THE STORY The US economy has gone from worse to less-worse. Which isn’t exactly a slogan either party can put on a lawn sign. THE WHAT When President Obama took the reins in 2009, the economy was looking like you on the morning after your 21st birthday. Very, very bad. It was the worst recession since the Great Depression. Obama passed a massive stimulus package that, depending on which side of the aisle you’re asking, was either the best thing for the US or the most terrible policy ever. Eight years later, the economy is moving forward at a glacial pace. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? Businesses are adding US jobs. Mazel. But they’re not hiring as much or as quickly as everyone thought they would. And the average hourly earnings of workers has stayed basically the same for years (hint: economist speak for ‘nobody’s getting a raise’). Meanwhile, the GDP – total goods and services produced, or the Regina George of economic measures – has flatlined. WHAT’S BEHIND ALL THIS? Oooh just a few things. There’s China. The second-largest economy in the world has been having a bad 365+ days. That’s scary for global markets, since China’s also super shady about the stats it puts out there. Meaning it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on – but trouble in China means trouble for global markets and trade. And now, there’s the Brexit. The UK is the first country ever to say ‘cheerio’ to the EU. It’s unclear how long the divorce negotiations will take, or what kind of effect it could have on the US economy. But uncertainty is always the no. 1 way to make everybody reach for the Alka Seltzer. WHAT THE CANDIDATES SAY… Hillary Clinton…I’d cut taxes for the middle class and cut off loopholes that make it easy for corporations to avoid some taxes. I want to create jobs by spending more on things like infrastructure and green energy.
Donald Trump...I’d get rid of the US’s $19T in debt in two terms. I want to reform US-China trade to make a “level playing field” to hopefully bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. I would also sign major tax cuts without making any changes to programs like Medicare and Social Security. theSKIMM The economy is doing a lot better than it was eight years ago. But the better numbers don’t match up to how a lot of Americans are feeling about their paychecks, their job choices, and their feelings about the future.