By Jeff Crouere
As he finishes his first year in office President Donald Trump is hitting his stride politically. Right before Christmas, the President led the Republican Party to a major congressional victory. Passing the huge $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation a political triumph for the President and the GOP.
The victory was secured despite a very thin GOP majority in the Senate and the President’s perilous relations with a number of anti-Trump Senators. Fortunately, the benefits of the bill persuaded all Republican Senators to support the far-reaching legislation. The booming economy will now grow even faster in 2018.
The tax bill will give average Americans and businesses needed relief. It will also eliminate the odious Obamacare mandate and open drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which will help America become more energy independent and create more manufacturing jobs.
With lower overall rates and a one-time tax holiday, American companies will have the incentive to repatriate trillions of dollars that are currently being held in foreign countries. Allowing corporations to grow will undoubtedly lead to more employment and spending on beneficial purposes such as new equipment.
All of these aspects of the tax bill will help create even more growth in a strong economy, which expanded at a fast clip of 3.3% in the third quarter of 2017. What is truly impressive about the robust economic progress was that it occurred despite the devastation of several massive hurricanes hitting the mainland of the United States.
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Passing the tax plan builds on the solid progress made in the overall economy over the last year. In 2017, the stock market soared, consumer confidence rose to a 17-year high, and housing starts increased 3.3% in November, reaching a 10-year record. Most importantly, there has been strong job growth. Unemployment decreased to 4.1% while unemployment for Hispanic Americans is at an all-time low and for African Americans; it reached a 17-year low.
A vital component of the job growth has been manufacturing jobs. In the past year, there has been a significant increase of over 170,000 manufacturing jobs. This is a nice contrast to the economic environment of the Obama administration which was toxic to American manufacturers. During the previous administration, there was an increase in lower paying service sector jobs and part-time employment. In addition, millions of Americans became so discouraged that they left the workforce altogether, creating the lowest labor force participation rate since the Jimmy Carter era. Fortunately, under President Trump, these trends are reversing.
The success of the President’s first year has not been limited to the economy. In 2017, there has been tremendous progress in the civilized world’s ongoing war against Islamic jihadists. The terrorist group ISIS suffered tremendous losses in 2017 as the President unleashed our military to fight the enemy. In contrast to the previous administration, President Trump is allowing our military commanders to make battlefield decisions. We have also eliminated the restrictive rules of engagement that were hampering our success in fighting ISIS. As a result of these new measures, ISIS has lost 98% of its caliphate and is in serious decline. If this type of success had been achieved during the Obama administration, the media would be continually highlighting the story. Instead, this Trump administration achievement is the most under reported story of 2017.
The reason is that President Trump has been the target of an unrelenting media barrage while former President Obama was a press favorite. President Trump has faced more hatred from reporters than any politician in American history. Independent researchers have uncovered that over 90% of the media reports about President Trump have been negative. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, compared to his predecessor, President Trump received only one-eighth as much positive media coverage, but three times as much negative press.
These negative reports have contributed to the President’s low poll numbers. It is hard for the President to gain traction with the American people when the media is constantly promoting an anti-Trump agenda. However, it has started to turn around because Americans always “vote their pocketbook.”
Voters have the good sense to support Presidents who are good for the economy. For example, during his first term, President Ronald Reagan was very successful in producing quality American jobs and creating growth. Not surprisingly, he was rewarded with a historic landslide in 1984. The same dynamic may occur with President Trump in 2020.
The great economic news has started to boost the President’s approval ratings. Americans are beginning to realize Donald Trump’s policies are having a beneficial impact on not only the overall economy, but also on their individual financial situation. These real facts will begin to overcome the “fake news” of the Russian collusion story and the other media created controversies. In the end, the truth always wins, even in American politics.
In a year end interview with the New York Times, the President noted that he believes the media coverage will eventually turn positive and help him win re-election in 2020. According to Trump, “Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes…Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times.”
President Trump is certainly the politician that the media loves to hate. Amazingly, the negative coverage has not totally destroyed his approval ratings with the public. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, the President has a 46% approval rating, which is the same level that Barack Obama had at the end of his first year.
The difference is that the media loved Barack Obama, but hates Donald Trump. To be as popular as his beloved predecessor when so much of the media is arrayed against him is certainly one of the President’s most impressive accomplishments of 2017.