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Image: Final 2020 U.S. presidential campaign debate in Nashville
President Donald Trump and Joe Biden participate in their final 2020 presidential campaign debate in the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Biden's economic record defies misguided Republican predictions

"If he gets in, you will have a depression, the likes of which you've never seen," Trump said about Biden last fall. How's that working out?


About two weeks before Election Day 2020, Donald Trump and Joe Biden gathered for the final presidential debate of the cycle, at which the incumbent made a hysterical prediction about his challenger.

"If he gets in, you will have a depression, the likes of which you've never seen," the Republican insisted. "Your 401K's will go to hell and it'll be a very, very sad day for this country."

The Washington Post revisited the predictions, and found that Biden's record looks pretty good so far.

Instead, the rebounding economy is headed for its best year since 1984, according to the International Monetary Fund.... By Trump's preferred metric — the stock market — Biden is outperforming his predecessor at this stage of his presidency. Last summer, the Republican said stock values would "collapse" under Biden. But through Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 16 percent since Nov. 7, when the Democrat was declared the apparent election winner, compared with a 10.5 percent gain over a similar period following Trump's election.

While Biden's defiance of misguided Republican predictions is welcome news for those rooting for an economic recovery, one of the things that came to mind while reading this was the familiarity of the circumstances -- because when it comes to GOP predictions about presidents and economic performances, the party has an uninterrupted track record of failure.

Early in Bill Clinton's presidency, Republican linked arms and opposed his economic agenda en masse, predicting its inevitable failure. Instead, the economy boomed over the course of his tenure. (In 1993, a young Ohio congressman named John Kasich proclaimed, in response to Clinton's agenda, "This plan will not work. If it was to work, then I'd have to become a Democrat." Clinton's plan did work; Kasich remained a Republican.)

During George W. Bush's presidency, Republicans predicted a pair of tax-cut packages would produce historic economic gains. The opposite happened, and Bush's term ended in the midst of the worst recession in generations.

During Barack Obama's presidency, Republicans were once again certain that the Democrat's economic agenda wouldn't work. "[The Recovery Act] won't work to put Americans back to work," Indiana's Mike Pence argued in early 2009. "It won't create jobs. The only thing it will stimulate is more government and more debt. It will probably do more harm than good." Instead, Obama's plan ended the Great Recession, rescued the job market, and produced more than a decade of sustained growth.

During Donald Trump's presidency, Republicans predicted that the party's regressive tax plan would improve private-sector hiring, produce higher wages, and dramatically increase business investments. In reality, the policy didn't do any of those things.

And now, the predictions surrounding Biden and the economy are also wrong. Job growth is up, unemployment claims are down, factory activity and retail spending are up, and quarterly growth is projected to be robust.

Perhaps the Republican Party's understanding of economic policy is fundamentally flawed?