“You don’t have to like Trump to acknowledge the obvious.” These words headline a recent column from a liberal syndicated writer who is no fan of the president, and who has been a harsh critic of President Donald Trump.
The “obvious” in this story refers to the array of successful outcomes achieved in this administration’s first year, despite gloom and doom and apocalypse predictions from the political left. While the president gives his critics ample reasons to criticize, early results of his first year in office belie their continuing charges. Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times in October 2016:
“We are probably looking at a global recession with no end in sight.” Just before the president was elected, a Washington Post editorial warned, “A President Trump could destroy the world economy.”
Contrary to these dire predictions, “the world economy is as strong today as it has been in at least a decade,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Wall Street is roaring, unemployment is down (black unemployment is at a 20-year low), the economy is growing, de-regulation is occurring at a rapid rate, and the most sweeping tax reform since 1986 is the law. The federal government is opening up natural resources that were previously off limits, has removed the individual mandate in ObamaCare, and has appointed an exceptional jurist in Neal Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump has appointed 12 federal Appeals Court judges, the most ever by a first-year president.
As a direct and immediate result of the tax cuts in the reform legislation, a string of major employers have announced bonuses for their workers. AT&T is giving $1,000 to 200,000 of its workers and pledging an added $1 billion in capital investment. Other similar announcements quickly followed by Boeing, Bancorp, Wells Fargo and others. The tax cuts allow businesses and individuals to keep and invest more of their earnings and benefit from the growing economy.
Americans can thank Art Laffer, economist and architect of the Laffer Curve used by President Ronald Reagan to cut taxes and herald economic growth in the ’80s. Laffer has been the chief “supply side” economist, along with other supply-side economists Larry Kudlow and the late Jack Kemp. Laffer and like-minded economists have shown presidents and other leaders that economic growth is a more effective and sustainable way than heavy taxation to fund government. JFK was like-minded with Laffer, as was Reagan with his historic tax cuts. Laffer worked with President Trump on the recently enacted tax reform, and early indications are that the Trump reforms may prove as successful as the Reagan tax reforms and cuts.
Hardly anyone initially regarded Trump as a “conservative” – yet he has propelled the most conservative governing policies of any recent president. His reliance on slashing outdated regulations in addition to lessening the tax burden as a way to grow the economy are welcome approaches to governing. Upon taking office, he issued an executive order requiring that “at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination for each new regulation issued.”
While the Trump administration is off to a good start in its first year, there is much left undone. The tax reform legislation provides for only a temporary tax cut for individuals – it is not permanent. Moreover, the spending side was not addressed. We still need to repeal the death tax. To boost the economy further, we need to lower the capital gains tax.
While we don’t know what the future will bring, we do know that the economy and activity on Wall Street are very good news for the 55 million Americans with 401K plans, the approximately 25 million who have IRAs, and another 20 million with company pension plans and stock ownership plans.
So, who do we Americans listen to for guidance about how the economy really works, the businessman or the chattering bureaucratic class that has not been elected by anyone? The left expected the opposite results would happen with a Trump presidency. They have been proven wrong.
“You don’t have to like Trump to acknowledge the obvious.” Just enjoy your tax cut. ■
Pat Freibert is a former Kentucky state representative from Lexington. She can be reached at [email protected]