The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3% in the second quarter. That was significantly higher than the 2.7% expected. The New York Times noted that this is the economy’s best quarterly showing in two years. Growth was a mere 1.6% per year under Obama, and 2.1% under Bush. America gained 36,000 manufacturing jobs in August, finally returning employment in the manufacturing sector to where it was before Obama became President.
On election night in 2016, Hillary Clinton supporters such as the New York Times’s Paul Krugman predicted economic doom from Democrats losing the election. Krugman said, “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”
But the economy is growing, and all major stock market indices are up since then. In August, CNBC reported that “global stocks hit a record high.”
Deregulation could help increase the growth rate further. One example would be getting rid of unnecessary state occupational licensing regulations. Occupational licensing has expanded from covering 5% of the workforce in the 1950s to 30% today.
The harm from occupational licensing regulations is so obvious that even the Obama administration, which greatly expanded regulation and red tape, recognized that occupational licensing restrictions are too burdensome; the Obama administration noted that “licensing restrictions cost millions of jobs nationwide and raise consumer expenses by over one hundred billion dollars.” Studies also show that excessive occupational licensing increases the crime rate and thus drives up state prison spending.
The Trump White House has suspended or delayed a number of harmful regulations drafted by the Obama administration, such as an wage reporting form that would have cost employers at least $400 million to gather largely irrelevant information.
Many Obama administration regulations wiped out jobs and discouraged investment in the U.S. economy. The Obama administration also discouraged businesses from expanding and creating jobs by suing employers for sensible business practices.
The Obama EEOC ordered employers to discard useful employment tests and employ unqualified workers, suing them if they refused to do so. For example, a hotel chain had to pay $132,500 for dismissing an autistic desk clerk who did not do his job properly, in order for it avoid a lawsuit by the EEOC that would have cost it much more than that to defend.
The Obama EEOC sued companies that sensibly refused to hire heavy drinkers as truck drivers, even though companies get sued by accident victims when a driver has an accident.
In 2011, businessman Steve Wynn, who was then a Democrat, had become so disillusioned with Obama that he called him “the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime,” saying that “the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”
And, indeed, investment was very small compared to GDP under Obama. Even after the recession ended, the Wall Street Journal reported that business investment had “fallen off a cliff,” contributing to persistently sluggish economic growth.