“The economy, stupid!”
— Clinton Strategist James Carville
In 1992, the economy was bad. James Carville’s quote on a sign in the campaign offices of Gov. Bill Clinton was a reminder to his staff. He wanted them to stay focused on the economy. It worked for the challenger as a recession was starting to sweep the nation. President George H.W. Bush’s inability to adequately react to concerns over the recession played a major part in his loss that November.
This week, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin said, “Democrats are not talking about the economy, because they have nothing to say.”
In 2019, the economy is great. The U.S. labor market has added more than 6.3 million new jobs since President Donald J. Trump was elected. In fact, there continue to be more jobs open in America than there are people looking for work. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since the end of 1969. And the unemployment rate for African-Americans, Hispanics, people with disabilities and military veterans is the lowest ever recorded for each category.
At the same time, wages are up. The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently published its annual revisions to personal income data showing that employee compensation rose 4.5 percent in 2017 and 5 percent in 2018. The trend continued in 2019 as compensation rose 3.4 percent during the first six months.