Trump’s Economy, by the Numbers

Ask someone to explain their support for Trump and they’re likely to mention the economy. They’ll tell you a story about businesses trapped under high taxes and needless regulations, sputtering along, leaving millions of Americans unemployed and forgotten. Then came the brilliant entrepreneur, Trump, who unleashed an economic boom.

Like most things you hear from Trump-era Republicans, this story of an American economic renaissance exists only in GOP fantasies. Trump’s singular economic achievement as President is that he hasn’t destroyed the long economic boom he inherited, at least not yet.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here’s a broad review of economic performance under Trump, with comparisons to the Obama years.

Let’s begin with a chart of per capita GDP over the past ten years.

Can you spot the magic moment when Trump changed everything? That’s because it never happened.

Here’s overall GDP growth per quarter since the Bush II years.

First, notice the long term decline in the baseline, which has continued unabated under Trump. Next, look at the peaks of growth achieved during the Obama years. Our economy experienced more quarters of 3%+ growth under Obama (4) than Trump (2). More importantly, the economy experienced only 2 quarters of growth beyond the longterm baseline under Trump. Those both came on the sugar high of the Trump tax cuts. Since Q3 18, growth has tumbled by almost half. Economists are concerned that growth could slow to 0 in Q4 19.

But what about jobs? Hasn’t Trump ended an era of anemic hiring? No. In fact, job creation has slowed slightly in the Trump years.

Here’s a chart of monthly job creation since 2009. See if you can spot the moment when Trump changed everything. Again, it doesn’t exist.

Average monthly job creation was 210K during the Obama Administration. It has lagged at 191K under Trump, and has been slowing in recent months. October’s hiring (128K) tied the lowest October since the Bush II years.

The stock market performed better under Obama.

https://fortune.com/2019/11/01/trump-obama-markets-comparison-s-and-p-500-dow-nasdaq-economy/

One of the strangest claims from Trump supporters is that he’s helped the middle class. They’ll make the claim that middle class incomes have been rising. That’s true, but those increases started in 2012, rising rapidly across Obama’s second term, then flattening out since 2017. Wage growth for middle income families has slowed significantly in the Trump years.

As for wages overall, once again, let’s look at the numbers and see if you can spot the miracle moment:

On a month-to-month level, wage growth reached almost 4% under Obama in November 2016, but it flattened out from there and hasn’t broken that mark under Trump.

As you would expect, under both Obama and Trump, no one has experienced wage growth as strong as the top earners.

What’s behind the overall growth in incomes? We’re in our 106th consecutive month of employment expansion. Strong demand for workers plays a part. However, a trend that started in blue states during the Obama years is starting to pay off.

States and cities took the lead in raising their minimum wage. Since 2013, most minimum wage workers owe their income floor not to federal minimums, but to state or local minimums. Today, the effective average minimum wage for an American worker overall is $12/hour. Sorry Alabama and Texas. No help for you, but for lower wage workers elsewhere in the country this change in local laws has helped to support otherwise fragile incomes at the lower end. They still aren’t growing as fast as higher incomes, but in a few geographies they have a chance to keep pace.

Trump promised to revive the manufacturing sector. Didn’t happen. Here’s a look at manufacturing employment over time. That flat bit at the end is the Trump Administration. Bonus learning opportunity here: notice the two great collapses that presaged the end of mass manufacturing in the US. The first was in 1974, and the second in 1979. Remind me again how Reagan or NAFTA destroyed our industrial sector.

Our economy added about a million manufacturing jobs under Obama. It has added about half a million under Trump. It should be noted, though, that the rate of growth flattened to zero this year and reversed last month. Manufacturing is now in a recession.

One of the most galling claims from the Trump swamp is that his Administration has benefitted black Americans. Leaving aside for a moment the atmosphere of terror he has unleashed on people of color, and the steps his administration has taken to kneecap federal efforts toward honest policing, affirmative action, and education reform, let’s just look at the economic numbers.

