions that have a large margin of error? That raises a red flag about the Trump administration, the economy and the future.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.