Zirpoli: Comparing Trump and Obama's first years in office

The first year of Making America Great Again is over. So how did President Donald Trump do compared to President Barack Obama?

President Trump and his supporters make a big deal about the stock market these days. On Trump’s Inauguration day (Jan. 20, 2017), the Dow closed at 19,827. One year later (Jan. 19, 2018) it closed at 26,072, an impressive 31.5 percent increase. On Jan. 4, Trump tweeted, “Can you imagine if ‘O’ was president and had these numbers — would be biggest story on earth!”


Well, Mr. President, we don’t need to “imagine” because stocks did great under Obama. On Obama’s inauguration day (Jan. 20, 2009), the Dow closed at 7,949. One year later (Jan. 19, 2010) it closed at 10,725, a 34.9 percent increase. During Obama’s last year in office (Jan. 20, 2016 to Jan. 19, 2017), the Dow increased 25.2 percent. Overall, the Dow increased 149 percent during Obama’s eight years in office.

Obama left office with a December unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, down from a high of 10 percent during the recession of 2008. One year later under Trump, the unemployment rate continued to fall to 4.1 percent. Trump no longer calls these unemployment rates “fake news” as he did under the Obama administration.

According to Forbes, Obama added 2.2 million new jobs in his last year in office. Job creation slowed to 2.06 million during Trump’s first year. This was “lower than any of Obama’s last six years” in office, according to Forbes.

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to reduce our nation’s trade deficit, especially with China. According to Forbes, our trade deficit at the end of Trump’s first year is about 12 percent higher than it was at the end of Obama’s last year and higher than any of Obama’s eight years in office. The deficit with China has also increased.

Trump said that he would cut taxes, spend a trillion dollars to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, and expand our military without adding to our national debt. He has cut taxes, but the cuts will add more than $1 trillion to our national debt over 10 years. Congress can’t seem to pass a Trump budget, so future spending on infrastructure and the military is unknown.

Both the nation’s budget deficit and debt continued to increase under Trump. When Trump took over as president, our national debt — the accumulation of annual budget deficits —stood at $19.57 trillion. Today, it stands at about $20.5 trillion.

When Obama left office, just over 91 percent of Americans had health insurance, an all-time high. Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something better and cover 100 percent of Americans. Trump told the Washington Post one year ago that: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” Instead, Trump has done everything possible to disable the Affordable Care Act. A Gallup-Healthways study found that the rate of Americans without health insurance decreased from 91 percent to 88.7 percent under Trump.

Candidate Trump said that the U.S. was not respected around the world under Obama. According to a global poll by Gallup, however, only 30 percent of the world approves of U.S. leadership under Trump. This compares to 48 percent approval of U.S. leadership at the end of Obama’s last year.

Trump tweeted more than Obama. Twitter named its top 2017 tweets of the year and President Obama had six of the ten most “Liked” tweets of 2017. None of Trump’s 2,300 plus tweets made the list, but many of them certainly made news.

Candidate Trump said: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” According to, he has played golf between 77 and 91 days. The exact number is unknown because Trump is secretive about when he plays. This compares to Obama who averaged 42 days on the golf course, per year, over eight years.

Candidate Trump said: “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations.” The Washington Post reported that Trump has taken three times the number of vacation days as Obama did during their first years in office.

Trump made more false statements than Obama. Over 2,000 “falsehoods” in his first year, according to lists kept by The New York Times and The Washington Post. The same sources counted 18 for Obama, total, over eight years in the White House.

But, hey, stocks are up!