Amid one of the longest economic booms in our history, average weekly wages for black families have actually declined since Obama left office.

Over the last quarter of the Obama Administration, wage growth from black families was at its highest rate in recent history, almost keeping pace with the highest wage earners. That’s over.

Across the span of the post-crash recovery, black unemployment remained higher than other demographics, but under Obama it was beginning to close the gap. That pattern has reversed in recent months, as black and Hispanic unemployment have actually started to tick back up.

Trump was going to save the coal industry. Let’s play our favorite game again, spot the miracle:

This time there is an inflection in the curve, but it happened under the Obama Administration. Coal mining employment flattened out its decades-long decline late in the Obama years, likely because coal companies were betting that a possible Trump Presidency would herald a revival. It didn’t.

Coal employment has been roughly flat since 2016, which is an improvement of a sort. However, the companies that bet on this trend are going out of business. More than 60% of the nation’s coal is mined by companies that have been in bankruptcy over the past five years.

Coal-fired energy producers are going offline at a staggering rate. A Trump Era surge in coal company bankruptcies is placing employee pensions and Black Lung payments in jeopardy, not exactly the MAGA boom these voters were counting on.

What about the people Trump once described as our “Great Patriot Farmers?” Yup, they’re getting screwed too. 

Farmers in the Midwest are taking the hardest hit. Wisconsin leads the country with 48 farm bankruptcies, followed by Nebraska, Kansas with 37, and 31 in Minnesota. By the end of 2019, The farm debt is expected to reach a record-high of $416 billion. Farm incomes hit their modern peak in 2013, under Obama. This year, 40% of US farm income will be government assistance.

Agricultural land values are down 14% in Iowa. Farm debt has risen by 40% since 2012 against only a 17% increase in asset values. Concerns are growing about a wave of suicides in a professional already vulnerable to that scourge. At least Trump has rescued them from Socialism.

Income inequality, which has been worsening for decades, has soared to an all-time record under Trump.

Statistic: U.S. household income distribution from 1990 to 2018 (by Gini-coefficient) | Statista

That inequality growth has been fed by Trump’s massive tax cut for wealthy households. But the real story is the concentration of wealth, not income. In 2019, the wealthiest 10% of Americans hold 70% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 50% hold just 1% of the nation’s wealth.

When it comes to poverty and wealth, Republican Congressional districts are the great takers, while America’s new wealth is being generated in Democratic areas. Places governed by Republicans are getting steadily poorer, while Democrats govern the places, almost exclusively cities, where wealth and incomes are expanding.

The poverty rate was declining sharply in Obama’s second term. Those declines continue, but they have flattened out.

Statistic: Poverty rate in the United States from 1990 to 2018 | Statista

Trump’s policies have hit his base pretty hard. In addition to his failure to revive manufacturing, coal or domestic steel production, his efforts to strip the social safety net are threatening to wreck lives in working communities.

Rural hospital closures have already matched a an annual record this year, and the year isn’t over.

Infographic: 155 Rural Hospitals Have Closed in the U.S. Since 2005 | Statista

The number of Americans without health insurance had finally begun to decline under Obama, but now those numbers are ticking back up.

Thanks to tariff related impacts, the trucking industry has entered a recession. Many companies made massive investments expecting Trump’s tax cuts to spur new waves of growth. That boom never materialized. What they got instead was an erratic, poorly planned, and devastating collection of tariffs that have undermined demand for freight loads.

The problem extends beyond just trucking, as freight shipment are down across the board.

Hundreds of trucking companies have gone under this year, leaving thousands of truckers unemployed.

The rail freight index, which was recovering slightly late in the Obama Era, is crashing this year under pressure from manufacturing and trade declines.

Instead of working to build the conditions that might foster healthy economic activity, the Trump Administration has invested its energy in a series of stunts more appropriate for a kleptocratic banana republic. Just last week, Trump appeared at an Apple factory in Austin to announce its opening. That factory belongs to an Apple contractor and was built in 2013. It has been manufacturing the Mac Pro for many years.

