Cohn: US economy is ‘shining light’ compared to others

Cohn: US economy is ‘shining light’ compared to others

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Even though economic growth has disappointed in recent years and President Trump seeks to increase it, the U.S. is still a “shining light” compared to other advanced nations, his top economic adviser said Thursday.

“The U.S. is the leading growth engine of the G7. And we’re not that happy about where we are on growth,” National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said on Air Force One en route to a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Sicily.

“The president ran on a platform of more economic growth, more jobs, better recovery, but we are the shining light when you look at the other countries,” the former Goldman Sachs president said. “We’ve got countries in the G7 with GDP as low as sort of a half a percent.”

Cohn suggested that the role of trade deals in stimulating growth would be a top point of discussion at the meetings this weekend.

The U.S. indeed has seen higher growth than most other advanced economies the wake of the financial crisis. Among the G7 nations, only Canada, a much smaller nation, has achieved a higher average growth rate.

The Obama administration, in its later years, invoked the relatively strong U.S. recovery compared to those in Europe, Japan and elsewhere as a justification of its economic policies, even though growth during Obama’s tenure was slower than historical norms for the U.S.

Trump, however, has harshly criticized the economy under Obama.

The U.S. has averaged an average rate of gross domestic growth of about 2 percent since the recovery began, adjusted for inflation.

The Trump administration has set a goal of 3 percent, sustained growth, well above forecasts from government institutions such as the Federal Reserve. They hope to achieve that mark with a combination of tax reform, regulatory relief and renegotiation of trade deals, despite projections from economists that slow labor force growth would mean lower growth in the years ahead.