A Builder or a Blabber in the White House

On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen gave a somber assessment of the current jobs market, throwing cold water on President Obama’s election-year messaging. President Obama has been bragging that America has “the strongest” economy in the world.

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Right, and pigs can fly. GDP growth under Obama has averaged a stagnant 1.7 percent a year. Meanwhile, Ireland is growing at nearly 8 percent, and India at 7 percent.

And the Obama economy isn’t only a loser when compared with other countries. Compared with what Americans enjoyed for decades, this is “the worst economic-growth record of any president” since the Great Depression, says Stanford economist Michael Boskin.

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Last week’s economic reports were bad news for job seekers. Growth dipped below 1 percent in the first quarter, and full-time employment actually shrank in May.

We can’t let Obama-stagnation become the new normal. It’s driving Americans to self-destruction. Deaths from alcoholism, drug addiction and suicides — what Princeton University researcher Anne Case calls “deaths of despair” — have soared.

These tragedies raise the stakes in this presidential election. Who’s equipped to jumpstart America’s economy, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

Spoiler alert, it’s not Clinton. She makes her money giving speeches and promoting books about herself.

Of course, Trump is no slouch when it comes to self-promotion. But he’s also made a fortune actually building businesses. Trump runs an impressive 185 income-producing ventures, all listed on his 104-page financial disclosure statement. (Clinton’s is only 11 pages.)

The mogul has built office buildings, apartment buildings, golf resorts and other projects worldwide. He builds things and creates jobs. He also rakes in hefty fees managing properties worldwide, because their owners are confident he’s effective.

People like Trump, who run businesses themselves, understand why our economy is stuck in low gear. High taxes and suffocating, costly regulations are turning off investors. As economist Larry Kudlow explains, investment — in computers, factory buildings, equipment and trucks — is declining, indicating slow job growth ahead. A business that can’t buy more trucks can’t hire more drivers.

To boost investment, Trump calls for lowering taxes on businesses to 15 percent — less than half the nominal rate now — and slashing regulation. Obama calls Trump’s tax policies “crazy.” But if you want to see crazy, take a look at Clinton’s proposals.

She calls her plan “fair growth”. The phrase should strike terror into the heart of any business owner. It means more gender and racial preferences in hiring, more government rules on how employees are paid, and tax hikes to push businesses into what she calls “farsighted investments.” Yikes, Uncle Sam will be sitting in boardrooms and looking over managers’ shoulders.

That will discourage investment. Weak investment is already to blame for the hiring slowdown, points out economist David Malpass. Overall, the economy lost 59,000 full-time jobs last month, gaining only part-time spots. America is becoming a nation of part-timers. The average workweek is down to 34 hours, not enough to support a family.

Clinton wouldn’t know. She pulls in $250,000 for an hour at the podium, and sometimes racks up two speaking fees a day. Nice work if you can get it. Who needs full-time?

Clinton earns her money blabbing, while Trump earns his building.

Clinton is assailing Trump for not disclosing his tax returns. However, most politicians willingly release their returns because there isn’t much to see. Whereas a builder’s return shows how he makes his money — suppliers, labor, depreciation and everything else.

Now Washington pols are pushing a bill authorizing the IRS to release the returns of any presidential candidate who won’t do it voluntarily. Americans don’t want the IRS to have that power.

The real issue isn’t Trump’s taxable income, but what the rest of us are able to earn. Americans need more take-home pay. The prospects look better with a builder in the White House than a blabber.

Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.” 

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