Watch MSNBC Completely Botch Basic Math

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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MSNBC tried to use misleading statistics to show the stock market in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency performed better than the first year of Donald Trump’s, but a look at the real gains tell a very different story.

The network crunched the numbers and calculated percentage growth in the stock market in the first 11 months of Obama versus the first 11 months of the Trump administration. It found that the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 29.9 percent in Obama’s first year and 25 percent under Trump. Similarly, the network found the S&P 500 grew 18.5 percent more in Obama’s first year than Trump’s.

The first thing to note here is that MSNBC’s calculation of the growth rate is off.

When Obama took office in 2009, the Dow slumped to 7,949.09 — the lowest inaugural performance for the benchmark index in its history. Roughly one year later, the Dow closed Dec. 21 on 10,414.44. If the network used the period from Jan. 20 to Dec. 20, 2009, the true percentage growth rate would be 31.01. On the other hand, if they chose to start with the Dow’s closing value on Jan. 21, 2009, the rate would be roughly 26.57 percent.

MSNBC got the numbers correct for the Dow’s and S&P 500’s growth under Trump.


The network’s entire argument is off when looking at the actual gains in both indexes and the trillions of dollars in added market capitalization under Trump.

The Dow is up over 5,000 points and has notched over 70 record high closings since Trump took office in January. The index gained just over 2,465 points in Obama’s first 11 months.

While the S&P 500 grew the least of the three major U.S. indexes under Trump, it is still up over 21 percent since the November election and has closed at record highs well over 50 times.

The market has gained between $4 and $5.6 trillion in capitalization in Trump’s first year, well over the gains in Obama’s first year.


The Obama administration did face one of the most difficult periods in the nation’s economic history since the Great Depression. His administration saw unemployment fall from roughly 10 percent to under 5 percent in his 8 years in the White House, and a substantial economic recovery.

There is also little doubt that the Trump administration’s promise of bringing tax relief for American small businesses and corporate tax relief has largely helped rally the stock market.

The Daily Caller News Foundation interviewed the CEO of Emerson Electric and the president of the National Association of Manufacturers, David Farr, in October. Farr explained how American businesses are investing in the U.S., to the tune of hundreds of millions, on the promise that Congress will deliver a comprehensive tax reform bill.

House lawmakers are expected to pass the final version of the Republican tax reform bill Wednesday. The president will likely sign it into law before the end of the week.

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