President Trump's Year of Winning

It was a year of winning for President Trump, but more importantly, for the United States, which shook off nearly a decade of economic malaise with record highs in the stock market and record lows in unemployment, and reasserted itself as the world’s preeminent superpower by reaffirming its commitment to global leadership.

 

Almost immediately after taking office, the new President signed an executive order requiring two federal regulations to be cut for every new one that is enacted. Ultimately, 16 rules were cut for every new one enacted; a move that the White House estimated saved $8.1 billion.  Most notably, President Trump saved an estimated $993 billion by canceling President Obama’s disastrous “Clean Power Plan.” 

In addition, President Trump signed 15 congressional regulatory cuts, further easing the burden on the private sector and helping to push the nation’s economy to two consecutive quarters of 3% growth in his first two full quarters in office.

While President Obama saw average GDP growth of just 1.5% in his eight years in office, the IMF believes that President Trump’s first year in office will see 3.5% GDP growth—something liberal-leaning pundits spent the year claiming was impossible.

As the Dow set record after record—eventually posting nine straight months of gains for the first time ever—confidence in the nation’s economy hit a 17-year high as unemployment dipped to 4.1% and an estimated 1.7 million jobs were created.

The black unemployment rate has hit historic lows, and the black-white employment gap has fallen to its lowest level since April of 2000.  Hispanic unemployment, too, is at its lowest level in 10 years.

In fact, so widespread is the nation’s hiring boom that new claims for unemployment are down to their lowest levels since 1974.

Since President Trump took office, the Wilshire 5000 Index estimates that approximately $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created, while a staggering $5.4 trillion has been added since he was elected.   

And that wealth won’t be frittered away through costly and ill-advised international agreements.  President Trump ended President Obama’s sweetheart deal with Cuba, and announced plans to reexamine the Iran Nuclear Deal with an eye toward voiding it.  By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the President saved America untold billions in payments and far more in lost GDP, with some estimates putting the total as high as $3 trillion.  Similarly, the President determined that the Trans-Pacific Partnership—President Obama’s signature trade deal—was not in America’s best interests and withdrew from it while simultaneously reopening NAFTA for renegotiation. 

The message, clearly, is that America will now pursue deals that tangibly benefit America through investment in capital and creation of new jobs here.  And that message has obviously been heard.  China announced that it would spend $84 billion on new energy projects in West Virginia, while Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn announced plans to build its first ever plant in America, a $10 billion project that will create upwards of 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin and represents the single largest foreign corporate investment in American history. 

This refocus on American interests and willingness to project American might to protect them also prompted NATO nations to shoulder a heavier financial burden for collective defense—a requirement of the deal that had never before been enforced.

When President Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel (which it very obviously is), the United Nations voted to condemn the move.  The U.S. didn’t just veto that vote, it cut funding to the UN by $285 million.   

In three moves that both project American might and boost American financial interests, the President took major steps toward energy independence.  He finally approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which are expected to create upwards of 42,000 jobs.  He opened up 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling.  And he signed as part of a landmark tax cut bill an order that opens up the ANWR region of Alaska for oil drilling.

It was the tax bill, though, that will have the greatest impact on the nation’s economy.  Roughly 80% of all Americans will see a tax cut in 2018, with an average family of four saving roughly $1,100 per year.  The corporate tax cut may have an even bigger impact, as the drop to a 21% rate allows companies more freedom to use their revenues as they see fit.  Dozens of them announced massive bonuses for their employees, while others increased their minimum wages to $15 per hour.

As if that weren’t enough, President Trump’s first year also saw the defeat of ISIS in its last remaining strongholds in Iraq and Syria.  The terror army, whose ranks swelled to above 14,000 a few years ago, now numbers in the hundreds.  Though it is still capable of launching terror attacks across the globe, ISIS is no longer able to hold territory in the Middle East and has thus lost its luster as the self-proclaimed “Global Caliphate” that made it so attractive for prospective soldiers.

To decimate the group’s operations in Afghanistan, where it had been gathering strength, the U.S. dropped the “Mother of All Bombs”—the strongest explosive short of a nuclear bomb—on an ISIS cave complex, killing 94 terrorists and showing the world that America was no longer scared to use any and all weapons in its arsenal to defeat its enemies.

When the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people in its ongoing civil war, President Trump ordered the bombing of the airfield from which those weapons were launched.   

In the war on organized drug gangs, he partnered with several Central American countries to arrest and charge roughly 4,000 members of MS-13, including nearly 800 here in the United States.  Moreover, he signed three executive orders cracking down on international drug cartels, while his Justice Department created a National Public Safety Partnership that works with cities to reduce violent crimes associated with the drug trade.

The Justice Department also provided $98 million in grants to fund the salaries of 802 new law enforcement officers, while the President declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids—adding an additional $500 million in funding to fight them.

To further stop the flow of drugs coming into the country and better secure America’s southern border, President Trump ended President Obama’s “catch and release” policy for illegal immigrants, announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans programs, and started the rollback of chain migration.  He also signed orders cracking down on sanctuary cities and limiting migration and visits from nations known to harbor terrorists, but both are still held up in federal courts.

On the federal bench, however, President Trump nominated a strict constructionist, Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, and Senate Republicans held firm; ending filibusters for Supreme Court appointments and confirming Gorsuch to the bench.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell similarly revamped rules for federal appellate court appointments to end Democrat efforts at blocking Trump appointments, confirming 12 of them in addition to six circuit court judges.  

After promising to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs after massive scandals on President Obama’s watch, President Trump signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act and authorized $2.1 billion in additional funding for the Veterans Choice program to help vets receive the health care they deserve—furthering this through the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.

On veterans’ affairs, the federal judiciary, foreign policy, national defense, and especially America’s economy, President Trump has made good on his promises turn the nation around after eight years of floundering, but he was wrong about one thing: nobody is tired of all the winning yet.

Dan O'Donnell

Dan O'Donnell

Common Sense Central is edited by WISN's Dan O'Donnell. Dan provides unique conservative commentary and analysis of stories that the mainstream media often overlooks. Read more

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