US President Joe Biden during his visit to Flex LTD in West Columbia, South Carolina, June 6.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The White House took aim at former President Donald Trump after the Republican presidential candidate said he hoped the economy would collapse this year rather than during his theoretical second term.
“It is the duty of the commander-in-chief to always put the American people first; never to hope that hard-working families suffer economic pain for their own political gain,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Tuesday.
In an interview broadcast on Monday by the right-wing video platform Lindell TV, Trump said: “When the crash happens, I hope it’s within the next 12 months because I don’t want to be Herbert Hoover.”
During the first year of Hoover’s presidency in 1929, the U.S. stock market experienced a devastating crash that developed into the Great Depression, the longest and scariest economic downturn in American history. The Depression affected Hoover’s entire presidency, tainting his legacy with the wounds of the recession. For example, the homeless encampments that proliferated during the Great Depression became known as Hoovervilles.
Economists were predicting an economic slowdown in 2024, but the consensus did not go so far as to scream recession. Last year, predictions of a recession created public fear but never materialized. A recession is often defined as two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product, or GDP, and employment and manufacturing data can show signals.
Although a full-blown recession did not occur in 2023, the economy experienced a strain seen in waves of layoffs and record inflation. Over the past few months, data has shown promising signs of recovery.
“Republican leaders should welcome the economic progress President Biden is bringing, instead of revealing twisted true colors that would shrink America’s middle class in the name of their own cynical interests,” Bates said.
The White House used Trump’s comment as an opportunity to tout Biden’s economic wins and contrast him with the previous administration.
“Consumer sentiment is up and inflation is down,” Bates said. “All the more reason to continue Bidenomics’ historically successful economic growth, job creation and cost-cutting in the wake of the volatility of MAGAnomics — which economists say could worsen inflation thanks to tax giveaways to wealthy special interests.”
2023 turned out to be a good year, with surprisingly high levels of consumer spending despite inflation-squeezed wallets and a resilient labor market. In December, the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted record gains.
But Biden’s economy has been a sore point in his re-election campaign so far. Despite increasingly upbeat consumer confidence and signs of cooling inflation recently, consumers still haven’t seen those gains translate into lower living costs and are blaming Biden for sticky prices.
Trump has used Biden’s struggling economic narrative on the campaign trail, recalling what he claims was a golden economy under his administration. The economy expanded for several years under Trump, but the stock market finally fell in 2020 with the advent of the pandemic while Trump was still in office.