Donald Trump Claims U.S. Economy ‘So Far Ahead’ Of China, But Chinese Lead In Crucial Purchasing Power Figure

A key economic growth statistic reveals that people in China can afford a better standard of living than in the United States.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

A key economic growth statistic reveals that people in China can afford a better standard of living than in the United States.

Donald Trump spoke Friday at the “Opportunity Now” summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he boasted that the United States’ economy has made a “comeback” during his term and that predictions the U.S. would be overtaken by China have not come true.

In fact, Trump said, “we are so far ahead now, we became a rocket ship.” While America remains the world’s largest economy, as it has been for almost 150 years, key statistics show that in crucial growth measures, China outpaces the U.S.

In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) — that is, the actual spending value of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) — China was well ahead of the U.S., with a GDP PPP of $25.399 trillion as of 2018, according to World Bank economic data. The U.S. lags behind in second place globally, at $20.544 trillion.

PPP measures the strength of an economy based on the actual domestic purchasing power of its currency. In other words, a worker earning the equivalent of $50,000 per year in China would be able to purchase more and better goods — and as a result, afford a better standard of living — than a worker earning $50,000 in the U.S.

According to the World Bank data, China’s GDP PPP first caught up to the U.S. in 2013 and has raced ahead ever since.

In terms of “nominal” GDP — the raw number measuring the total size of the economy — the U.S. continues to lead, with $21.44 trillion in gross domestic product last year, compared to China’s $14.4 trillion, according to figures published by Investopedia.

Though China’s overall economic growth has slowed steadily since current President Xi Jinping took office in 2008, the U.S. remains well behind China’s overall economic growth rate, suggesting that the true “rocket ship” has been Chinese.

According to World Bank data, China experienced an annual growth rate of 6.57 percent in 2018, compared to a relatively sluggish 2.97 percent for the U.S.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pledged that his presidency would bring the growth rate to four percent, a figure the economy has not come close to matching in his term, despite his oft-repeated claim that his policies have produced “the greatest economy in history.”

In reality, as The Inquisitr has earlier reported, GDP growth in 2019 stalled at 2.3 percent, a slowdown after an initial boost in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s 2017 tax cut bill.

At the same time, Trump’s policies — like the tax cut bill — have shouldered the country with a massive new debt burden that risks slowing the economy further. Over a 10-year period, the Trump tax cuts are projected to add a whopping $2 trillion to the federal budget deficit.