Issue Report ● Jobs & the Economy
For Immediate Release: 
February 4, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
The President campaigned on numerous promises to the American people, and four years into his presidency, he is letting the American people down on pledge after pledge. Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union Address, here’s a look at what the President promised he would deliver to the American people and how he has fallen short with policies that put the wealthiest ahead of working families:

TRUMP PROMISE: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody… We’re going to have a healthcare that is far less expensive and far better.” [Washington Post, 1/15/19]

REALITY: Instead of working to make health care affordable for Americans, President Trump and his Administration have repeatedly sought to undermine protections offered by the ACA through executive orders and the courts. In fact, he is seeking to strike down the law and its protections entirely.

“A Republican lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, is trying to destroy ‘Obamacare’ in its entirety, and a Texas judge has already ruled in the GOP's favor. The 5th Circuit, in a move that appeared awfully political, recently left the future of the nation's health care system in limbo, almost certainly until after the election.” [MSNBC, 01/13/20]

TRUMP PROMISE: “When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy…” [Wall Street Journal, 02/04/16]

REALITY: House Democrats passed transformative legislation that takes the unprecedented step of giving the Department of Human Services the power to negotiate directly with drug companies and making the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance as well as those on Medicare. The President refuses to work with Democrats to enact it into law.

“Mr. Trump has retreated from his 2016 campaign pledge to let Medicare negotiate for drug prices. The White House has backed away from supporting Mrs. Pelosi’s bill after initially negotiating with her on it.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/12/19]
TRUMP PROMISE: “‘Under my administration, the era of economic surrender is over and the rebirth of American industry is beginning… [Tax cuts] will be rocket fuel for our economy.’” [The New York Times, 09/29/17]

REALITY: While President Trump inherited a strong economy, his policies are preventing its benefits from being broadly felt by all Americans. In fact, his signature economic achievement was a tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans that did not yield the promised GDP growth of 6%, did not raise wages, and resulted in trillion dollar deficits.  

“The cornerstone of President Trump’s domestic economic agenda is the tax cut he signed into law in late 2017. It would, he said, lift U.S. sustained annual economic growth to 3%, or even as high as 6%. His advisers said it would boost average household incomes by at least $4,000 a year. His Treasury secretary said it would pay for itself. Nearly two years later, none of those things have happened, and there is scant sign they will.” [WSJ, 10/30/19]

“…One widely publicized feature of the 2017 tax law hasn’t held up: The bonuses many companies announced for employees—often described as sharing the benefits of the corporate tax cut with workers —haven’t been repeated, even as company tax savings persist.” [Wall Street Journal, 01/04/20]

Here’s a closer look at how President Trump’s economic promises fell short:
  • GDP growth: Trump promised GDP growth as high as 6 percent. However, in the seven quarters before and after passage of the Republican tax law, GDP is now 2.1 percent, a decline from just last year.
  • Business investment: The Trump Administration predicted a flood of business investment, but in reality it has slowed since the tax cut, falling from an average annual growth rate of 4.6 percent in the seven quarters before enactment to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the seven quarters following the tax cut.
  • Household income: The Administration predicted that the tax cuts would bring an increase of $4,000 to $9,000 or more per household. However, household income increased only $550 in the first year after the tax cuts went into effect.
  • Unemployment: The unemployment rate was at 4.1 percent before the tax cuts took effect, falling just over one-half of 1 percent since then.

TRUMP PROMISE: “President Donald Trump has been boasting about creating manufacturing jobs…‘Factory floors across this land are once more crackling with life,’ Trump told workers at a Royal Dutch Shell Plc plant in Monaca, northwest of Pittsburgh. ‘Our steel mills are fired up and blazing bright. The assembly lines are roaring.’” [Bloomberg, 08/14/19]

REALITY: The manufacturing sector isn’t seeing the revitalization that Trump promised.

