Common Arguments on the Right, and How to Debate Them

The internet is filled with lots of right-wing political content. On Youtube, right-wing commentators such as Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have exploded in popularity. Many of these content creators have to make valid arguments in order to support their points and promote the political right. A lot of the times, they will make arguments already recycled around the internet or use new arguments from mainstream republican politicians. However, many of these arguments can be debunked. Today, we will be looking at a few right-wing talking points about the economy.
Arguments about the economy:

Under President Trump, unemployment has hit a historic low and the economy is booming.

Although unemployment is currently very low, it would be unfair to credit President Trump for it. When President Trump entered the office, the unemployment rate was at 4.7%. Currently, the unemployment rate is at 3.5%, which is indeed historically low. However, that isn’t the full story. As of the date that this article was written on, Trump has served 35 months as president. During these 35 months, the unemployment rate decreased by 1.2% compared to Obama’s last 35 months which saw the unemployment rate decrease by 1.9%. So in terms of how fast the unemployment rate is dropping, Trump doesn’t really beat Obama. Although GDP is growing at a healthy pace, it’s nothing really exceptional. In fact, Trump has failed to get quarterly GDP above 4% in the first 11 quarters of his presidency. This is the first time that has happened to a president since the BEA started tracking quarterly GDP in 1947. Currently, GDP is growing at a relatively healthy but normal rate of 2-3% each quarter. 

The Dow Jones has hit a historic high

The biggest issue with this argument is that the Dow Jones only gives stock information about a handful of wealthy corporations and doesn’t represent how the economy as a whole is doing. For example, the Dow was 2000 points lower at the end of 2018 than at the start of 2018. This is grossly misrepresentative of the economy as it was growing at healthy levels throughout that year. 

Obama was a horrible president and he doubled the debt in 8 years

Although Obama did indeed nearly double the debt, this figure needs background information. When Obama entered the presidency, the economy was in a deep recession. This meant that we needed government spending in order to stimulate the economy, and it also meant people made less money overall, which meant the government received less tax revenue. A combination of these two leads to a trillion-dollar deficit in 2009. It is likely that regardless of who was president at that time, the deficit would’ve been very high because of the dire situation at that time. After the recession, Obama successfully got the deficit lowered to a reasonable level. However, under Trump, the deficit has gone up again and reached $1 trillion despite the economy being healthy and not needing a large stimulus. Additionally, Obama’s predecessors also saw the national debt increase by large margins under their presidencies. The national debt increased by 71% under Obama, while it increased by 101% under George W. Bush, and 186% under Ronald Reagan. It’s important to note here that the president is far from the only person that is able to control the deficit. 

Big government economic policies do not work. Just look at Venezuela. 

First of all, the crisis in Venezuela was caused by horrible government mismanagement. Venezuela’s government became too dependant on oil and spent a reckless amount of money without looking into what might happen with oil prices in the future. Venezuela’s ultimate blow was the oil glut in 2014, which lowered profits on oil and crippled government revenue. Additionally, the Maduro government decided to print money to make up for the revenue shortfall, which caused massive inflationary problems. A good example of big government policies working would be the Nordic countries. Although the Nordic countries may have capitalist economies, their governments are also larger than America’s government by many measures including public sector employment, taxes, and spending per capita on various social programs.

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