Trump tweeted a bald-faced lie, “Today I opened a major Apple manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America.” Why did this stunt even happen?

Tariffs Trump has threatened on Chinese products had the potential to impact Apple’s Austin plant and others. Those tariffs were so counter-productive that Apple was beginning to shift some of their production away from the US to China to cope with their impact. In negotiations with the President, Apple won a “federal product exclusion” from Trump in exchange for allowing the toddler in chief to put on his stunt, deceiving his followers. This has been a pattern.

Just after winning election in 2016, Trump pretended to be saving hundreds of jobs at the Carrier factory in Indianapolis. After the TV cameras were packed up, those jobs disappeared right on schedule. After helping to land an enormous, multi-billion dollar tax incentive deal to bring a Foxconn manufacturing plant to Wisconsin, Foxconn has recently admitted that most of the jobs aren’t coming.  The company has done virtually nothing to develop the property while state and local governments spent (and borrowed) millions to prepare infrastructure. These stunts are the perfect image of the Trump Administration’s economic record. It’s a con, made for TV.

There’s a subtle lesson hiding in these numbers. Presidents, good or bad, have only a very limited impact on the economy. Much of what we attribute to them is akin to ancient Egyptians blaming their Pharaoh for the weather. Many of the most damaging trends in our economy, like its increasingly lopsided outcomes, have been in motion for decades, and are seen on a similar curve in very different economies around the world.

Most of what a President does to protect our economic health is to set policies that will have very long-term, subtle impacts, and most importantly, to protect our fundamental emphasis on the rule of law. Across the past century, only FDR, Johnson, Reagan and Bush II have taken actions that made a lasting impact on our economic fortunes. When it comes to economic matters, Presidents mostly coast, and that’s usually OK.

So why is there so much talk about the economy around election time? Perhaps more importantly, why will none of these economic realities change any minds? Here’s the most important chart of the lot – consumer sentiment over time broken down by political affiliation.

Notice how the economy was all of sudden performing great, starting in November 2016, if you were a Republican. That’s all you need to know about how this works. People start from their preferred conclusions, then reason backward, picking and choosing their facts, to reinforce those preordained conclusions.

Trump’s efforts to claim credit for an economic boom he inherited, are an extension of his entire persona, riding inherited wealth to cover insecurity and gross inadequacy. The Trump boom is a myth. So far, he has neither wrecked nor improved the economy. Based on the impact to farms and manufacturing from his only major initiative, the only thing that might change his neutral record is a particularly poor step in his trade wars. That cannot be ruled out, especially as his fortunes grow more desperate.

32 Comments

  1. Just gotta love that pure, unfettered capitalism.
    That Texas chemical plant blowing up, OK, accidents happen.

    But now, we are hearing that asbestos may have been blown all over neighborhoods, because these guys never bothered to remove asbestos from the building. All over the world, in modern nations, companies are forced to remove that stuff, because of what it can do, or they do it because they don’t want to kill their employees.

    But nope, the market will decide when it should be removed in Texas.

  2. So if the President doesn’t affect short-term economic trends much, what should policies be? As far as I can tell, determinants of prosperity of a society are the industriousness and ingenuity of its population, and the opportunities that people have to exercise that industriousness and ingenuity in the economic sphere, organizational and management structures both large and small scale that focus economic activities efficiently, physical infrastructure for efficient, low cost transporting and storing of economic inputs and outputs, social and legal institutions that protect property and engender trust in the marketplace, and a stable and predictable environment for economic actors to operate in. Obviously there is a role for government in much of this.

    What I see as the biggest threat is inequality in various forms, including inequality expressed as consolidation in commerce. Regarding inequality at the individual level, a healthy economy needs a healthy middle class, and income in the middle has been stagnating for quite some time. On the commerce side, too many industries are dominated by a very small number of companies, and that is harming competitiveness.

