President Trump put the economy front and center in his third State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, effectively kicking off his re-election campaign by ticking off the many economic milestones achieved since he took over as president.
“Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling,” Trump said at the beginning of his speech. “Confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again.”
Trump said that seven million new jobs had been created since he took office, and noted that the country’s jobless rate was the lowest in over half a century. He then cited a number of categories of Americans for whom jobless rates had reached their lowest levels in history, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, disabled Americans and veterans.
The president took full credit for these gains, saying that “from the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy, slashing a record number of job- killing regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements.”
But Trump also took pains to note that economic gains were being achieved not just by the wealthiest Americans but those at the bottom of the economic scale.
“This is a blue collar boom,” Trump said to sustained applause, claiming that the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners in the country has increased 57%, or three times faster than for the top 1%, and that wages are rising fastest for low-income workers.
As Trump has in the past, he also boasted about the stock market’s performance since he began his term as president.
“Since my election, U.S. stock markets have soared 70%, adding more than $12 trillion to our nation’s wealth,” Trump said.