From late August through early October, before President Donald Trump's call with the Ukrainian president became public, the message from leftist pundits was: "The recession is coming, the recession is coming."
You heard it everywhere — from politicians, on nightly news broadcasts, in reports from economists the left could trot out. It was, they thought, the best way to scare people away from re-electing the president in 2020.
Now that the Ukraine call is all the rage, the recession has been forgotten. The economic figures released late last week explain why the threats were always just that.
Not only did the third-quarter 1.9% growth of gross domestic product (GDP) exceed economists' predictions, but the job numbers for August and September were revised upward by an additional 95,000 jobs. The economy added 128,000 job in October, and average hourly earnings are up 3% over the past 12 months. And yearly wage growth has been at or above 3% for the past 15 months.
Yes, the GDP is not growing at 3% a year like Trump said it would. Yes, the debt and deficit numbers are too high, as we often have warned. But neither does it look like a recession is around any near corner. Shoppers don't seem to think so, either. Last month's number indicated consumer spending grew by 3.9%.
Unemployment remained at 3.6%, near a half-century record low, while black unemployment hit another record low — for the third consecutive month — at 5.4%. Meanwhile, employment for Hispanics remained close to its September record low of 3.9%.
"This was an unambiguously strong report," said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics, according to the Boston Herald.
Trump celebrated by moving his official residence from New York to Florida, which offers him much lower taxes. One would think there is a message there for New York office-holders, but it didn't seem to take root.
Over the last decade, more than a million residents of the Empire State left it, with the Sunshine State the top destination.
One of those, politically active billionaire Tom Golisano, left in 2009 and said his savings would amount to more than $13,000 per day.
Another was radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who moved his residence to Florida in 1997 but left vestiges of his holdings there for occasions when hurricanes threatened his broadcasts. But, as he has often said, his New York taxes were audited for 12 straight years after his official move. So, in 2009, he announced he was cutting all ties to the state and put his condo on the market. It sold in 2010.
"Every audit was for three years' worth of returns," he said on the air last week. "I had to prove where I was every day of the year 14 different ways: credit card receipts, computer IP addresses, flight and travel records, hotels. And even at that they thought I was lying and making it up. In tax disputes you automatically are guilty and you have to prove your innocence."
Trump, officially, did not chalk up the move to taxes, but there's no doubt he'll benefit, though he will still have substantial taxable holdings in his native New York.
"Despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year," he tweeted, "I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and the state."
As if on cue, New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, and New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, responded with their intolerant best.
"Good riddance," said Cuomo.
"Don't let the door hit you on your way out," said de Blasio.
Although Trump's holdings cannot be verified because he hasn't chosen to publicly release his income taxes — of which he is under no obligation to do — New York has a top tax rate of 9%, and New York City's highest rate is 3.876%. Florida, on the other hand, has no state income tax.
In comparison, the Sunshine State now has a civilian labor force of more than 10.4 million, 336,000 unemployed and an unemployed rate of 3.2%. The once dominant Empire State, on the other hand, has a smaller labor force, more than 9.5 million, a larger number of unemployed, 376,000, and a larger unemployment rate of 3.9%.
Higher taxes and higher unemployment — they seem like a good reason why anyone would leave a state, even if a recession is no longer in the sights of Democrats longing for a downturn that might hurt Trump.