Even before he became president, Donald Trump was never shy about sharing what’s on his mind. Since moving into the Oval Office, however, his voice has certainly been amplified ― for better or worse.
So leave it to us to highlight the ridiculous ― and untrue ― statements he’s made about finances. From the stock market to the actual market, these six quotes show he doesn’t really get how money works for regular people.
1. He celebrated market fluctuations like milestones
In January, Trump tweeted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 25,000 points. Tremendous news indeed, considering the previous month marked the worst December in stock market history since the Great Depression...
...except that he had already congratulated someone ― we can safely assume himself ― for the same milestone more than a year earlier...
...and also in July 2018.
For most of us who invest, it’s with the expectation that doing so will result in our money growing over time. Market ups and downs are to be expected, but more than a year of flatlined growth isn’t exactly something to brag about.
2. He thinks you need ID to buy groceries
It’s no secret that Trump has been pushing for stricter voter identification laws, claiming ID is necessary to prevent voter fraud (it isn’t). But one thing that anyone who lives in the real working world knows is that you don’t need an ID to buy groceries. Yet Trump claimed just the opposite to a crowd gathered for a rally in Tampa, Florida, last year:
You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture.
We’re not sure when Trump last had to buy groceries for himself. And according to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, neither is she. However, we do know formal identification is not required to buy basic goods like food.
3. He also thinks grocery stores help people with no income
Man, Trump really doesn’t understand how grocery stores work. In January, Trump was asked for his thoughts on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ controversial statement that federal employees affected by the shutdown should not rely on food banks and simply take out loans to make ends meet instead. Here’s what Trump had to say:
Perhaps he should have said it differently. Local people know who they are, when they go for groceries and everything else. ... They will work along. I know banks are working along. If you have mortgages, the mortgagees, the folks collecting the interest and all of those things, they work along. And that’s what happens in time like this. They know the people; they’ve been dealing with them for years. And they work along. The grocery store — and I think that’s probably what Wilbur Ross meant.
This should go without saying, but grocery stores sell groceries. Many of the 800,000 federal employees who were furloughed or forced to work without pay for more than a month did need to rely on food banks, unemployment benefits and credit card debt to survive.
4. He claimed your 401(k) is killing it
Trump loves to tweet about 401(k)s. And in August 2018, he promised more good news to follow for all of the Americans who surely became rich after a market upswing.
2018 was a record-setting year. Unfortunately, that’s because it was actually the worst year for stocks since 2008. Despite several upswings, the market also experienced severe drops, ending down overall.
What the president also failed to acknowledge is that most Americans don’t have a 401(k). Only 14 percent of all employers offer a 401(k) or other defined contribution plan to employees. Of those that do, only about a third of employees actually contribute. Hopefully, more employers will offer retirement plans soon, and more workers will be able to afford to participate.
5. The economy grew by an ‘amazing’ 4.1 percent
Gross domestic product, or GDP, measures the value of a country’s output and is a major indicator of an economy’s health. Last year, Trump boasted many times about the GDP’s growth over the second quarter.
“Amazing” isn’t exactly the appropriate word to describe a 4.1 percent rate of growth for the GDP. As The Associated Press explains, the economy is certainly healthy now, but the 4.1 percent figure was simply the highest since 2014. It represents nothing close to record growth in previous years.
6. He thought we’d be excited about his tax plan
In 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. It included major changes to tax brackets, credits and deductions for both individuals and businesses. And as the House and Senate met to merge and finalize their two versions of the bill prior to passing it, Trump made strong claims about the impact of his plan.
People are going to be very, very happy. They’re going to get tremendous, tremendous tax cuts and tax relief and that’s what this country needs.
Americans are finally getting to see the results of the new tax plan on their returns this tax season. And the results are mixed at best. Many taxpayers who got refunds last year are discovering they owe hefty tax bills for 2018.
Part of this is because the plan actually imposed greater limits on tax deductions that were particularly valuable in affluent metropolitan areas, such as those for state and local taxes, mortgage interest and property taxes. The second reason is that despite major changes to the tax code, the IRS had to rely on the same W-4 forms to determine employees’ tax withholding. That means many people ended up underpaying for the year. And those people are very, very mad.