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Economic Growth and the US Presidential Election

Slowing US economic growth poses a problem for President Donald Trump, who promised repeatedly that growth would accelerate under his administration and always remain above 3% per year. But will the Democrats prove capable of coalescing around the kind of policies that would really make a difference?

WASHINGTON, DC – Economic growth in the United States was just 2.5% in 2018 and, according to the latest “advance” estimate, may have slowed to only 2.1% in the second quarter of 2019. The economy is growing at roughly the same pace as it did during Barack Obama’s second term as president (GDP growth was 2.5% in 2014 and 2.9% in 2015, before slowing to 1.6% in 2016 – perhaps related to election-induced uncertainty).

Such growth rates pose a problem for President Donald Trump, who promised repeatedly that economic growth would accelerate under his administration and always remain above 3% per year. It is therefore an opportunity for the Democratic presidential contenders. But will the Democrats prove capable of coalescing around the kind of policies that would really make a difference?

The problem to be solved, of course, is not only – or even especially – the headline growth numbers. Several profound imbalances have emerged in the structure of the US economy.

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