Former president Barack Obama recently continued his series of public broadsides against his successor, President Donald Trump.
Obama’s charges are paradoxical. On one hand, Obama seems to believe that he, rather than Trump, should be credited with the current economic boom and the emergence of the United States as the world’s largest energy producer. But Obama also has charged that Trump’s policies are pernicious and failing.
Apparently, Obama believes that all of Trump’s successes are due to Obama, and all of Trump’s setbacks are his own.
Obama certainly forgets the old rule: Presidents, fairly or not, get both credit and blame for everything that happens on their watch, from Day One to the last hour of their tenures — even when wars abroad, technological breakthroughs, natural disasters, and market collapses have nothing to do with their governance.
Trump ran on the promise of a “Make America Great Again” economic renaissance. He pledged massive deregulation, fair rather than free trade, and tax reform and reduction.
Trump jawboned against outsourcing and offshoring, and praised rather than lectured private enterprise. He sought to reindustrialize the Midwest and promised to open new federal land to fossil-fuel production, complete proposed pipelines, and lift burdensome restrictions on fracking and horizontal drilling.
In contrast, Obama had argued that the U.S. could never drill itself out of oil shortages. He advocated making the use of coal so expensive that it would disappear as an American energy resource. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar were Obama’s vision of an America energy future.
As late as last year, Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council for two years during the Obama administration, ridiculed Trump’s boasts that he could achieve annualized GDP growth of 3 percent as the stuff of “tooth fairies and ludicrous supply-side economics.”