“America's manufacturing downturn isn't letting up. Factory activity contracted for the fifth consecutive month in December, registering a worse drop than expected. The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers' index logged its lowest level since June 2009 at 47.2, compared with the consensus forecast of 49. It stood at 48.1 in November. Any number below 50 denotes a contraction.” [CNN, 01/3/20]

TRUMP PROMISE:  “…The president promised during his campaign to ‘build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports that our country deserves.’” [Roll Call, 05/08/17]

REALITY: After agreeing the nation needs a $2 trillion infrastructure package, the President walked away from his own infrastructure proposal and negotiations over how to pay for it or any other infrastructure package. He has refused to lead on this issue.

“Trump, who has repeatedly said he wants to improve the nation’s infrastructure, abruptly walked out of a meeting with leading Democrats on Wednesday and declared there would be no ‘investment’ until congressional investigations into his personal finances and administration cease… Beyond outlining the broad themes of an infrastructure policy, the Trump administration has not yet mounted the kind of sustained policy effort necessary to turn the president’s campaign promise into legislation.” [Washington Post, 05/26/19]

TRUMP PROMISE: “Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.” [Presidential Campaign Announcement Speech, 06/16/15]

REALITY: After his tax cuts for the wealthy exploded the deficit, Trump said he’d consider cutting Medicare and Social Security programs.

“During an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Trump was asked, ‘[Would] entitlements ever be on your plate?’ Entitlements are, of course, Washington-speak for Medicare and Social Security. Trump responded, ‘At some point they will be,’ adding, ‘It’ll be toward the end of the year.’ Just in case Trump misunderstood, Joe Kernen followed up, reminding him this was something he had ‘said you wouldn’t do in the past’ and specifically mentioning Medicare. Trump cut him off. ‘Well, we’re going to look.’” [Washington Post, 01/23/19]

And just last week, the Trump Administration proposed an illegal scheme to block grant Medicaid and undermine access to care for low-income Americans, seniors, rural communities, those with disabilities, low income pregnant women, and Americans seeking treatment for opioid addiction.

“President Donald Trump’s administration is taking its most audacious step yet to roll back Medicaid... Medicaid would no longer pay whatever is necessary to provide medical care to the people in or near poverty who qualify for its benefits…Trump has already tried to fundamentally alter the Medicaid program through work requirements, though he’s been stopped in the courts. But the block grants represent an even more basic remaking of Medicaid on his watch, one that would lead to spending cuts and fewer benefits.” [Vox, 01/30/20]

TRUMP PROMISE:  “[Trump] insisted that he would be able to get rid of the nation’s more than $19 trillion national debt ‘over a period of eight years.’” [Washington Post, 4/2/16]

REALITY: The GOP tax law will add $1.9 trillion to the national debt, according to CBO. Despite a deficit forecast to exceed $1 trillion for the rest of the decade and beyond, Trump Administration officials continue to claim the tax cuts will pay for themselves. 

“The Congressional Budget Office predicted on Tuesday that the United States deficit will top $1 trillion annually over the next 10 years, ultimately reaching $1.7 trillion in 2030... Mr. Trump promised to pay off the national debt as president, but in three years in office, he has instead added to it with big tax cuts and increased federal spending. Mr. Trump and Republican lawmakers have claimed the tax cuts will pay for themselves through increased economic growth, which would ostensibly produce higher tax revenues… But…federal revenues declined. The latest C.B.O. forecast shows no indication that officials there expect rapid growth will return any time soon, as Mr. Trump and his team have projected. [The New York Times, 1/28/20]

TRUMP PROMISE: “It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. This is why I'm proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.” [ President Trump, Campaign Rally, 10/17/16]

REALITY: While House Democrats passed comprehensive government reform legislation, H.R. 1, the President has refused to work with Democrats to see it enacted into law. The President was impeached due to his abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and many of his associates have been sent to prison or face criminal charges. His Administration has been mired in ethics conflicts, and the former U.S. government ethics chief has said the U.S. is “close to a laughingstock” due to the number of ethics issues created.  