    A big problem is tax structure. The tax burden has been shifting from capital to labor for decades now. The largest companies seem to be able to avoid taxes while small ones pay in full. The top earners are now paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than almost anyone below them.

    Another mostly unrecognized problem is overfinancialization of the economy. In a healthy economy, the finance industry would generate maybe 10% of total profits. Currently we’re near 40%, and it is adding costs to the real economy (the part of the economy that creates real goods and services).

      1. It goes well beyond enforcement of laws. The legislature must establish and the executive enforce laws that prevent cheating and minimize rent-seeking, and allow privatization of profits/socialization of losses, etc. etc. That means not letting lobbyists write loopholes that allow those things.

        But beyond that, government can encourage education and R&D, build public infrastructure, including things like public health care, that reduces costs (by some estimates, the Interstate highway system has returned 25% annually since it was built).

      2. The problem here is due to the gridlock in Congress, it no longer passes significant legislation that sets policy. Therefore, the presidency has attempted to usurp that role by setting policy with executive order.

        When we get a President like the current one, who is totally corrupt and only desires to enrich himself, his company, his family and other elites and friendly corporations, enforces only those laws with which he agrees and has seized control of his parties congressional wing, we have a totally corrupt government.

    1. I definitely concur with your list of three items – inequity, high taxation of labor and over financialization of the economy. All three have increased under the present administration. Otherwise, i’ve not read much on economic issues in the last several months, what with caregiver commitments for my wife, being busy with other things, and focusing on other issues when I do have time for reading.

      1. Correct, except I would call it 40-45 years. But that is quibbling. However, I was attempting to focus on #45, in that he ran as restoring the American middle class. But his policies have actually aggravated the underlying causative factors resulting in the decline of the middle class.

  3. I just noticed an interesting Diary on DKOS, linked below, that has some more charts showing similar data to that above. This is in regard to Quantitative Easing and indicates that the Fed is now having to engage in another round, because of Trump’s ham handed economic policies. I’ve not dug into the various linked references in the Diary, but it has the feel of being pretty much on the money. I have no further comment, but is linked below for your information.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/25/1901804/-So-Why-Has-The-U-S-Economy-Not-Sunk-Yet-It-Is-Because-The-Fed-Is-Doing-A-Whole-Lot-Of-Bailing?utm_campaign=trending

    1. tm, the article is completely off, although some commenters like thinkfirst know what they are talking about.

      A key statement in the article is “[QE by any other name] means that the U.S. Government, through the Fed, is acquiring massive amounts of debt,” implying, of course that this is somehow going to cause the sky to fall eventually.

      The US Government creates money in three forms: coins and Federal Reserve Notes (walking around money), deposits at the Fed (checking account money; commonly called reserves) and Treasury bonds (savings account money, best thought of simply as future money). All three are liabilities (debt) of the Government created out of thin air, all three are financial assets of the private sector (us). Any of the three kinds can easily be exchanged for the other kinds, although bonds swap for currency or reserves at a small discount.

      The Fed’s purported role in this is to create currency and reserves in support of an appropriate level of economic activity. Its current strategy is to set a target on short-term interbank reserve loans. It injects currency and reserves into the banking system by buying Treasury securities when it wants to lower interest rates on interbank reserve loans. Or it sells Treasury security if it wants to drain reserves out of the banking system and raise rates. In other words, the US Government issues Treasury bonds it has created out of thin air, and then later swaps them for reserves it has created out of thin air. This swap is just an exchange of one form of Gov debt for another form, it does not increase total Gov debt. The article’s author understands none of this and much more.

      (Incidentally, there is a growing belief in the international central bank community that this interest rate manipulation, known as monetary policy, doesn’t really have much effect on the level of economic activity. Interest rates just don’t seem to play a big part in industry investment decisions. )

      1. Bottom line, some people keep saying public debt is going to cause the sky to fall, and they keep being wrong. One would hope they would get tired of being wrong and figure out why the sky continues not to fall, or at least shut up, but they don’t.

