by Gary Alexander

July 2, 2024

Two top stock indexes hit new all-time highs on Friday morning after the Fed’s favorite inflation indicator – the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index – indicated slower price gains. The core PCE index rose by just 0.1% in May, its lowest rate in over three years, bringing the total rise to 2.6% over the last 12 months. Including food and energy, the PCE was flat in May. This lifted investor expectations of a rate cut in September up to 59.5%, according to the CME Group FedWatch Tool.

Also, consumer sentiment for June rose to 68.2 from the preliminary level of 65.6, so most Americans are telling pollsters that they still have a lot to be thankful for going into the July 4th break – but that poll was taken before Thursday night’s Presidential Debate – when Lincoln and Reagan were noticeably absent.

The markets didn’t care about two old guys throwing insults at each other. Instead, traders sent the S&P 500 and NASDAQ to opening all-time highs, although they settled down later on. In global markets, so far in 2024, America’s top three indexes averaged 12%, vs. 4% for the rest of the world. Happy July 4th!

Stock Table

Now, let’s indulge in an intoxicating dose of truth serum for candidates Biden and Trump, plus CNN.

A 90-Minute Fact-Free Presidential Debate!

I haven’t watched a Presidential debate in over 30 years – and this one was a struggle to endure – but in checking the transcript I don’t think I heard one accurate statistic from either candidate all night long, and that is a low barrier of entry. Even a blind pitcher can throw a strike across the plate once in a while

I’ll be as brief as possible. Here’s President Biden’s opening statement, taken directly from the transcript:

““We’ve got to take a look at what I was left when I became president, what Mr. Trump left me. We had an economy that was in freefall.…There were no jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 15 percent. It was terrible. And so, what we had to do is try to put things back together again. And that’s exactly what we began to do. We created 15,000 new jobs…we have 800,000 new manufacturing jobs.”

—-President Biden’s opening debate remarks, June 27, 2024

Later on, Biden doubled down on those claims, saying that, when he was elected, “The economy was flat on its back: 15% unemployment, he decimated the economy, absolutely decimated the economy. That’s why there was no inflation at the time. There were no jobs. We provided thousands of millions of jobs.”

Biden had two obvious brain burps there – he actually said “15,000 jobs” and “thousands of millions of jobs,” when his ads say he “created 15 million jobs” (adding, “I’m Joe Biden and I approved this ad.”)

The truth is that the economy was growing strongly in the second half of 2020, when Biden was elected.


Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

Manufacturing jobs under Biden were primarily hire-backs of lost jobs during lock-down. There were 12,780,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs in February 2020, before COVID. Total manufacturing jobs in May 2024, the latest data available, are 12,965,000, a negligible gain of 185,000 jobs in 4.3 years. How can the President create manufacturing jobs when the ISM manufacturing index has been in retreat since 2021?


Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

Manufacturing jobs are up less than 200,000 since early 2020 (above, right), and total jobs are up about three million (below), mostly service jobs. Biden says he “created” 15 million jobs, but these jobs already existed before COVID.

FRED Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

I was hoping former President Trump would correct some of Biden’s blunders, but Trump went on an unrelated rant. Later, he invented inflated figures of his own, multiplying true statistics five to 10-fold.

Trump: “Look at the cost of food, where it’s doubled and tripled and quadrupled. … He [Biden] wants to raise your taxes by four times. He wants to raise everybody’s taxes by four times. He wants the Trump tax cuts to expire so everybody, including the two of you [CNN hosts] are going to pay four to five times.”

The truth: Inflation is up about 20% in the aggregate under Biden and maybe 30% in some key food groups and energy, but certainly not four-fold in anything. And my tax advisor tells me my tax bite will likely go up 25% if the Trump tax cuts are repealed in 2026 and Biden imposes some new tax penalties. That’s bad enough, but it’s not four-fold, so why would Trump invent such outrageously high numbers?

I would advise Mr. Trump to memorize a simple mantra: “(1) Inflation was less than 2% per year during my four years and now it’s over 6% per year under my successor, or +20% overall; (2) there were about 600,000 immigrants crossing our southern border each year in my four years and now over two million per year – by direct invitation of my successor – “Y’ALL COME!” he told them! And (3) he will raise your taxes 20% by letting my tax cuts expire, and the burden falls mostly on small businesses and the middle class, on nearly everyone earning $50,000 to $400,000. That’s what you’re voting for with Biden.”

The CNN hosts are to be congratulated for their fair questions and for not interrupting, but Jake Tapper told a whopper of his own by saying to Trump, “Your administration approved $8.4 trillion in new debt, while so far President Biden has approved $4.3 trillion in new debt.” But Tapper’s math quotes only part of a study – the part that puts the COVID crisis year (2020) under Trump, plus all of Fiscal 2021, which includes Biden’s stimulus bills, starting with the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March 2021.

More than any other Act, ARPA launched the rising debt load of 2021 and inflation in 2022. Democrat Party economist Larry Summers rightly warned that ARPA would fuel the worst inflation in a generation. Tapper calls the 2021 budget Trump’s, only because it had to be approved before September 30, 2020, so if you blame all COVID costs and all of Biden’s 2021 stimulus spending on Trump, his debts topped Biden’s, but if you compare their first three years, ignoring COVID costs, here’s how the two compare:

• Trump’s first three years of deficits, 2017 to 2019: $2.428 trillion
• Biden’s first three years of deficits, 2021 to 2023: $5.832 trillion (140% more)

Overall, what we saw last Thursday were two candidates out of touch with the facts, but that’s not what makes them unfit. They have aides who can provide them with data. Instead, what we saw were a senile-man who can’t help himself, and a blustery businessman with a penchant for making stuff up. No bevy of aides can cure those tendencies. Age is not to blame, in either case. I just saw former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, older than either candidate (turning 82 on July 8) talk for 45 minutes without notes about his new book, “The Myth of Income Inequality,” including Q&A, all with wit, historical insights and wisdom after he and his co-author won The Manhattan Institute’s Hayek “Book of the Year’ Award.

Also, Bernie Sanders, at 82, is older than both candidates and still sharp as a tack. I disagree with him, but he was denied the candidacy while leading in delegate counts in 2016 and 2020, so in 2024 we’re stuck with a Trump vs. Biden re-run. Louis Navellier has said that Biden may be replaced by Gavin Newsom at the Democratic Convention. That’s a real possibility – so maybe Phil Gramm can replace Trump, too!

Whoever wins, it’s what we 335,893,237 other Americans do in the other 1,460 days of a four-year cycle that matters most. That’s what July 4th is all about, celebrating freedom – long before Presidents existed.

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

Also In This Issue

Global Mail by Ivan Martchev
The Stock Market is Acting a Little Tired

Sector Spotlight by Jason Bodner
As July Dawns, The Market’s “Silly Season” Begins

View Full Archive
Read Past Issues Here

About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

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