Guest Columnist

The Donald Trump/Joni Ernst economy hasn't been good for Iowa

Iowa working families were better off under the Barack Obama and Joe Biden

President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa looks on during a meeting with Republican senators on
President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa looks on during a meeting with Republican senators on December 5, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump is staking his re-election on convincing Iowans and their fellow Americans he built “the best economy in the history of the world” before the pandemic, and so is the one to lead the country out of the economic devastation it has caused. Thus, he claimed recently in Minnesota “we built the greatest economy in the history of the world and now I have to do it again. ... God [is] testing me. He said, ‘you know, you did it once,’ and I said, ‘Did I do a great job, God? I’m the only one that could do it.’ He said ... ’Now we’re going to have you do it again.’ I said, “okay, I agree. You got me.”

Sen. Joni Ernst channeled Trump at the Republican National Convention, claiming “this election is a choice between two very different paths. Freedom, prosperity and economic growth, under a Trump-Pence administration. Or, the Biden-Harris path ... where farmers are punished (and) ... jobs are destroyed.”

The Trump administration’s own economic numbers prove the president’s and the senator’s words are untrue. The data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals 86 percent of Americans live in states in which Trump failed to deliver job and wage gains as large as those created from 2014 through 2016 under Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Iowa is one of those states.

Here are the facts. The average working Iowa family enjoyed real wage gains of $2,656 under Obama/Biden from 2014 through 2016, more than three and a half times greater than the $746 they gained under Trump before the pandemic. And these numbers don’t even include the economic impact of the Trump tariffs on the state’s agricultural sector.

The story is the same concerning job creation. Iowa gained 33,200 non-agricultural jobs from 2014 through 2016 under Obama/Biden, compared to 15,500 jobs under Trump before the pandemic, a difference of 17,700.

The poor performance of the Trump economy compared to Obama/Biden extends across the country. The data shows the real wage gain for an average American working family under Obama/Biden from 2014 thorough 2016 was $8,016, more than eight times the $976 gain during Trump’s pre-pandemic economy.

Then there is job creation. Under Obama/Biden, 7.9 million jobs were created from 2014 through 2016, compared to only 6.2 million under Trump, pre-pandemic.

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Of course the pandemic has widened and the job and wage gain gaps between Obama/Biden and Trump’s economic performances.

Trump tries to avoid these facts by pointing to the stock market, where the wealthiest 10 percent of American households own 84 percent of the shares, or 401(k)s, and in which only 32 percent of American workers have savings. America’s real economic wellbeing is measured by the number of jobs and the wages earned by its workers. But even so, under Obama/Biden the market rose 187 percent; under Trump, 42 percent.

These are the facts. Yet Ernst voted with Trump over 91 percent of the time. Trump’s economic numbers in Iowa don’t deserve this level of support.

The numbers don’t lie. Iowa working families were better off under the Obama/Biden administration. It’s time for Iowans to look at Trump’s numbers, instead of believeing his words or those of Ernst.

David Carden is the former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a director of Raise America’s Pay.

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