      2. EJ

        Good to see you again, Creigh.

        While you’re around: I have been recommended Sidelsky’s Money and Government. My father is an economist by training and holds strongly Keynesian beliefs, so I was thinking of buying it as an Xmas gift for him.

        Have you read it? If so, what was your take?

      3. Ej, I haven’t read Skidelsky, but I have heard good things about his work.

        One new(ish) book I can definitely recommend is Mitchell and Fazi’s “Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World.” M and F’s thesis is that states have abdicated democratic control over their economies to globalism, and can and should reassert control over their economic agendas, which should include full employment as well as stable prices. Keynes understood that the state always has the ability to determine the overall level of spending and employment through fiscal policy. The book outlines some specific strategies.

  4. “Most of what a President does to protect our economic health is to set policies that will have very long-term, subtle impacts, and most importantly, to protect our fundamental emphasis on the rule of law. Across the past century, only FDR, Johnson, Reagan and Bush II have taken actions that made a lasting impact on our economic fortunes. When it comes to economic matters, Presidents mostly coast, and that’s usually OK.”

    Chris, thank you for doing the research and posting these curves and data. These clarify the phenomena, that I have noticed for a long time, namely that the economic data shows that the President only sets major long term impacts. However, there is a major difference in public perception, partially dependent on one’s political orientation. There is also the factor of hype. Some Presidents hype the economy more than others. Also the press and media tend to buy into the hype more for some presidents, depending on their perception of the presidency. Currently, the factor of the Republican propaganda arm (FAUX NEWS) also has a big impact. There is also the factor of when the beginning of a presidency is in the economic cycle. In the case of Trump, his presidency began at the mid stages of a cycle that began under Obama, with a recovery from the greatest economic collapse in 75-80 years. So Trump gets the credit for prosperity, where Obama gets blamed for a slow recovery, which is typical of a major economic collapse.

    The foundation builders for a successful project rarely get due credit, but their work is essential.

    1. There’s a lot of good info in this article, but one thing rubs me the wrong way. The article notes that manufacturing jobs are good jobs because they pay well and have predictable hours because they “add lots of value.” One thing we need to get past is equating value with pay. Manufacturing jobs used to pay well and work “normal” hours for historical and structural reasons but any job that serves human needs has value. There are many potential jobs that serve human needs but our economic system does not recognize their value.

  5. For what it’s worth, homeboy mentioned deep distrust of YouTube and how some “alt media” type is trying to create an alternative platform to avoid YouTube’s algorithms. He also believes Disney is going to buy YouTube, and when I asked, “You mean from Google or merge with Google?” he kinda stared blankly at me a bit before saying, “They want to better supervise the mainstream media.”

    So I guess YouTube is institute non grata on right-wing circles now or something. I don’t know. I doubt every brainwashed person has the exact same conspiracies.

    1. EJ

      Youtube the medium is very popular with far-Right figures, whether grifters or sincere ideologues. Youtube the company dislikes this, especially when those figures create videos which draw negative attention. Sometimes, they will remove such videos or even ban the channels which uploaded them. There is suspicion amongst people on the far-Right that this is due to Youtube the company being part of some conspiracy to control what sort of narratives are acceptable. Ideally, they would like it if Youtube the company took no actions to control Youtube the medium.

      One could argue that there is such a conspiracy and it’s called “the workings of media in a capitalist society”, but paranoiacs dislike such plausible, humdrum explanations.

  6. I’ve pointed these stats out to numerous Trump voters- to very little avail. To hear them tell it, Obama’s economy may as well have been that of Herbert Hoover, and Trump is the greatest economic president of all time. I get that most of these people aren’t smart enough to understand the graphs I’ve just put up, but still….I’d love for you to do an article on why these ppl seem to think that up is down and down is up, when the economic numbers are so readily available. Why do they think the economy is doing so well? How does this fit into your bigger narrative about the load-bearing member that is white privilege?

