November 1, 2017 Read More →

‘Four Pinocchios’ for President’s Claim of a Turnaround in West Virginia

Washington Post:

Even though Trump claims he has “turned West Virginia around,” the trends aren’t expected to last. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University estimated the state’s GDP growth to average 1.0 percent per year over the next five years and employment to grow 0.7 percent — well below national projections.

Additionally, the coal industry still has a way to go to recover from its losses. In 2008, the state produced nearly 158 million short tons of coal, and by 2016, that number had plummeted to 80 million, according to a report by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

John Deskins, co-author of the report and director of the bureau, cautioned that while increased coal production is projected to remain stable, the state still has a long road to economic recovery.

“West Virginia has no short-term solution for its economic problems,” Deskins said. “We need industrial diversification and investment in human capital. But with the state’s poor education system and really bad drug epidemic, the human capital gains are a major challenge.”

Trump takes credit for West Virginia’s economic gains, but it’s undeserved. For one, when the first quarter ended on March 31, 2017, Trump was just two months into his presidency. While he was quick to do away with several regulations on energy production, many of the new policies have yet to take effect. The state’s recent growth is due to increased mining production and a rise in prices for coal and natural gas.

Taking credit for economic advances where no credit is due seems to be a habit for Trump. He should be more careful not to overstate the effect of his administration’s policies when praising economic gains across the country.  For trying to capitalize on the hard work of West Virginians, Trump earns Four Pinocchios.

More: President Trump’s claim that he ‘turned West Virginia around’ by cutting regulations on mining

Comments are closed.