WASHINGTON — The economy is doing quite well, thank you very much, and the president would naturally like to take credit. Both of them.
Barely a day passes without President Trump boasting about the growing economy, claiming with a mix of hyperbole and fact that it is “booming like never before.” But former President Barack Obama finds all the Trumpian chest-thumping more than a little grating, given that the “booming” started on his watch.
The economic contest between the 44th and 45th presidents went public in recent days when Mr. Obama expressed his irritation and Mr. Trump fired back. At stake are more than ordinary political bragging rights. Central to Mr. Obama’s historical legacy is the economy’s recovery after its plummet to the brink of a new Great Depression. And central to Mr. Trump’s current political standing is its further expansion.
Never mind that the nation’s economic fortunes depend on more than the occupant of the Oval Office and his policies, driven as well by interest rates, technological innovation and the health of the global economy — trends beyond the control of any president. Voters and historians nonetheless assign credit and blame to presidents for the state of the economy. When it comes to economics, presidents would rather be remembered as Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton than Herbert Hoover.