  7. I was on an Amtrak train trip today and got to talking to a 50ish guy from Massachusetts and a 20 year old from Kansas who are vocal Trump supporters. They talked to each other at length about it and the basic theme was Democrats be all mad that Trump is draining the swamp and finally stepping up to keep the Mexicans out, and the proof is in the pudding because look at the unemployment rate.

    I haven’t really been around direct supporters, I live in elitist liberal urbtopia and most conservatives I know are either frontier libertarians who hate both sides and think Trump isn’t much different than any other NY billionaire, and finance wonks who choose not to pay that much attention to him specifically and just assume he represents Republicanism in general with less polish, except a few who like to trade off his Tweets.

    I am not a confrontational person and also I was super tired so there was no way I was keeping my wits in any sort of debate. So when the 20 year old mentioned something about buying a house some day, I asked him what his plans for a career were and his vision for the future. He said he wanted to be a game designer but needed to buy a better computer and get better Internet.

    I actually know game designers and have worked peripheral to that industry. I started trying to talk to him about things he could do in the now with his cellphone and tutorials and online game design communities while he saved for a computer and did his day job, and 50 year old dudebro was similarly trying to talk to him about “Yeah dude you should make some games” and the thing that was striking was that this 20 year old would. Not. Stop. Returning. To the issues of which Internet video and blog said what horrible revelation about the deep evilness of every socialist plot on the planet.

    Even 50 yeaar old Trump dude was like, “Yeah man, but you have time to fix that stuff, tell me about some of your game ideas.” And 20 year old dude would go on about how Chinese censorship and the #MeToo movement is trying to crush some other blogger he’s following who was also talking about the Deep State etc.

    It’s pretty depressing to imagine this guy literally spending all his brain power and free time digging deeper into that stuff and completely blowing off his own dreams. I remember being political rantful at 20 but working on getting my shit together for my career or even smiling and joking or at least being sarcastic while complaining about politics, but this guy was humorless and seemed, at least in the two hours I talked to him, to be incapable of discussing anything else.

    And yes, I talked to him for two hours, or more appropriately he talked and I just tried not to pass out from being tired.

    Sad times.

    1. EJ

      Far-Right Youtube is a terrifying thing: the combination of the company doing its best to not moderate or police its content, a large number of grifters and a small number of outright Fascists is a worrying thing. A lot of vulnerable young men get sucked into it and effectively brainwashed.

      If you’re interested, an excellent pair of documentaries have been made on the phenomenon (ironically enough, they’re both on Youtube), entitled “The PewDiePipeline” and “How To Radicalise A Normie.” The first delves deeper into the subject matter but made by someone who is, shall we say, perhaps not a centrist; the second doesn’t quite engage on such a direct level but has excellent production values and is made by someone I really admire.

    2. One of the most uncomfortable aspects of all this angry wrangling over Trump has been the sense of “punching down” in fights with Trumpers. Most of the Trump supporters I know, at least back home in Texas, are affluent bigots happy to burn down a neighboring village to shave half a percent off their taxes. But a significant bloc of them are people who can only be described as white losers.

      In a real exchange with these folks, the first sentiment you experience is sadness or pity. And your first instinct is to try to help, but they’re a mess. The young ones are the worst. Just doughy little balls of failure and angst, resistant to any practical or common-sense help, the raw material that goes into movements like Al Qaida.

      On the one hand, you feel genuinely sorry for them. On the other hand, they are the little fuckers who would blow up an airplane because someone hurt their feelings.

      1. “In a real exchange with these folks, the first sentiment you experience is sadness or pity. And your first instinct is to try to help, but they’re a mess. The young ones are the worst. Just doughy little balls of failure and angst, resistant to any practical or common-sense help, the raw material that goes into movements like Al Qaida.

