Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter on Tuesday following President Trump’s State of the Union address to refute one of the president’s main claims: That the U.S. economy is thriving.
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The senator said the system clearly isn’t working for everyone when nearly half of American families can’t afford basic necessities.
Sanders went on to say that Americans aren’t “truly free” when they cannot afford health care, prescription drugs, housing, retirement or food for their families.
During his address, Trump claimed the U.S. economy is the “hottest … anywhere in the world,” citing a growth rate that is twice as fast as when he took office, wages rising at the fastest pace in a decade and an unemployment rate that is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years.
During Trump’s presidency, GDP growth has averaged 2.8 percent per quarter – with growth exceeding 4 percent in the second quarter of 2018. In the third quarter of 2018, the economy grew at a rate of 3.4 percent, which is in fact double the 1.8 percent rate seen when Trump first took office.
For the full year, the International Monetary Fund estimates U.S. GDP grew at a rate of 2.9 percent, compared with an estimate of 2.3 percent for all advanced economies.
Meanwhile, growth has slowed in other large economies around the world. In Germany, for example, the International Monetary Fund estimates that GDP in 2018 expanded at a rate of 1.5 percent, with expectations of further slowing in 2019. In France, the yearly estimate from the IMF was the same as Germany at 1.5 percent. In the United Kingdom, growth is expected to settle at 1.4 percent.
Amid growing trade tensions with the U.S., growth in China has also slowed, to an estimated 6.6 percent in 2018. Japan’s economy is expected to have expanded at a rate of just 0.9 percent.
As Trump noted, on the home front the U.S. consumer has recently received some good news where salaries are concerned, too. The final three months of 2018 wages grew by 3.1 percent compared with the same period the prior year – the fastest rate in about a decade, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As Trump called for “unity” on a number of issues, some areas where he indicated Democrats and Republicans could work together were on reducing the high cost of prescription drugs and protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. A couple of other issues brought up by Sanders, including child care and infrastructure, were also mentioned as areas of potential cooperation by the president.