“For all his theatrics, he is not actually fighting corruption any more than a WWE wrestler is actually fighting his opponent. Put simply, there is no prospect that he will, in fact, drain the swamp. Indeed, they will attack whistle-blowers in an attempt to raise the cost of flagging corruption. They will seek to interpret what is unlawful as narrowly as possible. And when behavior is lawful but unethical, they will seek to dismiss complaints about it, as if denouncing politicians for being merely unethical is illegitimate… In fact, when his tenure is over, there will be a dark irony to his supposed drain-the-swamp agenda. Its most notable instances of holding sleazy Americans accountable will involve men such as Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen, whose bad behavior might’ve escaped the attention of authorities forever but for their being dragged into the spotlight by Trump. [The Atlantic, 10/04/19]

TRUMP PROMISE: Days after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the President said that he would work with Congress to advance background checks. “President Donald Trump said Friday that he thinks ‘very meaningful background checks’ can pass Congress... ‘I want to see it happen,’ he said. ‘We need intelligent background checks. This isn't a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat.’ He said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was ‘totally on board.’ Republican senators, he said, ‘are looking for me to give a signal.’" [ABC News, 08/09/19]

REALITY: In less than two weeks, the President fell silent on the issue, softened its urgency, and made no indication he would act. House Democrats passed bipartisan legislation to expand background checks over a year ago, and he has refused to engage on the issue.

“After discussions with gun rights advocates… including talks with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association — Mr. Trump’s resolve appears to have substantially softened, and he has reverted to reiterating the conservative positions on the gun issue he has espoused since the 2016 campaign. Speaking to reporters on Sunday as he departed from New Jersey and returned to Washington, Mr. Trump said he was ‘very, very concerned with the Second Amendment, more so than most presidents would be,’ and added that ‘people don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now.’” [New York Times, 8/19/19]

TRUMP PROMISE: “Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth.” [President Trump, 07/21/16]  

REALITY: The President’s chaotic and impulsive actions have undermined foreign policy and national security.

“… The last two years should not distract from a building crisis of U.S. foreign policy, of which Trump is both a symptom and a cause. The president has outlined a deeply misguided foreign policy vision that is distrustful of U.S. allies, scornful of international institutions, and indifferent, if not downright hostile, to the liberal international order that the United States has sustained for nearly eight decades. The real tragedy, however, is not that the president has brought this flawed vision to the fore; it is that his is merely one mangled interpretation of what is rapidly emerging as a new consensus on the left and the right: that the United States should accept a more modest role in world affairs.” [ Foreign Affairs, January/February Edition 2019]

The President has failed to defend America’s interests abroad or promote stability:  
  • On Russia: The President has refused to take a stand against the active threat Putin plays in undermining our democracy and that of our allies.  He continues to side with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community and spout conspiracy theories rather than tackle the threat of election interference. 
  • On Syria: President Trump withdrew American troops in Syria, abandoned our Kurdish allies in Syria, and threatened the containment of ISIS.
  • On North Korea: Trump engaged in flashy, self-aggrandizing photo ops with North Korea and got nothing in return.  North Korea continues to test missiles and develop nuclear technology while the U.S.-led sanctions regime has deteriorated. 
  • On Afghanistan:  Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David on the weekend of 9/11, with no deal in place, then quickly flipped his position.  Even Republicans criticized him.
  • On Ukraine:  Trump attempted to bully an ally into doing a “favor” for him and withheld security assistance as part of the pressure campaign.
  • On Corruption:  Trump’s corrupt practices and conflicts of interest have undermined U.S. credibility and leadership around the world. 

TRUMP PROMISE: “I hope we’re going to come up with an answer for DACA. Let's see if we can get something done. I really think that we have a chance to do it. I think it's really important. You're talking about 800,000 people. You're talking about lots of other people who are affected, including people who live in our country, from a security standpoint.” [President Trump, 01/08.18]

REALITY: The President ended the DACA program, creating a crisis that he refuses to solve. During negotiations in 2018, the Administration moved the goalposts by including separate issues in the DACA negotiations and rejected serious, bipartisan proposals.  House Democrats passed the American Dream and Promise Act to provide a pathway to citizenship and permanent solution to protect Dreamers
“Trump thrust the future of millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children into peril by promising “NO MORE DACA DEAL,” and he directed congressional Republicans to pass tough anti-immigration legislation…. After canceling DACA, Trump said he would like to reach a deal with Congress to protect dreamers from deportation in exchange for funding to build his long-promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. The president, however, went on to reject immigration proposals from congressional Democrats in recent months.” [Washington Post, 04/02/18]

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