Daily Outlook

The White House Has a Plan to Revive the Economy: Don’t Talk About it

Donald Trump is refusing to be fact-checked once again. This time it’s Americans, not Twitter, looking for answers. The Washington Post, citing White House sources, reveals that the Trump administration won’t reveal its economic forecasts this summer, despite having done so every summer for the past 5 decades.

According to the report, the ongoing volatility would keep the White House from releasing a full ‘mid-session review,’ which includes the government’s expectations for unemployment, inflation and other measures of economic growth.

Every year the US government releases a federal budget proposal in February. Then in the summer, the numbers are updated to reflect changes in the economy moving forward. If ever there were a time that the budget needs updating, it’s now. The budget report will be updated, the report added, just not all of it.

The direction of the economy is the most worrying omission, but projections regarding the national deficit will be notably absent from the budget report as well. Donald Trump will be reporting government spending data as well as new legislation, though.

This earnings season, US companies withdrew their year-end guidance because of the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. Investors were largely sympathetic to the challenging nature of trying to price in the costs of such an immense uncertainty. So why does it matter that Donald Trump and his administration want to do the same thing?

The most obvious reason is the fact that Donald Trump is up for re-election. There are a lot of people who believe the President is using this opportunity to hide the dire figures that could cost him the election. They point to Barack Obama’s release of the same figures during the Great Recession as the reason Trump should reveal the predictions.

Notably, though, the Great Recession was a bit easier to account for. The current situation depends heavily on what happens come autumn. A vaccine would be a game-changer, a second wave of the virus would have the opposite impact. The variables in Donald Trump’s situation are markedly more volatile.

But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t release the projections. A best-case and worst-case version could satisfy the public’s want for more clarity.

The White House Has a Plan to Revive the Economy: Don’t Talk About it, CCN, May 28

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