Bill Maher is hoping for a recession. He’s probably not alone. Like most Democrats, the talk show host understands that the booming economy is the single biggest impediment to his party unseating President Trump in 2020 and to winning majority control of the House of Representatives in November.
But how truly pitiful is it that someone who pretends to care about the less-fortunate members of our society is willing to throw them under the bus for political gain?
On his HBO show “Real Time” last week, Maher said: "I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point. By the way, I'm hoping for it because one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So please, bring on the recession."
Shame on Maher. The multimillionaire “one-percenter” may have forgotten the hardship the country endured during the Great Recession, but the families who lost their homes or their jobs have not. The kids who graduated with monstrous college debt and who could not find a job haven’t forgotten, nor have the folks who had to shutter their small businesses and their dreams along with them.
The very good news about our accelerating economy is that it is sweeping up everyone. Unemployment has fallen to a 48-year low. As a result, the job market is so tight that companies are hiring felons, drug users and others who under normal circumstances who not be able to compete for work.
For those individuals, this employment boom is a godsend, giving them a second, or maybe a first, chance at a productive life. That is not an exaggeration. With a recidivism rate of 77 percent among felons, providing a job to those coming out of prison is widely considered a mandatory first step in defeating the poverty-to-prison cycle.
The economy has also boosted the prospects for African-Americans and Hispanics. Those communities are experiencing all-time low levels of unemployment. It is fair to say, with the number of jobs available topping the number of people out of work for the first time in our history, that nearly anyone who wants work can find it. What a blessing.
Moreover, the biggest wage gains are now going to those at the bottom of the income spectrum. Pay hikes are just beginning to take off, but there are strong indications that wages will move steadily higher.
A report just out from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) shows small business optimism at the second-highest level in 45 years. Owners reported record optimism about earnings growth and expansion plans; they also planned the biggest compensation increases in 45 years. That’s going to make life better for American workers, unless Bill Maher gets his wish.
Maher and his progressive ilk hate Donald Trump so much that they would sacrifice the wellbeing of the nation to see him driven from office. They hate that he has challenged their liberal embrace of globalization, that he has insisted on the exceptionalism of the United States and revealed the poverty of President Obama’s legacy. They hate him for raising common sense objections to dysfunctional immigration policies, along with the failures of our public schools to provide a quality education to children of color.
Most of all, they hate that so many Americans agree with the president. And they hate that the success of the Trump economy today could mean a radical shift in U.S. policy.
If a pro-business agenda provides Americans with a rising standard of living and if the availability of jobs gets people off welfare and into the workplace, how will Democrats continue to push the nation towards more Big Government?
How will the progressives’ prescription of ever-greater dependency survive an economy that gives people hope and inspires individualism and ambition?
It will not.
This is the existential threat to progressivism, and nowhere is it more powerful than in the United States. Americans admire individual success, and there is a deep culture of independence that has not yet been eradicated by decades of creeping federal overreach. But, judging by the left-leaning politics of younger generations in this country, the Trump turnaround came not a moment too soon.
The bad news for Maher – and the good news for those Americans rebuilding their lives after the tumult of the financial crisis – is that there is no recession in sight. The Federal Reserve is forecasting growth of 2.7 percent and 2.4 percent for this year and next, having raised those projections after the Trump White House worked with Congress to cut tax rates. For sure, the Fed has often been wrong, but at the moment there are few red flags.
At the same time, confidence among consumers and business owners is not just high – it is still climbing. President Trump’s promise to shake things up, to cut through the red tape suffocating the country and to put America’s interests first when dealing with our trading partners has, from the day he was elected, inspired enormous optimism.
Bill Maher’s best hope is that something shatters the widespread confidence in our economy. Ironically, the most likely thing to do that would be the prospect of President Trump leaving office.