Take gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of output which is the most common yardstick of economic performance. GDP growth was somewhat faster in 2017-19 than it was in either Barack Obama’s first or second term, according to official data. America also did well relative to other countries. The world economy peaked in 2017. In 2018 it slowed but America accelerated. In 2019 America slowed too, but stayed ahead of others.
Take the corporate sector, which Mr Trump helped with lighter taxes. Corporation-tax cuts did increase post-tax earnings, one reason why the American stockmarket has done relatively well since Mr Trump came to power (see chart 3). America has also become a more favoured destination for foreign direct investment (see chart 4). But there is little evidence of the promised business-investment boom
Though Mr Trump particularly likes to boast about monthly employment figures, it is hard to make the case that in 2017-19 the jobs machine was whirring. Jobs growth was slower than it had been during Mr Obama’s second term. In 2009-16 America’s unemployment rate fell relative to the average for other G7 economies
Mr Trump’s loose fiscal policy before the pandemic left America with much higher debt going into the crisis.