        On the one hand, you feel genuinely sorry for them. On the other hand, they are the little fuckers who would blow up an airplane because someone hurt their feelings.”

        Yep, that’s what it felt like. There was clearly no helping this dude beyond a literal deprogramming, and well, it would be a violation of human rights to do a general program of deprogramming, literally what the Chinese are doing with the Uighers.

        Various possibilities boil down to binary: either this dude will get over it, and do other things (maybe stay right wing in thought but at least learn to read the room and talk about other, esp. more positive things), or he stays stuck in it in which case I don’t know any professional entity that would hire him, not only because of his political ranting but also because of his inability to focus on any subject outside of that track.

        I make no bet not claim understanding of what may happen. I just know it’s pitiful.

      2. EJ, that’s a great piece on the Millennials.

        The present-day GOP is comprised of yesterday’s winners exploiting (though conspiring with) tomorrow’s losers, in order to suppress today’s winners.
        On the whole, we’re the most educated and diverse generation in history. There’s reason to believe we won’t make the same mistakes our Boomer parents did with living beyond our means, and letting petty cultural squabbles divide us. While Millennial opinions on issue like gun control and abortion aren’t that different from those of previous generations, the issues don’t have the same salience with us as they did the Boomers, who saw them as existential: birth control is more readily available, and gun ownership is dropping like a stone; so fewer Millennials have the personal stake in these issues that their parents did. Add in the loss of organized religion as a moral authority, and you have a generation that’s further left on cultural issues. Moreover the GOP’s lurch to the right has resulted in this generation fleeing to the Democratic Party.

        The shitlords are tomorrow’s (and for that matter) losers. One big Millennial flaw that isn’t talked about much (there are other flaws, but they’ve been discussed at length) is that the generation’s reliance on education and technology and tolerance has precipitated a meritocracy. In Twilight of Elites, Chris Hayes outlines many of the problems that flow from this. Basically, it’s the Iron Law of Oligarchy: Once elites climb the social ladder, they rig the game in their favor, at which point even a meritocracy becomes an unfair game. It also leads to elites protecting each other at the expense of the institutions the elites are supposed to be serving.

        As applied to Millennials, the upshot of being the most meritocratic generation in history has been that we’ve cast aside the “losers”, the shitlords. The present-day GOP is comprised of yesterday’s winners exploiting (though conspiring with) tomorrow’s losers, in order to suppress today’s winners.

      3. Phillip, though I subscribe to generational theory, I am a little reluctant to start blaming generations. The factors that determine the priorities of each generation are largely in response to those pressures that were predominant at the time the generation generally came of age. For that reason, I get a bit irritated at the tendency of millenials to blame boomers. Full Disclosure – I consider myself an early boomer, being a late WWII baby, rather than post war baby. A split developed in the boomer generation between the early ones and the later ones. This split is largely due to the Vietnam War. When the early boomers (birth years of approximately 1944 – 1954) came of age, the dominant issue for many was the war and they tend to be more communitarian oriented. The later cohort and the subset of the earlier cohort that had deferments or other means of avoiding the war tend to be more self centered and are more typical of the attitude depicted by the “OK BOOMER” slur.

        All this being stated, the boomers did accomplish some very good things in their younger years, the chief one being the opening up of the social mores and being more accepting of others. This includes Civil Rights, greater acceptance of women’s role in society, and more transparencies. Yes, there has been back sliding but major social advances rarely move in a continuous upward trajectory. Hopefully, as time continues and the later boomers retire we will find that there are more unifying factors than divisive ones.

      4. “the “OK BOOMER” slur.”

        Ok Boomer isn’t a slur. Boomers are literally what the generation has been calling themselves in their own words for forty years.

        As Rao of RibbonFarm points out, Ok Boomer when said by a Gen Z is “Ok Grandpa” whereas when said by a Millennial is “Ok Dad.”

        A young person rolling their eyes is not the equivalent of a pejorative. The fact that Boomers are treating it as such, shows how fragile their egos are.

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