Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden interrupted President Trump’s self-congratulatory efforts to take credit for the longest period of economic growth on record, saying in a statement late Monday that Trump “inherited” that expansion from his predecessor Barack Obama.
“Trump inherited the longest economic expansion in history from the Obama-Biden administration,” Biden said. “But like everything else he’s inherited, he has squandered it.”
Biden criticized the president’s “completely bungled response” to the coronavirus crisis that has devastated the economy. The former vice president said that sharp losses felt by many Americans who have lost jobs as the country shutdown to slow the spread of the virus could have been prevented.
“It did not have to be this way. Millions of Americans are suffering right now because of his negligence and incompetence,” Biden said.
Biden’s rebuke of the president follow Trump’s remarks at a press conference on Friday where Trump commended his own administration for the economic growth in his first term. The president bragged that the economy, which was dealt a horrifying blow by the coronavirus pandemic, was already showing signs of resilience, according to contested Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The BLS’ most recent report shows that unemployment numbers, which had increased dramatically during the health crisis of the past few months, dropped in May for several ethnic groups. Overall unemployment rate officially sits at 13.3%, down from 14.7% in April, according to BLS.
A group of economists responsible for identifying when a recession begins declared that, despite claims that the pandemic was wholly responsible for the economic recession, the U.S. economy was actually already receding as early as February — several weeks before states began issuing stay at home orders that further hindered the economy.
These economists are a part of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee and they recognize nearly 11 full years of economic growth — beginning long before Trump was elected — which offers some credence to Biden’s claim. NBER said that employment, income and spending all peaked in February shortly before the virus took hold in the U.S. and fell even more sharply in the weeks that followed.