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Trump promises historic economic growth (but only if he's re-elected)

Donald Trump won't deliver on his economic growth promises. He now thinks he can keep his vows, however, but only if voters give him a second term.
US President Donald Trump addresses the Nevada Republican Party Convention at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 23, 2018. / AFP PHOTO...

The Washington Post had a good piece this week explaining a simple truth the White House prefers to ignore: Donald Trump "inherited a good economy, and he hasn't made it better."

The president must've missed the article. Consider his pitch on the state of the economy at an event in Wisconsin yesterday:

"You know, if you think, we've made so much progress in the last year and a half that's put us in this position. And we're going up. Nobody has ever seen anything like it."And watch those GDP numbers. We started off at a very low number, and right now we hit a 3.2. Nobody thought that was possible in four years, but I think it's going to go a lot higher than that. So you watch those numbers.... And we already hit a 3.2. And I think we're going to be seeing fours. And I think we're going to be seeing fives, too. And I think we're going to go higher than that -- but that may be in the second term."

Much of this is boilerplate nonsense. When Trump said, for example, that "nobody has ever seen" an economy like this, he's lying. Economic growth since he became president has been fine, but far short of historic.

I also loved seeing the president boast about "hitting" 3.2% growth. In reality, GDP growth last year was 2.3% -- maybe he accidentally switched the numbers? -- which wasn't bad, but it was short of the growth we saw in 2010, 2014, and 2015.

It doesn't help matters that U.S. job growth fell to a seven-year low in Trump's first year in office.

But the amusing part of all of this was his claims about future growth.

As we discussed a few months ago, Trump routinely promised “4% annual economic growth” – and in some cases, he suggested his policies could push growth to as high as 6% -- before he took office.

At the time, those assurances seemed bizarre, and it’s now obvious that the president never should have made these promises. Not only will he fail to deliver the results, but the exaggerated goals end up putting decent economic growth in a less favorable light.

Yesterday, however, Trump put a new spin on his failed promises: maybe he'll deliver on his vows, but only if voters give him another four years.

When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called Trump a "con man," he knew what he was talking about.