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A President’s Economic Record Is ‘Heavily Dominated by Luck’

Two United Press International stories about the economic records of Joe Biden and Donald Trump called on UCLA Luskin Urban Planning Professor Chris Tilly for insights. Tilly assessed the economic principles surrounding measures such as tax cuts and infrastructure investments, but also pointed out that the role a president plays in the fiscal health of the country is often overstated. “We tend to give presidents too much credit or blame,” he said. “Most of what is going on in the economy is not something the president can control.” The United States is one cog in a global economy that can be roiled by war, political turmoil, weather emergencies and catastrophic events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. ”The economic record of a four-year period is heavily dominated by luck, good or bad,” Tilly said.


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