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Trump's Pitch:Economy Will Soar in 202105/24 09:51

   As the economy faces a once-in-a-century recession, with more than 38 
million people out of work, Trump is increasingly talking up a future recovery 
that probably won't materialize until after the November election. He's asking 
voters to look past the pain being felt across the nation and give him another 
four-year term on the promise of an economic comeback in 2021.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has a new pitch to voters for this 
fall: Trust me.

   As the economy faces a once-in-a-century recession, with more than 38 
million people out of work, Trump is increasingly talking up a future recovery 
that probably won't materialize until after the November election. He's asking 
voters to look past the pain being felt across the nation and give him another 
four-year term on the promise of an economic comeback in 2021.

   "It's a transition to greatness," Trump says over and over, predicting a 
burgeoning economy come the fall. "You're going to see some great numbers in 
the fourth quarter, and you're going to end up doing a great year next year."

   His chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, echoes the wait-until-next-year 
sentiment, holding out hope for a "big bang 2021."

   It's a delayed-reward tactic Trump was using long before the global pandemic 
gut-punched the country. He has turned to it with new urgency as the 
coronavirus has robbed him of the booming economy that was to be the core of 
his reelection message.

   Trump had already pledged to finally release a Republican health care plan 
after the polls closed  despite having served more than three years in 
office  along with a postelection tax cut and a "Phase 2" trade deal with 
China.

   Now, Trump is making the case to voters that if he helped bolster the 
economy once, he can do it again.

   "We built the greatest economy in the world," Trump says frequently. "I'll 
do it a second time."

   It's not just next year that will be a mystery to voters on Election Day. 
Trump and his team have been talking up the fourth quarter  October through 
December  but economic reports on that period won't be released until 2021. 
Preliminary figures for the third quarter will be released Oct. 29, days before 
the Nov. 3 election.

   Still, Trump and his campaign are hoping they can convince the public that 
Trump, not Democrat Joe Biden, is the candidate who can turn things around, 
even as they push the recovery timeline into next year.

   "The president has a clear record of building the economy to unprecedented 
heights before it was artificially interrupted by the coronavirus, and they 
know he will build it a second time," said Trump campaign communications 
director Tim Murtaugh.

   Economists, however, warn that the "snap back" Trump's advisers have been 
talking up is unlikely, given the severity of the recession. It will take years 
for the economy to recover, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

   Polling data suggests Trump has some work to do to persuade Americans that 
all will be well next year.

   Americans are split on whether they think the economy will improve (41%) or 
worsen (40%) over the coming year, according to a poll by The Associated 
Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

   Their opinions differ based on their politics. A majority of Republicans 
(62%) think the economy will get better in the coming year, while a majority of 
Democrats (56%) think it will get worse.

   The poll finds that only 49% of Americans now approve of how Trump is 
handling the economy, compared with 56% in March, though the numbers remain 
split largely on party lines.

   While a majority of Americans in households that lost a job do think it's at 
least probable that the job will return, 70% now describe the state of the 
nation's economy as poor, versus just 29% who say it's good  down from 67% 
in January.

   Trump has been encouraging states to begin easing restrictions and reopening 
their economies. But that doesn't necessarily mean jobs will return. While most 
of those who say they got a haircut at least monthly before the outbreak or 
shopped regularly in person for nonessential items would definitely or probably 
do so in the next few weeks if they were allowed, Americans may be wary to 
return to life as normal.

   Only about half of those who did so at least monthly before the outbreak say 
they'd travel, go to bars and restaurants, use public transportation, or 
exercise at a gym or studio. Just 42% of those who went to concerts, movies, or 
theater or sporting events at least monthly say they'd do so in the next few 
weeks if they could.

   Still, the poll shows that 66% of Americans continue to say that their 
personal financial situation is good  a number that has remained steady 
since before the outbreak began. Americans are also more likely to expect their 
personal finances to improve than worsen in the next year, 37% to 17%.

   In the end, that's what is going to matter most, said Michael Steel, a 
Republican political strategist.

   "This election will turn on facts more than messages," he said. "The 
president is placing a bet by reopening the economy before public health 
officials believe it is safe. If the economy recovers sharply and infection 
rates remain steady or go down, then voters will reward his boldness, but if we 
continue to see massive unemployment and a spike in new infections and deaths, 
all the political wordsmithery the world will offer won't help him."

 
 
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