President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been ramping up their campaign against Christmas celebrations across the country.
The president has called for states to declare “miserable holidays” and has threatened to impose a 10 percent tax on all Christmas-related goods.
But a growing number of economists say that the president’s actions have been hurting the economy in ways that the country would have not expected.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits fell by 0.3 percent between November 2016 and December 2017, according to a study released Tuesday by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
This comes amid a long-term trend of lower job growth that has seen unemployment rates drop over time, according the report.
The report also notes that the economy grew by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
That was also lower than the 3.9 percent gain recorded the previous quarter.
But the economic benefits of a holiday season, like the ones Trump has sought to deny, are offset by other benefits that have been taking place, according.
For example, the holiday season brings in about $60 billion annually in sales tax revenue that could be used to help lower income earners.
It also generates more tax revenue than the tax cut for middle-class families that was set to take effect in October, according a Brookings Institution analysis.
In addition, a study published by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that the holiday can help stimulate the economy with more consumer spending.
With a lower unemployment rate, the tax bill for millions of Americans will help them save for a down payment on a home, purchase a car or invest in a retirement savings account, the study found.
While Trump has not specifically mentioned Christmas in his budget proposal, he has frequently cited it in his speeches, as did Vice President Mike Pence, the White House press secretary and the Republican leadership.
“Christmas is one of those wonderful, holiday traditions that has to be given an extra day of holiday cheer.
It’s a great time to take a walk through the woods and let your spirit soar,” Trump said during a February 2016 speech at the White Houses residence.
Trump has also been calling for an end to the “merry Christmas” to boost tourism.
“You’re supposed to celebrate Christmas, but not by playing Santa Claus.
Not by throwing gifts at each other,” he said in January 2017.
Meanwhile, other states that have enacted such laws, such as California, have seen their unemployment rates rise and their economic growth lagged behind the national average.
In fact, in 2016, California’s unemployment rate was the highest in the nation, and in 2018 it was the sixth-highest.
Yet in the weeks before Trump’s election, the economy started to recover.
In the first three months of 2019, the U.S. economy expanded by 1.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported.