The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It by Andrew Puzder, Center Street, US $27.00, Pp 384, April 2018, ISBN 978-1478975434
In 2016, American people were longing for a political change. The feeling was across the political lines. The Republicans chose a very un-Republican, anti-establishment presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders emerged as the leading presidential candidate for the Democrats but the Democratic establishment succeeded in sidelining him and a typical Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, emerged as the Democratic candidate. Americans voted for change and elected Donald Trump as their next president. After a little more than a year President Trump entered the White House, it is time to analyze the kind of change President Trump is bringing about. In The Capitalist Comeback, Andrew Puzder argues that the American people made a very good decision in 2016. He argues that jobs are coming back to America. Foreign companies are moving their operations to America and American workers are enjoying record lows in unemployment. In short, the American economy is growing faster than before.
Andrew Puzder says that the economy has, technically, been in a recovery since June 2009. Most Americans don’t know that because the “recovery” felt a lot like a recession prior to President Trump taking office. American annual gross domestic product grew at an anemic 2.1 percent from the end of the recession through the end of the Obama presidency, far below the rate of recovery in every other post-World War II recession, resulting in too few jobs, stagnating wages, and closing paths to the middle class. Eight years ago, Puzder says, a reduction in regulatory costs could well have generated real economic growth by putting cash in consumers’ pockets, which drives further economic growth and the demand for labor, increasing both wages and benefits. Puzder argues that the eight years of the Obama administration prove that Progressive economic policies that expand government do the opposite.
Even without an absolute reduction in the number of regulations, Puzder argues, American workers could have experienced meaningful job and wage growth had Obama administration respected the free market’s role in producing wealth and tailored its regulatory agenda in a way that minimized the negative effects on job and wage growth. But because of its blindness and hostility to the benefit of capitalism, the Obama administration caused American workers to suffer through the feeblest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Puzder says that President Trump understands that business and labor need each other and that the government is wrong to treat them as adversaries.
The recession ended in June 2009 but a dark cloud hung over America for nearly seven and a half more years. Puzder argues that the United States was on the brink of introducing a new era of big government, with health-care mandates, destructive financial regulations, stifling emissions controls, higher taxes, and a federal government whose intrusiveness was increasing with every executive order and every new regulation. He says that President Trump’s successful efforts to deregulate drove economic growth to an average of 3 percent in the first three full quarters of his presidency. The economy created over two million jobs, and the unemployment rate hit a seventeen-year low while job openings and household wealth hit historic highs. Based simply on the passage of the tax reform bill, hundreds of employers across the country announced increased compensation and bonuses for their employees plus billions of dollars in planned investments in growth. America was back in business. In 2016, Trump’s election reversed all of that. Business was back in a big way.
The Capitalist Comeback is an important addition to the growing literature on the Trump presidency. Andrew Puzder successfully shows that American economy continues to grow under President Trump at an accelerated speed. It may become controversial as it supports President Trump’s policies. It is a well-researched and well-argued book that will tremendously contribute to the debate on the economic policies of President Trump. It is a necessary book to understand President Trump’s economic policies.