To hear President Trump tell it during his State of the Union address, he’s solely responsible for every economic success since even before he took the oath of office.
So here is the truth of five financial facts he made about the economy during his address Tuesday night.
1. Trump said: “African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”
The unemployment rate for African Americans has been declining since 2010. The rate was 7.7 percent when Trump took the oath of office. It’s now 6.8 percent, as The Washington Post Fact Checkers reported.
Love this line from The Post Fact Checkers: “Trump taking credit for this is like a rooster thinking the sun came up because he crowed.”
[Read more: Fact-checking the 2018 State of the Union address]
And, as they wrote, “Hispanic American unemployment had also been trending lower before Trump’s presidency. It hit a low of 4.8 percent in several months in 2017, as well as in one month in 2006.”
2. Trump said: “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.”
Except newly released data show that for the week that ended Jan. 20, new jobless claims jumped up.
3. Trump said: “Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.”
“Those claims are accurate,” USA Today reported. “Job growth was already strong under President Barack Obama’s administration and has continued.”
4. Trump said: “Just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.”
“It is false that the tax cut package passed in December is the largest cut ever, as Trump has repeatedly claimed,” according to PolitiFact. “In inflation-adjusted dollars, the recent tax bill is the fourth-largest since 1940. And as a percentage of GDP, it ranks seventh.”
[From PolitiFact: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union speech]
5. Trump said: “The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401(k), retirement, pension and college savings accounts.”
It’s true the stock market has produced substantial gains for many investors, but there’s a caveat.
The Post Fact Checkers wrote: “Trump is correct that $8 trillion in wealth has been created since the election — or $6.9 trillion since he took the oath of office, according to the Wilshire 5000 Index of stocks. But much of that gain in wealth did not trickle down to most Americans. Only about 50 percent of Americans own stocks directly or through retirement funds, according to a Gallup survey. And most of the value in stocks is held by the top 10 percent.”
Justin McCarthy for Gallup News wrote: “In 2007, nearly two in three American adults (65 percent) reported investing in the stock market. . . . But this percentage shrank each year from 2008 to 2013 as the effects of the Great Recession and big market losses took their toll on Americans’ sense of job security, confidence in the economy and financial means to invest — as well as their general confidence in stocks as a place to invest their money. Though the Dow Jones industrial average has made great gains since bottoming out in 2009, Americans’ stock ownership has yet to recover to the level reported prior to the recession.”
Here’s the problem with Trump taking credit for the current bull market: Will he also take responsibility if there’s a bear market during his tenure?
“The drop, of course, can’t be entirely attributed to Trump, just like the gains aren’t all his doing,” wrote Bess Levin for Vanity Fair.
Color of Money question of the week
Were you encouraged about Trump’s enthusiasm for the economy during his State of the Union address? Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state. All opinions are welcome but please keep your comments civil.
Looking for volunteers
To capture the impact of the new tax law, I want to profile people and their tax situation.
So, I’m looking for individuals and couples willing to share your 2017 tax returns and then later have me compare it with your 2018 return, which of course will be filed next year. It will mean sharing some financial information but only what’s necessary. I just want to show with real folks the impact of the recent tax reform.
If you’re interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Live chat today
Let’s talk about Medicare. Joining me today will be Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of the foundation’s Program on Medicare Policy. She oversees the foundation’s research and analysis work pertaining to Medicare, and health coverage and care for aging Americans and people with disabilities
Neuman will be discussing the foundation’s new report I recently wrote about: Out-of-pocket health-care costs likely to take half of Social Security income by 2030, analysis shows
Join the discussion live from noon to 1 p.m. Here’s the link.
A new report found 1 in 6 millennials has $100,000 in savings. Some millennials are saving by living at home.
A Bank of America report found that nearly half of millennials in their poll — Americans 23 and 37 — have $15,000 or more saved and one in six has more than $100,000 in savings.
Last week I asked: What do you think of young adults returning home to save money?
Barbara Allen of Warrenton, Va., said her daughter, who will graduate this May is moving in with a friend in an area with better employment opportunities. But she’s prepared for the real world, Allen wrote.
“She knows by sitting down with us what her expenses will entail, and how much she will need to earn to pay those expenses,” she wrote. “We have agreed to help her financially until the end of 2018, with deposits, etc. She has a savings account which she has added to with part-time jobs during school breaks and summers. We put money into an account since she was a born, and were able to pay all but the last semester of college tuition in cash. She will have a student loan debt of $6,000, with payment starting in 2019. We have been paying on that student loan monthly since she received the payout for tuition, bringing the [principal] down while paying off incurring interest. We as a family feel she has the maturity and skills to succeed outside living at home, and encouraged her to do so. It depends on the young person if staying at home to save money will work, some young people have the skills, some don’t, and it depends on the family dynamic.”
“I am a HUGE proponent of living at home to save,” Valerie Boykin of Fort Washington, Md., wrote. “My siblings, spouses and I did it when we graduated in the ’80s, and my daughter who graduated in 2015 did it. My siblings, spouses and I used that springboard to purchase houses and build sound futures. My daughter just bought her first house. This is one key way to build multigenerational wealth especially for those who didn’t come from wealth. It saddens me when parents push children who are trying to build a future out of the house prematurely (emphasis on trying to build a future — if you aren’t trying, I’m not either), or when kids foolishly just can’t live with the parent’s rules for just a little while.”
Here are some tips from C A Dazell from Arizona for parents welcoming adult children back home.
— “Make sure the savings is actually going into ‘savings’ and not a new car.”
— “Make sure that adult child takes care of himself in your home (cleans, cooks, washes their own cloths, etc.) After all, they will have to do it eventually.”
— “Make sure there are agreed to boundaries; my space vs. your space, coming/going times, girlfriend/boyfriend sleepovers or (worse) moves in?”
Can I just add. My rule: No unmarried adults living together in my home. My house. My rules. It’s already quite enough helping your own child launch.
Color of Money columns this week
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