Donald Trump keeps moving the goal post for economic growth

By Ylan Q. Mui

FILE - In this March 19, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Donald Trump promises to “Make America Great Again.” George Wallace said he would “Stand up for America.” The 2016 Republican presidential front-runner doesn't say he's following the 1960s playbook of the Alabama segregationist, a four-time presidential hopeful.(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Donald Trump at a March campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (Matt York/AP)

How great will America be under President Donald Trump? It depends on when you ask.

During the election, Trump pledged that he would oversee a rate of “tremendous” economic expansion as high as 6 percent. But he has moved the goal post several times since then, dialing back expectations.

Over the past eight years, growth in the nation’s economic output has hovered about 2 percent, well below the historical average. Trump has frequently pointed to the slow recovery from the Great Recession as a shortcoming of President Obama’s policies.

Since the election, many economists have upgraded their projections of economic growth over the next two years. They are betting that Trump’s pledge to cut taxes will put more money in people’s pockets and encourage businesses to invest, while his support for infrastructure spending will create jobs and boost productivity in the long run.

[Larry Summers: The global economy has entered dangerous, uncharted territory]

Still, many economists say that there are fundamental reasons that the economy can’t grow much faster than it is now. For example, the baby-boom generation is retiring, resulting in a smaller workforce, and technological investments may not be creating the same numbers of jobs as in the past. In addition, they warn that some of Trump’s proposals — such as steep tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports — could backfire and potentially throw the economy into another recession.

Here’s a look at how Trump’s promise of economic growth has shifted:

September 2015
Trump released the initial version of his plan to overhaul the nation’s tax code, during a news conference at Trump Tower in New York. His proposal slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and collapsed individual tax …read more