GOP congressman: Trump economy must be great because people golf more

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South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice also pointed to the relative affordability of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as proof that the nation is booming.

A Republican congressman from South Carolina defended Donald Trump's economy this week, citing as proof an increase in golf rounds in the Myrtle Beach area in 2019, among other things.

Rep. Tom Rice argued in a Facebook post on Wednesday that "folks" with a "negative agenda" were covering the slowing Trump economy to make people "despair."

To counter that narrative, he shared a series of local headlines that he said proved Americans were in fact "experiencing a great American comeback!"

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One of those examples was an article from The Sun News, a regional outlet, titled "Golf rounds in the Myrtle Beach market increase in 2019."

That story, which ran online Feb. 10, said that a 3.7% increase in golf rounds played from 2018 to 2019. It attributed this largely to the fact that 2018 had been the year of "devastating effects of Hurricane Florence and subsequent flooding."

It also quoted the executive director of the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association predicting an even better year in 2020. "If we have reasonable weather we're poised to have a very, very good year," the director said.

Another example Rice shared, also from The Sun News, was titled "Myrtle Beach ranks among most affordable beach towns, according to study."

That article, also posted Monday, focused on a recent report that ranked the area "12th out of 50 [among] the 'most affordable beach towns' based off home prices, average number of rooms per house and expected property taxes."

The study only examined U.S. beach towns and did not examine the national economy's health overall or the broader housing market, which slowed last year but was sparked briefly by Trump's erratic trade war with China. ("Perhaps the only beneficiary of President Trump's trade war is housing, at least for the time being. The war has undermined the economy and pushed down mortgage rates," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told Bloomberg in late October, warning that the market was still perilously unstable.)

Rice also included with his Facebook post Wednesday a Washington Examiner opinion piece from January, which touted the "best economy in generations."

That story noted that the Bureau of Economic Analysis had recently reported the growth rate in the last quarter at 2.1% and total GDP growth for 2019 as 2.3%. Both of these numbers were well below Trump's promised growth rate of "4, 5, and maybe even 6% ultimately."

Back in 2018, Rice himself mocked President Barack Obama for stating that the "new normal" for GDP growth moving forward would be around 2%.

Trump has yet to reach 3% annual GDP growth.

Rice's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.